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Violent Protests Over North Carolina Police Shooting; New Controversy for Trump Campaign; Athletes React to Police Shootings. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 21, 2016 - 05:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news this morning -- anger and frustration as protesters take to the streets after an armed black man is gunned down by police in North Carolina. Now, the demonstrations getting violent in the early morning hours.

All this, after video captured another situation. Another black man being shot and killed by police in Tulsa, with his hands up. We have the latest in both of those cases.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START this morning, this Wednesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. A lot going on. It's Wednesday, September 21st, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

There's a developing situation if Charlotte, North Carolina, after plus shot and killed a black man. That black man is 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott. You can see pictures of what's been going on all night. Police in riot gear to disperse protesters.

[05:00:03] Some of those protesters throwing rocks and water bottles.

At least a dozen officers were injured the clashes. We just got word that seven or so protesters, or bystanders taken to the hospital as well. You can see some of the protesters lit a fire on the road there. There was looting of some of the trucks and vehicles that were forced to stop in place. Again, just a few minutes, this was dwindling but still some pockets of activity there.

We're joined now by CNN's Brynn Gingras here in New York with us to get a sense of the latest of what's going on -- Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, Charlotte's mayor is calling for calm, but it's anything but, as you're looking at that video. There's a full investigation underway, which we'll likely hear today with the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by Officer Brentley Vinson. Now, both the officer and victim are African-American.

Listen to the local police chief describe what led to the shooting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERR PUTNEY, CHARLOTTE POLICE CHIEF: At this point, all we know is they're in the apartment complex parking lot, and this subject gets out with a weapon, they engage him and one of the officers felt a lethal threat and fired his weapon because of that.

REPORTER: So, the warrants weren't for the man but we're not sure if this man was connected?

PUTNEY: Absolutely. They were not specific to the deceased, but we don't know if there's a connection of the deceased with the suspect that we're looking for.


GINGRAS: That explanation, though, not sitting well with protesters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But as far as my child, my nephews, I am concerned, I'm worried about them. Something has to be done, whether it's our city leaders, whether our state leaders, these presidential candidates that are coming on to the scene, something has to be done. There was a terrorist in New Jersey and New York, he was taken alive. They said they wanted to question him. So, because you wanting to question him, does his life mean more than our black men across the nation? It doesn't make any sense.


GINGRAS: That is a comment I've heard echoed on social media all over the place. Officer Vinson has been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated. Scott was a father of seven. They disputed they had a gun. They say he was actually in a car reading a book waiting for a family member to return home from school that day.

So, I'm sure we'll learn a lot more exactly what will be learned in this investigation because it's really just getting underway.

BERMAN: We just saw a photo of Keith Lamont Scott, 43 years old, just beginning to learn more information about him, as you say. The family says he's a father of seven.

Brynn Gingras, thanks so much.

ROMANS: Let's go to the phone now live from Charlotte, Adam Rhew, who joins us again, an associate editor for "Charlotte Magazine".

And, again, you have the police officer who's on paid administrative leave. You have people still in the streets, although you tell us in recent moments, it's calmer than it was, 11:00, or 12:00, 1:00 in the morning.

ADAM RHEW, CHARLOTTE MAGAZINE (via telephone): Yes, Christine, it's calmed down there were true peaks of intensity between protesters and police. One, roughly around 11:00 last night, the other around maybe around 2:00, 2:30 this morning. And it has settled down a little bit. That first wave of intensity came as protesters were gathered on the road outside of the apartment complex where the shooting happened.

And they engaged with police, at first peacefully, and there were a few people in the crowd that started throwing bottles and rocks and other items at officers. You know, to the warnings of some of the other people in the crowd who told them not to do so.

But nonetheless, that continued and then a little bit before 11:00, police used tear gas for the first time to try to break up the crowd. They did that several more times over the course of the next half hour, 45 minutes. The crowd settled down a little bit, dispersed and then got back together again, so, some time after midnight, maybe between 12:00 and 1:00, and then again, sort of the next wave of intensity started around 12:30. When protesters actually walked out onto one of the interstate through Charlotte and blocked traffic across all of the lanes of the interstate.

That's when some of the looting that you guys talked about earlier started, people actually looting things out of the trucks on the interstate. There were a couple fires that started. The SWAT team came in as they used tear gas to break up the crowd. And then, I would say within the last hour, we were told kind of the interstate had been cleared, at least of people. There's still plenty of debris out there.

And then the crowd kind of broke up into several different smaller groups. As you said, it's quieter now than it was certainly, three, four, five hours ago.

BERMAN: Again, we're just looking at some of these pictures. Fires, the looting. You know, the kicking of trucks and whatnot on the road.

[05:05:01] Adam, you're from Charlotte, give us a sense of the relationship there between the community and police right now. I will tell you that historically Charlotte has been, from what we typically call -- Charlotte is a nice city. People get along. There's been generally a positive relationship between police and the public there. Our relatively new police chief is a big supporter of community policing and has watched the initiatives that have gone over very well.

