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Biden Announces U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan; Testimony Continues in Derek Chauvin Trial; Ex-Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Arrested. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 14, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
We begin with tension unfolding in two cases around the Twin Cities.
The police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright has just been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. Her name is Kim Potter. And Potter says she accidentally grabbed her handgun, instead of her Taser, during this traffic stop. The 26-year veteran officer resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, along with the police chief, just yesterday.
And we will talk about what's next in that case. But it cannot be ignored that just 10 miles down the road, another officer-involved death is being adjudicated, this, of course, the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.
The defense today calling its own medical experts this afternoon, telling the jury that George Floyd did not die from suffocation.
Also happening this hour, we expect to see the president of the United States making this huge announcement that he plans to end America's longest war and that U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
So, as soon as we see the president, we will take him live.
But, first, I want to go straight to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Former police officer Kim Potter has been charged, arrested, booked into jail for the death of Daunte Wright. The independent county prosecutor reviewing the case just filed the charge of second-degree manslaughter.
Potter, along with the city's police chief, abruptly resigned yesterday, citing -- quote -- "the interest of the community."
Meantime, protests continued for a third straight night, demonstrators filling the streets chanting things like "Stand up now" and "I believe we can win." There were some violent clashes. Police made more than 60 arrests.
CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is following all of this for us. She is live again today in Brooklyn Center.
And so, Adrienne, first, this veteran police officer, the former officer, Kim Potter, given the charge, what could she face?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, she could face up to 10 years in prison, not more than 10 years under Minnesota state statute, with the second-degree manslaughter charge. It also calls for a $20,000 fine or both.
So, I want to be clear, she's not facing, if she's convicted, more than 10 years behind bars. Meanwhile, BCA agents arrested her about an hour ago. She will be booked in the Hennepin County jail. That's about eight miles from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, a police department where she spent the majority of her career, coming on the force here in 1995.
She resigned yesterday. And on the day that deadly shot was fired that killed Daunte Wright, she was training a rookie officer. She also worked as a field training officer. And when you work as a field training officer and you train rookie officers, you're typically paired with the new beginning officer to teach them the ropes.
Nonetheless, members of the community, Brooke, are reacting to this second-degree manslaughter charge, saying it's one step, but not enough. They want more serious charges. Listen in to what Ben Crump had to say. He represents the family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: They just charged the policewoman in -- for second-degree manslaughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CRUMP: We continue to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: And that sentiment was echoed here outside of the Brooklyn Police Department, many folks citing the case of Mohamed Noor. He was a Somali American police officer who was not only charged with second- degree manslaughter, but also a murder charge. And he was convicted -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Adrienne, tell me this. Explain to all of us why Hennepin County officials decided to turn this case over to the Washington County prosecutor.
BROADDUS: So, let me break it down for you. Brooklyn Center is in Hennepin County. About a year ago, a new policy
was implemented. Any time there's a case involving deadly force, the case will be referred to another jurisdiction to avoid a conflict of interests.
Now, you may have heard previously with community activists had strong language, I will say, for the Hennepin County prosecuting attorney, Mike Freeman. They said when incidents happened, specifically with the Minneapolis police, those activists believe that county attorney Mike Freeman was unable to view the cases fairly because it happened in his jurisdiction.
So, this case with Daunte Wright happened in Mike Freeman's jurisdiction, but he will not be the prosecutor presiding over this case. It was referred out to Washington County. And that's kind of why. It was to avoid conflict.
BALDWIN: Perfectly explained.
BROADDUS: That's the simplest way to put it.
BALDWIN: Perfectly explained.
BALDWIN: My last question is this.
I know this tragedy is bringing together the George Floyd family, the Daunte Wright family. Tell me about that.
BROADDUS: They are among a club that no family wants to belong to. We have heard stories from families here in Minnesota. I have talked to families here in Minnesota who have had loved ones die at the hands of police.
And those families are now united. They can lean on each other, but they don't want any other family to go through what they have experienced. In their cases, the death of their loved one was documented, but there are other families, other victims who died at the hands of police before cell phone cameras existed, before body cameras existed.
And now these families have each other, even the brother of George Floyd. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: To the Wright family, just letting you all know, from the Floyd family, you all have our condolences. We will stand in support with you all.
