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Minneapolis Police Fatally Shot a Black Man, Inflaming Tensions During Chauvin Trial; Virginia Police Officer Fired After Pepper- Spraying Active Duty Army Officer; Michigan Governor Calls for More Vaccine Supplies As Cases Surge; Stock Futures Slip After Record Highs. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired April 12, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Very good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.
This morning, as the city of Minneapolis grapples with the trial of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin and the death of George Floyd, an all too familiar scene in a suburb just a few miles away. Yet another deadly officer involved incident that has claimed the life of a young black man.
Just north of Minneapolis a police officer shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright Sunday, and he died following the traffic stop. As crowds gathered to protest his death, including with some violence, Minnesota deployed the National Guard and the city put a curfew into effect last night. This coming as we enter the third week of the murder trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. That begins in about an hour. When it does, we'll bring it to you live. The prosecution will bring what could be its final witness to the stand today.
Let's begin, though, with this fatal police shooting of a black man in a Minneapolis suburb. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus, she is there this morning.
Adrienne, this happened yesterday afternoon at a police stop, traffic violation. Tell us what followed.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Devastation, sadness and destruction. Jim, this is sadly familiar. Up until six months ago, I lived here in the Twin Cities and what I'm seeing this morning reminds me move what I saw following the death of George Floyd. This nail shop in the shopping center damaged, the entryway. If you walk over and look here, this men's clothing store destroyed. If we peek our cameras inside, you can see every shelf of this clothing store is empty.
Last night, Jim, and to those of you watching and listening, I watched people carry things out of the store in bags. They had bags and they were carrying out items, clothing and shoes. We still see some shoes here in the parking lot. And this all follows the death of a 20-year- old Daunte Wright, who was pulled over during a traffic stop. We spoke with his mother. And we also -- I spoke with his brother about 30 minutes ago and his brother said he had spent the entire morning with Daunte that day and when Daunte was pulled over, he said his brother was traveling to visit him at his new home in New Brighton.
He needed insurance information. His brother told him to call their mother and this is what their mom says followed. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE WRIGHT, VICTIM'S MOTHER: That he was getting pulled over by the police and I said, well why did you get pulled over? And he said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror. A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, which was the passenger in the car and said that he'd been shot.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: So his girlfriend called Daunte's mother using Facetime and she asked to see her son and her son was slumped over in that vehicle. Here in the parking lot this morning, you still see remnants. There is a red sledgehammer behind me. Some people who work here are showing up and they're seeing the damage, they're seeing the devastation.
Now when I talked to Daunte's brother a short time ago, he said his brother did not know there was a warrant for his arrest. The brother did tell me his brother, younger brother, Daunte, the 20-year-old, was fighting an armed robbery case. And he says he forgot to check in with his probation officer.
There is a new press conference scheduled. We will be there. We will have much more throughout the day. But this morning, so much hurt, so much sadness. You are seeing the frustration and the physical damage because a lot of people who learned about this traffic stop yesterday were also seeing this video of the army lieutenant who was pulled over, held at gunpoint and pepper sprayed -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Well, Wright's mother was encouraging the crowd not to protest violently as well, as she met with them there. We're going to follow it.
Adrienne Broaddus, thanks so much.
And joining me now to discuss, CNN's senior legal analyst Laura Coates. She's a former federal prosecutor, Charles Ramsey, head, police departments in Philly and here in Washington, D.C.
Good to have you on again this morning. Sad circumstances to be discussing yet another incident like this. But let's talk about what we know.
And, Laura, I understand we don't know everything. But the basics here. The victim called his mother as it happened, said, if he thought he was being pulled over by police because he had air fresheners on the rearview mirror. Police discovery after they pull him over that he had an outstanding warrant. He gets back into his vehicle. And that it appears to be when the police officer fired.
When is it lawful for police to use deadly force in an attempted arrest? What does the law say?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, this is what we've all essentially over the last couple of weeks have been looking at, essentially, the idea of what is reasonable use of force, and although it can be nuance, the idea of force is only to use the amount of force to repel an attack against yourself. It's an act of self- defense by officers when we're talking about use of force. But it must be reasonable.
If there is no deadly threat posed to the officers, if they would simply have to pursue the person on foot or otherwise, that's not a reason you can use deadly force. It has to be something along that use of force continuum that says that this officer feels that they are in a position to kill or be killed or protect the safety of others.
Now what I'm hearing here, and of course we don't have all the facts as you said, but what begins as dangling air fresheners to end in the death of a 20-year-old, the fact that somebody may have an outstanding warrant does not change the calculus with what the officers have to do which is decide whether they need to use a reasonable, necessary proportional amount of force to neutralize a perceived threat against them, but it's got to be reasonable all times.
