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CNN NEWSROOM

Family of Andrew Brown Speaks After Reviewing Shooting Video; Brown Family Attorneys Say They Only Saw 20 Seconds of Video; Biden Set to Announce New CDC Mask Guidance Tomorrow. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 26, 2021 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

CHANTEL CHERRY LASSITER, BROWN FAMILY'S ATTORNEY: Yes, he was still -- I just want to make it clear that he was -- they were still shooting at him after the car had already crashed into a tree. They were still in the stance of shooting towards him. His car is riddled with bullets from them shooting at him when he was not in any threatening -- threatening them in any kind of form or fashion.

KHALIL FEREBEE, SON OF ANDREW BROWN, JR.: And even before it started, they had killed before the --

LASSITER: And thankfully, Khalil noticed, and we kept rewinding the tape, there were shell casings before he even backed out. So they were shooting at him, he was sitting there with his hands on the steering wheel, in the driveway.

FEREBEE: And before the video started.

LASSITER: Also, we only saw, again -- I want you all to show everybody else 20 seconds. There were things that transpired before those 20 seconds that we did not see. So I don't know how many shots was fired before the little 20 seconds they allowed us to see. I know a shot through that the windshield before he was even able to back out of his driveway.

And I want to open it -- did you want --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just step here in the center, Khalil. I want your mom with you.

FEREBEE: It's like we're against all odds in this world. My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life. You know, he was not in no -- the officers was not in no harm of him at all. It's just messed up how this happened man, real, real. He got executed. It ain't right. It ain't right at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time, the attorneys will try to answer some of your questions. BAKARI SELLERS, BROWN FAMILY'S ATTORNEY: Let me also just tell my

friends in the media, I think we learned this from the case of George Floyd, that after the night of the incident where George Floyd was murdered, the police department put out a press release that said, man dies from medical incident.

And I want you to keep that fresh in your mind because I want all of you all to help us. I want every single camera out here to help us, because do not let them pass off 20 seconds from eight different cameras, not giving us the dashcam video and the fact we know there were cameras on the house and on other posts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That they have possession of.

SELLERS: So, I want my friends in the media to go out and demand justice for the country to see. This is bigger than -- this is bigger than Andrew. You know, God uses -- God uses us in mysterious ways. And I looked at Khalil before we went in and I said, Khalil, you're about to see something you ain't never seen before. I can't imagine what it would be like to see my dad executed on camera, but Khalil stood strong.

He stood strong but he is now a victim of a broken system. From the way they interacted to the way they're covering it up. So with that, I guess you'll take some questions. Harry and Ben -- I took the bar exam a few times. They're smarter than I am.

BEN CRUMP, BROWN FAMILY'S ATTORNEY: I will say this. Roland Martin and all the media, why is it that they get to choose what's the pertinent parts of the video to show the family?

I mean, whether the law critically -- they were going to show the video to the family and then at the last minute, Harry, they decide that, oh, we're going to redact it and all this stuff. Where is that written in the statute at that family doesn't have the right to see the entire video? Are they only going to try to show the public the pertinent parts, so say them?

Or are we going to get to see the whole video, all nine body cameras that were available. All the dashcams from the police car that was available, and then attorneys killed it, you said there was a camera on the light pole. We want all of it. Because that's what transparency is. Let us see with our own eyes. We don't need you to interpret it for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... The stuff you heard and do you know how many different officers were firing at this point?

HARRY DANIELS, BROWN FAMILY'S ATTORNEY: You can answer it. Chantel, you take over. Ask the question again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many shots did you hear in that 20 seconds? And could you tell how many officers were firing?

LASSITER: It was at least seven or eight officers there, and the number they were reeling off. [15:35:00]

You know, we lost count. It was 20 seconds and we lost count in 20 seconds how many shots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attorney Lassiter, the video you saw, was the police vehicle marked or unmarked?

LASSITER: Marked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was marked?

LASSITER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were they in uniform or were they not --

LASSITER: Some of them was in S.W.A.T. some of them had on jeans and khakis with the upper part in uniform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the audio portion, did you hear them identify themselves? Did you hear them say to him who they were, and you need to stop?

LASSITER: They had cut that part out. 20 seconds, we didn't get a lot. All they said was-- let me look at my notes and make sure I get it correct.

