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Closing Arguments Ahead in Chauvin Trial; Indianapolis Mass Shooting. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 16, 2021 - 14:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Our thoughts and prayers are with Rene and her whole family. We are with you, and we love you.

That does it for me on this Friday. Thank you all for joining me this week. I'll see you back here Monday.

In the meantime, follow me Twitter @AnaCabrera.

NEWSROOM continues right now with Brooke Baldwin.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. It's Friday. You are watching CNN. Thank you so much for being with me.

America is just getting pummeled with one national tragedy after another, the latest blow, this mass shooting in Indianapolis that has left eight people dead, five more wounded. And the rampage erupted when not just one, but three deaths tied to police officers are gripping the country.

The most recent coming to light, a boy name Adam Toledo. The city of Chicago released bodycam video of the officer shooting the 13-year-old child just days after Brooklyn Center police in Minnesota showed the final moments of Daunte Wright's death. That was outside of Minneapolis. And that happened mere miles from the trial of the former officer accused of killing George Floyd.

Now, in Indianapolis, police say the massacre was over by the time first responders actually got to the scene at this FedEx facility and that the suspect the -- the suspected gunman killed himself. And it has been exactly one month since the shooting spree in the Atlanta area, where a shooter murdered eight people, six of them Asian women.

And that was followed by the attack in Boulder, Colorado, that claimed the lives of 10 more people. In the last month alone, the last month alone, the U.S. has suffered through at least 45 mass shootings. And in each of those incidents, at least four or more people have been shot, wounded or killed.

And now in a hotel near this FedEx facility, more families are being forced through the worst uncertainty of their lives, that wait to find out if their loved one made it. Cameras captured one major moment where prayers were answered. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, thank you, God.


BALDWIN: CNN's Jason Carroll is live in Indianapolis.

And, Jason, I know you -- it's -- I just -- I don't even have the words. I know that these families are looking for a why, like the motive. So, if you know anything -- I imagine it's too soon for that.


BALDWIN: And do you know any more about the suspected shooter?

It's my understanding he was known to authorities.

CARROLL: That is correct. And we're going to have more reporting on that for you.

What is clear and see investigators here are really trying to do what they can not to reveal a lot of information. But a lot of information is coming out nonetheless.

Want to start by where we are here at the scene, Brooke, the scene of the Federal Express facility just a short while ago out here in the parking lot, where the whole shooting started just about 11:00 last night. We saw a stretcher being brought out through the parking lot and into the facility.

And that's because some of the victims, their bodies are still inside. And so it's a grim scene here. It's something that you can imagine is -- it's just someone's worst nightmare. And so police are still here. It's still very much an active crime scene.

In terms of the suspect, a lot of information not being told about him, even though investigators are searching his truck. Investigators are searching a house they believe that the suspect lived in. They are not releasing the suspect's name officially, even though it's clear they know who the suspect is.

During a briefing not too long ago, I said: You have interviewed a number of witnesses. Did any of the witnesses say they knew the suspect?

They couldn't confirm. Was the suspect a former or current employee of FedEx? They could not confirm that either.

But what they did do is go over some of the ABCs of what happens when the suspect showed up out here at 11:00 last night and started shooting.


CRAIG MCCARTT, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF: The suspect came to the facility. And when he came there, he got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility.

There was no confrontation with anyone that was there. There was no disturbance. There was no argument. He just appeared to randomly start shooting. And that began in the parking lot. And then he did go into the building, into the facility for a brief period of time before he took his own life.


CARROLL: Again, eight people dead. The FBI is actively involved in this investigation.


In terms of a motive, still waiting to hear what that may be -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jason, thank you so much.

I want to talk this over with my next guest, Charles Ramsey, a CNN law enforcement analyst who led the police forces both in Philadelphia and in Washington.

And, Chief, the fact that this happened in one to two minutes, that's how long this whole thing lasted, one to two minutes -- eight people have been killed. What do you make of just how fast this happened?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I'm not surprised. I mean, these high-powered weapons that are being used now can expel a high number of rounds in a very short period of time.

I mean, it just doesn't take long to do it. And so I'm not surprised in the least that it was only a couple of minutes before it was over.

