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Testimony Continues in Derek Chauvin Trial; Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Mayor Holds Press Conference. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 13, 2021 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00]

MIKE ELLIOTT, MAYOR OF BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNESOTA: I do appreciate that. I have not accepted her resignation.

And so -- so we're...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

ELLIOTT: I don't know, like I said, -- we're doing our internal process to make sure that we're being accountable to the steps that we need to take.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

ELLIOTT: OK.

No. And that is not something I can share at this moment.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

ELLIOTT: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We run a nonprofit that works with the police in Hennepin County North Metro area.

One of the most important things, we help keep the peace. And in so doing, we ask for accountability and transparency. But one (OFF-MIKE) when I listened to her resignation, she was not remorseful. She did not apologize to the community.

She did not apologize at all. And that's one of the most important things. If we want to fix the problem, we have got to deal with (OFF- MIKE) wrongdoing. And she did not apologize. So, so doing, she needs to apologize and I think she needs to be fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She definitely needs to be fired.

And we would call on you, Mayor, to also ask that charges be pressed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that the Washington County attorney is supposedly going to investigate the case, but he has ties to police unions as well, so that means calling on the governor to call on the attorney general to bring charges against this officer, just as they did Mohamed Noor, who also claimed to have accidentally shot a civilian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immediately.

ELLIOTT: Well...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want peace on the streets, we need to see justice.

ELLIOTT: Absolutely.

This case needs to be given to -- appointed to the attorney general, and so I am calling on the governor to exercise his authority and to move this case from Washington County to the -- under the jurisdiction of the attorney general.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

ELLIOTT: That needs to happen.

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: So, (OFF-MIKE) you want this out of your hands?

ELLIOTT: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: Are you saying you want this out of your hands?

ELLIOTT: Oh, no, not necessarily.

In cases like this, whenever there's a police-involved shooting or police shoot someone, the case automatically goes to -- in our case, it would go to the Hennepin County prosecutor -- prosecutor attorney -- I'm sorry -- Hennepin County attorney, Mike Freeman's office.

And I believe, instead -- he's declined. Instead, it's going to Washington County. But we understand that the sensitivities revolving around this case and the level of -- I don't want to say this.

This case requires that the attorney general steps in and prosecutes this case.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor.

ELLIOTT: Yes?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) My question (OFF-MIKE).

Congratulations (OFF-MIKE)

ELLIOTT: Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm speaking in capacity as one of the community

leaders. And our focus is to work with (OFF-MIKE) police in our community, because what we have realized very (OFF-MIKE) disengagement (OFF-MIKE) there is a void that is created.

ELLIOTT: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that void is always filled with (OFF-MIKE). what are you going to work with our committee to help narrow that gap and build up the trust in the community? (OFF-MIKE)

TONY GRUENIG, ACTING BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNESOTA, POLICE CHIEF: Sure.

So, in the short term, we're going to continue some of the practices we have had, the multicultural advisory committee, the JCPP, the Joint Community Police Partnership.

I think some of the challenges we have had is, with COVID, we have not been able to meet face to face with people and have that one-on-one dialogue and have some interaction. And I think that's where some of the some of it is lacking with us.

It's best to sit down with someone and talk to them. And it's easier to interact with them and relate and emulate when you have a meeting with them in person.

And I think that's some of the disconnect with COVID and everyone working from home is a problem. But I'm also committed -- the city has a long history of being committed to community outreach, working with the community, and trying to engage with them, whether it be community meetings with dialogue, or community outreach in community like neighborhood in the park meetings.

[14:05:02]

We want to reach out to the community. We do that on a regular basis. We will continue to do that, offering -- at times, we offer food, so we can engage with our citizens and kind of interact and get to know them better.

So, there's a continual basis. There's a history there. But we will continue to try and cultivate that relationship with the city.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, that -- a lot of that sounds -- I got a question. A lot of that sounds outwardly focused.

(CROSSTALK)

GRUENIG: OK, I'm not prepared to answer a bunch of questions today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's OK. That's OK. That's OK.

(CROSSTALK)

GRUENIG: So, I'm just -- I'm sorry. I'm just with very short notice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's OK. I think you got this. I mean, you was tapped by the mayor. You was tapped by the mayor for a reason. It sounds to me like you were involved in community engagement.

And so these types of questions that's going to be coming from community, because you're going to see us a lot.

GRUENIG: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that you should be the person (OFF-MIKE) to be able to answer these.