And as a mother, I mean, what a nightmare for a mother to get a call from her son asking for insurance information en route to his brother. And then the next time you see him is on Facetime dead in a car? I mean, this is something that, you know, if it were fiction, you'd have to be too emotional to actually think about. And now in the same county as the Derek Chauvin trial is happening, this is -- it's unbelievable. This is my hometown.
SCIUTTO: Charles Ramsey, you heard our correspondent Adrienne Broaddus there mentioned the possibility of an armed robbery investigation that Wright may have been involved in. Not conclusive. We don't know if that was the outstanding warrant. But based on your experience, what is the training for police in incidents like this? You are attempting to arrest, someone gets back into the car, what are you trained to do and what is the kind of, I guess, ladder of escalation if that's the right term here in terms of when it's OK based on training to use deadly force?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think, Laura really captured it pretty well concerning the circumstances under which you can use deadly force. The mere fact that he went and got back in his car, he didn't display or point a weapon at the officers putting him in immediate fear of their lives or someone else's life. Obviously, if they had an arrest warrant, they knew who he was. So they already had his identity.
So even if he did get in the car and drive away, you know who he is. That's just one more charge that he'd have to face eventually in court. So we need to know a lot more. There is body camera footage apparently. But understand that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension takes over these cases. So whether or not that's going to become immediately available is another question. But I'm sure that you will probably see that Facebook or Facetime video before the day is out.
SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this, too, Charles, because we have both this incident here, which we're learning about and then the reaction to the incident. There was protest last night. There was looting, there were also incidents, apparently according to witnesses of the protesters following the police back to the station. The police using flashbang grenades, et cetera, other means to disperse the crowd.
We've seen this movie before if you want to calm it that as well, tell us about how police respond to this. Right? Because they don't want to enflame but they also have to control the situation.
RAMSEY: Yes, well, crowd management becomes an issue. And just to make it clear, looting is not protest. Looting is exactly what --
RAMSEY: Looting is looting and one has nothing to do with the other. Legitimate protest is a constitutionally protected activity. You allow people to protest. If it does become violent, then obviously you have to try to manage the crowd in another way. Again, I don't know enough about all the circumstances to know exactly how the police handled it. I did see images of tear gas. They said he used flashbangs and all that sort of thing. It depends on the level of --
RAMSEY: You know, of the crowd at that particular time. But you try to manage it without using all that, if you possibly can. But again, looting is looting. That is not protests. There is no, you know, breaking into a clothing store has nothing to do with what we're talking about.
SCIUTTO: Yes. We saw some video of exactly that as you were speaking there. And I should note again, the victim's mother said that to the crowd last night, saying that kind of violence or that kind of looting doesn't help the case.
I want to ask you, Laura Coates, just before we move on, you have a trial underway of Derek Chauvin. Judges, lawyers, everyone involved, very conscious of the news environment around the trial, right? Anything that influences the minds of jurors, et cetera.
I just wonder having an incident like this in the midst of a trial, you know, does that affect things? Is there a way to keep jurors from covering that news effectively? From being aware of and following that news, rather?
COATES: Well, no, remember, they're only instructed not to follow any of the news related to Derek Chauvin or George Floyd. This is a separate incident. It will be very hard for them to avoid the coverage. The Minnesota National Guard is being deployed. It's not news you can miss. Particularly because this is around the same county, remember. But it also cuts both ways for the prosecution and the defense.
If you're Derek Chauvin, the last thing you want is the thoughts that people believe this to be the conduct of another police incident involving if -- we don't know the facts yet -- an unarmed black man in Minnesota in the same county. It will infuriate additionally for reasonable reasons, of course, to hear that somebody else has been killed at the hands of police officers, a dismissive error towards life, perhaps. But also if you're the prosecution, remember what you're battling against.
You had jurors who were initially assigned to the trial who had to be pulled back because of word about the civil settlement, because there were thoughts that people were having about perhaps the settlement itself, or the voir dire questions surrounding looting and Black Lives Matter. So you're aware of the psychological impact of those protests in Minneapolis. And it made not inert to your benefit, so all of this is going to cut both ways.
But remember, as Jerry Blackwell, the lead prosecutor said, this case was never about all policing or all police.
COATES: It is about the conduct of Derek Chauvin towards George Floyd.
SCIUTTO: That's the focus, for sure. Laura Coates, Charles Ramsey, stand by because we have lots more to discuss regarding the Chauvin case. We'll come back to that.
