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Dr. Anthony Fauci Warns of Coronavirus Surge in Parts of U.S.; America in Trump's Presidency; William Cohen, Former U.S. Defense Secretary, is Interviewed About Trump and America; Dark Side of Police Culture and How to Fix It; Psychology of Crowds; Interview With Former Seattle, Washington, Police Chief Norm Stamper. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 23, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
America in the age of Trump. Its leadership questioned, its values in doubt. I asked former Republican senator and secretary of defense, William
Cohen, about this presidency and America's standing in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORM STAMPER, FORMER SEATTLE POLICE CHIEF: I'm afraid I just need to say this, the institution seems to be suffering from some kind of a collective
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Police under scrutiny. Seattle's former chief, Norm Stamper, tells our Michel Martin about remorse and the reckoning.
Then, from the other side, we look at the psychology and science of protests with Professor Clifford Stott who advices the British government.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.
Events shape presidencies as much as presidents shape events. Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns of a disturbing coronavirus surge in parts of the
United States that calls for more, not less, testing. And now, this double pandemic of the health crisis and racism has struck Donald Trump's
administration in ways few of his immediate predecessors have experienced. And yet, the damage is mostly self-inflicted, according to his former
national security adviser John Bolton, whose tell-all memoir, "The Room Where It Happened," Trump tried to ban but now hits shelves today.
It is a damning account of a presidency described as corrupt, self- interested and incompetent from someone who had a front row seat to the action and where foreign policy seems dictated by the president's obsession
with his reelection. Perhaps at the cost of America's long-term interests.
So, once the dust settles, what will America and its relationship with the rest of the world look like? To answer that question, my first guest
tonight also sat in the room where it happened, only under a different presidency. William Cohen was Bill Clinton's secretary of defense and a
Republican senator for Maine for nearly two decades before that. And he's joining me now from Bethesda, Maryland.
Secretary Cohen, welcome back to the program.
Let me ask you, because there's some really hair-raising stories described by John Bolton about his time as national security adviser, whether it's
about President Trump allegedly seeking help in his reelection from, you know, the Chinese president, whether it's about potentially criminalizing
dissent at home. What do you -- I guess, you know, you've been on the cutting edge of foreign policy for so long. What do you see and what do you
expect if there was to be a second Trump administration?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, if that were to take place, then I think we would not recognize America as a democracy. I think
President Trump is taking us down the road to tyranny, to one-man rule, to try and replicate what he sees as a positive in Moscow with President Putin
or in Turkey with President Erdogan, or over in China or North Korea.
I think he wants to have one-man rule, and it's not the rule of law but just the opposite. It's the law of rule, where he only can make decisions.
And he said quite, you know, publicly on multiple occasions, I'm above the law. The law doesn't apply to me. I'm the chief law enforcement officer. I
am the commander in chief. Nothing I do is illegal because I do it.
And so, if you take away an obligation to run for reelection, now, he has absolute authority to do whatever he wants because he feels he's not even
bound by the law. And so, I see a very dictatorial absolutist type of rule in the country, and again, I don't think we'll be a democracy at that
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that is really dramatic. You don't think America will be a democracy, he's leading us down the road to tyranny, one-man rule is what
you've just said. I guess I want to ask you, but I almost know the answer. Are the institutions in America not strong enough to prevent that? But of
course, that comes in the wake of the attorney general, you know, firing a U.S. attorney in New York, it comes in the wake of this -- you know, of
the, Republican Senate basically all the time dancing to President Trump's tune.
But is there a limit, do you think, that the institutions will no longer tolerate? For instance, the military stood up and said no to what was
happening -- you know, you remember, course, with the photo op and clearing the peaceful American protesters from outside the White House.
COHEN: Well, he is doing his best to really tear down these institutions, to politicize them in a way that they'd bend to his rule. He's tried to
politicize the Justice Department. He has, in fact, politicized the Attorney General's Office. He's tried to politicize the judiciary. He
hasn't done it yet, but you may recall he likes to call the judiciary my judges. He wants to call the military my generals. And so, he has done his
best to delegitimize those institutions.
They're holding for now, but as you can see with Attorney General Barr simply intervening in cases involving the president's friend, I'm going to
-- say, to drop the charges against Flynn, I'm going to drop the or reduce the charges against Stone, he is very actively involved in sending the
signal that if you're my friend, you're protected, and if you're my enemy, I'll prosecute on you. So, the institutions have been holding, but give
them four more years of the same thing, I doubt if they'll be able to withstand the pressure.
The media has been attacked as the enemy of the people. And so, now, journalists are subject to being attacked, that they sometimes have to have
escorts, armed escorts as such to get from their home to their place of work. We're seeing people who are harassed for expressing personal
opinions, threatening their lives and that of their family.