And so, a lot of that sounds outwardly focused in terms of interfacing with community here, bringing food there, community outreach there. And that's fine. But there's some internally focused things as well that's really critical for us as a community.

One of the questions that I asked the chief yesterday -- I'm not sure if you were there or not.

GRUENIG: I was not. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was whether or not he was aware that there's a pretty extensive backlog in terms of the tabs, the registration tabs being sent out to civilians who pay for them.

And so the backlog is two to three months. He told me he was aware of that. He told me that he was still OK with the officers enforcing and pulling over people for tabs, even in the midst of a COVID crisis.

I said, you're OK having those types of contacts and you're telling me you know that tabs are on backorder two to three months? These are the types of internal policies, and there are a plethora more, that you and I and others will be able to sit down and talk about.

But it's these types of internal policies that are literal decisions that the chief is making in terms of enforcement down to his officers, to his deputy chief, and to the officers under him in terms of, what are the enforcement practices going to look like?

We believe that our brother was racially profiled. We believe that he was racially profiled and that part of the excuse that was used was the tabs. And so we have a major problem with that level of minor petty enforcement that can lead to such tragic, horrific consequences.

My question to you is, what internal -- what do you plan to do regarding looking at, reviewing the internal policies, practices, and procedures of the department?

What is your plan for inwardly looking, as opposed to just outwardly looking? What's your plan with the staff that you are now about to go and have dialogue with, as their new chief? As someone who has already been engaged with community outreach, what is your plan inwardly with the staff now?

GRUENIG: I don't have a plan. All right? I will work on a plan.

I can talk to the community members and see where they would like the -- the direction they would like to go. But I was appointed the chief an hour ago. I don't have a comprehensive strategy to look internally, to look externally, right

I understand your concerns. I can't comment to the BCA's investigation. We want to be transparent. We want to do things that the community members would like to see us do. We want to be a part of that community. We want to work with our community members.

And if that means creating an engagement group to discuss with, then we can do that. But I don't have a comprehensive plan to look internally and look externally at this moment.

(CROSSTALK)

GRUENIG: Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said Brooklyn Center had a long history, right (OFF-MIKE) make you aware that we do have a long history of racial profiling with black -- young black men here. And I know you guys are aware of that.

I'm going to tell you, because I'm a black man, that the young man was pulled over. They didn't see his tabs until they got behind his car. They made eye contact. He got pulled over because he was black behind the wheel of that car. Those tabs were just an entryway to that car.

Normally, it's I smell weed in the car or you didn't hit your blinker or your brake light doesn't work. And when I watched that video on the screen, it reminded me of my friend Philando Castile, the white car.

It reminded me of it. It was triggering. And so what the ACLU, what brother Eli (ph) said is, what can you do going forward to make sure that this racial profiling -- because, right now, Brooklyn Center looks like a sundown town. Black people better not be traveling through here after sundown.

And it's always -- I have always been -- hey, as a matter of fact, your tabs expired? Because mine are. My tabs are expired. I can be racially profiled and killed, is what I'm saying.

So, as the chief, I think it is imperative that you talk to the officers. Some things don't need to be enforced. Something -- like, come on. Are you going to (OFF-MIKE) wearing a mask?

[14:10:12]

Come on -- because what happened yesterday was like saying that the surgeon said, I made a mistake and put morphine in the I.V. -- in the I.V. You know what I mean? Like, you can't make those type of mistakes. But if this kid wasn't racially profiled -- I have seen police reports

come out of here that said that we made eye contact, so I bust a U- turn. I have seen police reports come out of this department that we made eye contact and he looked shifty. And so I made a U-turn. I pulled him over because of his dreadlocks. You know what I mean? Like, he fit the description. You fit the description. You fit the description.

I fit the -- you, Mayor, you fit the description of pretty much 90 percent of the calls that come across these radios. So, what I'm saying is, I don't want to fail another young man. We failed George Floyd. We failed Daunte -- Daunte. We failed Philando. I don't want to fail nobody else this summer.

Man, let's make Brooklyn Park first and not worst when it comes to, like, fixing this wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like you said -- Brooklyn Park. Pardon me.

And, by the way, congratulations. I wish you would be more in tune and live in the community, but since you don't live here, take your uniform off and work with the kids out here. Jump in the swimming pool. Show them how to do something constructive, you know, electrical trades and plumbing. Show these kids something other than, I'm the law and order around here.

GRUENIG: I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And stop racially profiling.

GRUENIG: I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all I'm asking you.

