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Chauvin Guilty On All Counts in Killing of George Floyd. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 21, 2021 - 01:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, along with Mr. Christopher Cuomo here. We are live for another special hour of our big coverage.

It's midnight in Minneapolis, as we're speaking right now, that's where justice was served after the murder of, but the world got a witnessed with our very own eyes.

Prosecutors asked the jury to believe their eyes and they did. What did one of the prosecutors say? Believe in common sense, right, and not a nonsense.


LEMON: Chauvin, Derek Chauvin, the ex-police officer, convicted on all three counts for the murder of George Floyd.


JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT COURT: We the jury in the above entitled matter as to count one, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty.

Count two, third degree murder perpetuating an imminently dangerous act find the defendant guilty.

Count three, second degree manslaughter, culpable negligence creating an unreasonable risk find the defendant guilty.


LEMON: Look, it was about 10 hours it took them to reach that verdict, it's not extraordinarily short. I mean, it is -- I mean, it is short, but not extraordinarily short. Obviously juries have deliberative for shorter periods of time. But it is extremely rare for a police officer to be accused of using excessive force, and to be convicted like that on all 3 counts.

You don't see a lot of policing convictions but now you have, and now the question is, is it going to change policing in America? Is it going to change any systemic racism? Is going to change how police officers and treat certain communities? CUOMO: It's created a precedent for an expectation consequence, I

don't think I've ever said before, the court decided that the police murdered fell in the blank, George Floyd.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: You know have this, this was a murder and now we have to see what does that become as a catalyst for more?

So, let's discuss with the better minds, Anthony Barksdale and Roberto Villasenor.

It's good to have you both.

So, Bark, when you're looking at this, they got him on 2nd degree murder, obviously we're going to get the two after that. But was there any measure of surprise for you, that this was declared a murder? Because we see it so rarely, even in shooting cases, let alone non- shooting.

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: I am -- I am still, I'm still so excited by the verdict. The, it's no surprise to me what we saw was murder, Chris, Don, we saw murder. We saw a cop in uniform murder Mr. Floyd. I am just so happy that that jury understood what they saw.

CUOMO: Counselor, when you think about what this means in terms of the overall process of change, Roberto, do you see it as a one-off? Just one case? Or could it become something of a catalyst for change in Congress?

ROBERTO VILLASENOR, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, my hope is obviously it does become catalyst. I don't see this as, there's been far too many that have occurred across the country, over the past decade. I think this is another run in the letter of issues that hopefully will take up to a better place in policing. You know, I expected it to be a murder trial once a saw the video, I'm relieved with the verdict because as I've heard you say many times, sometimes you just don't know in these situations.

I've seen stranger cases where it has been different. But this was so clear cut, I'm glad to see if we can get this one behind us and then move on from it, because we need to take this momentum and move forward effectively.


CUOMO: Look, I mean, we saw what happened in South Carolina, Bark, you know, where at a traffic stop, Walter Scott runs away and no particular great rate of speed, get shot from behind, cop lies about it, may have been a dropped gun involved, but for a citizen, a kid with a cell phone camera, we would've never known. Still in his trial, still hung, that's why I say you never know.

But now that we do know, and there is some relief within not just in the black community but maybe within a larger share of the majority. How important is that, in terms of taking the next step?

BARKSDALE: It's very important, so we've seen what can be done. We've seen what's citizens can do, when there is a rogue police officer out there. He is the thing is, reported billions of dollars into policing. We've heard again and again, oh police reform, we are fixing it.

We need to step up accountability. We need to start holding the commanders, the top of these police departments accountable for their officers. We have had enough of it, it's time to get really serious about accountability. Not just talking, really put it into action. And that's for the politicians, that's where the people that these cops are sworn to serve to get them on it.

CUOMO: Not a smooth road though, Roberto, you already have people saying tonight that they're going to make police officers wanted men and women now. Nobody's got you want to do the job, nobody's going to comply. Everybody is going to be looking to create some kind of controversy. Cops are going to want to do their job. People are going to be trying taking them out because you demonize them all.

What is the response that kind of reaction?

VILLASENOR: Well, I do hear that, I think it's someone understandable that officers are feeling persecuted at this point. But I also feel that we can get past this, we need to get past this. When I get concerned about, is these individuals who get painted in that brushed goes across all police, and it's done very callously, and there's a lot of good police officers out there.