So, I think four more years of this type of lawlessness, then I think we will all have to reexamine what it means to be in a "democracy" that is run
by someone who doesn't believe in the rule of law.
AMANPOUR: You are a Republican, as far as I know. Do you talk to your Republican colleagues, your former colleagues from when you were in
Congress or the current ones? I mean, do you raise that alarm?
COHEN: Well, I raise it publicly on every chance that I get by appearing on your show and others. I've talked to several of my former colleagues,
and frankly, they don't recognize the Senate we once served in. And I know that everybody looks back over their shoulder and say, those were the good
old days. But for me they were the good old days. You had people like Warren Rudman and Jack Danforth and Howard Baker and Al Simpson and so many
others, Jack Javits.
And it was a Senate, a Republican Senate that was -- Bob Dole, John McCain, Chuck Hagel. You go through the list of people who were open. It was a big
tent. There was room for all of us to vent and ventilate our ideas. That's no longer the case. They are in lockstep for the most part with the
president and he rules by fear. If they vote against him or in any way indicate they don't favor what he is saying, then he puts out a tweet, and
suddenly, they're in trouble back home with threats to their reelection potential, but also threats to them physically.
So, this is a different place than the Senate I served in. And again, maybe every former senator like to say it was better then. But I have to believe
that it was better then when we could reach across the aisle, we could reach compromise, we could dine with each together, we could share weekends
with each other. I could write books with a Democrat and not be seen as being a traitor to the party.
And that sentiment of looking at the other party and other senators as enemies and not as colleagues, endeavoring to try to make the country
better than it is, I think it's more difficult these days than it ever has been in the past.
AMANPOUR: And just briefly, one of your successors in Maine, obviously, is Senator Susan Collins. And of course, a lot of people, I don't know, try to
say she's a moderating influence or whatever and there is a lot of sort of tightrope walking from her, and usually when push comes to shove, she sides
with the president, usually. Do you talk to her?
COHEN: I haven't talked to her. She has my number, and we're friends. And so, I try not to intervene. I don't call members on the hill, I don't try
to persuade anybody, I'm not a lobbyist. If someone has a question, they can call me. Susan has the difficult race.
There are two Maines. There is the rural conservative Maine and there is the more liberal "urban" areas of Maine that she'll have to contend and
balance that. In the end, I believe she'll do what she thinks is right, but she's going to have a tougher race than she had in the past. I would say
she still has -- I think the odds are winning, but I think they're much tougher than she ever faced in the past.
AMANPOUR: I guess I was just asking because you raised what appeared to be, certainly, existential crises here, existential issues for the survival
of the United States as a democracy as we know it. But I want to ask you, because this follows.
These excerpts of the book now that's on the shelves by John Bolton has some pretty -- from, I guess, many people's perspective -- worrying
accounts of President Trump being "in hoc" to authoritarian leaders, who are not only authoritarian, adversarial. China, for instance. The idea that
he would have asked China to buy American farm products to help with his election, to give the so-called green light interring China's Muslim
population, the Uyghurs, in those internment camps. We talked about the firing of Geoffrey Berman who was also apparently looking into a case
concerning the Turkish National Bank, which we understand President Trump said to President Erdogan, well, when I have my people in place, you know,
we'll fix it for you.
Is there an IOU that these leaders will one day come asking Trump for, in a second term, or is the American president too strong tore IOU'd, so to
COHEN: I guess the question for me is why are we surprised. We knew this about Donald Trump before he was elected. We knew when he was arranging
payments to Stormy Daniels. Back when I was in Congress, in the House of Representatives, Spiro Agnew was removed from vice presidency because he
was taking kickbacks that he had arranged while he was governor of Maryland. He was actually taking money while he was sitting in the vice
President Trump was sending money while he's in the president's office to Michael Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels. So, we knew this from the
beginning, so it's not shocking. When he asked Russia, are you listening? Can you hear me? Can you help me out here? And he's saying the same thing
publicly, and he thinks because he's saying it publicly to China, will you help me out, that it's not inappropriate or bad or criminal.
The notion that you would invite a foreign power to help you out in your election automatically creates a quid pro quo. Everything to him is a
transaction. When he said, look, I gave Jim Mattis -- what did I do? I gave him $700 billion. What did he give me? Hello? He didn't give anything to
you but 40 years of his service and putting his life on the line. It's not a transaction where you give him money. By the way, it's not your money,
it's the American people's money.
So, I'm not surprised that he's turned to others and said, help me out. He has taxed the American people. Tariffs are taxes. Whatever he says that the
Chinese are paying, they're not paying. Every importer of Chinese goods is paying a tax called a tariff, and that tax they pass on to the consumer.