ELLIOTT: All right. All right. Thank you. let's...

(CROSSTALK)

ELLIOTT: All right, one at a time, please. One at a time. One at a time. We will go with the independent, and then we will go with CNN. One at a time.

(CROSSTALK)

ELLIOTT: Excuse me.

QUESTION: Can I ask the new chief a question, please, sir?

ELLIOTT: Yes, you -- come on, Chief. Come on up.

QUESTION: Have you examined the video from yesterday of the video cam footage of Daunte's shooting?

ELLIOTT: Let me -- OK. GRUENIG: I can't comment on any of that. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I can't comment on that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) that the officers should have approached the young man with their weapons drawn?

What threat -- what threat did he actually pose to anybody, please, sir?

ELLIOTT: I really do appreciate the question, but here's the deal.

It's your job to ask the questions, and I know that. But he cannot answer that question, because the BCA has this investigation now. It's theirs to look into, look at the video. They're the investigating agency. They're going to review the tape, review all the facts, interview everyone who was involved, and then they're going to make their recommendations to the prosecutor, prosecuting attorneys.

And then the attorneys are going to make their charging decision as to whether or not -- they're going to make their decision as to the facts.

But...

QUESTION: Do you have a sense, what threat did that young man pose to anybody?

GRUENIG: I can't answer the question. I can't answer hypotheticals. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) not a hypothetical.

ELLIOTT: This is...

QUESTION: He was shot dead.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let the police chief stay, please. He should stay, because we have questions for him.

ELLIOTT: OK. Let's...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE) vision of...

ELLIOTT: Let me -- hold on. Let me clarify something. Let me clarify something.

So, the acting chief and the commander do have to get back. They have got another meeting that they have got to attend to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question.

ELLIOTT: So, I will...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a resident here. ELLIOTT: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (OFF-MIKE) longtime resident here.

And I (OFF-MIKE) doing work in this community for over (OFF-MIKE) years as an organizer. I live here. (OFF-MIKE) And obviously my husband and (OFF-MIKE) living -- planning on living here for a very long time.

One question that I have -- first of all, a statement first, is that I don't need your police officers to get to know me, my name, my family (OFF-MIKE) and respect me.

I need them to do their job. And their job is to protect and serve. And they don't need to know me (OFF-MIKE). So the whole food thing and everything else, that means nothing. Even if I had never met them, they still need to respect me.

As a community, we have asked the City Council for a long time that we needed our community review board. And I wanted to ask directly if that's something that you or the new chief is going to consider.

ELLIOTT: Absolutely. We're not just going to consider it. We're going to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor (OFF-MIKE) question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, Mayor, I want to say something.

ELLIOTT: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is (OFF-MIKE) human rights organization.

I have lived in Brooklyn Center for over 15 years. (OFF-MIKE) of this acting police (OFF-MIKE) or director or whatever his title is, is just (OFF-MIKE). These are the kind of things that we have been dealing with, with Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center police.

[14:15:00]

This man has no remorse (OFF-MIKE) that he just want to get up from here, because he is among black people. They are the sacrificial lambs. And we will not continue to be that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.

Stop this man from being the real police (OFF-MIKE) in the city. You will not have problem with us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, Mayor, you don't need to speak for this police chief (OFF-MIKE). He's a grown man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can answer the questions.

I think stepping back and letting him -- I understand he was just sworn in or he just took on the position an hour ago, but he agreed to it, so he understood the responsibilities that came with it. And if he -- the fact that he showed up in the space with you, he should have been prepared to either answer our questions or say he couldn't answer our questions and not leave that up to you.

I think, next time, you should let him answer (OFF-MIKE) questions.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, quick question. And I reiterate the need to let go of Curt Boganey and what you hope to accomplish with that move.

ELLIOTT: Certainly.

Obviously, this is a personnel matter. And I'm limited in terms of what I can say about that. But what I can say is that the city manager, as you all know, serves at the pleasure of the City Council and is subject to the removal at the will of the City Council.

Mr. Boganey has provided many years of dedicated service to the City of Brooklyn Center, but the City Council had significant concerns regarding how the city responded to the protests. The City Council determined it was in the best interests of the city and its residents to seek new leadership in the city.

And we do want to thank Mr. Boganey for his service to the city. He has made strides in many areas to help make the city better. The city now looks forward to continuing this work under the newly appointed leadership of the assistant or deputy city manager, Dr. Reggie Edwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mayor, can we count on you to immediately and unequivocally ban traffic enforcement by armed police officers and to halt the practice of allowing officers to make custodial arrests and the use of force for misdemeanor offenses and instead issue citations and summons?