DANIELS: Take your time.

LASSITER: Second one, guns saw pointed at him while his hands are on the steering wheel. "Let me see your hands." His hands are on the steering wheel.

It was at least five on the driver's side pointing the guns at him. "Let me see your hands." That's what started at the one second mark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you did not see in the beginning them driving up, you didn't see that?

LASSITER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The beginning of this video was them standing with guns pointed at him?

LASSITER: Yes.

DANIELS: Shots were already being fired.

LASSITER: Shots were already being fired by someone and then someone was running, from the other side of the street, another officer --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not before, but what you saw, through the video starts, you already hear shots?

LASSITER: Yes. DANIELS: It's my understanding that the bodycam that was shown was an

officer furthest away. Not the officers who was right in front of him. So that's the body camera they showed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that there were five cops standing on the driver's side. You did not see the bodycam footage from those five cops? That would --

LASSITER: Oh no, we didn't see those.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what was the vantage point, behind the car, side of the car --

LASSITER: On the side of the car, running across the street. So he was running -- the officer that we saw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the other side of the truck.

LASSITER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it wasn't the end one who was shooting?

LASSITER: He wasn't shooting too at some point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he was further away?

LASSITER: Yes.

CRUMP: And the video started with the shots coming. It was an execution in Elizabeth City from second warning.

LASSITER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What struck you the most, you watched this 20 seconds, what moment struck you the most?

LASSITER: That they're shooting and saying, let me see your hands at the same time.

SELLERS: And he's complying.

LASSITER: And he's --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) why you ---

DANIELS: To make sure and he's complying. His hand is on the steering wheels, even though he's complying, they're still shooting at him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So at what point did the car move? And did it ever go in reverse or was it always forward in the clip that you saw?

LASSITER: It was always -- he started in reverse. He was intentionally trying not to hit officers. He backed up. Instead of going forwards toward them, he backed up and then went all the way around, trying to intentionally not hit the officers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why you all was watching the video today?

LASSITER: No.

DANIELS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Counsel, I presume when you were shown the video, after you all first saw it that you were a little surprised that you only saw 20 seconds.

SELLERS: Shocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ask why you only saw that amount? And what was your first thought when you realized you were only being shown --

DANIELS: Let me answer that. When we first in, they asked if we had any questions. I said, yes, how long is the video? He said -- when I say he, the county attorney. He said, I'm only going to show you the pertinent part.

So the pertinent parts was 20 seconds to them. Not the part that they were shooting before the video came on. So the pertinent parts is the client -- I mean I'm sorry, Mr. Brown getting shot at before the video starts. But they didn't want to show that to us. That wasn't pertinent to them.

CRUMP: What led up to the shooting was not pertinent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A statement was made as to why he said 20 seconds is only the amount of time you need to see in this video --

SELLERS: Let me just help you all answer the questions about the discernment between what was shown and what was not shown. You've got to ask them. They're going to come out of one of these doors and, you know, not y'all, but they have done a good enough job of putting out the warrants, they're going to talk about his record.

CRUMP: Assassinate his character.

SELLERS: We know, we know they're going to say everything bad -- they will call him everything but a child of God. They will call him -- so, we don't know the answer to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they give you an indication they'll show you more video later?

SELLERS: They said on Wednesday they're going to court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many officers are we looking for charging?

DANIELS: They should be arrested right now. Right now.

CRUMP: And, you know, you all -- when that video is released, you will get the answer to that question because, obviously, we in black America don't understand why when a black person is going away from you, you think it's allowable to shoot them in the back and kill them. So, I believe if the law says, carry that, you're not posing a threat or fear, and you still kill somebody, that's murder.

LASSITER: That was an assassination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You says lack of explanation from everyone in the family and they their try to seeking so many answers.

SELLERS: Well, I got cussed out today, so I don't feel good about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you all walk us through who was controlling this whole process?

[15:40:00]

SELLERS: The county attorney.

DANIELS: The county attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The county attorney.

DANIELS: Michael Cox, the County Attorney. You should direct your questions towards him.

SELLERS: I'm going to be -- I want to be completely honest with everybody. The sheriff's perspective was, he wanted the family to be able to see the video today. That's what he stated. He said, the family came. He wanted them to see the video.

