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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
NASCAR Bans Confederate Flags At Racetracks; Interview With Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Harvard Doctor Projects 800 To 1,000 People Will Die In The U.S. Every Day From COVID-19 Until September; Harvard Doctor: Another 100,000 People In U.S. Will Die From Coronavirus By September; Late Night Writer, Comedian Shares Stories Of Police Run-Ins; How Camden, NJ Disbanded Its Police Force And Lowered Crime. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 10, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: "AC360" with Anderson Cooper begins right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And good evening, today on a day that's so heartbreaking, congressional testimony from the brother of George Floyd, the President of the United States staked out a position on race in this country that falls short of what protesters are demanding, short of what lawmakers and branches of the military are now contemplating, short of where the National Football League went in a remarkable about face last week, and where NASCAR went late today.
Quoting from their statement, "The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."
The President as you know, claims to be a big NASCAR fan. Today, he tweeted his opposition to renaming military bases named after men who fought under that very same flag. Quoting now, "The United States of America trained and deployed our heroes on these hallowed grounds and won two World Wars. Therefore, my administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military institutions."
Now, just as an observation on the President's own point, the bases are indeed hallowed, as he says, but they're hallowed for the troops of all backgrounds, they trained, the men that they are named after who took up arms against this country.
And the President may not know this, but those troops who fought and died in those two world wars, many of them were black, but they were not treated equally by the U.S. military at the time.
The U.S. military was not desegregated until 1948, and that only happened at that time, after a campaign pressured by black Americans.
Black Americans fought and died in both World Wars for a country which at the time did not treat them as equal citizens under the law, and made them train at bases named after Confederate generals.
It is military commanders today who are now talking about replacing those Confederate names out of respect for the troops they now train. The President has also opposed taking down statues of Confederate war figures and even to some Republicans in the House and the Senate today spoke of working with Democrats to craft Police Reform legislation.
Members of the administration were out there denying a problem exists at all. Here's his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow when asked if he thought systematic racism exists in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I do not.
QUESTION: At all in the U.S.?
KUDLOW: I do not.
QUESTION: You don't think there's any systemic racism against African- Americans in the United States?
KUDLOW: I will say it again. I do not. I think the harm comes when you have some very bad apples on the law enforcement side. What was done to Mr. Floyd was abysmal. Abysmal. But, I believe everyone in this country agrees with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, keeping him honest. Although the President has condemned George Floyd's killing, he has also retweeted attacks on Mr. Floyd's character and slandered people protesting his killing and had peaceful protesters assaulted outside the White House for a photo op at a church.
As for outreach to the African-American community, he held a so-called listening session today. The White House with a group of African- Americans he described as his friends and supporters and members of his administration and he listened as one by one, sort of dear leader style, they praised him for the job he's doing with regard to the black community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON, U.S. H.U.D. SECRETARY: I am delighted, Mr. President, that you have made it a priority to solve this problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President, for allowing us to come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I met President Trump, when he was a businessman. I think he's a natural leader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we've done through your leadership is start to break down that system and fight back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've been nothing short of historical. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to know the truth, if you want us to
dissect the Obama economy, let's do it, and I think Mr. President, your record would win the debate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe me, there are many people that are on these online boards, they do support President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We appreciate everything you've done, Mr. President. You've been amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you can do it. I know you can do it.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll do it. We'll do it, won't we?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, that's one soundbite for the day and so is this, George Floyd's brother Philonise is before the House Judiciary Committee just a day after the funeral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: The man who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds, he still called them, sir, as he begged for his life.
I can't tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that, when you watch your big brother, who you looked up to your whole entire life die and die begging for his mom. I'm tired. I'm tired of pain. Pain you feel when you watch something like that.
When you watch your big brother, who you looked up to for your whole life die, die begging for his mom.
I'm here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now is a member of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. Congresswoman Jackson Lee, thank you so much for being with us. Some Republicans agree with Democrats that I'll let you get the earpiece back in.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Thank you, Anderson. I was taking off my mask. Thank you so much.
COOPER: No worries. I'm all for social distancing. I'm glad -- I am glad you're wearing a mask. I just took mine off.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you.
