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D.A.: Officer "Justified" in Shooting of Keith Lamont Scott; Vikings Coach Has Emergency Eye Surgery; Longtime Trump Supporters Weigh in on President-Elect. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired December 1, 2016 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:32:22] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There were peaceful protests last night in Charlotte after the district attorney announced no charges will brought against the police officer in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott in September. The D.A. says the shooting was justified after Scott repeatedly ignored orders to drop his gun and he did have a gun, the D.A. said.
Let's bring in CNN political commentator and BET News host and Morehouse College professor, Marc Lamont Hill, and CNN law enforcement analyst and retired NYPD detective Harry Houck.
Marc, I want to start with you. The D.A. made clear that the Officer Brentley Vinson had imminent fear of death, imminent threat was posed by Keith Lamont Scott, who had a gun and D.A. laid out a clear chain of evidence that he did, in fact, have a gun that was cocked and loaded.
If he did have a justified fear of an imminent threat, is that shooting not justified?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, from a legal perspective it certainly is. The standard for police officers is not what would a reasonable person do? It's what would the reasonable officer do?
And so, the question is with other officers under the same circumstance make the same decision. His gun wasn't raised, it was lowered. Some people would say, you have to make a different choice here. But legally, it seems as if there was no other alternative. I don't think you get a conviction on this. I don't get it through courts on this.
The question for me is not that so much as what other things could have been done leading up to this point to make this be different. But ultimately this is justified or legal shot for sure.
BERMAN: So, Harry, Marc Lamont Hill here is saying that legally speaking, you know, he thinks that the D.A. probably made the right legal decision here. But what other decisions could have been made because people are pointing to the fact that the D.A. said there is no evidence and no witness said that the gun was raised at any point. No witness, no evidence said the gun was pointed in any instance here.
HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That doesn't matter.
BERMAN: At all?
HOUCK: Not, not at all. Everybody is talking about de-escalation, de-escalation. Let me tell you the de-escalation in a situation like this. It's called drop the gun, drop the gun. The officers said this ten times.
I think they said it eight times too many because those officers had their lives in danger every time they were telling to drop the gun after the first time. Now, what a lot of people don't realize is if I'm standing there with my gun down like this and I'm a police officer and I got my gun there like that. It only takes me a quarter of a second, boom, you're dead.
It takes the officer and there's statistics to this, a half a second just to determine what's going on and then him letting a round loose. So, in other words, in a situation just like that and there have been instances just like that before a police officer is dead.
[06:35:00] And that is why the officers have got to tell him, drop the gun. If you don't, you are getting shot.
BERMAN: Marc, how do you de-escalate if you have given repeated orders to drop the gun and, in this case, Scott didn't do it?
HILL: Well, I think Harry raises an important question here. If the gun is pointing downward, that doesn't mean necessarily that it's not an imminent threat, right? Because again, studies show guns can raise very quickly. But the question becomes before you even get to the point where the guy is getting out of the car, even the act of pulling him out of the car raises questions, the idea of how do you deal with someone with a mental illness raises a question. The question tactically of how you approach him raises a question. These are all things that we the bigger picture.
Once you get to the point where a guy is standing outside with a gun and you're yelling drop it, drop it, drop it, you're probably in too deep. I'm not suggesting at that moment police could have done anything different.
The question is getting up to that, how do we do it? Remember, this is Officer Vinson's first time doing it. This was his first rodeo.
HILL: So, there are questions wean raise about that. I'm not questioning his intention. I'm questioning the practice here and these are practices that aren't just about this case but about broader cases around the nation.
BERMAN: One of the things really interesting about this case is how it all unfolded after the fact, right? There were witnesses including Scott's wife who said, you know, he was in the car reading a book and there was no gun. And that was one of the stories that came out of this, and was on social media everywhere.
Well, it turns out the D.A. says, and the evidence he says, there was no book at all. And not only did this man have a gun, but he produced an incredible chain of custody here from when he bought the gun illegally and then the fact that the wife knew he had a gun.
So, you have this public story, Marc, that really wasn't true and wasn't true from the beginning and affected perceptions a lot in Charlotte.
HILL: Well, one thing to remember here is that in all cases like this, there are competing stories, multiple stories. Some of those stories come from law enforcement. I don't want to suggest everyday citizens are the only people who tell stories that aren't true in cases like this.
But I think the challenge in this case is that the police were so silent about things. People on the streets were demanding more information. The police said they were on a stake out. It turns out, they were staking out someone named Walter Boyd. But they didn't tell us that.