BALDWIN: I just -- I have this perspective of how having my own perspective of working at CNN for 13 years. I have covered shootings really since Virginia Tech many, many years ago.

And here I am, on my last day at CNN, find myself covering yet another mass shooting. And according to CNN analysis here, there have been at least 45 mass shootings in just the last month.

Chief, how did we get here? And do you think this will ever change?

RAMSEY: Well, we got here because we don't do anything about it, other than talk about it and send a few thoughts and prayers around.

But, I mean, there is no action at all. Now, you aren't going to stop every single shooting, but I find it hard to believe that certain steps, if they were taken, might keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people.

I'm not anti-gun. But I do think and believe in responsible gun ownership, which means only those people who should have guns, in other words, they are not criminals or they're not suffering from a particular kind of mental disorder, not all mental disease, but some, where they're a threat to themselves or others.

But it's not going to happen. It's not going to happen after this, just like it didn't happen over Sandy Hook.

BALDWIN: Right, right, all those first graders and teachers and the principal.


BALDWIN: I know. Listen, I know. I know. And here we are again. And this is America, right? This is America.

On this particular case in Indianapolis, sources say a family member contacted authorities about the suspected shooter's potential for violence. And, ultimately, the FBI closed its inquiry, essentially concluding there wasn't enough evidence to really do anything about it.

Just having been the head of huge police departments, I have to imagine you have certainly been familiar with this kind of situation. I mean, how can authorities only do so much?

RAMSEY: Well, it depends on the nature of the information that they're receiving. And I'm sure we will find more out as time goes on.

But, depending on what the person did, was -- did he make a threat? What did he do? I mean, it's easy to find red flags after the fact. But the reality is, when you're dealing with a lot of this stuff, the flags aren't red yet. They may be orange, but they're not red.

And so but to be able to take any kind of action, confiscating guns, bring a person in for questioning, all those kinds of things, you have got to have something, some kind of probable cause, in order to be able to do that. You don't always have it. And you have a lot of people out there that really have dangerous tendencies.

And you can't surveil them all. So, until I know more about what the nature of the threat really was...


RAMSEY: ... if it was, in fact, a threat or the information that was passed along, it's hard to really pass a judgment on it.

BALDWIN: Yes, I hear you. And it's still so new. There's still so much we don't know. There are still bodies in that FedEx facility, right?


BALDWIN: Chief Ramsey, thank you very, very much.

Well, stay with me, because I have more for you on something else. To the latest development on the deadly police shooting. New bodycam

video released from Chicago police shows the moment this officer made the split-second decision to shoot and kill 13-year-old Adam Toledo, after police say the boy was seen holding a gun at the end of chase. This happened last month.

Police say the video show less than a second passes from the time Toledo was seen holding this gun to when he was shot and killed by the officer. The video also shows the teen raising his hands an instant before a single bullet fired by the officer takes his life.

And just I want to warn you, before we show this to you, the video you're about to see is really tough to watch.



Hey, show me (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Stop it! Stop it!


STILLMAN: Shot fired. Shot fired. Get an ambulance over here now.

Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. You all right?


BALDWIN: Police identified that officer as Eric Stillman. A lawyer representing him says the officer feels horrible, but was justified in using deadly force.


CNN's Ryan Young joins me now.

And, Ryan, what more do we know just about the status of the case and what the victim's family is saying?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, as you can understand, this has been very tough for everyone who is involved.

In fact, I have talked to veteran police officers today who work here in the city of Chicago who patrol the streets and say a lot of them are even heartbroken at this reality, the reality of the fact that gun violence is so pervasive here in the city that they felt like this was a justified shooting.

But, at the same time, their hearts are broken for the fact that a 13- year-old was lost. But as you show this video and you watch it in so many different ways, if you watch it full speed, you sort of miss certain details.

And, of course, the Chicago Police Department started spotlighting parts of it, so you could see the weapon that they say the teen had in his hand. Now, all this happened because of the fact that there was a ShotSpotter technology in the area. And because of that ShotSpotter, police were -- indicated that there were eight gunshots fired in that area.