So, just as the American people are building the wall on the Mexican border, we're also paying the tax that's supposed to be paid by China. And
yet, he's been able to get away with that and then says, oh, by the way, I'll create an $18, $20 billion little fund over here for the farmers. If
that isn't a form of -- a direct form of corruption, I don't know what is.
So, I am not surprised by Bolton's revelations. They simply confirm what I believed was well evident before the election ever took place. And it's out
there now. Unfortunately, he has people who just don't care. My hope is that there are enough people who do care about the rule of law, who know
that that is the glue that holds a civilization together.
And once you have the president who says the law doesn't apply to me and everybody thinks, well, it doesn't apply to me, either, so, if he doesn't
wear a mask, why should I? If he doesn't social distance, why should I? If he's able to say this crude, willful, untruths, why can't I? Why can't I
just submit all this crony, kooky, I would say, conspiracy ideas, send them out over the internet and have the president retreat them and take them as
So, I think we have to come to a reckoning. We talk about the confederate flag coming down. Some of his supporters have had three flags. They had the
American flag, the confederate flag and the Nazi flag. And I don't hear him condemning those who puts a swastika on their arms. All I heard him say was
they're good people in that group of neofascists, neo-Nazis. There were no good neo-Nazis, and yet, he continues to give them comfort and support by
not criticizing them, as opposed to looking at black people and saying they're all thugs. They're all thugs and criminals, and (INAUDIBLE) should
be thrown out of the country or locked up and never again play football for taking a knee for justice. And he supports someone who puts a knee on the
neck of George Floyd.
So, I think there has to be a reckoning. And basically, I'm delighted to see the support that white people, people like me, who are speaking out
against what is taking place in this country of systemic racism that is so deeply embedded in our society that we don't even recognize it until people
come out and they rebel against the system saying, look what you have done to us. You continue to put your neck, your foot on our neck day in and day
out, and we can't take it anymore, we can't breathe anymore.
So, now, I think it's up to us white people to join hands with all the minorities and say, we now recognize what we have been doing for the past
four centuries. We've kept our knee on your neck, and now, we've got to get it off.
And so, I am delighted to see the people in the street, especially white people in the street. Because it won't happen without us, because we're the
ones who have the instruments of power and we have had them all along. We have done everything in our power to subordinate, to subjugate and to keep
our knee on people of color because we have regarded them as less than equal to us.
And so, the time has come to an awakening of what we have done and what we need to do to be a better America and a better world.
AMANPOUR: So, I really hear your passion and your protective nature about the institutions of the United States and what needs to happen next.
Obviously, voting in the presidential election is going to be a big deal. Do you believe that this is going to go ahead, fine, there's going to be an
election, because clearly everything you've just been passionately calling for could presumably only happen in a change of administration?
COHEN: I don't think it will be fair. I think the Republicans will do everything in their power to suppress the vote. We're seeing it take place
now. It's taking place today in Kentucky. They have one polling place for the whole state. And this is ludicrous. And we're seeing them shut down
from 100 polling places to four or five in other states. So, that's number one.
Number two, the president is out degrading of paper -- of write-in ballots. And so, he says, go out there and stand in line during the COVID crisis as
long as necessary, eight hours, 10 hours, it doesn't matter. And if you are writing in your ballots, they're automatically, in my judgment, they're
fraudulent. So, I think he's already calling into question the authenticity, the legitimacy of the vote before it's ever taken.
And so, I think he's putting in the soil, he's seeding the soil with his poisonous weeds to say, no matter what happens, I'm going to declare this
election invalid. I'm going to stay here until we have a recount. I'm going to force a recount. I don't think you'll accept the results, assuming that
he loses. And again, that's a big assumption, because I think they'll do everything they can to suppress the vote in those states and those areas
where minorities are strongest.
AMANPOUR: Well, Secretary William Cohen, you've certainly put us all on notice. Remember, I'm just going to say it again, you are a Republican
talking about this Republican administration and this Republican president. Thank you very much for being with us.
Now, of course, actions of law enforcement are under scrutiny, of course, like never before in the United States as we we've been discussing. Just
yesterday, police in Washington used pepper spray to break up anti-racism protesters who tried to topple a constitute of President Andrew Jackson,
died in the (INAUDIBLE) nationalist and a slave owner.
Our next guest was a cop for 34 years, and he has spent six of them as Seattle's police chief. Norm Stamper resigned though over his handling of
the 1999 World Trade Organization protest after he authorized the use of tear gas. Ever since, Stamper has been a vocal advocate for police reform.
And here, he tells our Michel Martin how he became part of what he calls the dark side of police culture and how to fix that problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MICHEL MARTIN, CNNI CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane.
Chief Stamper, thank you so much for joining us.
NORM STAMPER, FORMER SEATTLE POLICE CHIEF: It's my pleasure. Thank you.