People were asking, where is the evidence of the gun, because none of the visible accounts would show a gun. The police wouldn't show us anything. And this is not against the backdrop of a state where nothing has happened. Just a year before, Walter Scott shot in the back running away from police and gun was planted on him.
So, there is a history in the state and really around this nation of law enforcement misconduct where in a moment, where I think, reasonable suspicion of police officers have heightened. And in the midst of all that, police say we're not going to tell you anything. If police want to de-escalate the media, what they need to do is be more forthcoming with information.
BERMAN: It's a good point. I mean, police say and the D.A. says they wanted to make the right legal case here. But there is also a PR case that needs to be made.
HOUCK: Right. Listen, the fact is that police aren't releasing information because they don't want to release any information that might be bad. The fact is, as Marc said, in the beginning, you know, things are questionable. The problem is the violence not because of what the police officers do, the violence is because of the false narrative that comes out from these different groups.
BERMAN: Just that --
HOUCK: First of all, the wife is saying he never had a gun, he was reading a book. We know that was a lie, all right? We know that all they do is talk about de-escalation for police officers. Nobody ever cares and in all the times that I've talked about this, the life of the police officer -- the police officer who is facing the threat at that exact time. Everybody cares about the perpetrator. BERMAN: We have talked a lot about the risk that police officers
face. But we get your point.
Harry Houck, Marc Lamont Hill, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it, guys.
All right. The Cowboys take on the Vikings tonight, but an important member of the Vikings may not be at the game after a medical scare. What went on? More on the "Bleacher Report", next.
[06:43:00] BERMAN: Severe weather has just pummeled the South. Tornados and violent storms tearing through several states.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, John.
This weather is brought to you by Humana. At Humana, we think great things are ahead of you if your health is ready for it.
We will see more tornadoes in the future because Dixie Alley has its tornado season in the fall. And we saw dozens of tornadoes over this week. Hard to say much about anything, how good this week could be other than the rain that came down with it. Still, the death toll from the tornadoes over this week stands at five.
We will see the rainfall, though, help the firefighters. This is one of the beneficial things that happened over the week. Almost four inches of rain fell in the wildfire area there in Tennessee, parts of Georgia and Alabama.
There were more than just the one fire. In Gatlinburg got all the national attention, but dozens of fires out there. The rainfall starts here across the Northeast and kind of windy today and heavy snow in the mountains up there in Maine. Good skiing in some spots, I guess if you're going to be skier. What you'll notice for the next few days, much cooler weather, John.
BERMAN: All right. Chad Myers for us, thanks so much, Chad.
The injury report for tonight's Thursday night football game has an unlikely member on it, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had emergency surgery on his eye last night and may not be able to coach against the Cowboys.
Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report".
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Good morning, John.
Yes, we finally have a great game on Thursday night football. You got 10-1 Cowboys versus 6-5 Vikings. But Minnesota, hey, maybe without their coach. Mike Zimmer having his third surgery in a month to try to repair a torn retina in his right eye. An injury originally that happened on Halloween.
Zimmer's status for tonight is uncertain. The Cowboys meanwhile, they can clinch a playoff spot tonight. Dak Prescott and company won an NFL best ten games in a row.
All right. No strike in Major League Baseball. According to multiple reports, the union and the owners coming to an agreement last night on a new collective bargaining agreement. The new deal supposedly going to kick in in 2017 and reportedly have some big changes.
For example, the all-star game will no longer determine who has home field advantage in the World Series. It will reportedly go back to who has the better record. Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new Major Leaguers and the regular season going to be extended four days by 2018 to give players more days off.
So, Alisyn, it looks like by 2018, the World Series will likely end in November.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Andy. Thank you.
The smokeless tobacco really got John Berman's attention.
BERMAN: That's a big deal. Look, you know, these players, they're sending a bad message to kids everywhere and the idea that the new players won't be able to do it. That's a big change.
CAMEROTA: There you go.
Meanwhile, you have to see our next segment. They stood behind Donald Trump through all the ups and downs of this crazy election. Up next, a panel of Mr. Trump's earliest supporters sound off on what they think of him now, on fake news, on where they get their news. You'll hear from them, next.
[06:50:18] BERMAN: New evidence in the investigation of a deadly plane crash in Colombia that killed members of a Brazilian soccer club. An audio recording a crew member is heard saying the plane is without fuel. Investigators say a lack of fire damage once the flight hit the ground backs up this theory. Only six of the 77 people onboard that flight survived.
CAMEROTA: My gosh.