However, in the last several years, there have been several incidents that have involved shootings by police of citizens in this community. And that has certainly started to erode some of the trust that has been built up, some of the goodwill in this community, for the police and the public, with perhaps the most high-profile case was two or three years ago, I guess now three years ago, when a white police officer shot an unarmed black man. A young man who the police officer believed was a threat.

The district attorney did not file -- I'm sorry, the court decide not to move forward with charges against the officer. And there was some concern, when that happened, when that was announced, I believe that was late last summer, early last summer. When that happened, there was some concern about violence then. And really the community and the police did a great job of letting people express their concern, their frustration with perhaps how the legal process turned out. And the police and the public and the city government gave folks a venue and a place to do that respectfully and peacefully. And really, the weekend passed without major incident.

And so, you know, while there's tension and there still continues to be tension. I think a lot of folks when they heard reports of this shooting yesterday afternoon, thought that maybe that's what we would see. There would be protests. That people would have a place to express their anger but that it wouldn't turn violent. I guess that's one of the things that we would say Charlotte is not the type of city where violence tends to take hold.

I think if people were watching this on television last night, following it on social media and today, takeaways for me. The surprising and reaction that people had over the violence they were seeing in their city.

ROMANS: All right. Adam Rhew, thanks so much for calling in and bringing your reporting and first hand experience there.

Adam Rhew, thanks so much.

Again, as Adam was saying, this is only dying down over the last hour or so, these protests, this looting, this anger that you're seeing taking place all night in Charlotte.

ROMANS: All right. All this coming on the heels of a fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Authorities saying PCP was found in the vehicle.

Forty-year-old Terrence Crutcher suggesting he may have been on some sort of drug. An attorney for Crutcher's family says they are looking into that.

Dashcam and helicopter video shows Crutcher with his hands up being shot by an officer as he walks towards his SUV. His hands are up there.

Protesters took the streets outside Tulsa police headquarters. We get the latest from CNN's Ana Cabrera.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Christine, outrage is growing in this community, with protesters gathering in front of the police station, calling for the arrest of Officer Betty Shelby who opened fire, shooting and killing 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. His family calling the video leading up to his shooting devastating, saying there was no evidence, reason for her to open fire.

Now, there are two separate investigations into whether or not this shooting was justified. First, the criminal investigation by the Tulsa police homicide unit. There's also a federal rights probe that was sparked after the Department of Justice officials saw the video. The video from the police dash camera, as well as the helicopter. Both videos showing Terence Crutcher with his arms in the air as he approaches his SUV.

But in neither video can you see Officer Shelby open fire. That is the crucial moment and the big question mark here. Officer Shelby's attorney telling us, leading up to that moment, Terence Crutcher had refused to obey several commands. And that he reached into his vehicle, which is why Officer Shelby opened fire, fearing he may be grabbing for a weapon.

Now, we know there was no weapon. He was unarmed and there's no weapon in the vehicle.

As outrage continues to grow in this community and around the nation, the police chief is asking people to withhold judgment until the investigations are complete and he vows justice will prevail -- John and Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks so much for that, Ana.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to have the very latest on the protests happening all night in Charlotte right after the break.

[05:10:02] Also ahead, Donald Trump, he is making the case for profiling. He says that's the best way to deal with terror. Some new reaction and new case in the Trump campaign, that's next.


BERMAN: The latest now on the breaking news out of Charlotte, North Carolina. These pictures from overnight. Protests erupted after police fatally shot a black man. That man, Keith Lamont Scott, 43 years old, apparently the father of seven.

You can see here, police in riot gear, they used tear gas to try to disperse that crowd. Police say at least a dozen were injured, we heard from a local magazine reporter after seven protesters and bystanders were also hurt. These protesters were demanding answers after this man Keith Lamont Scott was shot at an apartment complex on Tuesday. Police were there to serve a warrant, but not for Scott.

Police say he was armed. The family of this man says he was not.

[05:15:00] So, that's an issue that will come out over the coming hours. The mayor of charlotte is calling for calm and a full investigation into the shooting.

ROMANS: All right. This morning, the Trump campaign is defending the candidate's support of profiling to prevent bombings like those that happened over the weekend.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tells CNN's Erin Burnett that political correctness is hindering investigation into suspicious people and behavior.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The idea that people have a reason to be suspicious and don't feel comfortable to say that. I mean, I've talked to Mayor Giuliani about this. We used to have police officers able to patrol certain places of worship based on reasonable suspicion. That's just all gone away.


ROMANS: Let's get some expert advice on this. Joining us from Washington, managing editor of CNN politics digital, Zachary Wolf.

Good morning, Zach.

We've seen the pictures from North Carolina this evening. I mean, clearly this issue of police and community policing and this conflict between police and black communities is front and center again. How do you think it will guide the campaign trail today?