COOPER: Some Republicans agree with Democrats that the policing in the United States needs to be reformed. Yet, President Trump obviously is silent on this issue, focusing on what he calls law and order.
It seems to me the protesters are also calling for law and order. They just want equal protection under the law. That's what true law and order is about. I'm wondering what you make of what the President has said and hasn't said so far.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you, Anderson for having me. You know, this is in the backdrop of the funeral and ongoing service, monumental ongoing service in his hometown yesterday and when I spoke to the family and talked about the goodness that has come out of wickedness.
The weight of the world is on the Floyd family and it certainly is on his younger brother who spoke his truth today and his pain. I don't know how anyone can listen to PJ as we call him, Mr. Floyd and his wife who is there with him today as well and Ben Crump, who's had a lot of cases like this, could even listen for just a moment, and even beyond listening, looking at the video that pierces one's soul and say that we can't work together to do a reformational change that really moves policing in America, away from the warrior attitude, and the burden that African-American men face, many unarmed in confrontation and interaction with police officers to the idea of guardian.
That is what this legislation stands for, and it baffles me that the President of the United States and his staff can't take a deep dive into this legislation and realize that America just cannot continue on the pathway that it is, and that is that African-American men, African-American people, girls or women included, suffer the brunt in many instances of the misconduct of bad cops on the streets of this community in this nation.
COOPER: You know, Larry Kudlow, the White House Economic Adviser today said that he doesn't believe there is systematic racism in the United States. Now, you know, he may actually believe that, I don't know if he does, but it just seems if there are large percentages of the population saying there is a real problem here, and just because you yourself, who may not be part of that group, has not experienced it for yourself.
I would think it just seems like a respectful thing to do to not talk so much and maybe true, listen more to those who are crying out and saying, you know what, this does exist and to listen to their experiences and say, you know what, maybe just because I haven't experienced it myself, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
JACKSON LEE: Truth is truth and what the President needs to do, Anderson, is exactly what you have said. But he has got to broaden his spirit of those who he is willing to listen to certainly be on the table that was there today.
It is clear, we had some excellent witnesses today. I can't call all their names, but I do want to mention the President of the National Urban League, Marc Morial, former mayor, but also he gave historical record of lynching in America during the history of slavery, 4,000 African-Americans, black slaves, were lynched and then continuing on into Jim Crow-ism. That is a stain of racism that has never been eliminated. And unfortunately, there are 18,000 police departments in the United
States. This legislation talks about accreditation and accreditation, you have to pierce into this bias and this discrimination and law enforcement officers.
The head of the major chiefs from Houston, Chief Acevedo acknowledged that black people, people of color have experienced this discrimination. And everyone now understands Black Lives Matter, and it does not insult anyone else.
Black lives do matter, and the President has to, in order to be an effective leader and healer and to be able to look at legislation that can be both the front end and the back end. Yes, he has got to expand the voices he listens to.
I would point him to the peaceful protesters, the young, black, Hispanic, Latinx, Asian Americans and African-Americans who are in the streets peacefully, why don't he listen to those voices, because he will find many stories that may not have resulted obviously in death, but he will find the pain there.
And I just want to say one thing, that I'm a mother, and I've said that yesterday, even as I'm talking to you, Anderson, I have like a sense of pain. Because I can see the video right now, of George Floyd. Imagine his family laying on that ground and crying out, "I can't breathe," but I can also hear law-abiding citizens who just were reaching out to the police asking and begging them to stop. They didn't charge the police.
They were begging him to stop and a 17-year-old girl was the one that got this video that is going to be with us for the rest of our lives.
COOPER: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you for having me.
COOPER: I want to get perspective now from CNN's Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger. Gloria, I mean, it seems it should seem clear to anyone with eyes and a conscience at this point that the President sees no need and certainly no real political benefit or any political benefit to address in any serious way racial and systematic inequalities that exist in this country.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there's no interest in doing it on his part, and I also think there's no ability to do it on his part. Just think about what happened today, Anderson. You have NASCAR banning Confederate flags.