It's a shame. The world is traumatized watching another African- American man being slayed. Police officers are killing us. And we are being murdered at a rate that I never thought I could imagine. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: Meanwhile, Kim Porter, an officer, former officer, who spent 26 years serving the community, which included arrests, was arrested today for the role she played in the death of Daunte Wright -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Adrienne Broaddus.
Thank you, Adrienne.
Let's talk about all of this.
With me, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, also a CNN legal analyst, and former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and former D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey, a CNN law enforcement analyst.
And, Elie, just out of the gate to you. This second-degree manslaughter charge that the former officer Kim Potter is facing, I know that this is the exact same charge -- it's the lowest of the three charges that Derek Chauvin is facing just down the road in trial.
What's your take on this charge for her?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Brooke, so the key phrase here is culpable negligence.
And that means that the police officer created an unreasonable risk, a gross risk. I'm really interested to hear Commissioner Ramsey's take on that. As you said, this is the third charge, the lowest charge against Derek Chauvin.
One important thing to keep in mind, prosecutors often start a case by charging the most readily provable, the most easily provable crime, and then at times upgrading a charge from there. That actually happened with Derek Chauvin. In the immediate aftermath of May 25 last year, he was charged with this crime and a third-degree murder.
And then a few days down the line, prosecutors upgraded and added a second-degree murder charge. So, that's a possibility here as well.
BALDWIN: Chief, what is your take on this charge?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, one, I'm a little surprised it came so soon. But, I mean, she did reach for -- she says she reached for a Taser; instead, she got her firearm. So there's definitely negligence there.
There's no question about that. So, not being an attorney and fully understanding the nature of the charges, that sounds like the appropriate charge. Now, I don't think they can upgrade it, personally, because I don't -- it was unintentional, as far as what I can see.
When you look at that video, and you hear what she's saying...
BALDWIN: Yelling "Taser, Taser."
RAMSEY: ... shouting "Taser," and the minute she shoots -- yes.
I don't think they can upgrade it. But we will see.
BALDWIN: Elie, does not speak -- because she was shouting "Taser" -- I mean, still, she killed the man, right? Does that speak at all to the intent? Does that even matter?
HONIG: It's relevant, for sure. But here's the thing people need to understand.
Something can be accidental, but also negligent. In other words, as the commissioner said, perhaps she didn't intend to shoot this person. But if her conduct was so reckless, if she created such an undue risk, then that can be charged as a crime. And I think that's reflected in the charge that we have seen here, the manslaughter charge.
BALDWIN: Chief Ramsey, the situation is, you have this police officer, this veteran officer. She's in the line of duty. She discharges her firearm. She accidentally -- according to the police chief the other day, accidentally kills someone.
We have this body cam. How are police officers protected if something awful like this happens? And, also, just, since she resigned, will she get those protections from the police union, Fraternal Order or Police? Will she get the lawyers? Do you know?
RAMSEY: I don't know for sure. But I would imagine she will. She was past president of the union. So, even if she weren't, I would imagine the union would provide an attorney for her. Whether it's a union attorney or a criminal defense lawyer, which would make sense, they would pay for it, more than likely.
But, again, I don't know what the benefit packages in Minnesota and Minneapolis look like. But I wouldn't be at all surprised. As far as her resignation, a resignation alone wouldn't affect her pension. But if she's convicted, that could, in fact, affect her pension.
BALDWIN: OK. They were just telling me in my ear -- forgive me.
I -- they were saying that she has now officially been booked in jail.
Chief Ramsey, I mean, ultimately, here, black men and boys and women continue to be killed at the hands of law enforcement in this country. How do we make this stop?
RAMSEY: Well, listen, there are systemic issues that have to be addressed. And I think it has to be done at a national level.
You have 18,000 police departments in the United States. You're never going to get standardization in anything with 18,000 departments. I mean, this is a small department; 49 members, I believe, is the number. So, whether you're large, small, midsize, it doesn't matter.
But when you look at hiring, for example, when you look at training and education, when you look at use of force, when you look at having a database for people who are fired for serious misconduct, so they can't leave one department and go to another, I mean, there are a lot of things that need to be put in place in order to be able to make sure that we're able to reach all these departments and there's some level of accountability.
It's a tough job. I mean, listen, these things happen. And they happen very, very quickly. Mistakes get made. But if a mistake costs somebody their life, you have to be held accountable. And it's a tragedy on a lot of different levels, in my opinion.
BALDWIN: Speaking of accountability, Elie, how quickly could this go to trial?
