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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Daunte Wright's Death Ruled Homicide By Medical Examiner; Experts, Brother Testify As Prosecution Case Nears End In Derek Chauvin Trial; Trayvon Martin's Mother On Violence In America; Shooting At Tennessee High School; Protesters On The Streets With Curfews In Effect, In And Around Twin Cities After Fatal MN Police Shooting; Heroin Addict Who Shared His Story Of Substance Abuse With AC360 More Than Three Years Ago, Dies. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 12, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of these mothers have been returned into areas like Reynosa and they are there with their children, but they are surrounded by danger, exposed and vulnerable for kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, and then they learn that the Biden administration is allowing unaccompanied minors to enter into the U.S. And Erin, they see that as giving their children a chance at life -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Rosa, thank you very much. A powerful report.
And thanks so much to all of you, as always, for being with me. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, as we speak, a curfew has just taken effect in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul, including here in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Mourners and protesters are not going anywhere at the moment. The outpouring and curfew come in response to civil unrest after police in this Minneapolis suburb shot and killed a black man, Daunte Wright during a traffic stop over the weekend.
Just moments ago, the County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide. It was not the only item along those lines, though.
Also, over the weekend, video emerged of an Army Lieutenant pepper sprayed and roughed up by police outside Norfolk, Virginia after admitting he was too terrified to get out of his car during a traffic stop late last year.
"I'm honestly afraid to get out," he is heard to say. In response, one of the officers tells him "Yes, you should be." And as if to emphasize that fear cuts both ways, two police officers were shot and wounded early this morning during a high-speed chase west of Atlanta.
All of this of course is happening with the Twin Cities already on edge as the prosecution continues to makes its case against a former Minneapolis police officer in the killing of George Floyd. President Biden spoke to the moment and the mood this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you concerned things could be on a razor's edge, sir?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to speculate now. I'm hopeful that there will be a verdict and an outcome that will be supported by the vast major majority of people in the region and that is my expectation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, shortly before air time, the President tweeted this message, quote: "Today, I'm thinking about Daunte Wright and his family and the pain, anger and drama black America experiences every day. While we await a full investigation, we know what we need to do to move forward, rebuild trust and ensure accountability so no one is above the law."
CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota for us tonight.
So Adrienne, Daunte Wright's death was ruled a homicide in just the last hour. I'm curious what reaction people there on the ground had and what's the latest you're seeing there?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, people on the ground, Anderson, are upset. At this hour, Sam Cooks "Change is Going to Come" is playing in the background as these protesters take over the streets here in Brooklyn Center.
The group wants to know, when will that change come? They are talking about this trial of Derek Chauvin taking place about 10 miles away from here for the death of George Floyd and here, they had to hear once again another black man die at the hands of police, and I want to warn you, the video you're about to see is disturbing.
BROADDUS (voice over): Around 2:00 p.m. local time, Sunday, police pulled over Wright. The Police Chief says they stopped Daunte Wright because had an expired registration on his license plate.
The released footage begins minutes into the stop and shows police walking up to the car and then Wright is seen stepping out of his vehicle.
Police then tried to take Wright into custody after discovering he has an outstanding warrant.
The video shows Wright begins to resist as cuffs are placed on him and he gets back into the vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll tase you. Taser. Taser. Taser.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy [bleep].
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Holy [bleep]. I just shot him.
CHIEF TIM GANNON, BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNESOTA POLICE: As I watched the video and listened to the officer's commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy the Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.
This appears to me from what I viewed and the officer's reaction and distress immediately after that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.
The officer is currently on administrative leave.'
BROADDUS (voice over): Wright drove several blocks before hitting another vehicle according to police. Police and medical personnel attempted lifesaving measures following the crash, but Wright died at the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was the police officer come to the window.
BROADDUS (voice over): Wright's mother, Katy told CNN affiliate CARE TV she was on the phone with her son before the shooting. It's unclear to CNN how Katy Wright knew police had hung up the phone.
Protests erupted in a suburb outside Minneapolis in the aftermath of the shooting. Hundreds taking to the streets Sunday night clashing with police.
