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Police Fatally Shoot Black Man in Minnesota, Inflaming Tension During Chauvin Murder Trial; Three Officers Shot During Police Chase in Georgia; Today, Biden to Hold Bipartisan Meeting on Infrastrcture. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired April 12, 2021 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[10:00:00]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: A very good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

And this morning, tensions are boiling over in Minneapolis as the city wrestles with the fallout of yet another deadly police involved incident that has left a young black man dead, this as we enter the 11th day of testimony in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.

On Sunday, police fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a suburb just ten miles from where the trial is taking place. This incident unfolding just moments after a traffic stop Sunday afternoon soon after Wright's death, protesters gathered. There were pockets of violence, looting. You can see some of the pictures there.

Minnesota deployed its National Guard. The city enacted a curfew to help restore order. All this as we are just minutes away from restarting the third week of the murder trial against former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin with the prosecution possibly bringing its final witness to the stand today. Of course, the defense would then follow.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is in Minneapolis following this latest police involved shooting. Adrienne, what do we know about the circumstances of this encounter, why Wright was stopped and then what exactly followed?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there are so many questions this morning. We do know there is a lot of physical damage and emotional damage. I'll start with the physical, Jim.

Behind me, you see this nail shop destroyed. To the right, the same is true with this men's clothing store. If you look inside, you'll notice all the shelves are empty. People in this community took over. They started looting. They destroyed businesses after they learned about that traffic stop on Sunday.

We know police say they were attempting to make an arrest of Daunte Wright, he's a 20-year-old, after they discovered there were outstanding warrants.

Now, a short time ago, I spoke with Daunte's brother and I asked his brother about those warrants. And he told me his brother failed to check in with a probation officer on some unrelated incident. And he believes, the brother believes that may have led to the outstanding warrant. We're working to learn more about that information and what that warrant was for.

But keep in mind, this is a community that is hurting. Over the past two weeks, members of Brooklyn Center and across the greater twin cities, to be frank, have watched the trial of Derek Chauvin. The video for some of them has been tough to watch.

And as this traffic stop here in Brooklyn Center is unfolding, some folks in the community learned about that Army lieutenant who was pulled over, held at gun point and pepper sprayed. And then they learned another person here in this community in the twin cities died at the hands of police.

We hope to hear from police later this afternoon. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Adrienne, we know you'll bring us the latest. Thanks very much.

And just minutes from now, prosecutors are expected to call one who could be their final witness before resting their case in the murder trial -- Derek Chauvin's murder trial.

CNN's Sara Sidner, she is in the Minneapolis covering that story. Sara, the prosecution expected to call another medical doctor today. Do we believe this is the final witness? And then does the defense follow immediately?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We think also that they are going to hear from what is referred to in court as a spark of life witness as well, and that would be a family member of George Floyd.

And we expect that to be one of his brothers. And, you know, the reason why they do that is to humanize the person as if George Floyd needs to be humanized even further because we heard from so many of those sort of spark of life witnesses at the very beginning of the trial. These are people who did not know George Floyd but talked about him except for his girlfriend who also talked about who he was.

But we do expect to hear from a medical doctor today as well as potentially a family member of George Floyd's who will talk to the jury about who he was and his relationship, for example, with his mother. That is what we are expecting.

And then that could be the end of the prosecution's case. And then we will start hearing the defense's case. This trial going a little faster than a lot of folks thought it might but we have heard from more than 30 witnesses. That is a lot of witnesses in this particular case. We will see how many witnesses the defense calls, depending on how many witnesses the defense calls and how long it takes for examination and then cross-examination, you know, this could be wrapped up far sooner than everyone thought. This was expected to be a four to six-week trial but we will have to see.

[10:05:00]

I do want you to hear from Benjamin Crump, who is the attorney for the Floyd family. He talked to CNN this weekend and talked about the family potentially going on the stand. We do expect that to happen, and his thoughts so far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: There's going to be a very big test for them because they're going to hear their brother, their father, their loved one called everything but a child of God. They're going to talk about him as a person having opioid addiction. They're going to try to use that as the basis to say that's why he died.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: So you hear from Benjamin Crump suddenly the themes that he believes the defense is going to use. And you can already tell the road that defense is going down. One, they're trying to say that was drug use, not Chauvin's knee on his neck that caused George Floyd's death. They're also trying to say the crowd was unruly and distracting to the officers as well.

And so we will have to go further to see exactly what they do. But we expect them to at least try to talk to witnesses that are from the medical profession, to talk about how George Floyd actually died, which may refute some of what you've heard from the prosecution. But that could happen as early as Tuesday. Jim?