HONIG: Well, look, it took the George Floyd case, the Derek Chauvin case, just under a year to get to trial. I think and I hope prosecutors and the judges will understand the urgency of this, that this can't go on the back burner. This needs to go to the top of the priority, so, ideally, within a few months.
BALDWIN: OK, Elie, Commissioner, stand by with me, please.
Any moment now, testimony is set to resume in the murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. We will bring that to you live.
We are also watching the White House this afternoon, where President Joe Biden is set to make a major foreign policy announcement and publicly lay out his goal of withdrawing the last U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11 of this year, effectively ending America's longest war.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
BALDWIN: It is Wednesday afternoon. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
Today marks day 13 of testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial. They are in a lunch recess right now. But we will bring you back to those live proceedings as soon as they resume.
But here's what's happening. The defense continues to call these medical experts today, focusing in on George Floyd's alleged past drug use and suggesting his own cardiac problems were the cause of his own death.
So, here's just some testimony from the former chief medical examiner of Maryland, who reviewed George Floyd's medical records.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DAVID FOWLER, FORMER MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: But, in my opinion, Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrhythmia, due to his atherosclerotic, and hypertensive heart disease, or you can write that down multiple different ways, during his restraint and subdual by the police or restraint by the police.
And then his significant contributory conditions would be, since I have already put the heart disease in part one, he would have the toxicology, the fentanyl and methamphetamine. There is exposure to a vehicle exhaust, so potentially carbon monoxide poisoning, or at least an effect from increased carbon monoxide in his bloodstream, and paraganglioma or the other natural disease process that he has.
So, all of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd's death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Josh Campbell, I'm coming to you outside of that courthouse.
Just listening to this testimony, you have to feel for the jury, right, hearing such different things from these various experts, right, depending on which side they're really on. What stood out to you today?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is that distinction between what we're hearing now from this defense witness and the series of witnesses we heard from the prosecution that offered that very damning testimony about the cause of death.
Of course, those medical experts that the prosecution brought up said that it was the actions of the officer, restricting George Ford, having him down on the ground, that ultimately led to his death. This medical expert, who was a former medical examiner in Maryland called by the defense, is saying that, no, it was a cardiac arrest, it was due to heart disease that George Floyd had had, so, again, trying to shift the responsibility there in that cause of death, which is obviously key in this trial.
And so that has been the focus so far this morning. Now, something else that this witness said which has raised some eyebrows is, he brought up the idea that perhaps a contributing factor in George Floyd's death was carbon monoxide from this police SUV, where he was held down on the ground.
And, of course, this is just getting to that strategy that we have seen play out here. And that is, the defense is trying to shift blame away from Chauvin on to anything else, onto George Floyd's medical condition, onto George Floyd's drug use, onto anything but, I mean, now Ford Motor Company possibly liable, I mean, this idling vehicle.
So, again, trying to cause that doubt in the minds of these jurors. Interestingly enough, Brooke, to give you some color from inside that courtroom, I just got a note from our pool reporter in there, who said that when this discussion of carbon monoxide came up, some of the jurors started tapping their pens. One of them was playing with a water bottle cap.
Another jury (sic) was apparently peeling off nail polish from her finger, so not taking a lot of notes on that particular part. And I can tell you, as someone who was on a jury, you take notes, so that you can consult them later in deliberation.
So unclear how much of an effect all of these different theories are having on this jury. We obviously don't know what their decision will be, but just fascinating there that this is that strategy that the defense has now, trying to bring up a multitude of different reasons that could be at play here.
And, obviously, that's their job for their client, to represent him. But they are -- they're certainly going down that road, trying to cause as much doubt as they can.
CAMPBELL: As we have said time and time again, all it takes is doubt in the mind of one person. But that seems to be the strategy they're looking at now. Whether it works, we will have to wait and see.
BALDWIN: OK. All of those highlights and the color from the courtroom, Josh, thank you so much for all of that, just painting a picture for all of us as to what could be, what could be going through the mind to these jurors.
Let's bring up all of that.
I have back with me Charles Ramsey and Elie Honig.
And, Elie, let me just start with you. And we will get to the carbon monoxide point in just a second, but hang with me. This former chief medical examiner of Maryland, Dr. Fowler, testified this morning. And he has a history of working with high-profile police use of force cases. Let me just put that out there.