If the President had an interest in racial healing, he might tweet, "This is a great idea. Thank you NASCAR." He knows a lot of his voters are NASCAR fans. He says he is a big NASCAR fan. Why not applaud them? That's really easy for doing the right thing. Why not applaud your Secretary of Defense and your Secretary of the
Army for saying they would at least entertain a discussion of changing the names of those military bases. But instead, what did he do? He shut it down.
So, this is a President who can't really acknowledge the legitimate protesters and most all of them are, I have to say, and the protesters out there calling for racial justice, he can't talk about them because what he wants to talk about, Anderson, is law and order.
And that gets in the way of the message which says to the protesters, I hear you, I understand you. I want to help fix this in that country, he just cannot give that speech.
COOPER: Well, also, I mean, the names of these bases. This is -- they were named at a time when black people were not serving equally, now are allowed to serve equally, even though black people were, you know, volunteering to fight for this country, the very country, which was treating them as second class citizens or third class citizens.
BORGER: That's right. And this is a President, you know, who talks about heritage a lot. You know, he tweeted, you know, these names of these bases are a great part of our heritage. And I remember that after Charlottesville, and I looked it up today, that he actually used the same word and tweeted it and said that -- you know, complained about the media and said that we were trying to hurt American heritage.
And so in his own mind, that is what it is. And by the way, he is talking to military people and about military bases and he is somebody who did not serve, who claimed to have bone spurs, which as we know, Michael Cohen said he never had.
And yet he is saying to his Secretary of Defense, I don't want you to have that discussion with people who currently serve in the military.
COOPER: Well, also, you know, if people are speaking out against racism, and the responses, you're criticizing America, you're -- I mean, that's the response of somebody who is linking racism with America.
So I mean, he is sort of arguing their point for them by making that linkage in the way he responds.
Gloria, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you, Gloria Borger.
COOPER: Coming up next, what the White House Press Secretary had to say when confronted with the fact that her boss spread a baseless conspiracy theory about a man who will be in the hospital for weeks from what police did to him, and what it says about her boss's approach and her approach, frankly to the truth. We're keeping them honest.
And later, breaking news, a grim new prognosis on how many more Americans may soon die from the coronavirus as cases spike in states nationwide. The number, another 100,000 people in this country may die according to authorities. It's stunning and it comes from one of the leading experts in the field.
COOPER: Of all the cowardly weasel phrases out there, this one seems to be the go-to lately. I was just asking, you here whenever a public figure says something stupid, ill-advised, ill-informed or just plain ugly and it gets used it seems whenever a better more accurate phrase might be, I said the wrong thing or I was mistaken or the rarely heard phrase from politicians, I'm sorry.
Those are phrases we try to say to people we respect and care about in our lives. It's what we expect of others, especially those that we look up to.
Well, today, the spokeswoman for the President of the United States demonstrated that the President cannot do just that. She signaled his lack of caring, his lack of respect for the people he was elected to lead and for the truth.
Now yesterday, the President said something hurtful and factually unfounded and just plain wrong about an elderly man pushed and injured by police and hospitalized. What's more, he said it at the worst moment imaginable, just as good people on all sides of the political spectrum all over the country are grappling with so much and trying to do the right thing about it.
The President promoted a conspiracy theory about the moment that we've probably all seen by now, but bears showing again, if only to underscore that outside the rantings of a few fringe groups and individuals, there is not a lot of dispute about what you see in this video.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
COOPER: The video of course is a Buffalo Police shoving Martin Gugino to the pavement during a Black Lives Matter protest. A week later, he is still hospitalized right now with brain trauma and could be for another two weeks.
Now, he is 75 years old. He is a longtime left-leaning, Catholic social activist. Two police officers have been charged with felony assault and what they did generated widespread condemnation across the political spectrum. Those are facts.
COOPER: Now here's the conspiracy theory, which the President tweeted out to nearly 81 million followers, quote, "Buffalo protester shoved by police could be in Antifa provocateur, 75-year-old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to blackout the equipment @OANN. I watched he fell harder than was pushed. He was aiming a scanner. Could be a setup."
