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Major League Baseball All-Star Game Relocates to Colorado; Live Coverage of Derek Chauvin Trial; Minneapolis Police Sergeant Ker Yang is Questioned by Prosecution. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 6, 2021 - 10:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: They could get rid of this, they could reverse the tax code. So it's just not a guarantee that it's paid for, any way you slice it.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right, that's exactly right. And part of this is the messaging effort to tell the American public, yes, this is a big topline number, $2.2 trillion, but we can assure that we're going to be paying for it. Obviously, when you look at the details as you're talking about, it's a different timeline for how -- when that money is being spent versus when it's going to come back into the coffers.

You know, it's interesting though because President Biden, if there's one thing that he has said right out the gate in introducing this plan, that he's willing to discuss, he's willing to compromise on either with members of his own party or Republicans, is how exactly to pay for this.

He has said that he is open to ideas, and clearly already with Joe Manchin some haggling is under way about exactly what that corporate tax rate increase would be, but it sounds like President Biden would be open to other ideas about how exactly to pay for this. The question is whether Republicans are going to be willing to even engage on this at all.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: We should note there was less devotion to paying for the tax cuts in 2017 --

HARLOW: Great point.

SCIUTTO: -- sort of newfound fiscal orthodoxy here. Not consistent --

HARLOW: Right, that's a great point.

SCIUTTO: -- point of order. Jeremy Diamond, Lauren Fox, thanks so much to both of you.

This morning, Major League Baseball's All-Star Game looks to have a new home after it was pulled out of Atlanta. The league is expected to announce that the Colorado Rockies Coors Field in Denver will host the game in July. HARLOW: The MLB moved it after the league's draft from Atlanta --

moved it out of Atlanta last week, of course, in response to Georgia's recently passed restrictive voting law that was put in place.

Well, Major League Baseball's decision to move that All-Star Game is prompting Texas Governor Greg Abbott to boycott the Texas Rangers' home opener on Monday.

SCIUTTO: Yes, he was supposed to throw out the first pitch; he's not going to do it now. CNN's Dianne Gallagher joins us now. So, Dianne, Governor Abbott, refusing to throw that out, comes as Texas Republicans, moving ahead, their own big slate of voting restriction laws.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And, look, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that this has nothing to do with the Texas Rangers organization, that he said he could not in good conscience throw out that opening pitch, as he said that Major League Baseball was perpetuating false narratives about Georgia's new voting law.

And he has said that he was not going to seek out the All-Star Game in the state of Texas either. Obviously it appears that's a moot point because reportedly the All-Star Game is going to be moving to the state of Colorado. But you're right, Texas is also seeing voting legislation move through its chambers right now.

In fact, the Texas state senate has already passed one bill, S.B. 7, that would change many aspects of voting in the state of Texas, including tracking mail-in early ballots and proving that they're limiting early extended voting hours, eliminating drive-through voting and several other changes, many of which appear to be targeting Harris County, a recent Democratic stronghold, home to Houston, which of course is the most diverse city of the country.

But look, in the state of Texas, we're also seeing similar to things that we saw in the state of Georgia when it comes to corporations speaking out. Now, the key difference here is that in the state of Georgia, after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed that legislation into law, we started hearing protests from companies like Delta and Coca-Cola, not really beforehand.

In the state of Texas, we're starting to see some of those companies that are based in Texas speaking out as the bills are moving through the legislature, thus giving them potentially more influence.

Now, it may change, we don't know. This is what activists wanted to see in the state of Georgia, both American Airlines, Dell have both spoke out specifically against that bill I referenced, S.B. 7, as well as a similar bill in the Texas house, H.B. 6, which is still just at the committee level right now.

But they're speaking out about specific things they dislike in these bills, and that's what activists wanted to see happen in Georgia. It did not happen there, so we'll see whether or not it will have any sort of impact on what's happening as far as legislation goes in Texas.

SCIUTTO: Dianne Gallagher, thank you. And we're seeing Republicans now threatening to penalize those companies, (inaudible) tax breaks, et cetera.

We want to go back, take you to the courtroom in Minneapolis. You see the judge there, calling in the next witness to testify as the trial resumes. We promised to bring it to you once it started. Here it goes, let's listen in.

PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY JUDGE: -- feel comfortable doing so, we'd appreciate if you could remove your mask so you can be heard more clearly.


CAHILL: And then begin by stating your full name, spelling each of your names.

YANG: My name is Ker Yang. First name is spelled K-E-R, last name is spelled Y-A-N-G.

CAHILL: Mr. Schleicher?


Good morning.

YANG: Good morning, sir.

SCHLEICHER: How are you employed?