A historic peace agreement in Colombia. Lawmakers there are approving a deal that would end more than 50 years of fighting between the government and the FARC rebel group. The deal calls for rebels to lay down their weapons within 150 days. Colombian voters rejected the first version of this deal in October. The updated agreement went to Congress for approval. OK. So during the course of the presidential campaign, you may
remember that we routinely checked in with Donald Trump's supporters to find out why they were so passionate about the businessman and whether that passion ever wavered after various controversies.
Well, this week we circled back with several of them to see what they think of his plans as president-elect, and whether they were surprised on election night. Take a look.
CAMEROTA: OK, show of hands, who was surprised on election night?
None of you were surprised? Though so many people in the country were surprised by Donald Trump's win.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had confidence in Trump's ability from the very beginning. So I never doubted him the entire time.
CAMEROTA: Paula, were you concerned when the polls suggested that he was not going to win?
PAULA JOHNSON, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I knew he was going to win, because when you believe in somebody, and Mr. Trump always makes things happen.
CAMEROTA: What signs have you seen that you think are good signs so far?
SUSAN DELEMUS, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think all the people that I'm looking at that Trump has appointed or nominated have all been top of the class, number one in their field, extremely talented, great leaders on their own.
CAMEROTA: Very funny to hear you say that. Do you remember who you really did not like last time around?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time to get rid of him?
CAMEROTA: Time to get rid of Reince Priebus?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. Time to get rid of him.
CAMEROTA: Reince Priebus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
CAMEROTA: He is now the chief of staff. So Reince Priebus, you all said, he's got to go. Time for him to go. How do you feel today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Smart move.
JOHNSON: I think it's a very smart move because now he keeps the Republicans in check. He knows how to work with them because he was the head of the GOP. And now, if they want to get elected again, they need to tow the line. CAMEROTA: So now you like Reince Priebus.
JOHNSON: I don't like him, but I think it's a good pick that Mr. Trump did.
CAMEROTA: How do you all feel? Toni, how do you -- do you know much about Steve Bannon? How do you feel about Steve Bannon?
TONI DIBARTOLO, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I like him. I don't know too much about him. I'm more of a General Flynn fan, I would say.
CAMEROTA: What do you like about Flynn?
DIBARTOLO: I just -- I just feel that he will be an amazing leader. I love his military background. I think he's strong. I think he will give President Trump sound advice, you know, when to move, when not to be too aggressive, when to be aggressive. I think he'll do that. And I think he will be a strong asset.
CAMEROTA: You know he has said what are considered controversial things about Muslims. He has said that he doesn't -- basically that he considered it a political ideology, not a religion. He had called it a cancer.
GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN: Islam is a political ideology. It is a political ideology. It -- it definitely hides behind this -- this notion of it being a religion.
CAMEROTA: It's interesting to talk to you, Toni, about this because, remember, we talked --
DIBARTOLO: Yes, we did.
CAMEROTA: Last time around about your feeling about some of your Muslim coworkers, I believe.
DIBARTOLO: Yes. Yes.
CAMEROTA: And you had a close relationship. Are you concerned about General Flynn's comments?
DIBARTOLO: I'm not. I feel that people do say stuff that maybe they regret at times, and then they slept on it, and move forward. And I feel that maybe some of the stuff was taken out of context, or maybe he didn't exactly mean it. I'm in support of him, and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
CAMEROTA: But you find those comments regrettable? Meaning you hope that they were taken out of context?
CAMEROTA: On their own, they would bother you?
DIBARTOLO: Yes, they would. They would. To be honest, they would. I -- because I don't -- I don't want people lumped together in just one category based on their religion.
CAMEROTA: How do you feel about the white nationalist movement? The alt-right? The -- some neo-Nazi salutes that we've seen? What are we to make of the -- the -- what feels like a groundswell of that with the Steve Bannon/Breitbart connection?
JOHNSON: You know what? I'll tell you something. That's been around forever.
You know, if you -- if you keep reporting on it, it's going to grow like a cancer. If you forget about it, then it's probably going to go away.
[06:55:02] But the media has to hop on everything, and it's wrong.
CAMEROTA: There have been protests --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've been tipping cars over and burning them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't even know if they know what they're protesting.
JOHNSON: Protesting. And some of them didn't even vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are they -- what are they protesting?
JOHNSON: They didn't even vote.
Voting is a privilege in this country. And you need to be legal, not like California where 3 million illegals voted.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that.
JOHNSON: I'm glad I brought that up, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Me, too, Paula. So where are you getting your information?
JOHNSON: From the media. Where else would we get it?
CAMEROTA: Which media?
JOHNSON: Some of it was CNN, I believe, and --
CAMEROTA: CNN said that 3 million illegal people voted in California?