SCIUTTO: And as Derek Chauvin himself, as he called by the defense, lots of questions to be answered. Sara Sidner, we know you'll be there.

Back with me now, CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former Federal Prosecutor Laura Coates and Charles Ramsey, led the police in Philly and D.C. Thanks to both of you.

Laura, let's begin with this case, this latest shooting yesterday in Minneapolis. A lot of details we don't know yet. So, granted, we have that handicap as we go in. But based on what you know and the simplest question is when is it lawful for an officer to use deadly force in an attempted arrest like this one?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So as we've seen from the Derek Chauvin trial, you have this use of force continuum, which, Jim, essentially says you can only use the amount of force necessary to essentially neutralize a threat. It's got to be reasonable. It's got to be necessary. It's got to be proportional. The fact that somebody may have a warrant does not change the calculus unless you have some reason to believe that in that instant, the person poses a deadly risk to you. You can't just use deadly force. So in large respects, although this is separate from what we're seeing in the Derek Chauvin trial, the use of force best practices remain the same. Unless officers have some justifiable, reasonable belief that deadly force needed to be used, they are not entitled to do so and it can become excessive force and constitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment.

SCIUTTO: And just quickly, because that detail, which was knew, at least from family members, that he would not check in with a probation officer, that lack of a check in not relevant to the police or is it relevant to how the police would handle a stop like this?

COATES: It's only relevant if they believe that he was using deadly force in the moment or that he was a threat of force. You can, of course, use force to subdue or control a suspect. But it's got to be proportional. It can't be a conspirator (ph). We saw that from testimony just this week.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Charles Ramsey, you're an officer in this situation or one of the officers that you led in D.C. or Philadelphia. These circumstances, you pull someone over, you do the check, you run the computers, you say he's got an outstanding warrant, he gets back into the car. What does the training tell you to do at that point?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, obviously, if he's got a warrant, I mean, you would try to make an arrest for that warrant. But you also know who he is. I mean, if you ran the check and he's got a warrant. So if you got back in the car and drove off, you know, eventually, you're going to be able to get him. As one more charge he would have to face eventually in court, fleeing from police.

I don't know the nature of the warrant but as Laura said, it really doesn't much matter. If he's not a direct imminent threat to the officers or another, then the use of deadly force would be something that would not be authorized.

There is a lot I don't know about this case, obviously. There is body- worn camera footage. Eventually, we may see it. But BCA has this case. And whether they choose to release that footage or not is another matter. I don't know if they would or not.

SCIUTTO: Okay. And there's a lot to learn, still not even 24 hours after this incident. We'll stay on top of.

That returning now to the Derek Chauvin trial, and interesting, Laura Coates, you hear Sara Sidner there saying that this moved a bit so far more quickly than some expected, the defense getting close to wrapping here and -- sorry, the prosecution getting close to wrapping here and then we have the defense. You laid this out and you said this repeatedly, prosecution's job here, set the scene, deal with the question of use of excessive force and then deal with the question of what actually caused his death. To this point, do you think the prosecution has satisfied that?

COATES: They have done a dynamite job. [10:10:10]

I've been looking through the different elements of the crime, the different choices that are available to the jurors from second-degree murder to third degree murder to manslaughter and they've been able to cross section on each of the different elements to try to demonstrate the two main things here, that it was not a reasonable use of force, that it was more than excessive, it went into criminal assault, which the underlying felony, and also that it was a substantial causal factor of death.

One thing that Sara pointed out was very interesting. It's the spark of life doctrine. That's very unique to Minnesota. Normally, you're not able to just have a witness come and tell you why the victim is a great person. Normally, that goes into character evidence. The people will be able to then bring up on the defense reasons why this person is not a good character, why this is not a good person. The vilification begins again.

But in Minnesota, they allow the prosecution to be able to bring this spark of life person to say this person was more than bones and sinews, as the comment, more than bones and sinews, to make sure this person is brought to life, that they are humanized as a victim. It's not the just a turn of phrase. It's actually what you are allowed to do in Minnesota. But it does pose a risk for the defense to now be able to say, well, let me tell you why he's not. And the judge has already said, tread lightly here. The more you open up about his character, the more it is fair game for them to attack it.

SCIUTTO: Interesting. Charles Ramsey, a big development in this case has been the breaking of the so-called blue wall of silence, right, in that you have not just one fellow uniformed officer speaking against Derek Chauvin and his use of force, but several including his commanders, right, who were superior to him on the day that this incident took place.