MARTIN: Chief, you were a police officer for 34 years, the first 28 in San Diego, the last six in Seattle as the chief of police. But do you mind just
walking us back and say why you were attracted to law enforcement to begin with?
STAMPER: I became a cop accidentally. I had a friend who was taking the civil service test at the war memorial building in Balboa Park in San
Diego, and he asked me if I wanted to accompany him. At the time, I was a veterinary assistant at a small pet hospital and playing rhythm and blues
at night. And I passed the test, he didn't. And he was one of those people who wanted to be a cop since he was three.
I had kind of uneasy, if not unpleasant, experiences with the police, was not really much of a fan at age 20 when I took the test. But I passed it
and then got sucked into the culture very, very quickly and learned an awful lot about the institution over the years.
MARTIN: So, Chief, when you say you got sucked into the culture, what do you mean by that?
STAMPER: Well, at the time that I became a police officer, it was with the idea that I was going to be different from the officers I had experienced
in my young life, that I would not use excessive force, I would never use the N word, I would never laugh at the really cruel jokes that were told in
the locker room or the front seat of a police car.
But within five minutes, I'm doing almost all of that. I never did succumb to the temptation to use the N word, but it was all around me, and it was
something that within five minutes' time, figuratively speaking, I was saying and doing things that I had never said, never done before. And I'm
ashamed of those days. I wouldn't trade them for anything because I carry to this day a cellular memory of just how powerful that culture is.
MARTIN: Well, you were in it for three decades so you must have liked it. So, what is it that you liked about it?
STAMPER: The short answer is the first 14 months on the job, I was abusing the very people I had been hired to protect and serve, and then I got
slapped upside the head by a principled prosecutor who asked me if the constitution of the United States meant anything to me. I was furious with
him. I was the one who was out there on the mean streets, San Diego. I was out there during the heat and the cold. Once again, San Diego. But I was in
the real world, and he was prowling the hallways of a courthouse. And what gave him the right to judge me and the arrests that I had made?
The arrest, by the way, was a false arrest. In other words, I had violated the law, I had violated the constitution, and he wanted no part of that.
And he told me so. I went from anger to embarrassment to shame in sort of a breathtakingly short period of time and decided then and there, that's it.
I am going to change, and I did.
MARTIN: So, Chief, you know, this is so interesting, because one of the events for which you are known, in addition to being a kind of a thoughtful
critic of this institution, but you're known for Seattle's response to the protests at the WTO, the World Trade Organization's, ministerial conference
in 1999 which led to your resignation where you did use chemical agents. I mean, you did all the things that you criticized people for doing.
So, can you just talk a little bit about that? I'm sure it's very complicated and it was a long time ago, but you did.
STAMPER: It is a little complicated, but let's simplify it. I authorized the use of chemical agents against my fellow Americans, a nonviolent,
indeed, nonthreatening protesters who had decided to take a seat in the middle of an intersection that we believed, from a police point of view,
was important to us and to public safety.
And so, we used that tear gas after warning the protesters for about half an hour. For five years into my retirement, Michel, I am still defending
that position. I am talking around the country and throughout North America and Australia, as a matter of fact, and saying, we didn't have a choice. We
had to use chemical agents. That intersection was critical tactically and from a public safety point of view. That was the cop in me saying that.
That was the cop in me that authorized the use of tear gas.
The police chief in me, the organizational leader in me, should have been saying, wait a minute. Do we really need to use tear gas here? Did we
really need that intersection at that moment? Could an ambulance or a fire truck, for example, been able to go a couple of blocks to the left or to
the right, to the east or to the west, and the answer, of course, is yes.
So, this sort of black and white, single-minded mentality got me in trouble. It produced within me a rationalization that I clung to for about
five years, as I said, into my retirement. And then I realized, oh, my God, I am wrong. It was the worst decision, I think, of my career. Certainly,
when it comes to tactics in protest situations, the absolute worst decision.
I'm ashamed of the decision that I made. I have certainly learned from it, and I'm afraid I just need to say this, the institution seems to be
suffering from some kind of a collective learning disability. We presented in vivid terms a how to and how not to police protests in this country in
1999, and yet, over and over, city after city, we're seeing those same mistakes made. It's painful to watch. It's sad to watch.
MARTIN: Well, that leads us to the current moment. As you are seeing, you know, around the country now, there is a call now to defund the police. And
what's interesting about this is that you're seeing legislatures take this up around the country, take it up seriously. Is that the right decision?
STAMPER: Yes, no and maybe. Sound like a politician or a consultant. Apologize for that. I think what's safe to conclude here is whether it's a
call for dismantling the police or defunding the police? We've got to talk about it. It absolutely must be on the table. I'm a very strong supporter
of that conversation.