YANG: I am employed with the City of Minneapolis Police Department.


SCHLEICHER: How long have you been employed by the City of Minneapolis?

YANG: I have been with the department for approximately 24 years.

SCHLEICHER: And what's your current position with Minneapolis?

YANG: My current position is I am the Crisis Intervention training coordinator for the department.

SCHLEICHER: And your current rank?

YANG: I hold the rank of sergeant.

SCHLEICHER: First, I'd like you to tell the jury a little bit about yourself. How old are you, sir?

YANG: I am -- I'll be 50 this year.

SCHLEICHER: All right. And you indicated you've been employed by MPD for 24 years?

YANG: Approximately 24 years, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Could you please share with the jury your educational background?

YANG: I received my bachelor degree in psychology and criminal justice, I received my master's degree in counseling psychology and my doctorate in general psychology.

SCHLEICHER: When did you complete your doctorate?

YANG: I completed back in 2014.

SCHLEICHER: And when you started -- after you started with MPD, did you go through the academy?

YANG: Yes, I did.

SCHLEICHER: OK, describe that experience. What year did you start?

YANG: I started at the academy as a cadet in September of -- actually, September of 1996. We -- I had to take some additional college (ph) courses because of the cadet program. And then from the cadet program, I went through the academy as a recruit.

SCHLEICHER: After you completed the coursework at the academy, did you enter the field training program?

YANG: Yes, I did.

SCHLEICHER: Great. And how long were you in that program?

YANG: I believe it was approximately six months, five or six months. It's been a long time ago, so.

SCHLEICHER: After you completed your field training, what was your first assignment?

YANG: I was assigned to -- if my memory serves me -- probably I believe I was assigned to downtown precinct, after I finished my field training.

SCHLEICHER: OK. As a patrol officer?

YANG: Yes, as a patrol officer.

SCHLEICHER: How long did you serve as a patrol officer before being promoted to sergeant?

YANG: I was a patrol officer for, I would say, if -- not including Specialty Unit 2, I would say a little bit over 10 years.

SCHLEICHER: Would you please describe for the jury some of the precincts to which you were assigned and your -- and your assignments, before promoting to sergeant? YANG: I was assigned -- again, I was assigned to downtown precinct. I

was also assigned to the Police Activities League, I was also assigned to Housing Patrol, School Patrol and 5th Precinct before I came to -- actually 5th Precinct, and when I got promoted I was assigned to 4th Precinct during my supervisor orientation.

I went to robbery (ph) for my supervisory orientation, and then I was assigned to downtown as a supervisor before I became the Crisis Intervention training coordinator for the training unit.

SCHLEICHER: Now, as a patrol officer, have you ever been in a situation where it's been necessary for you to use force?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Have you ever arrested a suspect?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Have you ever arrested a suspect who was reluctant to be arrested?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: You've had to handcuff people who were struggling?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And now, you're the Crisis training coordinator. Where are you assigned as the Crisis training coordinator?

YANG: I am currently assigned to the training unit.

SCHLEICHER: Where is that located?

YANG: It's located on the north side, at what we call the Special Operations Center at 4119 Dupont Avenue North.

SCHLEICHER: Can you please describe your role as the Crisis training coordinator?

YANG: As the Crisis training coordinator, I am responsible for collaborating and coordinating with mental health professionals and community members and civilians who come and teach our officers about crisis and crisis de-escalation. And at times, I've also trained our officers too.

SCHLEICHER: What do you mean by crisis?

YANG: Crisis could be any event, situation that is beyond a person's coping mechanism. And during that, when it's beyond their control, sometimes they don't know what to do. And it is -- and we train them to assist (ph) the person to bring them back down to their pre-crisis level.

SCHLEICHER: Could you please share with the jury some examples of types of crises?

YANG: Crisis could be mental health, mental illness related, or it could be situational. It could be that someone had gotten (ph) into (ph) a car crash, for example, and they're just so affected by that that they don't know what to do, and that could be a crisis. So that could be an example of a crisis.

SCHLEICHER: Can intoxication be a crisis?

YANG: Yes, intoxication can be a crisis too, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Through drugs or alcohol?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Certain types of anxiety could be a crisis?

YANG: Yes.


SCHLEICHER: Does the Minneapolis Police Department have a policy pertaining to persons in crisis?

YANG: Yes, it does.

SCHLEICHER: And at a high level, can you explain what that policy requires?

YANG: That policy requires that when it's safe and feasible, that we shall de-escalate.