I wonder how significant that is in your view to this trial but also bigger picture for how the police handled these sort of things.

RAMSEY: Well, it is significant. But I would also say that you don't get many police misconduct cases that rise to a criminal level, and that are actually tried in criminal court, let alone be on television. But Chauvin's actions were so far off in terms of policy and training that, you know, I'm not the least bit surprised that you'd have other officers certainly as command officials speak out against him.

Normally, when you see that, it's an arbitration hearings because that's where a majority of misconduct cases are actually tried in that forum. And so it's not uncommon for it to occur there. But the public is unaware because those are closed hearings.

SCIUTTO: Laura Coates, one unanswered question is what witnesses the defense calls here, Derek Chauvin is a possibility. And I know you're a prosecutor, that's your background, but if you were the defense attorney here, do you see an advantage or disadvantage in calling Chauvin to the stand? COATES: Well, for the same reasons you want to humanize the victim and the dissident, George Floyd, and the same reasons you may want to humanize Derek Chauvin. Up until now, the prosecution has done him no favors at trying to present him in a positive light. They are not trying to explain his behavior or offer him a benefit of the doubt. And so the only opportunity that they really have is on defense is to say and answer the question, why didn't you just get off of the man's neck? Why didn't you just take his pulse? What did you believe about the training?

Remember, one key part here, the pulmonologist, the forensic pathologist, the medical examiner, all very renowned experts, one thing he'll have to show is, look, , fine, they're expert, but I'm not a pulmonologist, I didn't know all this aspect of it. I have to have some semblance to be able to show that I was doing what I thought was a subjective interpretation of reasonable use of force. If he is not able to show that, I'm not sure what expert can do that other than him. But, of course, he takes the stand, he's also fair game to have all of the things he's ever done as an officer come to light as well.

SCIUTTO: Right, no question. Laura Coates, Charles Ramsey, more to come, thanks very much.

One of the two Virginia police officers who drew their guns on, pepper-sprayed a black uniformed Army lieutenant during a traffic stop, has now been fired. Body cam footage, other video from the December incident has now been released. Police say they pulled the Army officer over because it appeared his vehicle did not have a license plate, although, apparently, there was one taped to the rear window. And also the police say that it had dark tinted windows.

Police considered it a high-risk stop, approached with their guns drawn. But as it turns out, that temporary plate was taped there.

In a statement released Sunday, officials from the town of Windsor say an internal investigation has been conducted, additional training implemented in January. The statement does not mention when the officer was terminated and the other officer involved is still employed by that police department.

The Army officer who was pulled over, he is now suing both of those officers.

Still to come, in just hours, President Biden will meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss his proposed will $2 trillion infrastructure package. Both parties say they are willing to negotiate -- that's new -- but will they be able to reach an agreement?

[10:15:04]

Plus, Michigan's COVID-19 surge, hospitals are inching closer to capacities, as the state's governor fights for more vaccine doses from the federal government. Could this be a warning of what's to come for other states who have relaxed mitigation measures?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCIUTTO: Breaking this morning, three law enforcement officers were shot during a police chase in Georgia.

[10:15:01]

That began when a car was caught speeding 111 miles an hour. Police say the early morning chase ended in Caroll County, which rest as long the Georgia-Alabama border.

CNN's Ryan Young is at the scene of this. And, Ryan, I mean, first question is do we know the condition of these officers now?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, we're still working to get the details on their conditions. We're told one officer is in surgery. So, obviously, you know, hearts and prayers goes out to that officer as he is dealing with the situation right now.

This all taking place on I-20, major road going through Atlanta, obviously. About 40 miles away from the city of Atlanta itself, we're in Caroll County, you can see the car that's usually to show the crime scene in the background there. It's still an active investigation going on.

What we're told, that car was on the highway when a Georgia State Patrol trooper tried to get behind it and stop it at that high rate of speed. At some point, the trooper tried to use a pit maneuver. That's when they take the front end of the car and try to hit the back end to put it out of control. At that point, according to Georgia State Patrol, someone in the car started shooting.

We'll move over a little bit this way so you can see the investigation. You can actually see some of the officers down the way here still collecting evidence. From what we're told, when those shots were fired, one officer was hit during that, one suspect has been killed, another has been captured after negotiation. So they're still trying to sort this out.

Now, we're told two other officers were shot. There is a back and forth whether or not the car crashed, one of the officer's cars crashed while this speed chase was going on. So all this is still developing, as you can see, as we're live, there are more officers arriving to the scene now. And they start to take part of this investigation, so one suspect killed, one officer in surgery and active crime scene with two other officers injured.