I don't have any reason no too say -- he said, I don't know who -- we're not going to dictate what's on it, what's not. We're not going to dictate who's in the room, who's not. All of these decisions were made by the county. And I can't tell you why they made those decisions, but I know he's still here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say the county --

CRUMP: County attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: County or district attorney?

SELLERS: County attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the district attorney or anyone from their office here?

DANIELS: No.

SELLERS: That's one of the best questions we can ask today as journalists. One of the questions I want you all to ask and we'll come next, one of the questions I want you to ask, is how do you redact -- how do you redact bodycam video without the prosecuting agents?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Cover-up.

SELLERS: Right. If I'm outside and I commit a crime, you can't have somebody that works with you every single day redact the video.

CRUMP: And decide what's pertinent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the footage that you're not being shown?

SELLERS: No idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many cameras?

DANIELS: We don't know whether it's unknown. We don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given your interaction with this attorney today, what you all said here --

DANIELS: We didn't interact with the district attorney. The county attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My apologies. Do you trust him to prosecute any potential cases --

LASSITER: No.

CRUMP: When the county attorney won't be the one to prosecute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you all think they're going to tamper with the tapes?

DANIELS: They already did.

CRUMP: They already tampered with them.

Two more, how many more?

SELLERS: Two more.

I'm going to take some black women's questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether or not you'll be shown any additional --

SELLERS: We don't know that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has anyone from the family spoken to the sheriff or from the ---

CRUMP: Briefly today. No, they spoke to him over the phone.

DANIELS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the showing of the video?

CRUMP: Not after the showing of the video.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, to the back of the head?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you elaborate the way --

CRUMP: Yes, in the back of the head. Apparently there have been a lawsuit filed by the media to get the video released. And there are going to be arguments made to a superior court judge and they're going to decide whether to release it to the public or not.

SELLERS: I would hope that your network joins the lawsuit to free all of these videos. Last question. Roland Martin.

ROLAND MARTIN, JOURNALIST: I just want to be clear here. You all offered for the county attorney to talk to the state Attorney General and the Governor --

SELLERS: Not the -- I -- I offered him directly to talk to the Attorney General's office to get an interpretation on the law.

MARTIN: And he refused?

SELLERS: He refused.

DANIELS: We showed him the law, and he refused to look at the law.

MARTIN: Did anyone else offer to speak to the Governor?

DANIELS: Yes.

LASSITER: It was a 20-second redaction.

CRUMP: We got to go quick, last one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a very elementary way, explain when you're not given all that footage, what questions remain? How it is that the footage you have not gotten, as a lawyer, what are you wondering?

CRUMP: It's very simple, it's not even as a lawyer, as my 8-year-old daughter would understand. They are trying to hide something. They don't want us to see everything.

So, thank you all for your attention. We will have a press conference at 11:00 A.M. tomorrow with the results of our independent autopsy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here?

CRUMP: Right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell why they started shooting?

CRUMP: Prayer --

LASSITER: Not long enough.

CRUMP: OK.

And we thank you Ms. Gwen Carr for being present here as well, Eric Garner's mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All heads bowed. Heavenly father, we thank you even in the midst of chaos and confusion, even in the midst of corruption -- VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: You have been listening to the news conference there from the attorneys and the family of Andrew Brown Jr., who was shot and killed by police on Wednesday of last week. And his family says they were shown 20 seconds, their account, 20 seconds of bodycam video from a single officer.

Again, this is the only detail that we have because the county attorney, the sheriff, they've not offered the transparency that this family, that this community is asking for.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Ben Crump called it a snippet. They were expecting transparency and they say, as Ben Crump just said, they are trying to hide something they do not want us to see.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's bring in now Eli Honig and former Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Barksdale.

Let me start with you -- OK. We have Anthony Barksdale.

Commissioner, your reaction to 20 seconds, if this is actually what happened, 20 seconds from one camera, and we know there are ten officers who were not on the job right now because they're on administrative leave, they resigned or they retired?

[15:45:04]

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Victor, I'm still in shock of what we just heard. There is no transparency in North Carolina.

I hope that President Biden, Vice President Harris, were tuned in to hear that. And I hope right now they're on the phone with the DOJ to say, we've got a problem in North Carolina. Get on it.