The National Guard was also on the scene.
The situation turned violent. Crowds marching towards the police department, swarmed police cars, and started destroying them. Police moved in to disburse crowds.
The Chief of Police also said bricks and frozen soda cans were thrown at officers injuring one who was taken to the hospital. And while one group stayed at the police department, a second group of protesters went to a strip mall where businesses were broken into and looted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We recognize that this couldn't have happened at a worse time.
BROADDUS (voice over): The City of Brooklyn Center is only about 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the killing of George Floyd. The Chief of Police says he released the footage to be transparent and became emotional when I asked what was on his heart.
GANNON: I'm the leader of this department. They expect me to lead, create a safe city. That's what I'm trying to do. So that's it. Okay? And yes, I'm emotional.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Adrienne, for the officer who shot Daunte Wright, what is
their status in the department? Are they still on active duty?
BROADDUS: The officer that shot Daunte Wright is on administrative leave, but members of the community are calling for her to be fired and they're also asking, they say, demanding the Chief of Police in Brooklyn Center, resign -- Anderson.
COOPER: Adrienne Broaddus, appreciate your reporting. Thank you.
Joining us now CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Laura Coates. Also, CNN contributor and former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe and CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey, former top cop in Philadelphia and District of Columbia.
Chief Ramsey, from sort of a policing standpoint, can you explain how this could have happened and how officers are trained to avoid a tragic mistake like this?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, this shouldn't have happened. The Taser, in fact, if you go back to 2009 Fruitvale Station in Oakland, the BART officer that shot the individual as he had him down, he was carrying his Taser and his firearm on the same side, from that point on every department I am aware of now, they require officers to wear the Taser on the opposite side, the weak side away from the gun, so it's across draw making it very, very difficult, if not impossible to make that kind of mistake.
What happened here? I have no idea. The Taser was on the opposite side as it should be. She drew it or at least drew a firearm thinking at least that's what she is saying that it was the Taser that fired the shot.
It should not happen. It was negligence, no question about it. Training and everything else should have kicked in. She's a veteran, not a rookie. It just should not have happened.
COOPER: It's so interesting because as you see in the video, you hear her saying, I believe, it's her, the officer saying "Taser, Taser, Taser," which I guess is what you're supposed to say before you fire a Taser.
RAMSEY: It is.
COOPER: And you see the gun -- I assume she will argue that in the heat of the moment, with adrenaline pumping and as you say, she, though, is an experienced officer, she says she believed it was a Taser that she was firing.
RAMSEY: Well, it's still negligence. Again, she yelled "Taser" as she is supposed to do, but she didn't pull a Taser. She pulled a firearm.
So it is clearly negligence that's involved in the case. Now, whether or not she is charged or not, I don't know. It certainly possible in Minnesota. We know that is one of the charges against Derek Chauvin. So, it is very possible that she might be charged, but that's up to the District Attorney or Attorney General to make that type of decision.
But it just shouldn't have happened. It is just pure negligence on her part.
COOPER: Andrew, in a case like this, too, and we've seen a number of cases where the underlying charge or the underlying suspicion or the reason somebody was pulled over in the first place is often relatively minor compared to what ends up happening, resulting in a death, when you see this entire interaction, what stands out to you?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Boy, Anderson, so many things stand out to me. There is the issue that you just raised. You have a young man who was pulled over for driving on a tag that bore an expired registration.
I mean, every one of us who has driven a car before has been pulled over for something like that. That typically is a window rolled down and a police officer tells you to get your paperwork in order and sends you on your way.
In this case, they also discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor, not even a felony warrant. So really, really hard questions to be answered here tonight by those officers about why they took an incredibly minor situation like this and escalated it to that level.
And I would say also, to tag on to Chief Ramsey's comments, which I agree with wholeheartedly, there are other mistakes here. They made the choice to get him out of the of the vehicle and then let him stand right in front of the open door instead of walking him to the back of the vehicle.
They basically created a situation where he had easy access to get back in the car and then everything, you know, now you have a much bigger problem on your hands.
