Return to Transcripts main page


Chauvin Trial Alternate Juror Speaks Publicly; Interview with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D); Funeral For Daunte Wright Held Today. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 22, 2021 - 10:30   ET




SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are. And it's not surprising, when you think about the chief here, Chief Arradondo, and you know, the way he's been out front on this, he testified against Derek Chauvin. So it's not surprising to hear him, to come out and say this. Certainly to welcome news from folks here in the community who want to see the police department cooperate in this investigation.

And also, keep in mind that the chief, when he took over this police department, inherited many of the problems. And he's been trying to change some of the issues, certainly the relationships between the police and the community. So it's really not so surprising that he would welcome this.

And essentially, what this does is that it's going to allow officers to talk to some of these investigators, it's going to open the books, they're going to be able to come into DOJ and look at all of their records and information and practices. So certainly it's going to be helpful for the Department of Justice, and really the community in the end -- Poppy and Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: We got some vision into the jury, the jury that handled the Derek Chauvin case, from one of the alternate jurors -- there are always a couple of them. She spoke out about her view of it. What did she say, what did we learn?

PROKUPECZ: Yes, there always are, Jim, you're right, a couple of them. In this case, there were only two alternates. They were dismissed on the day that the deliberations began. You'll remember, the judge came out, he said he wanted to talk to them, and then he was dismissing them.

And now, for the first time, we're getting to hear from one of those alternate jurors, talking about her impressions, sort of what she saw in terms of how Derek -- in terms of how he behaved on the day that George Floyd died. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LISA CHRISTENSEN, ALTERNATE JUROR IN CHAUVIN MURDER TRIAL: I felt like he was the leader, and the other officers were following his lead. I kind of felt like he wasn't taking the warnings seriously, obviously, kind of like I know what I'm doing.


PROKUPECZ: And so, Jim and Poppy, that's going to be really interesting, right? Think about the other three officers who were there on the scene, who are now also charged in the death of George Floyd. It's going to be interesting to see how the defense attorney, how they view what she said here in terms of how they present their case.

Of course, we expect that the attorneys, when they do go to trial, they're going to put a lot of the blame on Derek Chauvin for what happened. And certainly it seems, at least from this juror, that that is her sense, that he was the leader here, that he was the senior person, and that he was fully responsible for what happened here.

SCIUTTO: That's a very interesting point. Those other officers of course, charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.


Arizona secretary of state, urging state senators and the governor to reject a new election bill. She joins us, next, to tell us why she believes the bill goes against the will of the people, makes it harder to vote.


HARLOW: Another major blow to any Republican who made unfounded voter fraud claims in the 2020 election, and this time it comes from Nevada -- actually, from the Republican secretary of state of Nevada, Barbara Cegavske, sending a letter to her own state GOP party, saying an investigation found no evidence to support its allegations of voter fraud there.

This comes after Cegavske was censured last week by the Nevada GOP. As the lone Republican statewide office holder, she has steadily pushed back against the party's unfounded fraud claims.

SCIUTTO: And yet, in so many states, election restrictions go forward. In Arizona, the GOP-led state house just passed a bill that would make major changes to the state's mail-in voting laws, including stopping some voters from automatically receiving those ballots.

TEXT: AZ House Bill S.B. 1485: Stops some voters from automatically receiving ballots; Would remove voters who have not participates in the last four elections, including partisan primaries; Would remove voters who don't respond to a final mailed notice

SCIUTTO: If passed by the senate there and signed into law by the Republican governor, Doug Ducey, it would remove voters who have not participated in the last four elections, including partisan primaries, and also remove those who don't respond to a final mail notice.

Why? What's the reason for all this? Joining me now to discuss, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, she's a Democrat. Secretary Hobbs, thanks for taking the time this morning.


SCIUTTO: So there are a lot of laws, dozens of laws with hundreds of provisions getting passed, not just in Arizona but in many states around the country. There's a pattern here, and they're all being passed by Republican-led legislatures. Tell us about the law here in Arizona. Which provision or provisions most concern you and how do they, in your view, make it harder for people to vote?

HOBBS: Well, I think it's important to point out that Arizonans have enjoyed no-excuse absentee voting here in the state of decades, we did it before it was cool. And so this is a system that's been in place for a long time, and has been widely popular among our voters.