JOHNSON: Well, it was coming all across the media. All across. If CNN didn't do it, then they were being smart this time.
CAMEROTA: Do you think that 3 million illegal people voted?
JOHNSON: I believe in California that there were illegals that voted.
CAMEROTA: How many?
JOHNSON: I don't -- to tell you the truth, nobody really knows that number.
CAMEROTA: But do you think three dozen or do you think 3 million?
JOHNSON: I think there was a good amount because the president told people that they could vote and it happened in Nashua we caught some people -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
JOHNSON: That they went into Nashua and they said, the president said I could vote. I'm here illegally.
CAMEROTA: Did you hear President Obama say that illegal people could vote?
JOHNSON: Yes, I did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did.
CAMEROTA: On what -- on what (INAUDIBLE) --
JOHNSON: I actually did hear it.
CAMEROTA: Tell me, where.
DIBARTOLO: On -- you can find it -- Google it. You can find it on Facebook.
CAMEROTA: All right. Hold on. I don't want to waste any more time, but, anyway, I see where it came from and it's -- Fox Business Network deceptively edited a clip of Barack Obama to argue that the president encouraged illegal immigrants to vote when in fact he said nothing of the sort when you go back to the transcript.
You, as you sit here today, think that millions of illegal people voted in this country. You believe that there was widespread voting abuse?
JOHNSON: I think there was in some states.
CAMEROTA: In the millions of people?
JOHNSON: I -- California allows it. People --
CAMEROTA: They do not allow illegal -- you mean illegal -- you mean voter fraud, California allows?
JOHNSON: I believe there is voter fraud in this country.
CAMEROTA: A flag burning -- flag burning, people should go to jail?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
CAMEROTA: And lose their citizenship? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Community service.
JOHNSON: And you know what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
JOHNSON: And it's a sad thing --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they shouldn't, but they should get a ticket for starting a fire out in public in --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you need a permit for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need a permit for --
JOHNSON: But how many of these people --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they should go get a permit if they want to have a fire.
JOHNSON: How about illegals that are burning our flag and yet we're not arresting them and deporting them and they burn our flags. Do you want to be in our country, but you burn our flag because you don't like --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No allegiance.
JOHNSON: No allegiance, exactly. Send them home. I can't wait for the wall to be built.
CAMEROTA: What happens if the wall isn't built? If Mr. Trump doesn't build the wall, then how do you feel?
JOHNSON: I think -- I believe he will build the wall, but he will make sure that we have enough border patrol out there to take care of this country.
BERMAN: That was really interesting.
CAMEROTA: It was fascinating. It was fascinating to circle back with them. I was excited to go back and talk to them because I had talked to them throughout the campaign so much and I wanted to know where they are today and you heard, basically, the message that I took away is that they are willing to give Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt.
They are willing to overlook some of the things that have given other people pause because they're excited about his candidacy -- I mean, about his presidency and what he can do.
BERMAN: We often ask this question, what would Trump supporters think if he goes back on this promise or does something differently? He can do whatever he wants, according to those supporters there. Reince Priebus they were very critical of during the campaign and now he's chief of staff, they're like eh. The wall, which he talked about in every speech, you asked them, does he need to build the wall, they're like eh.
CAMEROTA: Well, it's because they believe he will protect the country. So, wall, no wall, more border patrol agents. They believe in his strength and that he will protect the country.
BERMAN: They voted for hi perhaps more than what he was saying there at the end of the day. That was really interesting. Also some of the false information they had and said it was news, it was news. We saw it on CNN? They didn't see it on CNN, the 3 million --
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, you heard when I pressed them. They said, well, we actually saw it on Facebook, and if you trace the thread back, there is always some nugget, OK, that gives them their false impression, but they didn't trace it back enough to see that it had been discredited and debunked. So, that was an interesting thing to see, like, where they were getting the information.
You may also have noticed that one of the most vocal panelists from previous interviews a guy named Jerry Delemus was not there. Last spring, Jerry was arrested and charged with two counts of conspiracy and weapons charges for his role in the 2014 confrontation at Cliven Bundy's ranch in Nevada. He has pleaded guilty in august and he remains behind bars in Nevada awaiting a judge's decision.
BERMAN: Right. Like I said, that was a really interesting interview. Put that online so everyone can watch that again.
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right. We're following a lot of news, let's get right to it.
WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY NOMINEE: Here, we have a trade victory before we even come into office.
REPORTER: Donald Trump celebrating a deal with Carrier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president-elect has four finalists for this position
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Donald Trump is literally handing the keys to a Wall Street banker who helped cause the crash.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys do fit the outsider bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to be very, very careful of conflicts of interest.