So lots of very tough questions to be answered.
COOPER: And Laura, if someone is trying to flee from a traffic stop, which is what he seemed to be doing, legally what are officers allowed to do? Because courts have looked into this.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, yes, the courts have. In fact, the Supreme Court has looked into it and they have said already very clearly that a fleeing suspect still deserves to have the use of force continuum applied.
You don't just get to use deadly force or some sort of excessive force or even force in general to pursue a fleeing suspect unless there is some basis to believe that the amount of force they are using is reasonable, necessary and proportional.
In other words, you cannot substitute deadly force for cardiovascular activities of pursuit. The idea here being that you have to still judge and reassess the use of force you're using.
This probably sounds familiar, Anderson, to people watching because we've been doing this for the better part of two weeks in the Derek Chauvin trial, this force continuum.
Nothing about the calculus changes even if the person does have a warrant, short of being somebody in an active pursuit of an ongoing deadly shooting spree or a crime of some sort. Officers need to actually assess the amount of force they are using.
And so what you see here, the tragedy of this, as Andrew was talking about and Commissioner Ramsey, the idea of going from an expired tab of some sort to this notion without any justification or reasonable use of force and as President Biden has said, the investigation as to whether it was indeed an accident or not, unfortunately because of a trust gap in our community and the ideas of the police officers, that will have to be explored.
COOPER: Laura, I mean, the Chief of Police says that the officer in question here is a quote, "very senior officer." Called it an accidental discharge.
The Medical Examiner has now ruled Mr. Wright's death a homicide. Do you expect to see charges in the case? I mean, the case Chief Ramsey mentioned in Oakland, California, the officer involved was convicted of involuntarily manslaughter after he said, he mistook his firearm for a Taser and shot and killed Oscar Grant.
COATES: That's true, and of course, there are some other factors and nuances of that case that might make it distinct from this one and that there was other testimony to suggest that perhaps one of the officers involved may not have believed that they were mistakenly drawing a Taser.
I don't know that to be the case here. But what I do know is the term negligence has a legal definition. You know, the idea, it has to be somebody was aware of some appreciable risk and they consciously disregarded it for some reason or they created an opportunity, that they created a substantial risk to human life.
And so, if there was something about the placement of this Taser that ran counter to the training, if there was something about what she did in terms of moving into the driver's seat and using her weapon, whether it was a Taser or a firearm, we know it was a firearm, there is something about her approach to this particular suspect that goes off of the use of force.
And of course, we know that a 20-year-old has now died. Well, then that's part of the legal terminology around negligence, but there could be other charges or there could be less.
Remember, the powerful police union. This officer has not yet been fired. We don't know if she will be, on administrative leave and we heard that Chief and Adrienne's great question that that officer was due, due process, I would note, but was not afforded to Mr. Wright.
COOPER: Again, our Laura Coates, Andrew McCabe and Charles Ramsey, thank you.
Laura is going to stay with us because we have more to talk about including the closing witnesses from the prosecution in the Chauvin trial, George Floyd's bother taking the stand.
And later, Senator Bernie Sanders joins us with his take on events and his assessment as Budget Committee Chairman, the criticism of the President's infrastructure spending plan mostly over what is infrastructure and what isn't. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Even before tonight's curfew was declared in and around the Twin Cities, sports teams called off games, the Twins postponing their home game with the Boston Red Sox as did the NBA Timberwolves and the NHL's Minnesota Wild. All teams citing the killing of Daunte Wright as the reason.
In the meantime, in the killing of George Floyd, the prosecution is expected to wrap up, the defense begins its case tomorrow.
Today saw more expert testimony in the use of force and cause of death, but the most notable witness was an expert in neither, only what it's like to lose a brother. More from CNN's Sara Sidner.
PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: He was a big mama's boy.
SIDNER (voice over): George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd took the stand to tell the jurors who his brother was before his death that sparked worldwide protest.
P. FLOYD: He just was like a person that everybody loved around the community. He just knew how to make people feel better.
SIDNER (voice over): In May 2020, Floyd uttered the word "mama" several times before he died.