However, painful it may be for the establishment. For civic leaders, for elected local officials, for police administrators, for police unions. It's
time for us to get to that table and have an honest, probing conversation about why it is that policing lacks legitimacy in too many corridors
throughout this country.
MARTIN: What would that look like, a radical rethinking of the way policing is done in this country? What would that look like?
STAMPER: I would start with the premise that in a theoretically, multicultural, free and democratic society, that we need to produce a
grassroots model of police policymaking, police oversight. Every aspect of police operations should be a result of police community collaboration.
Authentic partnership, not some public relations cosmetic version thereof.
I've seen a lot of incremental change. I've advocated, I've participated in organizational improvement efforts and strengthening community police
relations, and all of that, I think, is highly suspect today because it has not produced the change that we desperately need in this country. So, it's
going to have to come, I'm convinced, from the community in a structured fashion that will make sure that community voices are heard and heeded.
And so, when we start throwing these terms around, the first order of business is to define them and to ask whether we've got the political will,
the personal courage, because so much of this is going to be contested, so much of this is going to be fought, particularly by police unions, but to
face the challenges, to face every single obstacle and dismantle it until we arrive at an authentic community police policymaking, decision making,
crisis management partnership.
MARTIN: Do you have any (INAUDIBLE) for some of these many men and women on the street though? I mean, particularly after 9/11, you know, they were
told they were heroes. You know, you are heroes. I mean, you saw these posters were (INAUDIBLE) all over town, be a hero, right, be a guardian, be
a hero. And yet -- and now, people are saying, get your knee off this man's neck, you people are killers. You know what I mean? I mean, it just means
as though -- do you kind of see where for some people that's a head snap?
STAMPER: It is a head snap. I'm admitting it to you. It's a head snap for me because I did not believe that we would see the outpouring of anger at
what that officer did back on May 25th in Minneapolis. An outpouring of anger from cops who had been silent or who have, in fact, opposed protest
movements, you know, in the wake of Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice and on and on and on.
So, it's wonderful and it's heartening to see that. I really do believe that we are at a crossroads in policing, and that individual officers --
let's take an officer, for example, who is compassionate, who is understanding, who is empathetic, who listens to people, who genuinely
believes in and practices de-escalation, and who has partnered with the citizens on his beat.
That officer's reputation is currently being shaped by people like Derek Chauvin. And that's unspeakably sad to me, because I know these cops who
have done wonderful work.
Now what's going to happen, I believe -- I have to say that it's going to happen is because people inside and outside the system are saying, what we
saw when that knee hit that neck and all of that officer's body weight was pressed against a fellow human being saying that he can't breathe for
almost nine minutes, that we're saying, absolutely never again, never again.
Well, we have seen it since. We will continue to see it, until the system itself changes and recognizes the good work done by good cops and takes
truly accountable action to prevent what we saw in Minneapolis and certainly to hold accountable any and all individuals responsible for it.
MARTIN: Your book "To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police" was published in 2016, and then you -- and that was your second book.
You also -- before that, you wrote "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing." That was 2005.
So, I have two questions to you about this. Do you feel, in a way, that other people are coming around to where you already were?
STAMPER: Back in the '70s, when I was a sergeant in San Diego, I wrote a senior thesis at San Diego State University entitled "The Community as DMZ:
Breaking Down the Police Paramilitary Bureaucracy."
So, throughout my adult life, I have been an advocate of fundamental, radical change of the system of American policing. And, yes, it is
gratifying to hear the conversation today.
At the same time, I'm asking myself why. And no one individual, I don't care who that individual is, whether it is the president of the United
States or a police sergeant in Waukegan, decides that they want to see change, they can, in that portion of their world, help bring about that
But what's needed is some degree of unity, born not of blind loyalty to one idea or another, but rather to a clash of these ideas, until we get to the
point at which you can say, yes, I can see this working. I can see...
MARTIN: OK, but this is where I go back to you. This is one of the things that fascinates me about you. I'm not picking on you.
But the reality is, you have studied these things...
STAMPER: Oh, please do.
MARTIN: Well, I mean, but you have studied these things for years.
You had these instincts, as you tell you, from when you were a very young officer. Really early in your career, you had these instincts. And yet when
the time came for you to make a fundamental break with the way crowd control was done, you didn't do it.
And so that's one of the reasons that I -- you know, I ask the question. And we constantly hear for years, for decades, we have been hearing about
reform and better relationships.
And yet, when push comes to shove, we still see people putting their knees on somebody's neck, Tasing them, you know, shooting them after they were
stopped for a DUI.
Why does it seem to not ever come -- you know, move from the dissertation to practice on the streets? Why is that?
STAMPER: I will give you the most honest answer I can.