I think the problem comes as we get those, few bad apples, however forgetting the second part of that phrase. A few bad apples can ruin the whole barrel. So, you need to get those bad apples and others that the rest of the broken shine, we do have a lot of good officers out there and we need to acknowledge that. We need to get rid of the bad ones and hold him accountable.

CUOMO: Well, Bark, you saw it in this trial. I mean, we didn't just see the chief, you know, it's interesting, Chief Ramsey earlier was saying you expect the chiefs to testify, I didn't. That's not a given in trials when officers on trial. But you're not just have the chief, you had multiple layers of police hierarchy involved in this prosecution.

And I have not met a single police officer, had a single conversation where anybody said Chauvin did the right thing.

BARKSDALE: Yeah, it's a beautiful thing, but we need all -- we need that repeated across the United States. We need from sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, deputy commissioners and chiefs to be engaged and no with their officers are doing. Get out the office, get on the street and go to those hot calls. Go to those calls where things can go bad and see how your officers perform.

See what your training is, who's doing the training? It's so much more that can be done, but the key word is accountability. That's from the bottom to the top. We have to stress accountability for police. CUOMO: Roberto, to the pushback of well you, got the system worked.

Okay, you got a triple conviction, we've never seen anything like it before. The guy didn't even use his weapon, and you got a conviction, this is it you should be happy now. Sit down.

VILLASENOR: Well, I think that this case is such an aberration, this is such a blatant violation of anything related to law enforcement, or just human compassion. And we can't say that okay this now shows that the system is right.

Again, I mean, I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of bashing all the cops, because I think the cops are great people, a lot of good cops out there. But we need to own up to the right, now there are issues out there that we need to deal with. We need to heal this division between police and the community that they're supposed to serve, protect and serve. We can't do that if we don't hold ourselves accountable.

CUOMO: You can't keep the men and women who do the job safe either, if you don't. Because they have to pay the price for whatever the perception is of the force.

And, Bark, I know you don't like some of this once we know they're out there. And if we don't address them, then they become even more powerful in the vacuum of getting pushback.


And that's why I love having you, and, Roberto, you too, order to -- this is what they're saying, and here is the response. Thank you for doing it both. I appreciate you.

Up next --

BARKSDALE: Thank you.

VILLASENOR: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- remember why we got to a point of the trial here, okay? Yes, you had the state step up. But you had citizens step up.

Next, a key witness to the actual Floyd murder. His reaction in the moment. Now, his reaction to the verdict and why the defense's attempt to go after Floyd and him where things that we use all too ready for, next.


CUOMO: The George Floyd killing now must be called, the George Floyd murder. And that was the rendering of a court today that set a new precedent.


And there is an overwhelming sense of relief for many in this country, especially those who witnessed George Floyd's murder firsthand. I have reaction from the man who confronted the officers that fateful



DONALD WILLIAMS, WITNESSED GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH: Check his pulse! Check his pulse, Thao. Thao, check his pulse. Thao, check his pulse, bro. Bro, check his pulse, bro. You're bogus (ph), bro.


CUOMO: When you look at that crowd again, that's a Donald Williams. He's afraid, he's worried. You see white people there too. They were afraid. They were worried. It would be Williams would call the cops on the cops, and then would testify for the prosecution in this trial.

We spoke just a short time ago. Here he is.


CUOMO: What does this mean to Donald?

WILLIAMS: Man, this means a lot to me. Not only to me and my family, and also to George Floyd's family and to the world. This is a big accomplishment, and a big step to getting justice for black America.

CUOMO: Did you expect this?

WILLIAMS: I can't say I expected it, but I know the team that, you know, myself and the team, those around the witnesses, you know, we all went out there and we told the truth, we told what we've seen. And, you know, the world didn't see what we've seen, you know, it was blinders still on. And I believe the blinders are off now because the verdict that was made today.

CUOMO: What has this meant to you, in your life, that you were there that day that you did the right thing, that you knew it was wrong and that you felt powerless to stop it? Do you feel more powerful now?

WILLIAMS: I wouldn't say I feel powerful, I just feel that me as a human being, the people that grew up around my personality, what I stand for, sticking for people and what I'm teaching my kids, have to be shown to the world as a black man, you know? It just means a lot to, me, a lot of weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

There's been some really long nights. Really long days, really long year being able to, you know, just have weight off my shoulders. There's a lot of would have marshaled history my family, not only my family but the George Floyd's family and the world.