And would you keep that policy in place until there's a complete and transparent investigation of Daunte Wright's death that results in recommendations focused on justice and accountability for his family and community and systemic fixes that will reduce the risk of additional unnecessary violence, death, and tragedy for other (OFF- MIKE) of Brooklyn Center?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a fantastic question.

ELLIOTT: Certainly, I am predisposed to doing everything we can to reduce the opportunity for officers to use deadly force in situations where they're not necessary.

I would like to receive the full text of what -- of your request and make sure that we sit down and go through it and see how we can implement -- I don't believe that officers need to necessarily have weapons every time they -- they're making a traffic stop or engaged in situations that don't necessarily call for weapons.

We know that there are other -- many other jurisdictions, even around the world, where that is not necessarily the case. It's not needed. And so I am very much interested in receiving the full text of the policies that you're recommending to us, so that we can review that.

Whatever we can do to make sure that our communities are kept safe, we want to do that.

And then let me just ask. Any other questions here? OK.

Yes, let's go with Kevin from "The Sun Post."

QUESTION: Do you anticipate retaining control of the police department long-term, or is that kind of an emergency, short-term sort of thing?

ELLIOTT: Well, this is an emergency, short-term type of situation. And so, when the emergency is over, I do plan on relinquishing control over the department.

[14:20:00]

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor.

ELLIOTT: Let's go with Jelani (ph) from CARE (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, Mayor, I just wanted to appreciate the decision-making that you have made.

And I wanted to ask specifically how difficult it has been for you and the rest of the City Council in a time when you needed to act and hold police accountable?

Can you talk to us a little bit about how difficult it was for you, as a mayor, to really be a mayor, number one? And, second, the fact that the police departments and probably across the country have created policies to shield themselves from true accountability, when it needed to happen, including, as you mentioned earlier, how difficult it is to engage this process to fire a killer cop?

What are these policies that have -- the city adopted historically that would not allow the City Council or the mayor to do that? Can you talk to us about it? We really appreciate your communication to the community leaders. We appreciate the response, and we truly appreciate the City Council for immediately firing the city manager, and today obviously firing the police chief and the officer involved.

And so we really appreciate it, and for calling on the governor to take this matter outside, out of the hands of a county prosecutor that we all know will not bring any charges. And so we really appreciate it.

Can you talk about the process and the policies that police departments have created to not allow accountability?

ELLIOTT: Well, certainly, you asked about what it's been like...

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You have heard question after question after question from activists and community members who feel that this Brooklyn Center Police Department has failed them, that this town has failed them, that one of their own, 20-year-old Daunte Wright, was shot and killed, they believe, as you have heard, for no reason, because he had expired tags during a traffic stop.

Question after question, they feel they have been failed again, right? And this is just 20 minutes down the road from Philando Castile, another black man, shot and killed, routine traffic stop back in 2016.

Cedric Alexander is with me, the former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

And, Cedric, I mean, the fact that the mayor is still out there taking all these questions -- you heard from the acting police chief, as of one hour ago, essentially being transparent: I don't have a plan. The police chief resigned. The woman who was shot this young man has resigned.

Your reaction?

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT EXECUTIVES: Well, I really feel sorry, for the lack of a better term, for the city at this very moment. They're struggling.

BALDWIN: Yes.

ALEXANDER: And you have a very young, bright mayor there, young man, that I certainly have watched over last couple of days doing the very best he can to lead that city.

But they're a city right now that are truly troubled and unraveling in a couple of places. So, I really hope that the support that they need comes from adjoining communities in and around them there in that community. But they certainly are a community that's in a great deal of pain.

And, certainly, the victim who lost his life, there are people in the community throughout that entire community who are certainly upset and bewildered by all of this. And I'm quite sure, in the police community itself, to lose a 26-year member who resigned, your chief resigns.

And what you're hearing in that press conference, quite frankly, is the reality of how people have been feeling obviously for a very, very long time, and maybe kept a lot of those feelings suppressed. But it is very evident to me -- and I have been around this for a long time -- that there have been a lot of problems that have been brewing long before the shooting took place, and a relationship between police and community, that the bridge wasn't as strong as they probably thought that it was.

They got a lot of work to do there in that community. And when you hear a police chief say -- and even though my heart goes out to the new acting chief, but when you have to fall back five yards and punt and say well, hey, I don't have a plan, I was just thrown into this a few moments ago, partly, that, I can agree with him on.