P. FLOYD: He loved her so dearly.
SIDNER (voice over): His brother says Floyd was crushed when his mother died in May 2018.
P. FLOYD: George just sat there at the casket over and over again. He would just say "mama, mama" over and over again. And I didn't know what to tell him because I was in pain, too. We all were hurting, and he was just kissing her and just kissing her. He didn't want to leave the casket.
SIDNER (voice over): Floyd's family testimony is one of the last the jurors heard in the prosecution's case.
JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTION: The state will call Dr. Jonathan Rich. SIDNER (voice over): The prosecution started the day calling another
medical expert, Dr. Jonathan Rich, an expert in cardiology determined Floyd died because of the officer's actions.
BLACKWELL: Do you have an opinion as to whether George Floyd would have lived if not for Mr. Chauvin's subdual and restraint of him for nine minutes and 29 seconds on the ground?
DR. JONATHAN RICH, CARDIOLOGIST: Yes, I believe he would have lived.
SIDNER (voice over): Again, Chauvin's attorney tried to get the doctor to admit there were other possibilities for Floyd's death such as drugs or heart disease and one more thing, Floyd's own actions.
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If Mr. Floyd had simply gotten in the backseat of the squad car, do you think that he would have survived?
RICH: Had he not been restrained in the way in which he was, I think he would have survived that day.
SIDNER (voice over): The prosecution is expected to rest soon, then it will be the defense's turn to try and unravel the prosecution's case with their own witnesses.
VOICE OF GEORGE FLOYD, VICTIM: I can't breathe, officer.
SIDNER (voice over): The prosecution again played the video of Floyd being detained for the jury as they questioned another use of force expert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking at the threat analysis here, it's clear from the number of officers and Mr. Floyd's position the fact that he is handcuffed and been searched, he doesn't present a threat of harm.
SIDNER (voice over): Before the jurors arrived to court, Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson presented an argument to the court that the jurors should be sequestered because of a recent officer-involved shooting just outside Minneapolis, less than 24 hours before court began, police killed a young black man named Daunte Wright sparking fresh protest and riots in Brooklyn Center.
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This incident, while it is, I understand, it's not this case, I understand that it is not involved -- that it does not involve these same parties, but the problem is, is that the emotional response that that case creates sets the stage for a jury to say I'm not going to vote not guilty because I'm concerned about the outcome.
SIDNER (voice over): The judge denied the request to sequester the jury and the case continued unabated.
COOPER: And Sara Sidner joins us. Do we know what else the prosecution has planned and when exactly the defense is expected to start the presentation?
SIDNER: Yes, the judge expects the defense to start their case tomorrow. We have not gotten an official end to the prosecution's case, but we expect it to come tomorrow when the judge says that the defense is expected to start its case and I do want to mention where I'm standing, I'm actually standing in the spot where Daunted Wright took some of his last breaths.
And just behind me over my left shoulder there, you will see a fist standing strong there. That he was actually the original fist that was brought out to George Floyd Square right near where George Floyd died. A lot of these folks who are here were there protesting his death, now, they are here protesting yet another death at the hands of police -- Anderson.
COOPER: Sara Sidner, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Back with Laura Coates and joining us is criminal defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
So, Laura, we heard both very technical testimony from the cardiologist today and other experts and obviously, the very emotional testimony of Mr. Floyd's brother gave. I am wondering, do you expect one to have a bigger impact on the jury than the other?
COATES: Well, you know, what's odd here, Anderson is most people would tell you how is it that a family member is able to testify if they were not an eyewitness, if they were not the expert witness.
Minnesota has a pretty unique doctrine called the Spark of Life that essentially says, as a murder victim, you're able to call a witness that gives some character evidence about that person, to bring them to life, as not somebody who the phrasing is, just bones and sinews. The idea of humanizing the person for the jury.
This is very, very important, of course, because we've heard from his girlfriend at the time before he passed away. We heard her testimony.