A 21-year-old was arrested as well in connection with this. But everyone is sort of focused on that 19 seconds. It's about 19 seconds from the time the officer arrives to when he gets into that foot chase to that fatal moment where, in a split-second, a decision was made and that shot was fired, the officer, of course, rendering aid very quickly.

But, Brooke, you take that all out of this, there are people who are concerned about exactly what happened and could have something been different? So, you're hearing over and over again, as the investigation continues, could the officer have not fired?

Well, the police department believes the officer made the right decision in that moment. But, of course, this has been tough for neighborhoods and the community.

We were behind protesters last night. I was there walking through the streets of Chicago. And they were so very upset. So you understand, Brooke, the people are so upset. And they -- we didn't finish marching last night until very late.

So, you know again tonight there'll be back on the streets.

BALDWIN: Follow them. Give them a voice. And follow this investigation.

Ryan Young, thank you so much.

Coming up here on CNN: how Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis are preparing for their weekends, in the wake of the death of Daunte Wright and ahead of closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Also, this racial reckoning in America, all amid a pandemic. I will talk to my good friend rapper, activist, father Michael Render, otherwise known as Killer Mike -- what he wants every American to do, to know right now.

And new research on the vaccine front, testing now under way in children as young as 2.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We will be right back.



BALDWIN: We are back here. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

For a fifth straight night, protesters poured into the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, in response to the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Now, these protests remain peaceful and came hours after Kim Potter,

the now ex-police officer charged with second-degree murder in Wright's death, made her first very court appearance. Her next court date is set for May.

And while we don't know how her charges will play out in the court of law, Daunte Wright's mother says justice will never be served.


KATIE WRIGHT, MOTHER OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: Everybody keeps saying justice.

But, unfortunately, there's never going to be justice for us. Justice isn't even a word to me. I do want accountability, 100 percent accountability, like my sister said, the highest accountability. But even then, when that happens, if that even happens, we're still going to bury our son.


BALDWIN: CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is live for us once again.

Adrienne, you were talking to me yesterday about the additional fencing that was going up there on the street behind you. How is the city preparing just going into the weekend?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, more fencing has gone up since we last spoke.

And here in Brooklyn Center and beyond, members of the National Guard will remain overnight in communities across the Twin Cities. Law enforcement officials with Operation Safety Net said, about 25 minutes after the curfew expired, there were nearly 200 protesters out here.

But get this. About 90 minutes or so later, there were only 20 people left, so significantly lower and no reported arrests. But the protesters are echoing the sentiment of the Wright family, saying they want more serious charges against Potter.

She made her first initial court appearance yesterday. It lasted less than five minutes via Zoom. And she only spoke once, answering, "Yes, I am," when the judge asked if she was present.

And earlier today, Daunte Wright's mother talked about that initial appearance for Potter. She said her heart broke once again when she saw Potter appear on the screen answering that question, and she waved into the camera. She said she was sad, angry and she felt helpless.

But as she spoke today, a group of mothers and fathers surrounded her, all parents who have lost children at the hands of police, including Valerie Castile. Her son also was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

Listen in.


VALERIE CASTILE, MOTHER OF PHILANDO CASTILE: How do you keep having murder after murder? We don't have time to recover.

I'm mad as (EXPLETIVE DELETED) again and again and again and again. This is ridiculous. And it's the same thing: "I was in fear for my life."


Baby, if you're that scared, you need to be a greeter at Walmart.


BROADDUS: For those of you watching and listening, if you live long enough, you might experience or see what it's like to lose someone you love.

But these families have not only lost a loved one. They are grieving a bit differently, because think about it. Their family member dies at the hands of police. And then they have to set their grief aside to stand up to fight for what they call justice. And, right now, Daunte Wright's mother is surrounded by families who have been fighting and will continue to fight -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: A club no one wants to join.

Adrienne, thank you, in Brooklyn Center.

And, in just a matter of days, just down the road from where Adrienne is, a verdict could be reached into the fate of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd.

Closing arguments are set to begin Monday following Chauvin's move to invoke his Fifth Amendment right and the defense team calling seven witnesses in its attempt to clear him on charges of murder and manslaughter.

Now, if convicted of most serious charge, Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison.