And they -- we have the permanent early vote list that voters can sign up for and receive a ballot in the mail for every single election that they're eligible to vote in, they don't have to request a ballot for every election. And so it's a great convenience for voters, but also makes sure that they are getting their ballot. Not everybody pays attention to elections all the time, and so they're able to get that ballot without having to even think about it.

So it's been a great convenience, and it's how people have grown accustomed to voting in the state. But they have options. And if a voter chooses to exercise a different option for voting, such as showing up on Election Day at a polling place or voting early at a polling place, and they don't utilize that mail-in ballot, then that starts the clock on purging them off of this list, and it makes it basically essentially no longer a permanent list.


SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this question. Do you suspect Republicans here looked at ways of voting that favored Democrats, and are trying, with these restrictions, to make it harder in particular for Democrats to vote? Now, they don't always get that right because some of the things they're going after were also popular with Republican voters. But based on your experience, as you look at these measures, do you see a connection there?

HOBBS: Well, I certainly think in the last couple elections, that the more options that voters had, the better Democrats seem to do in terms of elected office in the state. And so you could suspect a correlation there.

It seems, across the country, the pattern is trying to make it harder for people to vote. And that tends to disproportionately impact low- income, minority voters, senior voters who might not have mobility. So there's definitely a pattern.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean, some -- you've heard some Republican lawmakers speaking with their inside voice, saying that, you know, quality of votes more important than quantity of votes. And you could take that for what they're actually saying there.

You have an interesting battle in that you have Arizona business leaders, urging lawmakers to reject this bill -- much as you saw, for instance, in Atlanta with the Major League Baseball pulling the All- Star Game from there in response to Georgia's law. Tell us about the importance of that, and why businesses are joining in at least questioning but often criticizing and opposing these measures.

HOBBS: Well, the business community here in Arizona is still very cognizant of the damage done to our state when we passed Senate Bill 1070, which was the country's most far-reaching, anti-immigration law by far. And so they are often reluctant to step into this fray.

But when they do, it's because they're looking out for the -- Arizona's image across the country, the economic impacts that something like this could have. And obviously, seeing that across the country, this -- these kind of bills are happening and it's going to taint our image across the country, and so their voice is very, very important and I'm glad that they have decided to lend it in this regard.

SCIUTTO: All right. So what's going to happen very soon, in your state, is a big election audit. It's under way, actually, led by Senate Republicans in Maricopa County, 2.1 million ballots done by outside organizations you say are biased.

I mean, to be clear, we should note there have been previous official audits done already that did not find widespread fraud. Why are Republicans doing this audit here, and are you concerned about how it will be carried out?

HOBBS: Well, you're generous to call it an audit because the firm that they have brought in to conduct this exercise is neither an auditing firm (ph) nor an election firm, so they really -- it's clear that they don't have a grasp of what they're trying to accomplish here, or a plan in place. They're making it up as they go along.

And there are a lot of concerns. We -- as you mentioned, we have done every single audit that's required by law, plus three additional audits in Maricopa County, plus there were nine court cases after the election that -- that upheld the results. There was -- they were -- there was no evidence for any of the claims that were made.

So this is just an exercise to perpetuate the big lie. And rather than shore up people's concerns as the -- as folks are claiming this will do, it's actually broadening those concerns. There's nothing good that can come out of this exercise.

SCIUTTO: And we see it in the public polling, large majorities of Republicans still believe, despite the contradictory evidence, that somehow the election was stolen. Katie Hobbs, nice to have you on, thanks very much.

HOBBS: Thank you. [10:44:06]

HARLOW: Great interview. Well, look, it is an all-too-familiar situation for a black-owned funeral home in Minneapolis. The owner helped the family of George Floyd, less than a year ago, when he was murdered today. That family will do the same for the family of Daunte Wright. We'll have their story, next.


HARLOW: The Senate is in session right now -- you see Dick Durbin of Illinois, speaking. Today, the chamber will vote on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. That bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support. It aims to address hate crimes against Asian-Americans that have been rampant and have spiked dramatically during this pandemic.

SCIUTTO: The vote comes more than one month after six Asian women were killed during a shooting spree in Atlanta. Those deaths, drawing more attention to the rise of anti-Asian violence across this country.

In just a few hours, a familiar -- sadly familiar scene, particularly in the city of Minneapolis: A funeral for a black man killed by police.