We don't know the extent of their injuries just yet. We're told they'll be giving another update in the near future, Jim, but obviously a very active scene going on right now with these three officers being shot, one suspect being killed and another one captured.

SCIUTTO: Ryan Young, thank you so much, and we'll bring you that information as we get it. We are standing by for the beginning again of day 11 of the Derek Chauvin trial. We'll bring that to you the moment it starts. Meanwhile, we're looking up on Capitol Hill. Can compromise happen? A big question today, an eternal question as Congress turns to work with President Biden's infrastructure plan in the top priority spot. The president, in just hours, will hold his first bipartisan meeting on that plan with some Republicans and Democrats, as the bill faces certainly some big Republican hurdles, and potentially at least one Democratic one, his name Senator Joe Manchin.

John Harwood and Manu Raju, they join us now.

John, I wonder what the White House's latest pinch to Manchin, because he was definitive in interviews saying, no on ending the filibuster, he expressed discomfort, you might say, with opposition to using reconciliation again but didn't exactly draw a line in the sand there. What is the White House read of his position?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the pitch from the White House is first to the Republicans who are going to be joining Democrats in that meeting today. You supported infrastructure projects in the past. We've proposed a whole bunch of infrastructure projects in this package. Let's see if we can make a deal.

The message to Joe Manchin, who will not be in that meeting is, look here, we're trying to compromise with Republicans, who have expressed some skepticism about our plan. Joe Manchin wants at least a serious effort made. And they're sending out the most effective communicator, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, to argue that don't get hung up on the issue of whether the elements of our proposal fall into a traditional definition of infrastructure. There are things that are necessary for a prosperous economy and the American people support them.

SCIUTTO: Okay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: We can agree to disagree on what to call it. I'm still going to ask you to vote for it. To me, it makes no sense to say, I would have been for broadband but I'm against it because it's not a bridge. I would have been for elder care but I'm against it because it's not a highway. These are things the American people need.

The president wants to see major action in Congress and real progress by Memorial Day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARWOOD: Now, of course, the challenge is that Republicans object to the breadth of the proposal, they also object to the price tag and to the amount of taxes necessary to pay for these proposals.

Now, the administration's most willing to compromise on the level of taxes, less so on the size and scope of the plan. But if they do come down on the taxes, Republicans have a complaint about borrowed money, about adding to the deficit. Which is why, Jim, it looks as if to most people involved in this process that at the end of the day, the administration is going to end up trying to do this with Democrats only and count on the fact that Joe Manchin will be satisfied that they at least tried to get Republicans to go with them.

SCIUTTO: Manu, I wonder is there a price tag here that Republicans will find palatable.

[10:25:04]

I mean, some of the Republicans go into the meeting today, you know, they're not exactly known for compromise. I mean, the heads of the committee, Roger Wicker from Mississippi, Don Young from Alaska, Garret Graves. So what is the strategy here? Are they offering a number?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They have not settled on a number, but Republicans would tell you that some of them are willing to go up to maybe $700 billion, $600 billion, maybe up to a trillion dollars. But the party is not united in any stretch of the imagination about how to move forward. On the Republican side, people have a lot of different ideas. Their overall sentiment though, as John was saying, is that they don't believe the size that the White House has been pitching is where they should end up. More than $2 trillion, that will have virtually no Republican support.

So if there was a belief among the White House that they can drop down this package substantially, push it through, try to get Republican support and then worry about the rest of those pieces that he did not get on to a later legislative vehicle, perhaps later in the year, then perhaps they can do it that way.

But that does not seem they way that they are moving at the moment, Jim. It appears they'll have meetings with Republicans. They'll see if they go anywhere. And then they may push it through along party lines in the House. Nancy Pelosi wants this through the house by July 4th. And then they have to worry about Joe Manchin, the other Democrats in the Senate. And if they do use that budget process, that can allow it to pass by just 50 votes, 51 votes, not getting Republican support.

But so many details they still have to work out, Jim, even though they gave the broad strokes of the proposal. They actually have to write this. They have not done that yet. So a lot of details we're going to sort through in the weeks ahead.

SCIUTTO: Yes, that dynamic, not unlike what we saw with COVID-19, right, Biden administration ultimately judged Republicans were not interested in compromise. We'll see if it's different now. John Harwood, Manu Raju, thanks very much.

Coming up, we are waiting for the start of the Derek Chauvin trial. We'll bring that you to the moment it happens.

But Michigan is battling the biggest surge of COVID-19 infections in this country. It's big. The question is what to do about it. We're going to discuss, next.

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