As we mentioned last night now, this whole notion the President is tweeting about came from a Russian-born alleged reporter on a fledgling rightwing network, who also has written for the Kremlin- propaganda outlet "Sputnik." I mean, you can't make this up. So it sounds like he is making this up. But he worked for Sputnik.
His source for this nonsensical theory was an item on a conspiracy theory website by a poster who goes only by the name of Sundance. Good source.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about it right out of the gate at today's press conference. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Thank you so much. Does the President regret tweeting out a baseless conspiracy theory about a 75-year-old protester on the morning of George Floyd's funeral?
KAYLEIGH, MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President was asking questions about interaction in a video clip he saw and the President has the right to ask those questions.
QUESTION: But does he regret tweeting out this protester was assaulted?
MCENANY: The President does not regret standing up for law enforcement men and women across this country. And let me say this and just to give you a little bit about the mindset behind the President's tweet.
Look, we're living in a moment that is -- it seems to be reflexively anti-police officer. And it's unacceptable to the President, and this tweet that he sent out, he was in no way condoning violence. He was not passing judgment on these two officers in particular, but what he was saying is this.
When we see a brief snippet of a video, it's incumbent upon reporters, and those who are surveying the situation to ask questions, rather --
QUESTION: But isn't it incumbent upon the President to have facts before he tweets anything out? He is the President of the United States.
MCENANY: The President did have facts before he tweeted out that undergirded his questions.
QUESTION: With conspiracy theories, do you acknowledge?
MCENANY: It is not baseless conspiracy --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Actually, it is. Webster's Dictionary defines it as a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as a result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators. While the President said Mr. Gugino was a member of the group, Antifa,
which the President has without evidence portrayed as the driving force behind all of these protests, it is not, nor is there any evidence that a 75-year-old man is a member of that group.
He said he was a provocateur, and there's no evidence he was. He suggested he was using some super secret device in his phone to locate police by their radios.
First of all, his friend last night told us this man who is 75 could barely turn on his own phone. And second, why would somebody need a tracking device to locate police who are all around him? It's pretty clear where they are.
The President also accused Mr. Gugino of faking his fall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: One of the things that the President said in his tweet was that the gentleman fell harder than he was pushed. How does that work in terms of physics?
MCENANY: Look, the President raised several questions based on a report he saw. He has a right to ask those questions. And where he stands is squarely with law enforcement.
He was making no judgments, not condoning violence, not saying what happened in this case with these two officers was right or wrong, but he is standing back and saying, we need to ask questions before we destroy lives and convict people in the court of public opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Okay, I mean, that is such doublespeak. It's Orwellian. He was just asking questions. He was just asking questions, but before we defame somebody and convict them in the court of public opinion, we need to find out facts.
He sent out a tweet defaming this man, convicting him in the court of public opinion to 81 million of his followers. This is a 75 year old guy who has been protesting for a lot of his life against a whole range of issues.
And that -- what Kayleigh McEnany said there, I mean, there you have it. The President she says wasn't pushing a conspiracy theory. He wasn't speaking without the facts. He wasn't slandering the man who was literally bleeding from the ears after falling, but last night said he does not even bear any ill will towards the officers who pushed him, that's what Mr. Gugino said. He doesn't bear ill will toward the officers who pushed him, for which he is now in the hospital.
He got out of the ICU, thankfully, but he's still in the hospital.
I don't know. The President, he was only asking -- only asking questions, just asking, calling on us to do the same. All right, here's a question. What kind of person is so impulse driven, so lacking in empathy that he attacks an elderly man in a hospital bed, who is simply protesting peacefully? What kind of person does that? I'm just asking.
Here's another one. What kind of person is too vain and cowardly to ever admit a mistake? Just asking. What kind of person hires someone who promises never to lie to us as Kayleigh McEnany said on her first day on the job, and then breaks that promise repeatedly? Just asking.
And what kind of person is so in need of making a name for themselves in the public arena that they betray the convictions they once expressed openly on television when they called Donald Trump's statement on Mexican immigrants racist, but now lie about why they said that in order to keep their job as the President's chief apologist and lie teller? I'm just asking.
Up next, a new sobering projection on the number of U.S. deaths from coronavirus. The breaking news ahead on 360.