CUOMO: What do you want this to mean?

WILLIAMS: You know, when I want this to mean, and the reason I'm going to keep on going on in this battle out to the situation, I want my son and my friends' kids, my kid's -- my son's son's kids, my daughter's kids, my nieces, my nephews, I want them to be able to be understood as a black human being in America. I want them to be able to have justice if their rights are being broken, you know?

This just means a lot, you know, being in history and I really understanding how much history I am, but just listen to people around me and different feedback I'm getting from my social media, and I'm getting for my team around, you know, this is really huge, you know? And again, it means a lot, Chris.

CUOMO: When you are in court, you were ready. You were ready to be challenged. You were ready to be painted a certain way, what did it feel like to be in that seat? And to feel the questions coming, and how much of the answers meant, and what you wanted to convey?

WILLIAMS: It meant -- they meant a lot. You know, there is a championship fight for me. That's all I kept telling myself. To stay mentally focused. You know, it's a championship fight, it's five rounds. This is a whole year, you got to be able to stay in the zone, don't lose yourself with all the riffraff that's going on or, you know, different rumors trying to make me as an expert on certain things, when all I was doing is telling the truth, you know? So --

CUOMO: Part of the big defense strategy was, you know, the real deal with George Floyd, right? You know he was really about, right? You know what he was doing, right? You know he was really, like right?

And then when you got on the stand, they wanted you to be seen as a certain way as well, let me remind the audience.



WILLIAMS: No, you can't paint me out as angry. I wasn't. I was in a position where I had to be controlled.

NELSON: Those terms grew more and more angry, would you agree with that?

WILLIAMS: They grew more and more pleading for life.


CUOMO: Angry black man spooking the cops, they couldn't do their job. That's what's the portrayal was supposed to be. You didn't want to let it happen.

WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I've been there, I've been there four, five, six, seven years old being considered an angry black child, that all got his work done before his class, you know, saying, no, he's doing too much energy and things like that, being a wrestler in Minnesota, passive aggressive. You know, I've been through all of this before.


So like what he did for me was just give me more fuel to be comfortable on the stands, because I knew his tactics was to see me as a black man and to see that I was angry, and to see if he could strike me, and to see if he could get me off. Of course, by staying on track, he was not able to break me because, you know, we're unbreakable. We've been through this fight for 400-plus years, I'm just a hybrid of my parents, I'm a hybrid of, you know, my ancestors before me.

CUOMO: When I met you, when we first spoke last May, you said, we've got to make a change. We all better make a change. I don't know the last time we saw a verdict like this, under these kinds of circumstances. This is a moment where change is possible.

And you are forever part of that result and that story. I wish you well, and I thank you, Donald Williams, for sharing your story with us from the beginning.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris, for having me, and thank you to the world, and to the George Floyd family and for the justice that we got. Thank you to my team, and again, my family, for being able to rock with me and keep me focused during this championship fight.

CUOMO: God bless, and good luck going forward. I'm always a call away.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, sir.


CUOMO: Everything that happened here, was a necessary catalyst that but for, we may not have one where we wear. It's not easy to get in cops' faces --

LEMON: Yeah.

CUOMO: -- in a situation like that and plead with him to do their job. When they're saying, get away, stay away, we have it, we got it, and to keep coming at them and coming at them and say, no, it's wrong, it's wrong.

LEMON: How does you -- because I was just going to say, I was going to go the old-fashioned Christian way, that God put them in there, right? That it was -- that it was kind of, it was good he was there, let's put it that way. It was good that he was there, and I know that he wanted to do -- he wanted to do more, they all wanted to do more. What can they do when you got --

CUOMO: Nothing, that's a very perilous situation. And, look, you saw the -- and the idea that you're trying to make the cops violent. No, no, the defense attorneys tried to create it as a dangerous situation.

LEMON: Yeah.

CUOMO: Their argument was these people made it very hostile.

LEMON: Yeah.

CUOMO: The police had to defend themselves, they couldn't do their job.

LEMON: Did you see the picture of them standing there? They're the standing there like this --

CUOMO: But you heard them with Donald Williams, you are angry, you are angry.

LEMON: Yeah.