SCHLEICHER: And does the Minneapolis Police Department, I am assuming as the Crisis training coordinator, you're aware of any training or tools that it provides law enforcement officers to abide by this policy?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Does that include training officers to recognize when persons may be in crisis?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Some of the signs of crisis, the types of crisis?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And there is a specific crisis intervention training course that Minneapolis Police Department sponsors or puts on down at the training center, is that right?

YANG: That is correct, yes.

SCHLEICHER: And in your role as coordinator, you bring the instructors in for that? YANG: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: Have you been through the course itself?

YANG: I have been. I have been through the course, yes, and I have sat through some of the courses too, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Now, exhibit 203, which we won't publish at this time, contains some training records. And those training records indicate that Crisis Intervention Training was offered in 2016 and also 2018. And I'd like to talk to you about the larger bloc, the 2016 bloc.

Now, first, I have to ask you, do you know the -- or you recognize the name Derek Chauvin?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: How do you recognize it?

YANG: I recognize the name Derek Chauvin through training.

SCHLEICHER: OK. You're familiar with this person?


SCHLEICHER: Would you recognize him if you saw him?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: All right. Do you see him in the courtroom today?

YANG: He has a mask on, I think. I'm assuming that's him.

SCHLEICHER: All right. May the record reflect that the witness has identified the defendant.

CAHILL: Record also reflect.

SCHLEICHER: Exhibit 203, the training records, indicate that in 2016 the defendant participated in a lengthier course, approximately a 40- hour course, in crisis intervention training. Are you familiar with that type of course, the 40-hour crisis intervention training course?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And is that a course that you've personally participated in as a student?

YANG: That course was delivered to the department, to the officers, by Minnesota CIT Officers Association.

SCHLEICHER: And can you just in general terms explain what that course covers?

YANG: That course covers individuals in crisis, symptoms, and de- escalation strategies that may be used for individuals in crisis. So it's a scenario-based training.

SCHLEICHER: What do you mean by that?

YANG: The trainer, Minnesota CIT Officers Association, brings in professional actors to come in and to conduct crisis scenarios, where they're in a state of crisis and the officer has to use the -- he has to use de-escalating strategies to bring them down to pre-crisis level or to help them out.

SCHLEICHER: And so the officers are given an opportunity to practice recognizing what may be signs of persons in crisis, and respond appropriately?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: I'd like to talk to you about a related concept. Are you familiar with the Critical Decision-Making Model?

YANG: Yes, I do.

SCHLEICHER: How are you familiar with that model?

YANG: I attended -- the Critical Decision-Making Model was introduced to us by the Police Executive Research Forum. I, along with some of my colleagues, we attended a training session that was conducted by a representative from PERF, or the Police Executive Research Forums. And we adapted it, that model, to MPD's use to guide our officers in their decision-making process.

SCHLEICHER: And does the Critical Decision-Making Model, is there an application to crisis intervention?

YANG: Yes, it does.

SCHLEICHER: Also an application to use of force?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And sometimes those decisions will have to be made contemporaneously, is that right?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: At this time, I'd like to publish exhibit 276, the Critical Decision-Making Model. Do you recognize this document?

YANG: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: And this is the Critical Decision-Making Model with which you're familiar?

YANG: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Could you please explain, based on your familiarity with this graphic, the middle circle? YANG: The middle circle, what you see in the middle circle are voice, neutrality, respect and trust. Those are the pillars of procedural justice that was introduced to the department.


SCHLEICHER: What is procedural justice?

YANG: Procedural justice basically is the legitimacy in our actions. What we do, are our actions legitimate. And that is what procedural justice is about, is legitimacy.

SCHLEICHER: And the training center also offers courses in procedural justice as well, is that right?

YANG: That is correct, yes.

SCHLEICHER: This Critical Decision-Making Model is adapted in part from those materials, the procedural justice materials?

YANG: That is correct, yes.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Now, going back to the outer part of the circle, the first step of information-gathering and you see that it goes kind of a wheel that's supposed to represent critical decision-making or thinking, is that right?

YANG: That's correct.

SCHLEICHER: Would you please -- we've heard a little bit about this critical thinking, decision-making model already, but I'd like you to discuss how this works in the context of crisis intervention, starting with the first bloc?

YANG: Starting -- the first is information-gathering. We believe that this model has applications not only for crisis, but especially for crisis. That is why it is part of our crisis curriculum.

And the first circle, what you see there is information-gathering. And information-gathering is (ph) crucial to how -- what tactics or what decisions we're going to make. And information-gathering could be based on dispatch, or it could be based on the own officers' observation.

SCHLEICHER: Observations of what?

YANG: Observation of the scene, observation of the person, could be observation of the environment, what's (ph) going on, so.