COOPER: There's breaking news on the coronavirus, the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute projects another 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 by September. That would mean between 800 to a thousand Americans who are going to die every single day until September.
Right now, the U.S. Death toll stands at nearly 113,000, with nearly two million cases reported and that news from Harvard is just one of several important pieces of the picture today. We have more than all of it now from our Erica Hill.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sobering new data about coronavirus related hospitalizations, up in at least a dozen states since Memorial Day weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MANDY COHEN, NC DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: It was our highest day yet of hospitalizations. I continue to be concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice over): In Arizona, 79 percent of the state's ICU beds are currently in use. The Director of Health Services asking hospitals to activate their emergency plans and reduce or suspend elective surgeries.
The overall trends, alarming health officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What concerns me is do we have the systems in place
to ensure that a case in a community doesn't lead to a cluster, it doesn't lead to an outbreak, it doesn't lead to a healthcare system once again, getting overwhelmed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice over): Across the country, 19 states reporting a rise in new cases over the past week, including Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, among the first to reopen.
Much of the northeast seeing a decline.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It has to be done right. And we have to stay disciplined. And the evidence is all around us. What happens if we're not?
HILL (voice-over): New CNN polling shows Americans are split when it comes to returning to their regular routines and whether the worst is behind us. Women are more likely than men to exercise caution. Just 38% say they're ready to resume those routines. And yet, the country moves forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've missed it. I mean, this is the reason I live here.
HILL (voice-over): Miami's beaches reopened this morning. Students in Vermont and Rhode Island will be back in the classroom this fall. NASCAR fans can watch the action in person with masks and distance this weekend in Homestead, Florida.
The U.S. government says it will fund and study three experimental vaccines this summer, including one from Johnson & Johnson set to begin human trials next month.
COOPER: And Erica Hill joins us now. Los Angeles County is continuing to loosen restrictions. What does that look like so far?
HILL: Yes, in fact, they announced a whole lot of restrictions will be loosened as of Friday Anderson, we're talking about gyms and fitness facilities, campgrounds, RV parks, hotels and lodging, daycare. And they also did camps rather. And the other thing that will really I think, get a lot of people talking music, film and TV production can also resume on Friday.
Now they said they're going to put out further guidelines tomorrow about distancing requirements. Obviously they want people to continue to use face coverings and to practice social distancing, but they'll offer more specific industry guidelines coming tomorrow, but that is a big move forward for Los Angeles County.
COOPER: All right, Erica Hill. Erica, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Joining me now, is Dr. Leana Wen, emergency room physician and former Baltimore Health Commissioner.
Dr. Wen, I mean could be another hundred thousand deaths in this country by September, according to this Harvard projection. I mean, it's a staggering number as states are continuing to reopen. I mean, I don't know if it's a wake up call or what it is because it seems like there is now this kind of collective decision just to move along. I mean, just to get on with reopening.
LEANA WEN, FORMER HEALTH COMMISSIONER, BALTIMORE: This is the problem, Anderson because these numbers are actually not surprising. That's the number 200,000 is what we get at the current rate of deaths that we're at now. I mean, obviously, this is devastating, though, because unlike before, unlike months ago, when maybe we didn't know how to prevent infections, we actually know exactly what it takes. We know that we need this national strategy. We know we need testing, which we keep talking about, but it's not nearly at the level that we need in order to reopen safely or to continue reopening.
We know that we need clear direct messaging that's led by public health experts following the science. And I think that there has just been this complacency that set in. And that's the devastating part that we know how to prevent the next hundred thousand deaths but we're not doing that.
COOPER: I mean, do you feel they're mixed signals on just where are we at in this response, because the White House you know, the White House Task Force seems to basically have, you know, disappeared. They aren't meeting internally every day any longer. They're not speaking publicly as a group. Seems like clearly the White House wants to distance itself as much as possible from talk of the coronavirus.
WEN: I agree with you that that's what seems to be happening. But this virus is not going away. And I think this is the important message for everyone to hear for hospital leaders, they should be preparing for the next surgery now, so that we don't run into the problem of not having enough masks and personal protective equipment. I mean, it was a national disgrace that we ran out last time, what's going to be our excuse this time. And policy makers should be doing everything to increase that testing, tracing isolation, again, the public health infrastructure that we know we need.