That was just unbelievable to hear. And think about the ripples across the United States, and we're starting to see a pattern. We're seeing a pattern with this. A drug warrant -- the war on drugs is still alive in certain areas.

Oh, we went to get him, and something happened. They did something wrong. Look at Breonna, look at Mr. Brown now. It is -- it's just nonstop across the United States. And we've got to get aggressive. And if it takes lawyers like Mr. Crump and others to get in this and make it happen, we need to support it because this, what we just heard, is just -- it's enough.

CAMEROTA: Commissioner, even with the snippet, as Ben Crump called it, even with those 20 seconds, it sounds damning. I mean what the attorneys described, the 20 seconds they were allowed to see, they said that Andrew Brown had his hands on the wheel the whole time, he was in his car.

According to them, the very first second of those 20 seconds, officers are already shooting. They're running up to the car. They said shooting. One of the attorneys said that there were at least eight officers. One

on them said there were five officers on the driver's side shooting. One of them said that they were -- the police were still shooting at him after he had crashed his car into a tree. And those are the 20 seconds they think that the family should see?

BARKSDALE: It just doesn't make sense. I'll say this. In Baltimore I ran the narcotics effort for many years. And if you are going to take someone down, make the arrest, you come in with a plan. You know everything. You know escape routes. You know if it goes wrong. What's the nearest hospital? You even -- you'll have an ambulance stand by. You have all of this set up and guess what, if the individual gets away, you got to deal with it. Let it go. We'll just have to try again.

It should not end in a homicide. Why are we seeing this over and over again? It is damning. 20 seconds. We all know. We're not fools. We know it's a lot more to this than what that family saw. It's just -- it's just -- I'm just sick of it.

BLACKWELL: Elie, let me bring you in here. And the description, again, we would like to hear from the county attorney, we would like to hear from the sheriff on some of the happenings inside that building. But how Bakari Sellers described the actions and the conduct of the county attorney and the handling of what happened there, who can, who cannot see the video, how he spoke to some of those attorneys. Your reaction to what you heard.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's disgusting and it's unacceptable. The local authorities in North Carolina have completely screwed this whole thing up beyond belief.

Law enforcement around the country, if you want an example of what not to do, look at how the North Carolina authorities have handled this over the past week. What they could have done, under the law, what they should have done, bring the family in last week, show them the video. Show it all to them. It's not your job to worry about if they like it or don't. Show them some respect. Show them the whole thing. And certainly don't curse at their attorneys, as Bakari said.

And then go to court. I know North Carolina has this law saying it has to be approved by a judge. OK, where's the DA? Where's the county attorney? Why aren't you already in court asking for that permission?

And what we end up with is a situation like this where there is zero transparency, close to zero, no public trust. You have a furious family that feels disrespected. They said that. The worst thing you can possibly do as a prosecutor is to have a family that feels like they've not been heard, and they've been treated with disrespect. They cannot have handled this any worse.

CAMEROTA: Commissioner, we see your outrage.

BARKSDALE: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: I know viewers feel it and share it. In terms of the way they approached this case, they were serving a warrant, I believe, on drug-related crime. Why was there a S.W.A.T. team? Why were there people in tactical gear, as described?

BARKSDALE: First, Elie is 100 percent right. When you prepare, you have to -- depending on a risk assessment, you can say, hey, we need S.W.A.T. some -- in some locations, S.W.A.T. is the only one that can serve a warrant.

[15:50:03]

So I'm not sure of their rules. But in an execution of a search warrant related to drugs, S.W.A.T. could be there on the scene.

My concern is that this sounds like this is a case of contagious fire and that means that when I shoot, everybody shoots, and they are still shooting. Obviously, somebody shot the man in the back of his head, OK. That's not what you do.

And once again another thing we just heard is we are hearing show me your hands again. How many shootings of minorities so far right now have had this same show me your hands and they wind up dead? We've got a problem, and it has to be fixed, and it -- it's really out of control now. We have to get involved every one of us to stop this.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of getting involved, Elie, if you're North Carolina Attorney General and you watch that news conference, how long does this stay with that county's office? What do you do now for the next step of this investigation?