HARLOW: Family will soon lay 20-year-old Daunte Wright to rest. He was killed by a white police officer in nearby Brooklyn Center earlier this month. Police say the officer used her gun instead of her taser. His aunt spoke with CNN this morning.


NAISHA WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S AUNT: Daunte was a shining light, he was a shining light. He was love, he was a man in the making. He was somebody, he was human. He died. We don't -- we can't understand why.


HARLOW: Man in the making, what an interview. Our Adrienne Broaddus joins us now, she is outside the church where the funeral will take place.

And, Adrienne, you're about to show us a really moving piece.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, I want to set the scene and tell you what's happening right now. Just moments ago, in the last 35 seconds, pallbearers took Daunte Wright's casket from the hearse that carried it from the funeral home to the church, where he will be eulogized. They took it inside the building here.

Earlier, his aunt said people watching can see the Wright family's pain, but they don't feel it. Perhaps someone who understands that pain the most is Tracy Wesley. He's handled some of the most high- profile deaths across the state of Minnesota, including the death of George Floyd.


BROADDUS (voice-over): For three decades, Tracy Wesley has met people on life's most difficult days.

WESLEY: Yes, absolute worst.

BROADDUS (voice-over): He runs Estes Funeral Chapel, one of only two black-owned funeral homes in Minnesota, and he's handled some of the Twin Cities' most high-profile deaths.

WESLEY: We dealt with Jamar Clark, we've dealt with, of course, George Floyd. And now, here we are with Daunte Wright. Not only have you lost, but you're suffering a loss that was unnecessary.

BROADDUS (voice-over): As George Floyd's family celebrated a guilty verdict for the murder of their loved one --

WESLEY: It will be this one here.

BROADDUS (voice-over): -- Wesley helped Daunte Wright's family arrange their son's family. Wesley said the urn is red for Daunte's favorite color. The casket holding his body for viewing, white.

WESLEY: White always means angelic. With the white, the red and white roses, they just kind of like that.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Wright was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop about 15 miles from the Cup Foods where George Floyd was killed.

WESLEY: It's a little bit of a different state of mind that you have to be in to help. On the one hand, you're upset, being African- American in this country; and on the other hand, being a professional you have to do all that you can to focus to help our families.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Wesley has also handled killings people outside of the state of Minnesota know nothing about. They're among the names here, at this symbolic cemetery, called, "Say Their Names."


BROADDUS (voice-over): Stevante Clark's brother, Stephon, is among the names at the symbolic cemetery, blocks from the site where Floyd died. Here, men and women killed by police are honored. Sacramento Police shot and killed Clark's brother in 2018. They thought he had a gun, but only discovered a cell phone.

Now, Daunte Wright will join the other names.

CLARK: My heart breaks for the family because this is a club nobody wants to be a part of.

BROADDUS (voice-over): The youngest was seven years old.

CLARK: I see different names that really bring back to like, whoa, we couldn't get it together after. Where did we as a people go wrong, you know? Where is the respect for life?

BROADDUS (voice-over): And in the face of death, Wesley does his part to help families celebrate life.

WESLEY: Because you know, this is the last -- this is the last piece that's going to hold my loved one. So it's tough.


BROADDUS (on camera): And the Wright family is saying goodbye to Daunte on what his aunt says is Daunte's grandmother's 60th birthday -- Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: Adrienne Broaddus for us in Minneapolis with that incredibly meaningful story. Adrienne, thank you.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.


HARLOW: And we'll be right back.


HARLOW: A major commitment this morning from the Biden administration, President Biden pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030. The president is aiming to lower carbon emissions in the U.S. by up to 52 percent from its peak levels recorded between 2005 and 2007.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says it's time for America to reclaim its position as a world leader on this crisis.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: We're looking for other countries to make big commitments as well, but we can't do that with a straight face if America isn't leading the way, if we're not walking the talk. That's what this big, bold-but-achievable commitment from the president today is going to help us do: resume that position of U.S. leadership, and then challenge the other nations of the world to be part of the solution as well.


SCIUTTO: Addressing climate change is also a major focus of President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, which he says could create thousands of jobs that also happen to be eco-friendly.

Well, be sure to watch a special CNN town hall with White House Climate Envoy John Kerry, as well as others, taking questions on how to meet this goal to combat climate change. Dana Bash will host "THE CLIMATE CRISIS" tomorrow night, 10:00 on CNN.


HARLOW: We'll be watching. Thanks to all of you for watching this morning, we'll see you tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.