And I think the message for the American people is don't take unnecessary risks, that we know that there's going to be more transmission of the virus just as people are up and about. And in fact, this is a time that we should be on our guard even more than before. We should doubling down and doing even more social distancing as much as we can wearing masks, washing our hands because we have to take actions into our own hands. If we're not going to see the federal government leading the way.
COOPER: Dr. Leana Wen, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Just ahead, comedian and from writing staff. Late Night with Seth Meyers joins us, Amber Ruffin is her name. She's been using her platform on the show to share with the nation the painful, often dangerous encounters she's had with police as a black woman. We'll be right back.
COOPER: For African-Americans stories about police abuse are all too common. Whoever is our next guest has recently said they don't often share these stories because it's in her words, there's this unspoken rule that black people are supposed to take it in stride.
Amber Ruffin is a comedian writer on The Late Night with us -- on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Last week she would open the show with stories of her own encounters with police for instance, this one about the time she had arrived in Chicago from Amsterdam. Who was in the car with a friend Jeff who's white, they parked, she exited the car to grab another friend for dinner or just skipping down an alleyway. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER RUFFIN, COMEDIAN: Little bit I know skipping down a police station alley is a big no. no, because I end up skipping towards a cop car that's driving me down the alley. The sirens go off. A cop gets out and his gun is drawn and it goes, put your hands on (INAUDIBLE). This man is furious. I comply and his partner pats me down. Now this man is livid. It makes no sense. His anger level towards me is insane. I'm a young, adorable delight, literally skipping down the street and I've infuriated them.
So, thank God that I see Jeff, and thank God Jeff didn't come running up to us, because he could have gotten a Porsche (ph). But the cop sees that jet a white man has seen this and he changes his attitude with the quickness. He's suddenly professional instead of antagonistic.
A man could have shocked me and accepted. People who know me will be running around talking about attacking an officer doesn't seem like something that Amber would do. But the officer said she did. So that has to be what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now is Amber Ruffin. Amber, thanks so much for being with us.
One of the things you mentioned in your stories is that every black person has stories like this, that your stories aren't the exception in any way. And I completely believe that to be true. I also believe that to be devastating in many ways, not the least of which it just shows how ingrained perceptions or attitudes of race are in humans and in law enforcement. And does one change that? I mean, do you believe it can be changed?
[20:40:10] RUFFIN: Great question Anderson Cooper, I mean -- I don't know if it can be changed. I like to think that it can. But -- and I like to think that this is the beginning of that happening. But it will take a lot of work. Luckily, it seems like a lot of people are committed to doing the work. So friggin fingers crossed.
COOPER: I mean, which it's also -- I mean, you're you you're a comedian, you're incredibly talented writer. So the way you tell the story, on the one hand, there's part of me that's smiling the notion of, you know, adorable you're skipping down this alley, and it's a great -- you're telling a well told story. And then on the other hand, it's just, it's just devastating and deeply sad and this notion that you're just supposed to take it in stride, and other people are just supposed to take an astride that is just not right.
RUFFIN: Yes, that is. That is true. I feel like it it's partaking in strike, yes. But also like, once you say to your white friend, oh my gosh, You'll never believe what happened to me, then you run the risk of them saying, oh, grow up, you know, anyone could have responded in any way to you. So, it's just has felt safe to not be running around talking about it. You know what I mean?
COOPER: Yes, no --
RUFFIN: And that's kind of sad and true.
COOPER: Well also I mean, in so many of the stories the reaction of, you know, of a white person you happen to be with is also just so telling and, you know, they are horrified often and angry and trying to defend you I want to just play another story part of another story that you share, because this one again, yet again, I was just -- let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUFFIN: My friend rolls down the window, and the cop is super nice. Now I had never been stopped by a cop while a white man was around and the respect this cop had for this white man in the suit, he goes, I stopped you because there's been a lot of prostitution. And I go, oh, I'm not a prostitute.