HONIG: Yes, if I'm the State A.G. in North Carolina I'm already on the phone to the county prosecutor and the D.A. saying OK, we're taking over. We're taking over here because the county prosecutor and the D.A. have already shown that they are not capable of handling this, that they have completely botched way this has gone.

Part of the problem is as the commissioner just illustrated, we're all dealing with little snippets, little pieces of facts because they are holding back the truth. They are holding back the video which would make this all as transparent as can be.

The A.G. needs to step in here, it makes a big difference. We saw it in Minnesota, right, the local authorities were not prepared to handle the Chauvin case, the A.G. stepped in and got that case done the right away.

CAMEROTA: Commissioner Barksdale, we really appreciate you sharing all of your experience and your feelings and your intensity and outrage on this. Victor and I were just talking about the show us your hands. That there's no way you can comply and still be shot. We were talking about.

BARKSDALE: I have been pulled over and put my hands on the steering wheel because that is the safest place for them to be.

CAMEROTA: Right. BARKSDALE: And if the account as we hear it from the attorneys is

correct, the man did what he was supposed to do by putting his hand on the steering wheel.

CAMEROTA: Complying, and you're still killed. Commissioner, we have to let you go. Elie, thank you both very much. Obviously, we'll have you back we'll continue to cover this story needless to stay.

We also see new developments on the COVID front, including some expected changes tomorrow from the CDC about mask-wearing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:55:00]

CAMEROTA: The U.S. is reaching a turning point in the pandemic and getting closer to the way our lives used to be.

Tomorrow President Biden will announce new guidance for vaccinated people, and there are signs that some summer travel could be in the cards. Of course, there are also troubling indicators that the pace of vaccinations is slowing.

CNN's Alexandra Field has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For fully vaccinated Americans, a number set to hit 100 million this week, President Joe Biden is expected to announce new guidance on Tuesday when it comes to wearing masks outdoors, sources tell CNN.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: It's common sense to know that the risk when you are outdoors, which we have been saying all along is extremely low.

FIELD (voice over): The European Union is also getting ready to welcome fully vaccinated Americans soon, perhaps making this summer quite unlike the last one.

ANDY SLAVITT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER, COVID RESPONSE TEAM: We're increasingly going to see a world where people who have been vaccinated are going to enjoy a lot of freedoms. They are going to feel like they can take on a lot of activities with little risk, they can reunite with families and the cases are going to continue to be there for people who haven't been vaccinated yet.

FIELD (voice over): New infections nationwide have dropped somewhat. The average now still high but lower than 60,000 new cases daily.

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: Right now the declines that we're seeing we can take to the bank. I think we can feel more assured because they are being driven by vaccinations and greater levels of population-wide immunity, not just from vaccination but also from prior infection. FIELD (voice over): Still, worryingly with the average pace of

vaccinations is slowing falling to its lowest point in four weeks. Even as Johnson & Johnson's single-dose shot comes back on the market after an 10-day pause.

A new ABC/Washington Post survey conducted during the pause showed fewer than half of all the Americans considered it a safe vaccine, but health experts stress the benefits of getting J&J far outweigh the risk of extremely rare blood clots.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: We've got plenty of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine available at the present time, so we would like you to get vaccinated. If you don't care for J&J, get the others.

FIELD (voice over): Experts also now reiterating the importance of getting the second shot of two-dose vaccines to achieve maximum protection. New CDC data shows more Americans, about 8 percent, are skipping the second appointment.

SLAVITT: I think some people are getting a little bit frightened by some of the talk and quite frankly some of the misinformation that's on sites like Facebook about side effects. The longevity of the vaccine is much stronger when you've had two doses.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FIELD (on camera): So Victor and Alisyn, health experts say with any two-dose vaccine you do expect to see some people missing that second appointment. But the 8 percent figure's actually up from March when it was just 3.4 percent. So a CDC spokesperson says they do want to look further into whether this is being caused by issues with access or hesitancy and frankly either way it's something they're going to want to address -- Victor, Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: Alexandra Field for us there, thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: I mean I want there to be cards so that you have to show to go into a movie theater or a restaurant or an airplane that you've been doubly vaccinated, but I don't know that that's ever going to catch on.

[16:00:07]

BLACKWELL: Well, you know, in some states, there is no vaccine passport because the governors don't want them. We'll see.

All right. Another busy new day.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.