CUOMO: And you got worse, you are more heated.

LEMON: Yeah, made them nervous.

CUOMO: Look, we know they're trying to do, is that part of the defense? Yes, but it's also a part of reinforcing stereotypes that have gotten us into trouble. Now what we have to do? We've got to talk, we have to try and spread new truth through society to get away from the stigma. Who's good at that?

LEMON: Oh, Kamau? There you go.

Oh, Kamau is a genius at everything. Except for one thing, except for one thing and I know only I know one of this. I'm going to tell you right after this break.

CUOMO: What a tease.



LEMON: President United States calling the Chauvin verdict a giant step towards justice in America.

Let's discuss now. W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA", thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Listen, I -- you know, Chris and I were joking on the other side, saying that you're bad at -- I said that you were bad at one thing, and I think that's driving because you don't have a driver's license.



LEMON: That's breaking news. But let's talk about where you're really good, and that's having conversations and analyzing what's going on in the country. Your feelings tonight?

BELL: I mean, I feel happy for the Floyd family, for George Floyd's family. They seem to really have experienced a measure of justice here, which I'm grateful for them. I'm grateful for all of those eyewitnesses, grateful for all of those people who testified on Floyd's behalf, where he couldn't speak himself. So that feels great, but I think that's in the grand scheme of things, we still live in a system of policing in this country that I would say is broken, but my mom says work it as it is designed to work.

LEMON: Uh-huh. Meaning?

BELL: Meaning that, you know, even as we do this, I was looking on Twitter, a 15-year old girl named Makiyah Bryant who was apparently killed by police today. In Alameda, California, a man was taken into -- a Latinx man was taken into custody and killed under mysterious circumstances. So, we are still living in a country where police still see black and brown bodies as criminalized.

So, until, hopefully will look at what happened to George Floyd and the verdict in that case and go, this is an opportunity to redo the whole system. But that's going to take a lot of work and a lot of imagination.

LEMON: I do have to tell you, though, some of these cases, at least one of those cases you mentioned are not exactly sure what happened there. Police releasing the body cam video, but there's still -- I get your overall point.

BELL: I think the point is that we don't always know will happen, not every case is the same but the fact is, is that there is a lot of suspicion around the police because there's a lot more George Floyd's out there that we didn't get on video.

LEMON: Yeah. So, we have seen people of color dying at the hands of police, over and, over, and over, and over again, with no accountability, but today, I mean, this was -- this was different. As your mom said, it's designed the way that it was designed, but do you -- do you think this message, this verdict sends a message throughout the country? Is it going to -- is it going to resonate do you believe?

BELL: You called me old before we came on camera. Let's be clear, I'm old enough to remember the Rodney King verdict. I'm old enough to remember the O.J. Simpson verdict. I'm old enough to remember some things that we thought things were going to change from this point.

LEMON: George Zimmerman.


BELL: George Zimmerman -- there's all these different times when we thought things will change from this point forward -- you know, Eric Garner, Michael Brown. Things will change. We've got it on film. The evidence is clear.

The thing that is different this time is that tonight an officer is in jail for the murder -- for the killing of a black man. That doesn't happen that often.

But again we need the system to change. It is not about individual acts. Again I'm grateful for George Floyd's family. But it is not about individual acts and I'm sure they believe the same thing.

LEMON: This is what we heard today from the Vice President of the United States. Here it is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's the truth about racial injustice. It is not just a black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American.

It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all. And it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential.


LEMON: You know Kamau, we spoke a lot you and I during this whole time. When at the height of it last summer and as it continued when we were all in quarantine and, you know, just going stir crazy in our homes.

We couldn't help but watch this video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. It opened so many eyes to the depths of racial injustice especially at the hands of some police officers. Do you think this is going to last?

BELL: I mean -- no, because in some sense I don't -- I don't -- I can't -- I can't hope that it lasts. I have to work to make sure it lasts, and people -- me and the people I know who are out here doing this work. You have to keep talking about it to make sure it lasts because it can go away.

As I said, Rodney King, it wasn't 100 years ago, you know. So we have to -- we have to work to make it last because it can go away.

And like you just said, the George Floyd -- the fact that George Floyd made a difference and his death made a difference, his murder made a difference is sort of this weird toxic perfect storm of us all being at home because our president mismanaged the pandemic and we were all watching TV at the same time.