But also breaking this morning, this story, multiple police officers have been shot during a police chase in Georgia. Police say the early morning chase ended in Carroll County. This is along the Georgia- Alabama border, as you could see there. Authorities say the Georgia State Patrol initiated a chase with multiple agencies joining that pursuit. The sheriff's office did not immediately provide information on what led to this chase.
It's also still unclear how many officers exactly are hurt here. We do know it is multiple. We're told that the scene is now contained. There is no longer a threat to the public. We're going to keep following this story as it develops.
And still to come this hour, Virginia police officer has been fired after an investigation into the force used in a traffic stop involving a black uniformed Army lieutenant. We're going to have the latest on that case next.
And despite record vaccinations here in the U.S., cases in the state of Michigan are surging, especially among younger people.
Plus, President Biden kicks off the week with a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure. Can he get Republicans on board with this plan? Will he have to compromise?
SCIUTTO: One of the two Virginia police officers accused of using excessive force during a traffic stop with a black uniformed Army Lieutenant has now been fired. The incident was from last December caught on multiple cameras including the police body-cam.
It shows the police officers drawing their guns repeatedly pepper spraying the Lieutenant after pulling him over because it appeared his new SUV did not have a license plate. But there was a temporary plate taped to the inside of the rear window.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARON NAZARIO, U.S. ARMY LIEUTENANT: What's going on?
DANIEL CROCKER, FIRED POLICE OFFICER: What's going on, you're fixing -- ride the lightening, son?
NAZARIO: I'm honestly afraid to get out. Can I --
CROCKER: Yes --
NAZARIO: Actually --
CROCKER: You should be. Get out now!
NAZARIO: I have not committed any crimes.
JOE GUTIERREZ, FIRED POLICE OFFICER: You didn't stop when I try to holler at you, you're not cooperating at this point right now, you're under arrest.
GUTIERREZ: You're being detained, OK? You're being detained for --
NAZARIO: For a traffic violation, I do not have to get out the vehicle, you haven't even told me why I'm being stopped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Calm throughout, that Army Lieutenant. Lieutenant is now suing those two police officers. CNN's Natasha Chen has been following the story. Natasha, I mean, one of the questions is what's happening to the second officer involved? Both of them, it appears based on the video to have drawn their weapons. Do we know what follows for him, still under investigation or is the penalty at this point just on the one officer?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, what we know is that officer Joe Gutierrez was fired, but we don't know exactly when. Just that it followed an internal investigation showing that department policy was not followed.
The other officer is still employed with Windsor Virginia police. Now, just to kind of back up here and some of the video you've shown, viewers can tell, this is quite disturbing to watch, we should warn folks and to kind of set the scene here. This happened on December 5th at about 6:30 p.m. Lieutenant Caron Nazario was driving through Windsor about 30 miles west of Norfolk when he saw lights and sirens.
And he didn't know why he was being stopped, and he didn't actually pull over for about a minute and 40 seconds because as he explains later, he was searching for a well-lit area to stop. But because he didn't stop immediately, because his car had tinted windows and like you said, because the officer did not see his temporary plate, that officer determined it to be a high risk traffic stop.
So by the time you see them pull into the gas station, the two officers had their guns drawn and they're shouting commands at Nazario, who as you said remained calm throughout asking, what's going on? They shouted at him to keep his hands out the window and then for him to get out of the car about two-to-three minute in, one of the officers uses pepper spray. Here is that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAZARIO: Just stop. Just --
GUTIERREZ: Get out of the car now!
NAZARIO: I don't even want to reach for my seatbelt, can you --
GUTIERREZ: Take your seatbelt off and get out of the car. You made this way more difficult than it had to be.
CROCKER: Get on the ground. Get on the ground.
NAZARIO: Can you please talk to me --
CROCKER: Get on the ground now!
NAZARIO: About what's going on? Can you please talk to me about what's going on? Why am I being -- why?
GUTIERREZ: You do not cooperate, get on the ground right now or you're going to get tased.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: You can hear the officer say, you're not cooperating. And that's the reason they give him for that treatment. But the actual first reason for not seeing his license plate, well, we don't hear that being discussed at all or being told to Nazario for several minutes, certainly not before he was pepper sprayed and handcuffed.
They eventually stood him back up, the paramedics arrived on the scene and then the conversation seems to mellow. Officer Joe Gutierrez who used the pepper spray says at one point that he's talked to the chief of police and has given Nazario the option to not be charged.
He said we can just sit here until you feel better and your eyes are good enough to drive away. He said it doesn't change his life either way whether Nazario is charged. Now Gutierrez is the one who has been fired. CNN has not yet been able to reach him or the other officer in this case. It's not clear if they have legal representation for this lawsuit.