This cop has never believed anything less. He looks at our IDs. And he asks us more questions. And my white friend is getting annoyed at this cop. And the cop can't tell, but I'm like, oh my gosh, please just come down and be cool. My friend says to the cop who goes, you have nothing. You have to let us go. And I'm like, you just got me killed. But the cop goes, OK, but you have to leave. OK, and that was it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, you're on your way to a party. You're feeling great about yourself. You're in -- I think you said it was like a velvet dress or something your favorite party dress, and this -- and the need and the reaction is that you're a prostitute. I mean, and to me, what made it even worse is you were upset that your friend is, you know, speaking back to the police officer saying you have to let us go. And I mean, it just so messed up.
RUFFIN: Isn't that crazy? Because he ultimately -- he was right. I was running them wrong. And it's so obvious, you know what, you're telling me stories out loud, how conditioned you are, to just take it. It's crazy. And, you know, hopefully that's breaking hopefully people can start to see, you know, their worth in their rights. But, Anderson, that outfit was gorgeous.
COOPER: I have no doubt about that. I mean, look, I gotta tell you, your outfits in all of these bits that you're doing have been quite, you know, right on point. I mean, you're you --
COOPER: -- put some thought into it.
RUFFIN: I do, thank you for (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: I mean, I can wear the same thing every night. No one notices because no, who cares with, you know, this old man is wearing. But, you I've also heard you say that now it's time for everyone to be angry and to be uncomfortable. Can you just talk about that a little bit? Because I've talked, I've been talking today to a number of protest leaders, and they will talk about that idea of, you know, what, it now is the time for you to be uncomfortable, because there's a lot of folks who have had to be uncomfortable every single day for an awfully long time.
RUFFIN: Yes, there has been, I mean, OK, so, like I was saying a minute ago, when you tell a story like that to someone they could get mad or the most common reaction is, they feel very uncomfortable and you can tell and you kind of hurry through the story. You don't want to blah, blah, blah.
But I think it's time for them to sit with that discomfort, you know, to hear it and let it really affect them, because it's scary to look at that and know that you're subject to that happening over and over again. And a lot of white people can't even get near that thought, it's too painful. Meanwhile, we're running around live in smack dab in the middle of it.
RUFFIN: So yes, let's get uncomfortable.
COOPER: Yes, I mean the -- again the reaction of your, you know, your friends who are white who are with you in these various stores. Again, it just -- it's so, you know, the reaction the police officer when he sees your white friend and how he as you said, just it changed in a split second.
RUFFIN: In a split second.
COOPER: Yes. RUFFIN: It's nuts. I was at any time you tell a story like this to black person, they go, yes, man, what are you going to do and that's kind of like the extent of it. But white people, their hearts are broken. They cannot fathom such a thing.
RUFFIN: And they're right. I'm going to try to get like that.
COOPER: Yes, well Amber Ruffin, I'm glad -- I'm so glad you were on tonight, because I've been watching what you've been doing and I just think it's really powerful and important. So thank you.
RUFFIN: I love you too Anderson.
COOPER: I was saying it with my eyes, I'm -- you know, I like to keep all my feelings deep down inside because sweet wasps do (ph). Amber, thank you.
Actually stick around to the commercial break if you will. I just want to say something you off camera for a second. We'll be right there.
Still ahead, with all the calls to reform police will show you how one city dissolve its department years ago and built a new one.
COOPER: Let's check with Chris what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME" at top of the hour, Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We're looking at progress. Where do we find it specifically in the case of George Floyd, one of the officers made bail today, very provocative statements from the chief of police about what the duty of the officers were who were watching the one with the knee on George Floyd's throat. Interesting. We heard the pain today of his family in front of Congress. Will that pain lead to purpose? We'll talk to somebody else who was there about why things haven't really changed.
Now we're going to look at the COVID cases, why they popping up? Why do we have one of the experts believing that the number of dead may double before the fall? We'll take on all those.
COOPER: Yes, Chris, alarming numbers that -- I mean 100,000 more people may die in this country.
CUOMO: I want to ask him why. Why? Because you know, that's not a guarantee. I want to get into the mind because we're getting hit with way too many different suggestions about what could happen, what can what to do what not. So let's get inside the why.