Without that, without those eyewitnesses and about people video taping it, he would just be another black dead man and they would take the cops' word I believe.

LEMON: Listen, I watch your show every Sunday. So what do you see -- and you often inject humor in a way that is illustrative and informative, right. And that's how you do it. That's you approach. So what do you as a next step?

BELL: Well, it's funny you're bringing it up because as I said, "UNITED SHADES" is coming back and we were already working on a show about defund the police to talk about the next steps of policing in this country.

And so that's our premier episode is about defund the police. And I think as much as that idea scares a lot of people and it puts off a lot of people including our current president, we have to start talking about the big ideas of policing and get past the point of fear and get past -- get to the point of actually talking about what these things mean because we have to imagine a different way.

So that's what I see going forward. We have to lean in to all these difficult conversations and then start holding ourselves accountable for results.

LEMON: You know, it's interesting you mention the whole defund the police theme because listen, the slogan I think many people -- I think most people are critical of the slogan but not necessarily what it means. They're just -- they're critical --


BELL: Yes -- people are critical of the slogan, but they won't Google it. Look it up. If you Google it, you will understand what the slogan means and you'll be less afraid of this. That's how Google works.

I also was a person who the first time I heard it got a little like ugh. And I live in Oakland, the home of the Black Panthers. So I was little bit like that but then once you understand what it means, all it means is the fact is currently in Oakland we spend almost 50 percent of our municipal fund on the police. And only 4 percent to 5 percent of the violent crime calls -- police only get 4 percent to 5 percent of violent crime calls in Oakland.

That means there's a lot of money going to police that could go be going to other groups in the city to help support the city.

LEMON: W -- thank you. I know you love it when I call you W. That's a no. That is a no.

Thank you so much. Listen and make sure you check out the season premier of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA", Sunday night May 2 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

It's good to see you, W. Kamau Bell, seriously. Thank you so much.

BELL: Thank you, sir.

LEMON: Thank you.

BELL: Thank you.

LEMON: You be well.

So this trial is over but the case is far from over. Don't you think? It's far from over. As W. Kamau Bell said, we've got a whole lot of work to do. Regardless of whether you think defund the police, reimagine the police, reform the police, or what have you. There's work to be done on a lot of fronts here. A lot of things need to be done.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Absolutely, a quote that's flying around social media right now is that justice will be served when those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are affected. It's a (INAUDIBLE) attributed to Ben Franklin but it is a very good thought nonetheless and it is the key to any real change over time.


LEMON: A host over on -- one of my friends -- the steward over on the Turner Classic Movie said we need to be able to have -- especially when white people in this country can have their pleasure interrupted, then we will be on the right path. Have their pleasure interrupted -- then we'll be on the right path. Get used to that. Yes.

CUOMO: So, let's take a look at what the path is.

Let's bring in former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams. He's going to look at what's next for Chauvin -- sentencing will be interesting here. And this decision has effected a lot of people including three other police officers. Next.


CUOMO: Some context for you. In 2019, a man named Mohamed Noor became the first police officer in Minnesota to ever be convicted of murder for an on duty incident. Now that was a shooting.

Today, Derek Chauvin became the second. But this was not a shooting. His conviction remains the exception. Not the rule. The numbers here tell the story. In fact the fact that they don't even really keep numbers tells the story.


CUOMO: I want to bring in former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams. You have your convictions. Now, you have your sentencing. Will this be a sentence that benefits from aggravated circumstances?


Now look, the judge hasn't tipped his hand as to his thinking. But there are a number of aggravating factors. And set aside the fact that this is a police officer. He's now a convicted defendant who number one, engaged in a violent act on a public street in plain view of children over a long period of time with a group of individuals.

Those are -- each of those things I laid out are aggravating factors. And these are all things the judge can use to bump the sentence up.

CUOMO: Does being a police officer help or hurt Chauvin?

WILLIAMS: I think it hurts here because he's betraying the badge for the very reasons -- some of the reasons that he was convicted for are the kinds of things that a sentence in court can use to bump the sentence up.

He betrayed the public trust and he betrayed the uniform he was wearing. So absolutely, the judge would be within his right as the sentencing authority to go for a higher sentence here. CUOMO: There was a lot of chatter about what this means for the other

three officers and that oh, they're going to want to take a deal now after this. but what happens? When their attorneys pick up the phone to call the prosecutor and say, hey we want to talk about a deal. What happens after this?