SCHLEICHER: And some of these observations, for example, could just be physical observations, right? The officer could look at the person and make some sort of as assessment as to whether or not there's a behavioral crisis?


SCHLEICHER: Listening, is that also important?

YANG: Listening's important, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Any other information that an officer would generally assess or take in when considering whether a person is in crisis?

YANG: Even listening, listening is key. All their observations, even touch, for example. If you -- an officer's hands is on the person, you can sometimes sense tensing up and you can tell that maybe the person's in crisis or not, so.

SCHLEICHER: Then, going to the next step, taking that information and potentially assessing it. What's the threat risk assessment bloc (ph)?

YANG: Risk is the possibility that something bad or dangerous may happen. And threat, in a sense, is the danger and whether that danger's going to cause harm or not.

SCHLEICHER: Now, with risk, you say it's the potential right? So it doesn't necessarily mean that the person is being threatened or themselves is threatened, is that right?

YANG: That is correct, yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: It's just the mere possibility. And many people could present some sort of a -- everybody presents some sort of a risk, right?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And it's up to the officer in the information-gathering to determine whether that risk is small, large or elevates to a threat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, leading.

CAHILL: Sustained.

SCHLEICHER: And how does the -- I apologize, your honor. How does the officer then assess whether or not a threat -- I'm sorry, a risk is small, large or could develop into a threat?

YANG: That is up to the officers and the particular (ph) circumstances, the information they have at that time.

SCHLEICHER: The next step then, after the threat or risk assessment: authority to act. Could you please describe how that step is taken in the context of crisis intervention?

YANG: The authority to act is based on our policies and also based on state (ph) statutes and case law too for individuals in crisis. And those are some of the authorities that we have in handling people in crisis.

SCHLEICHER: Some of those policies and the authority could include the use of force policy? YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: The de-escalation policy?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And the crisis intervention policy?

YANG: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: The next step then, goals and actions. Please describe the thinking model in terms of crisis intervention regarding goals and actions.

YANG: Goals and actions is the also (ph) contingency (ph) on based on the information -- really, the ultimate goal and actions of somebody in a crisis is to see if that person needs help and what kind of help. Does that person need to go to the hospital, or does the person -- can be turned over to (ph) somebody that has the authority to watch over that person. So it's really -- the goal for somebody in crisis is to determine, to see if that person needs help.

SCHLEICHER: And then the next bloc in terms of crisis intervention, review and reassess. Could you please describe how that works in this scenario?

YANG: Review and re-assess is, as information becomes available, we continuously review and reassess the situation to see if our techniques on (ph) de-escalation or other techniques is working. If it's not working, then we adjust our technique, our strategies.


SCHLEICHER: Could you also then go backwards and adjust your goals and actions?

YANG: Yes, you can.

SCHLEICHER: So for example, if initially the goal is to arrest someone, after taking in information, if you determine the person needed medical attention, could you act on that?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And then what would the action be, if the person was in need of medical attention?

YANG: That would be the immediate goal for us. If somebody's in need of medical attention, then we give them medical attention.

SCHLEICHER: OK. And then that would also relate to the -- backwards to the authority to act, is that right?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Looking at the policy and there's a duty to provide medical attention in the policy, right?

YANG: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Now, how is this Critical Decision-Making Model imparted to Minneapolis Police Officers in the training program?

YANG: We believe in the application of this Critical Decision-Making Model, so I introduced this model with approval of course, to the department in 2018.

SCHLEICHER: And you know, you've been in the situation where you've had to use force before, you were in the field for a long time. Do you have an assessment as to whether or not this model is useful in the field?

YANG: I believe it's useful. That is why we introduced this model, and introduced it to the officers.

SCHLEICHER: And is it practical?

YANG: It is practical -- yes, I believe it is practical.

SCHLEICHER: And can you explain how so? I mean, some of these situations involving police officers occur fairly quickly, is that right?

YANG: That is true.

SCHLEICHER: Is it possible for a police officer to use this critical thinking model in the field, when actions are -- I'm sorry, when events are unfolding quickly?

YANG: It is possible. Rehearsing (ph) when (ph) we're (ph) using this model, it would almost be like -- it could be almost like memory. And when we talk about fast-evolving situations, I know that they're -- they do exist, they do happen. But a lot of the time, we converse (ph) of that is that a lot of the time, we have the time to slow things down and re-evaluate, reassess and re-go through this model.

SCHLEICHER: Do you provide this training because you believe it works?

YANG: I provide this training because I believe it does -- it works, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Thank you. I have no further questions.

CAHILL: Mr. Nelson?


YANG: Good morning, sir.

NELSON: Thank you for being here with us today. I have a few follow- up questions.