The defense clearly is trying to combat all the earlier testimony that George Floyd died from deprivation of oxygen. Just out of the gate, how would you just -- how would you rate the defense with this witness?
HONIG: Shaky, I would say, for sure.
I want people to understand this. There is nothing magical about a witness being called an expert, right? Juries are allowed to use their common sense. When the judge instructs the jury before they deliberate next week, he will tell them just because someone is an expert witness does not mean their testimony is entitled to any more or less credibility than you determine necessary. It's up to you, jury.
And one of the great things about our jury system is, you get to use your commonsense instincts. And, really, the defense that I saw this morning was everything but the knee.
HONIG: It could have been his heart. It could have been drugs. It could have been carbon monoxide. It could have been a white object in his mouth a year prior, everything but the knee.
I think that is really difficult when it comes to just straight-up common sense.
BALDWIN: Chief, to you, to that point, right, that this former medical examiner testified could have been drug use, could have been heart disease, could have been the carbon monoxide poisoning from the squad car next to where George Floyd was laying prone.
And he said Floyd's death was a -- quote -- "sudden cardiac event" that apparently just happened to coincide with the exact same time police were restraining him. What do you make of that?
RAMSEY: Well, listen, what are the odds of that happening, that, on May 25, with his drug use and large heart, and all those kinds of things, that he would have died at the exact moment in time that he died on that pavement?
I mean, listen, this is going to come down to the jury and the battle of experts and who they believe, who sounds like the most reasonable, where their own common sense -- I mean, they look at the video. And to try to pretend as if the actions of Derek Floyd (sic) had nothing to do and played no role -- and, again, it doesn't have to be the sole cause of death, just a substantial cause of death.
I don't know how you can draw any other conclusion. Granted, he had a bad heart. Granted, he had fentanyl and methamphetamine. But he also was forced to lay on a pavement in a prone position with a guy with his knee on his neck and others on his back for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
I mean, to me, that contributed substantially to his cause of death.
BALDWIN: Listen, so many viewers are, I know, watching all of the twists and turns of this trial.
And, Elie, when you hear the notes, the color from our reporter in court about the pen-tapping and the jury appealing nail polish off of his or her fingers, one could think, oh, they're bored, they're going to throw the book at him.
But, no, I mean, just -- will you just remind all of us it takes just a little bit of doubt for one juror, right, to say no?
HONIG: Yes, let's remember, the verdict must be unanimous to convict, unanimous to find not guilty. Anything else, 11-6, 6-6, 7-5, that's a mistrial. That's a hung jury. That's -- candidly, that's a loss for the prosecution and I think a setback for justice here.
[14:25:04] We have to be a little careful when we're trying to read the signs from the jury. I have done it, believe me. When I tried cases, I was watching them out of the corner of my eye, trying to read every move.
You don't necessarily know if that means they're paying attention, they're interested, they're not. Maybe they already accepted the point. Maybe they didn't.
But one thing, building on Commissioner Ramsey's point, what I want to see the prosecution do on cross-examination coming up soon is ask this question: Is it your testimony, Doctor, that if Derek Chauvin had never touched George Floyd that day, never made any physical contact with him...
BALDWIN: That he would have died.
HONIG: ... George Floyd still would have died on May 25 at 8:30 p.m.? I want to see how he answers that.
BALDWIN: OK, standing by.
Gentlemen, thank you. We're waiting for this trial to resume.
Also, just any moment now, a reminder to all of you, huge announcement coming from the White House. President Biden will announce his plans to get all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by this September 11, 20 years after the terror attack that started America's longest war. So, we will bring that to you live.
Also ahead, the CDC's vaccine advisers are holding an emergency meeting right now about the safety of that Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- details today on the extremely rare blood clots that are currently under review.
BALDWIN: Welcome back.
More breaking news this afternoon, as we are standing by for a massive, massive announcement out of this White House. We are about to see the president of the United States stand before the nation and really the world, announcing that he will be pulling our U.S. military out of Afghanistan. And this will all happen on September 11.
Take a listen.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm speaking to you today from the Roosevelt -- the Treaty Room in the White House, the same spot where, on October of 2001, President George W. Bush informed our nation that the United States military had begun strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
It was just weeks, just weeks after the terrorist attack on our nation that killed 2,977 innocent souls, that turned Lower Manhattan into a disaster area, destroyed parts of the Pentagon, and made hallowed ground of a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and sparked an American promise