COOPER: Yes. All right, Chris. Seems just a couple minutes.
Coming up, you're going to hear a lot about police reform in the in the coming days. Tonight we'll look at how one city reformed its police department by disbanding it. Will tell you exactly what that meant the details when we return.
COOPER: One of the big questions about reforming police departments is how far can you go if you've already tried reforms and if they don't work and you simply do away with a police force, that seems unlikely. But that is essentially what Camden New Jersey did more than seven years ago. Of course they still have a place for us, but we'll explain how.
Once a byword for violent crime, Camden scrapped its police force and started from scratch essentially, they saw a dramatic drop in crime as a result. Our Gary Tuchman reported on this novel approach shortly after began, he's back with a look at whether it's one other cities might be able to replicate.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did you disband the Camden Police Department?
SCOTT THOMSON, RET POLICE CHIEF, CAMDEN COUNTY NJ: Yes, and so in at the end of 2012. In the early 2013, every member of the Camden City Police Department was fired, including myself. And a new police force called the Camden County police force was created and it was staffed.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Scott Thompson is the recently retired police chief has disbanded city police force met no more police union and the ability to make new work directives. The union is now back, but the work directives and new traditions remain innovative like this.
Serving barbecue or ice cream is a regular feature of the community oriented policing that is done here in Camden.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fair am I, can you high five me?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): For the nearly 400 cops in the city of roughly 77,000 are expected to walk the streets and personally get to know those they are policing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those our future recruit right there.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Crime is still a problem here, but violent crime is way down since a high point in 2012 when the City Police Department was disbanded. Homicides down by about 63% as of last year, and the Department says excessive force complaints against police are down 95%. All amid this directive.
THOMSON: You will use force as an absolute last resort and you will deescalate. There must be an attempt to deescalate a situation prior to using force. TUCHMAN (voice-over): This video from a few years back shows an example of that policy of man flailing a knife inside a store. He continued doing so outside the night. It's a dangerous situation. But police stayed calm and let it play out on the downtown streets. It looks like a bizarre parade.
THOMSON: They envelop the individual and they walk five city blocks without using deadly force.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The suspect was safely apprehended.
(on-camera): There's another very notable principle to abide by if you're a Camden County police officer. And that is you're mandated to notify a supervisor. If a fellow cop violates any of these directives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to intervene, that officers do something wrong at that moment, it is your job, because if not yours wrong as an officer, that's good.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So one of these two guys, I know you guys wouldn't do this, but heard someone and they were being peaceful. He would report them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would, I would probably take the badge right off his chest at that moment because it says service to yourself. And he's not carrying (INAUDIBLE) through that.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): And you do the same thing to him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes sir, absolutely sir. I expect nothing less.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This reimagine police force gets a lot of attention here.
(on-camera): You've harmed what's going on in the country right now with cops?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Do you think you're cops here in Camden are different?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they are very different. They treat us nice, light. And they're very cooperative (ph).
TUCHMAN (voice-over): There is criticism though, that the Camden County police force doesn't have enough minority officers, isn't transparent enough and may not be responsible for the crime drop.
Kevin Barfield is the President of the local NAACP.
KEVIN BARFIELD, PRESIDENT, CAMDEN COUNTY NAACP: The crime statistics have been going down throughout the state of New Jersey and has been going down within the nation. So I would not credit that with the police and programs that have or supposed to be taking place right now. TUCHMAN (voice-over): The former police chief says the department can improve while keeping its principles.
THOMSON: I think that most of the police officers here, get it. Every once in a while we get one that doesn't. And we move swiftly and with certainty to remove them from the force.
TUCHMAN: Anderson since the death of George Floyd, there have been two protests here in Camden, both of them peaceful. A week and a half ago the first protest at least 10 police officers participated. And one of the participants from the police force was the current chief of the Camden police. He was holding a banner in support of the cause.
And I should mention to you Anderson that the police provided to the day demonstrators ice cream from Mr. Softee. Anderson.
COOPER: Fascinating, Camden, New Jersey. Gary, thanks very much.
The news continues. I want to head over to a Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?