And that is that we are so conditioned to organizational life, to institutional life as we have known it, as we have grown up in that system.
See, when I grew up in the system, we were using tear gas as something tactical experts would call a force multiplier. You don't have enough cops
to clear an intersection, bring out the gas and apply liberally.
That was a part of our central nervous system built into the DNA of the police paramilitary bureaucracy. And it's an incredibly strong, resilient
It's also toxic. And it is also amenable today to the kind of radical change that I have never believed possible until this moment, until so many
eyes -- I get affected by this. Every time I see another image of Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd's neck, I get sick.
It is almost a visceral thing. I realize this is horrific, an act of murder committed by somebody who wore a uniform similar to the one that I wore,
who wears a uniform similar to all of those honest and good and compassionate cops out there.
He has, in effect, been the symbol of law enforcement. And if that's acceptable to us, let's ride out this storm and go back to business as
usual. I don't think -- I know that it's not going to happen.
I'm 76 years old. This is literally the first time in my adult life that I have felt optimistic about change. We're at a very raw, very, very tough
moment, I think, in our history right now, but it's coming. And it could be a beautiful thing.
MARTIN: Chief Stamper, thank you so much for speaking with us.
STAMPER: Thank you, Michelle.
AMANPOUR: Now, my next guest is Clifford Stott. He's an expert in the psychology of crowds, and he spent his career studying protests. He's
advising the government here in the U.K. on how to reduce the risk of civil unrest in the wake of this pandemic.
And he's joining me now from Liverpool.
Professor Stott, welcome to the program.
You just heard former Chief Stamper talk about the police side of this crisis and thinking that, you know, not just the pandemic, but the post-
George Floyd Black Lives Matter protests and the movement on the streets could be a real tipping point.
From your experience, before we get into the crowds, do you also share that optimism when it comes to police?
CLIFFORD STOTT, SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR, KEELE UNIVERSITY: Yes, I suppose I do. It was a fascinating and powerful account from the chief
there. Interesting that he had the epiphany moment five years after he left the
organization, but somebody who clearly understands the challenges of reforming police culture, that it's an ongoing struggle that has to grasp
every opportunity that is delivered.
And one of the things that I have learned about police reform is that it happens in the wake of crisis. It would be lovely to think that we could
get to the point where police reform happens before the crisis to prevent the crisis from happening in the first place.
But, nonetheless, this is a crisis, and within that lies an opportunity for change.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to get, so that we understand how you came to this position. What is it that moved you to start looking into, not just police
action, but also crowd and protest action, even football crowds and so- called, as we call them here in England, hooligans, their actions?
What brought you to this place?
STOTT: Well, I have always found crowds fascinating.
When I was a young man, some considerable time ago now, I was attending lots of demonstrations that turned into violence, so I was interested in
understanding that. I was politically aware, and I wanted to try to use science to understand the dynamics through which crowds turn from peaceful
demonstrations into conflictual and violent riots.
That was the Ph.D. question I did when I signed up to become a doctor, and I studied that through going to crowd events and watching them transform,
both in a political context, but also in a sporting context.
So, here in the U.K., of course, hooliganism has always been a very powerful issue, but that, too, is a crowd event. And within those crowds
lies an understanding of the dynamics, the dynamics through which crowds transform.
And what was interesting from my point of view was that we move away from this idea that crowds are places of irrationality to an understanding that
crowds are very meaningful for people, and those meanings are shaped and reshaped through their interaction with police during a crowd event.
So, the dynamics of a crowd psychology are not just about the psychology of the crowd, but also the psychology of police and their culture that we have
just heard so powerfully about.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you, because a social scientist in 1985, Gustave Le Bon, wrote "The Crowd."
And in it, he said: "By the mere fact that he forms part of an organized crowd, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization.
Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual. In a crowd, he is a barbarian."
Is it as simple as that?
STOTT: Well, it was slightly longer ago than 1985. It was actually 1895 that that book was written.
STOTT: But, strangely, those ideas, they're still with us, they're still contemporary. So it's perfectly appropriate to talk about them in the
contemporary sense, because they have become so deeply rooted in how we think about crowd events, that you even see them in the headlines in
newspapers about the rioting that we have seen recently.
But you capture very powerfully the way in which Le Bon's crowd psychology renders the crowd irrational, a place where ordinary people who can be law-
abiding under most normal circumstances, when they enter a crowd, become anonymous. And through that anonymity, there's some kind of breakdown in
their psychological functioning.
And where that happens, then the crowd becomes uncivilized, irrational, malleable, dangerous. And it flows into not just our own understanding of
how crowds operate, but also how we manage them.
And that's why people often refer to the concept of crowd control, because it implies that crowds are things that need to be controlled because of
their inherent irrationality.