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL MANAGING EDITOR: Well, I think, you know, we saw Hillary Clinton weigh in on Twitter yesterday about the Tulsa, Oklahoma, shooting. I can only imagine that there will be more of that today. You know, as people start to learn what happened, in Charlotte.

It's certainly something they've been talking about, Trump has been quick to defend police in recent weeks -- although I'm not sure he's talked specifically about the Tulsa incident and certainly not the Charlotte one. So, these have been things that have been popping up periodically on the campaign trail as they happened unfortunately, you know, in the U.S. over the last couple months.

BERMAN: It's really interesting, Donald Trump was in North Carolina yesterday and he was talking about race in ways that a lot of people on the ground there thought was controversial. Listen to a little of what Donald Trump said.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Our African-American community are absolutely in the worst shape than they've ever been in before. Ever, ever, ever. You take a look at the inner cities. You get no education. You get no jobs. You get shot walking down the street.

They're worse -- I mean, honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities. And I say to the African-American communities and I think it's resonating, because you see what's happening with my poll numbers, with African-Americans. They're going like high.


BERMAN: So Trump was criticized in some quarters for talking about the fact that life for African-Americans is worse than it's ever been in North Carolina. Of course with slavery and Jim Crow laws and speaking before largely a white audience.

But, Zach, he was addressing racial issues again the very same day that the shooting happened and we saw those protests overnight.

WOLF: That's right. You know, over the weekend, President Obama spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner in Washington. And he, you know, mentioned that Trump has been talking about these themes for a while, and he offered a very specific rebuke of Trump, mentioning those things you said, slavery, Jim Crow laws.

I think Democrats are probably inching to have that argument with Trump about the situation for African-Americans in this country. I'm not sure his claim that his poll numbers with Black Americans are rising. We'll have to see if that's true. But I would highly doubt it.

But, you know, it's clear that there's this really difficult hard situation in America, and it's going to play out on the campaign.

ROMANS: Zach, real quick, on front page. Top of the world, "Washington Post" this morning, Trump used his charities moneys to settle his legal disputes. There's a reporter over there at "The Post" that has been digging into the Donald Trump Foundation.

How do you think this will play today?

WOLF: First, you know, kudos to "The Washington Post" for uncovering this. The first thing they uncovered a week or so ago is that Trump had been giving money from his own foundation. And now it turns out, according to their reporting, he has used money from the foundation he's not giving money to, to settle lawsuits against his for-profit businesses, which, you know, they are saying could be illegal. It's not really clear if there's any legal agency looking into this right now. So legality thing is probably something we'll have to look into.

But, you know, just the idea of settling these things with your charity is something he'll have to answer for.

BERMAN: It's called self-dealing, apparently, in the charity world which is a phrase I did not know. And it is not legal if in fact that is what happened there. It will be interesting to see what happens today.

ROMANS: Exactly.

BERMAN: The Trump campaign goes after the reporter without disputing the facts specifically of his story. So, we'll see how that plays.

Zach Wolf, thank you so much.

The sports world react to get latest police shootings of black men. What one star athlete in particular is saying.

[05:20:00] Coy Wire in the "Bleacher Report", next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. This morning, athletes around the country using social media to voice the feelings about the police shooting death of Terence Crutcher. This is the death of the man in Oklahoma. No doubt, we will hear something about the North Carolina incident overnight as well.

ROMANS: Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" -- hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and John.

I played nine years in the NFL. I never saw athletes speak out on a social issue, especially during the season as much as we have with this issue. You have Colin Kaepernick and other protesting the national anthem being front and center.

[05:25:01] But social media has been the avenue of choice to most athletes. Regarding the recent police shooting in Tulsa, Dwyane Wade posted on Instagram, "We must come together. We must show our strength as a black community more. Or we'll continue to wake up to stories of us being shot down like we don't matter. We must show that we matter to each other more. We must all do more."

Philadelphia Eagle safety Malcolm Jenkins who raised his fist in support of Colin Kaepernick tweeted, "The first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is one. Don't ignore injustice. #terencecrutcher."

As yesterday regarding the shooting of Terence Crutcher, Colin Kaepernick revealed he has received death threats via social media for his protests against social injustice. Regarding those threats, he said, quote, "If something like that were to happen, you've proved my point. It will be loud and clear for everyone, why it happened. And that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now."

Now, Kaepernick outlined his plan for the million dollars that he pledged back in September to better communities. He said over the next ten months, he's going to donate 100 grand in each of those months to a charity. He's also developing a website that's going to track to which charities this money is going and how those funds are going to be used. So, detailed plan for his upcoming actions and missions -- guys.

ROMANS: All right.

BERMAN: Nine years in the NFL, Coy says he's never seen activism like this. Very, very interesting. Thanks, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

ROMANS: All right. On that subject, fires and looting in North Carolina. Protesters take to the street after police shot to kill a black man. They say he was armed. We're back with more in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)