But the other part is, you assume the responsibility. So, at a minimum, you need to let that community know that you're going to be working 24/7 to work with them, do the things that you need to do, show some -- show some energy and encouragement.

And even though you may not have a plan, being that you were asked probably less than an hour ago to be the next chief, you still have a responsibility to act with some sense of confidence. And that didn't happen either.

So, they're a community that's hurting right now. And I can only hope that the state of Minnesota, which I'm quite sure, and surrounding communities give support to that young mayor and that community at this point.

We -- they don't need to be kicked anymore, but...

[14:25:00]

BALDWIN: Yes, you said it, unraveling.

ALEXANDER: Yes.

BALDWIN: Unraveling, Cedric, is exactly the right word.

And just miles from where this happened is the courthouse, Derek Chauvin on trial for murder of George Floyd. That has resumed.

So, if I may, let's go back to the trial.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ERIC NELSON, ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: ... and the number of hours you have spent on this case.

BARRY BRODD, EXPERT WITNESS ON USE OF FORCE: I have spent roughly 60 hours. I make $350 an hour for courtroom appearances and $275 an hour for case reviews.

NELSON: And how much have you -- what's the total about you have earned so far?

BRODD: On this case, $11,400.

NELSON: Now, simply because you're being paid, does that mean you're going to always -- by a particular party, does that mean you're always going to side with that party?

BRODD: No.

NELSON: In your career, have you ever been retained by someone and found their use of force to be improper?

BRODD: On several times.

NELSON: How is it that you became involved in this particular case?

BRODD: When this incident first occurred, I reached out to the city attorney's office here in Minneapolis, told them that I had some...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hearsay.

PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA, JUDGE: Overruled.

BRODD: I had some exposure to the George Floyd incident. And I was offering my services to the Minneapolis city attorney's office.

NELSON: And you were ultimately not retained by the city attorney's office or the state, correct?

BRODD: That's correct.

NELSON: You then were retained by my office?

BRODD: Yes.

NELSON: OK.

When you were retained, did I -- were you provided with a scope of your engagement?

BRODD: I was.

NELSON: Could you explain for the jury the scope of your engagement in this particular...

(CROSSTALK)

BRODD: You asked me to analyze the actions of Derek Chauvin and give opinions regarding his conduct and actions towards Mr. Floyd.

NELSON: OK.

Can you describe the materials that you reviewed in order to analyze this case?

BRODD: So, I received thousands of pages of materials, but I have learned through my experience that I don't need to review materials that really don't have anything to do with the officer or the officer's policies or the use of force policies.

So, I pretty much focused my review on the videos, the snapshots of the body-worn cameras that the officers were wearing, miscellaneous statements, the use of force policies, and training records.

NELSON: So, when you say there were some materials that were not relevant to your analysis, can you just kind of give a general example of what that would be?

BRODD: (INAUDIBLE) patrol responsibilities, vehicle maintenance responsibilities, things of that nature.

NELSON: OK.

Anything pertaining directly to your analysis in this case, you did review?

BRODD: I did review.

NELSON: Now, based upon your training and experience and your expertise in the use of force matters, your review of the materials that have been provided to you, have you formed opinions in this particular case to a reasonable degree of professional certainty?

BRODD: I have.

NELSON: And can you just briefly overview your opinions in this particular case?

BRODD: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.

NELSON: OK.

We have heard a lot over the last couple of weeks about the Graham vs. Connor factors. Are you familiar with the Graham vs. Connor factors?

BRODD: I am.

NELSON: And can you just very briefly provide your definition and your -- how you look at those factors?

BRODD: So, in my 35 years of teaching, it's not just dealing with tactics, but it's dealing with providing an officer the mind-set that what they need to justify to use various tactics that they were trained in.

And the standard of Graham vs. Connor is, what would a reasonable officer have done in a similar set of circumstances that you're doing?

NELSON: The Graham vs. Connor factors, the first one is the severity of the crime at issue, correct?

BRODD: Yes.

NELSON: How do you analyze that Graham vs. Connor factor?

BRODD: So, I know, in my experience, and the experience of officers that I have been in contact with, is that the higher risk an arrest may be like, say, an armed bank robber -- an armed bank robber, you would pull your gun, order them to the ground to take them into custody, OK?

You know their danger, you know their threat level right off the bat, whereas I can't imagine how many times [14:30:00]