We heard about the different people who were bystanders, even one person during the video shouting, "But he is a human being though" and this consistent theme of trying to making sure people know that although he has become an illustrative symbol of officer-involved shootings or deaths of an unarmed black men and women across this country, this case was specifically about the death of George Floyd and making it a point of reference as opposed to one about greater society which can cut both ways as you saw today from the defense's attempt to try to sequester the jury.
COOPER: Mark, is that common in courtrooms around the country? Allowing somebody to come in and play that role to kind of humanize a victim?
Because the defense chose not to cross examine the brother which I would imagine you agree with their decision there, just from the defense's standpoint, they would want him off the stand, I guess, as quickly as possible? MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely true. You do not want to
cross examine a family member like that although there are times when you do need to.
But having said that, no, it is unique. There are not many states that allow that type of what's called Spark of Life testimony, which is personalizing the victim of a homicide in front of the jury, and I think it is extraordinarily compelling the way it was presented because in fact, that's what you want.
You want that jury to have as one of the last witnesses from the state, the idea of a family member, a brother coming in and talking about that now decedent because that's just so compelling.
Every one of those jurors has a family member and the idea of connecting like that with a brother is very compelling and it is going to sit with them throughout the rest of the trial which is exactly what the prosecution wants.
COOPER: I should point out the images our viewers are seeing from two affiliates is in Brooklyn Center in Minnesota. People gathering outside the police station. As you know, there is a curfew that is now in effect. The people are remaining and obviously, there is a heavy police presence on the ground there.
Laura, the cardiologist testified that if Mr. Floyd had not been restrained in the way he was, he would have survived that day. His testimony lines up with what we heard from medical experts so far.
Do you expect the defense that begins their case tomorrow to have their own expert witnesses, to try to rebut what we heard already on the medical front? Because clearly, they have been trying to poke holes in it. Earlier, they raised the suggestion that while preexisting heart conditions, drug use played a role.
COATES: Oh, they're going to need to. I mean, the idea of allowing the testimony of not only all of the laymen and the bystanders and the law enforcement officials and the use of force experts, but the pulmonologist, the forensic pathologist and medical examiner, the idea of a cardiologist, another -- and now, a constitutional law scholar.
The weight that is against Derek Chauvin is not coincidental. The prosecutors do not intend to do any favors to the defendant in a way to make him avoid having to testify.
You see, they have now allowed the jury to linger with that question and to wrestle with the question of: why didn't this officer know what so many others from laymen and beyond know?
Now, what they are going to have to do is say look, we've got our own experts here and they actually look at this video differently. They view his heart and lung arrest, the cardiopulmonary arrest differently. They view that enlarged heart differently. They view the use of force as far more subjective than what is being
talked about as best practice, because if they don't prove that, if they allow it just to linger and fester in the minds of the jury, the question will be: well, why did you? Why are you the lone person across the spectrum who did not understand that what you were doing was applying deadly force, unnecessarily, unreasonably even when people implored you to stop?
COOPER: Mark, at this point with the defense taking over now to make their defense, how much of what they plan to do is already set in stone? And how much have they now had to kind of recalibrate based on what occurred in the court?
O'MARA: So most of it is set in stone at this point, because obviously, part of what the defense does is find out what the state is doing and see how well they did it and find the holes, find the cracks in the armor because that's where they are going to find the argument of reasonable doubt, which is why we had the state sort of preempt a lot of that by being so very particular, meticulous, maybe over the top in bringing out these experts.
So the cardiologist maybe considered sort of over the top because we've heard it before, but I've got to tell you, I thought that the expert they brought in, the professor did a great job because as Laura just said, he has now said probably 2,000 times a reasonable officer would have done this. A reasonable officer would have done that.
So it almost begs the question of who is going to say why Chauvin did it, if not for Chauvin himself. The defense is going to bring in their experts, sort of, if you think about it almost chapter by chapter by chapter, they have to respond to what the state did.
But the bottom line is, they have got to find reasonable doubt in the cause of death, which they have tried to throughout all of the cross examination and try and convince one, two or three jurors that the state's case is not as pristine as they make it sound with a presentation of their own experts.
COOPER: Yes, Mark O'Mara, Laura Coates, appreciate it. Thank you.