AMANPOUR: So, in all the reading on the psychology of riots, for instance, some people say why it is never just mindless violence.
So, I want to ask you about making a distinction between protests, between violent elements. Where -- you have protests in the United States, Europe,
all over the world, right, right here in England now, because of what happened in America and the George Floyd Black Lives Matter movement.
And yet you have got leaders both here in the U.K. and in the U.S. calling them thugs, calling them radicals.
Can you break down what you see on the streets and how it should be policed?
STOTT: Well, firstly, we need to move away from the Le Bonian idea of irrationality and realize that crowd action or collective action in a crowd
is driven by meaning and understanding.
And then we can ask the question, well, where do those meanings come from? And those meanings are often revolved around a sense of legitimacy or
fairness and injustice. So, when we ask, why are people mobilizing onto the streets, they mobilize onto the streets for two primary reasons at the
moment in America.
One is the death of George Floyd in a particular incident, but also the extent to which that particular incident captures a broader structural
inequality of the day-to-day interactions between large sections of the American population and the police force that is there to serve them.
And in that experience is a sense of injustice that drives an identity through which people mobilize out onto the streets into a social movement
to confront that injustice. So, for people involved, it's highly meaningful for them.
And to render it irrational denies us the opportunity to understand where that psychology comes from. And, indeed, that's precisely why that
psychology, that Le Bonian psychology, is so popular, because it does precisely that. It prevents governments having to ask questions.
It prevents police forces having to ask questions about their own role in the production of that violence.
AMANPOUR: So, what should please be doing? Because we have seen, in the United States, even after these terrible police killings, are still a sort
of a militarized police confronting peaceful protesters, by and large.
And we saw it in 2011 here in London after the killing of Michael (sic) Duggan here in London. Maybe the rest of our viewers won't remember, but
London and England kind of burned for several days.
And you would -- you studied that quite, quite intensely. What did you learn from that? What should police do? What chances and opportunities did
STOTT: Well, again, I would just refer back to the last interview, to some extent, that we heard from the horse's mouth, as it were, from the
commander of the policing operation in Seattle about what went wrong from his point of view, this reliance on an overly militarized, repressive style
of policing, and that, for him, the solution was about what he called community policing.
Now, community policing is policing from within the community, from within the neighborhoods, built around dialogue and communication. And to a large
extent, that's what goes wrong. That's what went wrong in 2011, in two respects.
One is that when Mark Duggan was shot, it was over 48 was from that shooting to the first conflict. And within that, the Metropolitan Police
Service themselves recognized that the core failure was a failure of dialogue and communication, but also that on the day-to-day interactions, a
heavy program of stop and search, or what Americans called stop and frisk, was creating tensions between black youth and the police that flowed into
the situation outside Tottenham police station after these failures in dialogue, and led to an escalation when the police intervened after there
was an attack on a police car.
So there's a whole series of dynamics that come together. But the most important lesson is communication. Communication, dialogue, and
neighborhood policing is the solution to these kinds of conflicts.
AMANPOUR: So, we have seen polls in the United States. And pollsters have said, it's shifted -- these have -- polls have shifted after George Floyd
faster than they have ever seen in any social or political issue in the past.
So, on May 29, apparently 59 percent told "The Wall Street Journal" that they were more troubled by the actions of the police than of Black Lives
Matter protests, even those that turned violent.
So, what can police do now? What should they do? You advise a lot of police departments. You advise the government here in how to crowd-control and
properly police. What can one do to bring the police back from this brink, particularly in the time that people are talking about defunding the police
and all the rest of it?
STOTT: Well, it's a broader political challenge here. Those solutions don't just lie with the police. This is not just a policing problems. It's
a political one, too.
We have to have the right kind of political leadership in place, for a start. But there -- where we can work with the police, what we try to do is
to create what we call knowledge-based policing, to, first and foremost, help them to understand the dynamics of crowds, because often what police
are doing is making decisions based on an inaccurate understanding of crowd psychology and the dynamics through which violence comes about.
And that's a big problem. So, if we can get into a situation where we can reform policy, and then that we can work with police educators to help
inform police officers and police commanders in particular about the dynamics of crowds, that's a good start.
The second thing is to then focus on the development of tactics. So, what we see in the context of policing crowds is a massive overreliance on
military styles of intervention. It's all about equipment, helmets, batons, water cannon, gas, all the kinds of things that this militarized approach
has inherent within it.
And there is very little emphasis on tactical capability for communication. So, in countries like Sweden, for example, where we worked with the police
extensively, they developed a specialized units of dialogue police who are trained negotiators who understand how to use communication to de-escalate,
to navigate the dynamics of power in a crowd event.