Elie Honig is a CNN legal analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Charles Ramsey back with us, CNN law enforcement analyst and former Philadelphia police commissioner and chief there in Washington.

And, Elie, let me just start with you.

Looking ahead to today and then through the weekend, what do these next three days look like for each side, as they prepare for their closing arguments Monday?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, they are cramming like mad. I have been there. The trick with closing arguments is, if you're the prosecution, you

have called 38 witnesses over about two-and-a-half weeks. But you have to give your closing argument to the jury on Monday in really a few hours. If you are going longer than a few hours, you are going to lose that jury.

So, they have to hit the high points. What were the most important pieces of evidence? Who were the most compelling witnesses? And they will remember, they will remind the jury that exhibit A is that video. That 9:29 is really the heart of the case.

The defense is not looking to outdo the prosecution. They're just looking to poke holes, a big enough hole so that one juror will say: I have reasonable doubt.

So, that's the dynamic that we are going to see at play on Monday.

BALDWIN: And as Elie just pointed out, Commissioner, the defense has brought forward these seven witnesses to make the case for Derek Chauvin specifically, and, of course, his innocence.

But did you hear any of them really address the fact that Chauvin kneeled, leaned on George Floyd's neck for that nine minutes, 29 seconds even after he was passed out?

RAMSEY: No, I didn't. And there is nothing they can say that would justify it. And that's why you didn't hear anything.

So, people were raising all kinds of other issues: It was drugs, heart, carbon monoxide. You name it, they tried it.

But nobody addressed the issue of nine minutes and 29 seconds. And I think that the prosecution put on a very strong case. I believe their closing argument will be equally strong. And I agree with Elie. That video is the star witness to this entire incident.

In my opinion, I mean, he should be convicted. That's just my personal opinion. But I also understand that juries are juries. And all it takes is one to either have a hung jury or a mistrial. But he should be convicted and he should get the maximum sentence, as far as I'm concerned.

BALDWIN: Let's go through -- just for everyone who has been watching in trial with us.

There are these three -- Elie, these three separate charges that these jurors will be considering, so, second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Just help us understand what jurors will ultimately be having to decide on.

HONIG: Sure, Brooke.

So, first of all, I want people to understand, each of those charges stands alone. The jury will vote separately on each of those charges. So they might convict on all three or two of the three or one of the three or none of the three. The top charge here is a second-degree murder. The prosecution has to

prove that Derek Chauvin intentionally assaulted, not necessarily intended to kill, but intentionally assaulted, used excessive force against George Floyd, resulting in his death.

The second charge is the third-degree murder, which charges what we call depraved mind murder, meaning, essentially, Chauvin created unacceptable, really ridiculous risk, and then took it anyway. The classic example is shooting into a crowd.

And then the lowest charge is the manslaughter charge. And, there, you have to prove culpable negligence. This actually is the same charge that's been lodged against the former police officer in the Daunte Wright case.

So, the jury can pick and choose. We will see what they come back with.


Chief, let's pivot to Chicago and the 13-year-old, Adam Toledo.

You and I talked yesterday. I remember Ryan Young was excellent on, he'd seen the video. Now we have all seen this body camera footage, right, of this shooting and this split-second decision and the shot from the officer.


Having, seen it what do you make of it now?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, you have to see all the videos associated with this case. And there's a lot of video from a lot of different angles, not just the bodycam video.

It's still my belief that the officer's actions were reasonable. It's tragic. There's no question about that. But -- and when you look at it through the eyes of the police officer, and less than a second he had from the time the kid dropped the gun, which was hidden behind a fence, and he couldn't it from where he was, to the time he spun around, and, of course, his hands were empty, that's not a lot of time for reaction.

So, when you look at that, here is a 13-year-old with a 21-year-old known gang member at 2:40 a.m. with a gun. I mean, nothing good could possibly come from something like that. And so it's just a tragic set of circumstances all the way around. But the officer's actions are nowhere near what we have been talking about over the last three weeks or so.

BALDWIN: Appreciate it.

Commissioner Ramsey, Elie Honig, gentlemen, thank you.

Still ahead on CNN: Researchers are now testing the Pfizer vaccine on kids as young as 2 years old. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)