We have breaking news, just ahead, the latest on a shooting at a high school in Knoxville, Tennessee and later, I'll talk with Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mom, nine years after she was shot and killed. What resonates with her today as a convergence of violence against people of color once again dominates the headlines.
COOPER: As today's developments cascade upon one another, it's important to point out that if anyone knows the pain associated with the killing of a loved one that blossomed into one of the highest profile trials in recent history. It's Sybrina Fulton.
She's the mother of Trayvon Martin 17-year-old young man was killed in February of 2012 by a neighborhood watch -- mount watchman named George Zimmerman, who was ultimately found not guilty of second degree murder. Sybrina Fulton became an activist and a public speaker and she joins me now.
Ms. Fulton, thanks for being with us. Today, we heard from the family of George Floyd, his brother testifying in court, you testified as I recall it in the trial of the man who shot your son. It must take an incredible amount of strength to take that stand.
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: It absolutely does Anderson. First of all, thank you for having me. But it just bothers you to have to relive the tragedy over and over and over. That's what the family is going through right now. The trauma of just experiencing just seeing the visual of that just over and over and over again is very traumatic.
COOPER: Your organization that Trayvon Martin Foundation works to bring together families who've lost their children through violence. I mean, every time there's a new video, another person's death is played over and over. I can't imagine the impact that has on people who have been left behind and other mothers and fathers and family members who have experienced the same kind of thing. It must just bring it all back.
FULTON: Absolutely. Is -- we call it triggers, because it triggers what we've already gone through. A lot of people call them stories, but it's not a true story for us. Because we have to live with this our entire life. It doesn't go away. And we can't go to the next story and then the next story and then the next story.
This is a tragedy that we have to experience and then we have to struggle with grieving and then our entire life we have to heal from what we've gone through. And just to see it happen over and over and over again. I mean, is very hurtful.
COOPER: You know, there have been so many calls and talk about reporting forms about changes that can be made that should be made. And there have been changes along the way. Has it been enough?
FULTON: Absolutely not. If we can see a video of a man being kill a man's last breath, a man calling out for his mother, we definitely need to do some more reforms, we definitely need to do make sure that we have different policies and procedures and they're being enforced. And I think that's the problem. I think we have policies and procedures in place, but they're not being enforced.
So we have to witness people being killed, people being shot in the back, people would have knee on their neck, people just for trivial things being killed. I mean, people's lives. It seems to me I just nonchalant when it comes to certain people, you know, and that's people of color. And, you know, we got to be more mindful of what's going on right now. And when we can't ignore what we're seeing.
COOPER: It's been nine years since your son Trayvon was killed, his killing helped lead to Black Lives Matter movement. What do you think needs to happen moving forward now?
FULTON: I think they still it needs to be bought more awareness. But we still need more action, not only from the police department, as far as reform is concerned, but more action from organizations that are supposed to be in place to help these families, to help these organizations.
And so, we just got to keep pushing forward, Black Lives Matter needs to be doing a lot more than what they're doing just to try to help and to decrease a lot of these things that are happening with these tragedies and these families.
COOPER: When it comes to raising justice on national level, President Biden campaigned on the promise of creating a White House led policing commission. His administration just announced today that they won't be moving forward with commission but support making the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act into law. Is that a step in the right direction do you think?
FULTON: I think that's a step in the right direction, but they definitely need a committee to as an oversight committee, so that they can help move things a little further. I mean, we can't just sit around and just watch people being killed. It doesn't matter what color you are, but we shouldn't be so comfortable with watching people being killed. As I look at the video of George Floyd, I think about children's rights, women's rights, civil rights, but what about George Floyd, basic human right?
And we have to get back to the basics. What about human rights, just the fact that that was a adult male that was not an animal that was on the ground. That was a human being and his life was taken right before us. And after we saw that video, we couldn't take it back. We couldn't unsee what we had already saw. And that's why it's affecting so many people.
COOPER: Sybrina Fulton, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
FULTON: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, we have breaking news about another shooting this time at a high school in Knoxville, Tennessee. The latest when we continue.
COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight involving another shooting this time at a high school in Knoxville, Tennessee were police say gunfire was exchanged between police and the shooter.
Nick Valencia joins us now with the latest. So, what do we know about how this shooting unfolded?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hey there Anderson. We just got an update a short time ago from the state Bureau of Investigations and they tell us that local Knoxville Police responded to reports of a male subject armed on campus believed to be a teenage student at the high school. When Knoxville Police arrived at the scene, he was in one of the restrooms there of the high school.
They exchanged some words with him according to police and that's when he fired they say at an officer striking him in the leg. Officers returned fire they say striking the suspect dead he was pronounced dead at the scene. And, you know, that's how it really all unfolded according to TBI.
COOPER: And any more information about the officer who was injured?
VALENCIA: Yes. He was, you know, he sustained non-life-threatening injuries. He was transferred to UT Medical Center according to the police chief Eve Thomas there in Knoxville. As of about 30 minutes ago. They say he was in surgery. His condition is serious and she's asking for prayers.
And, you know, Anderson, she mentioned something pretty chilling during the press conference a short time ago saying that this was a sort of a nightmare scenario not only getting the call that there was a shooting on a high school campus, but also the call that there was an officer down.
It took about two hours to secure the scene before Knoxville County or the Knox County Superintendent said that parents and guardians could show up at the school. Yes, no doubt tearful reunions with those students there. You know, school shooting anytime you hear something like that it's a parent's worst nightmare.
And of course, that was underscored by the police chief there in Knoxville. We know that for the next two days school is going to be closed and we still don't know a clear motive yet. But one really interesting fact being reported by local affiliate WATE, is that since the start of the year, you know, we're just four months into the year here. And this is the fifth related shooting to that Austin Magnet High School, East-Austin Magnet High School in Knoxville.
So, a lot of stuff happening there for the school and very short amount of time into the school year. Anderson.
COOPER: And just been clear on because I'm a little confused. Was this person a student at the school? And did somebody see them with a gun? Or how was it the police got there in the first place?
VALENCIA: Yes, they didn't really clarify that. And it's believed to be that the students are that the suspect I should say was believed to be a student at the high school. You know, we did put in a call to the high school they say school goes until about 3:00.
The first calls that police got were about 3:15 when they responded. So that's, you know, that's what we know at this point. TBI is still investigating and still trying to gather more details. There were body cameras worn and surveillance footage that they're going to be reviewing, Anderson.
COOPER: Nick Valencia, appreciate all the details. Thanks so much.
There appears to be more activity in Brooklyn Center Minnesota where the curfew that's been in effect for about 45 minutes or so.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is there for us now. Shimon, what did is the scene?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So Anderson, we're here live outside the police station where there was that confrontation with police last night. And there are thousands of people gathered around us here.
As you can see I'm here right up against the fence Anderson, a lot of the protesters have been coming to the fence, screaming at the police. The police at one point, several of them just gathered around, they called it more reinforced (INAUDIBLE) in those yellowish neon colors. They call them in to try and push some of these protesters back. And then some of the protesters start running when they think the police are about to come this way. As you can see what they're doing here.
It is well past curfew. So, it's unclear what the police are going to ultimately do here. But certainly right now, the police are standing back and allowing them to remain on the street. At some point it appears as though the police will come through this gate here through this fencing. Someone just threw a stick at the police here.
And as you can see, this has kind of been the scene out here Anderson for the last 45 minutes or so, with many of them coming to the fence, raising their hand, saying don't shoot. And the police are just standing around right now trying to figure out really what they're going to do. If they're going to force them to leave, because it is well past curfew.
But right now, Anderson, it does not appear that the police are going to ask them to leave or disperse. We're waiting to see the police ultimately do that. But right now, they are not doing that. They're just standing there. And I just want to show you some more shots. Here's an announcement here Anderson from the police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
PROKUPECZ: Yes. So Anderson, they're announcing the curfew now. And here we go here. The police are now moving in. And you see this one officer Anderson he's holding. This is what they shoot the tear gas. So, the question now is will the police force them to move back? So we're going to move back here Anderson.