WILLIAMS: Yes. So I think they do have a huge incentive to want a deal. The prosecution doesn't, right. And it's all about how much the prosecution has a desire to compromise here.

So if I'm the defendant I'm thinking a few things. Number one -- one thing we will see soon is a motion to move the venue of the trial out of Hennepin County. They're going to make an argument that look. Look at all the publicity. Look at all excitement about this. Look at Maxine Waters. Look at all these things. There's no way that our clients can get a fair trial.

That probably will fail. And then the question will be how much appetite the prosecution will have to negotiate on a plea. The prosecution is in a really -- kind of in the pole position here -- this (INAUDIBLE) term.

It's -- this conviction in nine hours on all three counts. It seemed that there really wasn't much debate between the jurors. And I think that will carry on down to the other three officers on the stand. So I think -- I would think the three of them and their lawyers are sweating right now.

CUOMO: Chance of appeal? You mention Maxine Waters -- an appeal based on political intervention, tampering with the jury.

WILLIAMS: Yes. No, I think not even a chance. There will be an appeal, number one, on the third degree murder charge just because there's an open question in Minnesota law as to whether and how an officer can even be convicted of third degree murder.

This is the central issue being appealed right now in Mohamed Noor's case, the case that you talked about in the tease here.

Then there's the question of pretrial publicity. Then there's the question of should the jurors have been sequestered the whole time. Then there's the -- I mean all these things that the judge sort of batted down -- they're all basis for a smart defense attorney to try to challenge.

Who knows how they do although there is this open question on that third degree murder charge. It's a tricky area in Minnesota law. And it's just not resolved yet. It's simply -- as much as people want it to be, it's just up in the air.

CUOMO: But does it matter especially on a state law level? Even if it matters to Mohamed Noor because that's what they got him on. But even if it were to be vacated against Chauvin, the sentences generally, even at homicide level, run concurrently.



CUOMO: So they still have him on the big ticket anyway.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Even if you -- forget the sentence -- even if you just threw out the whole charge and said it's a mistrial or he's not guilty on third degree murder. There's still second degree murder and manslaughter and the big one is that 40 year maximum on second degree murder.

So right there -- now it's not going to be 40 years. You know, sentence right now in the range is 12 and a half is I think what they're talking about, it could be higher than that depending on how much the judge bumps it up.

But no, you could do without the third degree murder charge and still send him away to jail for a very long time.

CUOMO: I was talking today contextually about how rare a decision like this is against a police officer. And the reason it's hard to tell you how rare is because we don't really keep uniform statistics on this.

About 25 years ago the FBI had to start compiling data but there is no mandate for police departments to comply or do it in any uniform fashion. What does that tell you?

WILLIAMS: Well, even set aside the data, the public just doesn't have a huge incentive to convict police officers. Number one laws are drafted in a manner that protects police use of force, right.

Like now, there's some degree of force that cops are allowed to use. We should all probably agree with that. But you know, laws are there to protect them and they often get away with using force generally, number one.


WILLIAMS: And two, on a bigger more social level, people are trained and grow up trusting police officers. You talked about this earlier on the show tonight. It's baked into society that we trust officers.

So even before you get to the question of whether and how data are kept, the simple fact is it's just hard to convict cops.

And we shouldn't draw from this very quick unanimous decision that somehow race and policing are fixed in America. This just happened to be one trial with an overwhelming amount of evidence that ended in a conviction very quickly. But there will be others and sadly they're probably not going to come out the same way.

CUOMO: Remember the way this one started is not the way it ended. It started as being explained as a health incident by the police. It wasn't until that it was removed by the governor, given to the AG. The AG picks a special prosecutor, Keith Ellison did, that you got into trial in the first place.

Elliot Williams, you have been a gift to the audience in the analysis of this case. I appreciate you.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. We'll be right back.



CUOMO: Question for what it means.

LEMON: What does it mean?

CUOMO: What does it mean when people in the -- people of color, but also white people rejoice that there has been a conviction that someone is responsible for murder in the death of George Floyd? What a bizarre thing to rejoice in.

What does it say about where we are and what our expectations are? Because think about it. It's not a happy occasion, right? George Floyd is gone. He'll never be back. His family is broken. They've had to create an entire new reality of a coping structure because they're in the public eye.