And where we see that tactical capability combined with a strategic framework that's based on an accurate understanding of crowd dynamics and
behavior, then we start to see reductions in conflict.
And we see that pattern across the world. This is supported by scientific research and theory. So the opportunity is there for the police to embrace
it. So the question is, why don't they?
And this is really then about the professionalization of the police, building a police force that is prepared to embrace scientific knowledge
AMANPOUR: It's really a challenge. I'm sure your services will be much in demand, because we're right at the coalface of this massively important
Clifford Stott, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
STOTT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now as locked down restrictions here in England continue to be eased, from July 4, pubs, hairdressers, hotels, and even restaurants will
be allowed to reopen.
But long before coronavirus, epidemics had been reshaping our cities across the world and indeed how they work. London's sewers, for instance, were
built after a cholera outbreak in the 19th century. Many of New York's large parks, like Central Park, were planned after epidemics to provide
more open spaces.
Today, cities around the world are reimagining their streets in an effort to transform the way people get around in a new socially distanced world
also paying attention to the climate.
Our Nic Robertson is finding out much more on the streets right now.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Our cities everywhere are changing.
They're getting breathing space, quite literally, here in London, more space for cyclists and for pedestrians, less for cars, a new world made for
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a win-win situation. It's a win for the pedestrian. It's a win-win for two-wheelers. It's a win-win for the
drivers. So let's see what's going to happen.
ROBERTSON: COVID-19 is causing cities across the globe to adapt in similar ways, from Paris to Bogota, from New York to Buenos Aires. But will the
transformation last forever?
WILL NORMAN, LONDON WALKING AND CYCLING COMMISSIONER: Here in London, if we have approximately, probably eight million journeys that need to be made
by the most.
If a fraction of those end up on -- in cars on our roads, we're going to end up with gridlock, which is exactly why we need to enable people to take
those cleaner, greener, more sustainable journeys now. And I hope that, as they get used to it, that's behavior that sticks.
ROBERTSON: A quick mid-morning journey on London's previously overstuffed underground wearing a now mandatory face covering a rapid reminder of how
strange the world of confined spaces now feels.
(on camera): The question is, when the pandemic recedes, will people go back to their old ways and cram onto the crowded public transport again?
(voice-over): To help answer that, I asked John Dales, who designs people- friendly streets. We meet at one of London's highly touted new bike lanes.
JOHN DALES, TRAFFIC ENGINEER: Take what is currently these bus stops, move the bus stops out, possibly make this a cycle lane. There's no need for
more walking space probably here. But you can see, over there, there's -- basically, where you can see the hatching...
ROBERTSON: Authorities are cutting planning time and investing. The British government has set aside $300 million, but this being London, not
everyone is happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just won't work. London will come to a standstill.
ROBERTSON: Roy has been a cabbie 40 years, seen it all, he says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a novelty, like shut the roads off, have a bike day, and everyone's out there. It's not Amsterdam. This is London, a
MATT WINFIELD, SUSTRANS: What the local authority have done is put these in the roads stop cars being able to drive through the road.
ROBERTSON: Matt Winfield runs a national organization keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe.
WINFIELD: When there are no cars or few cars on the road and people feel comfortable, they will cycle in huge number. So, hundreds and thousands of
people across the country have had the experience of cycling in a really present environment, and we need to kind of make sure that that sort of
change in behavior is locked in.
ROBERTSON: As he talks, a lady calls for our attention. She has bad asthma, has been sheltering in place, windows shut until the traffic
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's lowered the pollution. You can -- I can open a window right now.
WINFIELD: There seems to be an acceptance that change is necessary in a variety of different ways. We have accepted it for this emergency. We still
seem a little nervous, broadly speaking, to accept that there's a climate emergency as well. But the fact that it can be different is something we
are all seeing.
ROBERTSON: What to do is going to be a decision coming to all of us soon enough.
(on camera): Ultimately, governments want us back at work, and soon, but as long as public transport remains problematic, then we have to change our
(voice-over): London, like so many other cities across the world, is at a potential turning point?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, they can stay there forever. You can have more bollards all over the place, mate. I'll be happy with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you.
ROBERTSON: Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
AMANPOUR: And join us tomorrow, when we will be examining the challenges and opportunities to protecting the environment in the post-pandemic era.
Finally, the Barcelona opera house has reopened its doors, not to people of course, but to an audience of more than 2,000 potted plants. The leafy
spectators were serenaded by a string quartet playing "Crisantemi" by the Italian composer Puccini.
The show is the brainchild of the Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia, who was inspired by the revival of nature during this pandemic, which was
reclaiming spaces that were once belonging to them. The plants will be donated to front-line health care workers as a thank you for their hard
work in recent months.
And so we leave you with the quartet's inspiring peace.
Thank you for watching, and join us again tomorrow night.