So your role with the Minneapolis Police Department is currently training officers involved in the Crisis Intervention Techniques?

YANG: That's correct, sir, yes.

NELSON: As well as the Critical Decision-Making Model, correct?

YANG: That's correct, sir.

NELSON: And you were -- you assisted the Minneapolis Police Department in developing its policies and procedures surrounding both the Crisis Intervention Technique as well as Critical Decision-Making Policies, right?

YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: Right. You said you introduced these policies with the approval from the chief or the higher ups, right?

YANG: It has to be approved before we can deliver this training, yes.

NELSON: Right. And these trainings then ultimately helped form some policies of the Minneapolis Police Department?

YANG: Yes, but not the Critical Decision-Making Model. It's not in the policy.

NELSON: Right. But the Crisis Intervention Technique is in the policy?

YANG: Crisis Intervention is in the policy, yes.

NELSON: OK. So -- and you have a long career as a police officer, both in the field and also in the training and investigation units, and so you have your own personal experiences in dealing with people out on the street, right?

YANG: That's correct, yes, sir.

NELSON: Now, are there situations in your own experience where you've had to use force on someone and other people observing the use of force don't like what you're doing?

YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: OK. And in fact, I believe you would describe sometimes that the public doesn't understand that police actions can look really bad.

YANG: That's correct, sir, yes.

NELSON: And -- but they still may be lawful even if they look bad, right?


YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: And part of the whole goal of the Crisis Intervention Technique or policies is to not only deal with the suspect, but also other people who may be watching, correct?

YANG: That's correct, yes, sir.

NELSON: And so in situations where citizens or bystanders start to congregate and watch what police are doing, you would agree that that could potentially become a crisis for those observers?

YANG: Potentially, yes.

NELSON: And you train officers in how to deal with those situations, right?

YANG: That's correct, yes, sir.

NELSON: When we look at the Critical Decision-Making Model -- not policy, but -- when we look at the Critical Decision-Making Model, that is what you would describe as a rapid, very dynamic model, right?

YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: It's not just focusing on one particular things, it's assessing many, many things that are happening in the context of an arrest, right?

YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: And some of those things could be the interactions that you're having with citizen observers, right?

YANG: Yes.

NELSON: And the training that you provide, there are materials that the department maintains, correct?

YANG: That's correct.

NELSON: So I'm going to ask the court to just display to the witness -- I switch this -- what has been marked as exhibit 122. Do you recognize this to be training materials prepared by the Minneapolis Police Department Crisis Intervention Team?

YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: All right. And so I'm going to just go -- so I'm going to have you just look at this. This is the material and the training materials that the Crisis Intervention Team present to the officers in this 40-hour training, right?

YANG: No, sir.

NELSON: This is the training that you received?

YANG: This is the training that I created. It wasn't delivered to Chauvin or the other officers.

NELSON: OK, so this is something that you created to train Minneapolis Police officers?

YANG: Yes.

NELSON: All right, but you -- and this is a more recent model than the 2018 model?

YANG: This is a program that we created, really to target the recruits in the cadet academies.


YANG: So this is separate from what Chauvin and the other officers went through.

NELSON: OK. But some of the information is generally applicable to all police officers who are trained in crisis intervention as well as de-escalation, right?

YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: And officers are trained to look for potential signs of aggression from suspects or crowd observers, right?

YANG: Yes, sir.

NELSON: And what are some of the potential signs of aggression that officers are trained to watch for?

YANG: Based on this document that you send (ph) here, it could be standing tall (ph), red in the face, raised voice, rapid breathing, muscle tensing, agitations, pacing (ph), eye (ph) contact, exaggerated stretching -- gestures.

NELSON: So an officer who is making an arrest of a suspect and there's bystanders watching, and growing in their intensity, these are the types of behaviors that officers are specifically trained to watch for from either the suspect or observers, right?

YANG: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, sidebar?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so we've been -- hello everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan, been listening in to the beginning of the first witness testimony in day seven of witness testimony of the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.

We've been listening to Sergeant Ker Yang. He is an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department involved in their kind of crisis intervention program. Let me bring in CNN legal analyst Laura Coates, CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey for more on this.

Laura, talk to me about what you've heard so far. What have we learned so far in this -- with this firs witness? LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is a continuation of a

discussion on the continuum of force, about that sort of graduation of how you reassess and assess your encounter with a suspect in terms of restraint, what you're supposed to do, whether it's a verbal interaction or otherwise.

It's essentially trying to give the foundation additionally about how officers have been trained to deal with the suspects and not have to use force if it's not necessary to do so. This is a continuation of that.