And yet there is relief -- we'll use the word. There was celebrating. What does that say about what this means?

LEMON: I don't -- I don't think it was so much as celebrating if you look at it in a Christian or a spiritual way, celebrating the downfall of anyone. I think it was celebrating a victory that had been for so long unattainable for people of color in this society.

So I think every little bit -- that was seen as a victory and not necessarily celebrating the demise of someone. There is a difference. There is nuance.

So I think that for so long, quite frankly, Derek Chauvin represented I think the wrongs and the ills of policing in this country. What black people had been hoping for, for so long and that's just justice and accountability.

And I think that's -- that's what that was. It wasn't a celebration like yes, yes, we got him. That's not really what that was about. It was a celebration of finally, justice has been served. Finally, the legal system got it right. That's what that was. Do you understand what I'm saying?

CUOMO: I do. But I think it's important to have it explained. Not that there was anything off-putting.

LEMON: That's just mine. That's mine.

CUOMO: Right. It's just there is a sadness to it that --

LEMON: There is. CUOMO: -- that the expectation is this is very unlikely to go

punished. And just as George Floyd was being unfairly characterized to help change the perspective of what happened, I hope that people realize that Derek Chauvin is not the archetype of a police officer either.

That this is not what police do. Police were absolutely disgusted by what Chauvin did, and that's important too, because you said there is nuance. There is some nuance because when you're saying good, you know, this happened. This is not good for anybody except for the expectation that things might get better as a result.

LEMON: So here is the thing. That's a tough one, especially for many people who look like me when you say that's not what police do. Now, we know that there are good people in policing. That should go unsaid.

But the police officers who were there were representative of the police officers. We have three more officers who were there who didn't stop it.

And so you can say as a whole the police officer looking in, and they may say to you and to me and to other people this is not what policing is about. But the evidence that is -- that refutes what they're saying are those officers were on the scene and didn't say anything.

The officer in Virginia whose partner didn't say anything when he was treating the member of the military, the army lieutenant, like shit. When you see other officers on other scenes who don't speak up when police officers are doing bad things. We don't see that a lot.

So yes, there are good people in policing. But the cowardice and the blue wall of silence makes them complicit with bad officers. And they need to own up to that. And so you don't want to paint policing or all police officers with a broad brush, but their behavior has to live up to the standard that they want people to have in their hearts and in their heads about them. And quite often it does not.

CUOMO: You have to empower the shift that you want with officers. There is a penalty if you go bad on a fellow officer, even if it means you're doing the right thing. There was a case that only recently, I think, after 15 years resolved where a female officer stopped --

LEMON: Cariol Horne. We had her on the show. Yes.

CUOMO: -- from a chokehold.



CUOMO: It took her 15 years, why?

LEMON: 15 years and she lost her pension.

CUOMO: There has to be a duty to intervene. So there is a penalty. You go bad on me, we're supposed to be partners. There is a problem with you, within the culture. You have to shift that and be like no, no. If you don't say anything --

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: -- you've got a big problem.

LEMON: But that's my point. And then so she lost her job, lost her pension.


LEMON: But the bad officer kept his job and kept his pension and also kept his respect.


LEMON: And so again, I think you're proving my point. Yes, there are good people in policing. But when you do things like that, does that really live up to the standard of what you're preaching and what you want people to think about you when you're not holding your own fellow officers who are making you look bad and you don't hold them accountable?

CUOMO: But you have to empower them to do it. And I think that --

LEMON: Who has to empower them? You mean the police?

CUOMO: Yes. I think the rules have be -- here is our expectation. If I catch you doing this, you're going to have a problem.

LEMON: Is it the rules in policing? Is it the union? Because those are two different things.

CUOMO: Whatever it is. Whatever control mechanisms there are, you've got to look at it, you've got to think about it, you've got to talk to officers. Because at the end of the day, you want the job to be safe for them and for them to do the job in a way that makes it safe for others.

LEMON: Safer. Policing is not a safe job.

CUOMO: It will never be a safe job.

LEMON: Safer. Yes.

CUOMO: Yes, agreed.

Thank you for sharing the night with me. You make things understandable. We got a long way to go, but we both know we only get there together.


CUOMO: So thanks to all of you. Thank you for watching me and Don and all of CNN's coverage. It will continue here on CNN.