But the town of Windsor did offer this statement late last night and I'll read part of it to you. It says "it was determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed. This resulted in disciplinary action and department-wide requirements for additional training were implemented beginning in January and continue up to the present."
Since that time, officer Gutierrez was also terminated from his employment. And of course, we have more questions that we are trying to get answered from the town of Windsor and their police department. Jim.
SCIUTTO: Natasha Chen, thank you for those details. Back with me now, CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey. Charles Ramsey, you heard about the run-up to this, about a minute and 40 seconds before he pulled over.
And then you saw on video what followed here. And it seems to me having covered so many of these over the last several years, you have options to escalate or deescalate. And here, you have the officers repeatedly escalating this interaction here. I just wonder, well, where did this go wrong? What would police training have told these officers do in light of all the circumstances, both prior to the stop and then when the stop happened?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, he definitely didn't deescalate. You know, if you look at the end of the tape when he starts talking to him, if he had done that to begin with, we wouldn't be having this conversation now.
I mean, you know, Lieutenant Nazario is asking why he's being stopped, he has a right to know why he's being stopped. Instead, you know, they've got their guns drawn and eventually pepper spray. It is excessive force. Let me get that out now. There's no question in my mind that that's what it is. The fact that he didn't immediately pull over, that's not all that uncommon, especially if you are on a dark roadway, some people would rather be pulled over in a lighted area.
He was going at a low rate of speed, it's my understanding, he had his flashers on. So this wasn't a pursuit. I don't know if that prompted the aggressive actions of Gutierrez or not, maybe he's had other incidents in the past. Remember, Virginia is a right-to-work state, the Commonwealth, so you don't have to deal with some of the union issues that you would if you were in another jurisdiction, which is probably why he was able fire him so quickly. But --
RAMSEY: You know, clearly, this is inappropriate.
SCIUTTO: Charles, let me ask you this question because one reason this interaction has gotten so much attention is that he's an army Lieutenant, and he is in his uniform. Now, every citizen, regardless of service, job, et cetera, deserves fair interactions with the police.
But I wonder, just from your own experience here, how that factors in. Are you surprised that with a uniformed officer who was a military officer I'm speaking about, who was also very calm and polite from the videotape in his interactions. Should that factor into the way with police? Would they be trained to react in any different way given that he was in uniform?
RAMSEY: Well, you wouldn't be trained to react any different way, but the reaction was not appropriate to begin with. I mean, you know, whether he was in uniform, whether he was in civilian dress, I didn't see anything that would prompt that kind of aggressive response on the part of the officers. I mean, listen, any stop could turn bad on you. I mean, you just reported that in Georgia, several officers were shot --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
RAMSEY: As a result of a traffic stop. But most traffic stops are not like that. And so, I understand that there is always some awareness whenever you make a stop like that. But his demeanor, his actions, the way in which he was talking to the officers, there was nothing that would indicate any kind of aggressive behavior that would need to guns pointed directly at him or pepper spray.
SCIUTTO: And he did ask repeatedly for an explanation as to why he was pulled over. It appears that he didn't know --
RAMSEY: And he had a right to one.
RAMSEY: He had a right to an explanation.
SCIUTTO: You do, and that's clear. So if I'm pulled over, you're pulled over, we can say, excuse me, officer, why am I being pulled over?
RAMSEY: Yes, you can. But here's something I would just say for the general public. Even if you think the actions of the officer are inappropriate, that is not the time to start pushing back --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
RAMSEY: Too much, because that just leads to bad stuff. You can always -- SCIUTTO: Yes --
RAMSEY: Complain later, but get out of the situation first and that's important and it was a time when, you know, the Lieutenant -- you know, I don't have to get out of my car and all that kind of stuff.
RAMSEY: You know, save that for later --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
RAMSEY: Because right now --
SCIUTTO: Smart advice --
RAMSEY: You're in a bad situation. Yes.
SCIUTTO: Charles Ramsey, smart advice, we'll listen, thanks very much. Well, a pandemic reality check. Michigan's surge in cases and hospitalizations is becoming a cautionary tale as many states relax restrictions as more people are getting vaccinated. And we're moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street, stock futures slipping a little bit this morning, traders took a pause after the S&P 500 and Dow logged yet more record highs last week.
The Fed Chair Jerome Powell says he is optimistic about the economic recovery, but warns that the pandemic is still a risk. He also repeated that the Fed will not raise interest rates, investors are looking at Biden's infrastructure meeting today to see if there is agreement there.