COOPER: And Shimon, this the first time tonight that the police have moved outside of the area of their station? Or looks like the now they're not?
PROKUPECZ: So yes, this is well, at least it's the first time that they've doing so. (INAUDIBLE). So far, the police have been fairly restrained. They've been saying behind these fences. You just heard they made that announcement, four people announcing that there's a curfew (INAUDIBLE).
So right now, everyone is just sort of standing around waiting to see what will happen. But yes, Anderson that was the first time since I've been standing here that the police showed any sort of movement that they were going to try to disperse them. And now you can see Anderson, the crowd is starting to go again towards the fence. And we will see what the police here do.
COOPER: OK. Shimon --
PROKUPECZ: Right now, the police are just standing back, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. We'll continue to monitor this with you and with your images.
I want to bring in Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who joins us. Senator Sanders, thanks so much for being with us. I want to talk to you about infrastructure and the President's plans, but just given what's going on right now in Minnesota, given what's going on now in Minnesota, obviously we're seeing another deadly encounter with police unfold this weekend, which is miles away from where the Chauvin trial is ongoing. What do you make of what we are witnessing?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I'm sorry, you're talking to me Anderson?
COOPER: Yes, sorry. I'm sorry, Senator.
SANDERS: I'm sorry.
COOPER: Yes, no, it's OK. We want to talk about infrastructure with you in the Biden administration talking about their infrastructure plans. But before we do, we, we just had a report and we have some pictures up from Brooklyn Center in Minnesota where large number of demonstrators have gathered and there's a police station, that they are outside of now.
Given what we've seen just the last couple of days in terms of the death of another person at the hands of police, and the Chauvin trial going on, it -- can more be done?
SANDERS: This is a movie. This is a tragic movie that we have seen over and over and over again, countless times. And I think the word has got to get up. We need major, major Police Department reform. Lethal force has got to be the very last resort. We need police departments get reflected in the demographics of the communities they serve. Police officers must be held accountable for their actions and we need to redefine what police do.
So there's an enormous amount of work that has to be done to make sure that police departments are constructive and not destructive forces within their communities.
COOPER: The Biden -- President Biden had campaigned on -- forming a commission on police reforms on policing, is that something you would like to see happen?
SANDERS: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, it's a very long discussion. But the bottom line is that we need major, major reform in so many respects, in terms of police departments, all across this country.
COOPER: On infrastructure, the Biden administration says it's open to negotiation around its $2 trillion infrastructure package. How confident are you that can actually happen when so many Republicans in Congress, remain beholden to the former president and continued to peddle, you know, the big lying conspiracy theories? Do you trust them to negotiate?
SANDERS: Well, the devil will be in the details. And if Republicans are serious about wanting to create millions of jobs, rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and wastewater plants, and so forth, that's great. If they are serious about working with us, to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, so we can combat climate change, that would be great.
Frankly, between you and me, I have my doubts that that will happen. But, you know, our goal is not to negotiate for a very long period of time, we have crises facing this country, we've got to create millions of good paying jobs, we must combat climate change, you've got to build millions of units and retrofit, units of affordable housing. And in my view, when we talk about infrastructure Anderson, we're not just talking about physical infrastructure, as important as that is roads and bridges, et cetera. We're talking about human infrastructure. And what that means --
COOPER: Well --
SANDERS: I'm sorry.
COOPER: Oh no, I started to throw up, but there's also on that point, there is this battle going on right now to define what infrastructure is. You and other Democrats are arguing things like home health care, job training should fall under the umbrella of infrastructure. Those, you know, there are others who say those are clearly not infrastructure. Is the definition accurate?
SANDERS: I think the definition of infrastructure are the goods and services and structures that maintain a society. And when you define infrastructure in that way, to me, if a mom and dad go to work in the morning, you know, what they have the right to know that their children, their little kids are going to be in quality childcare that they can afford.
When I talk about infrastructure, I am talking about the fact that today in America is unbelievable. You got millions of senior citizens who have no teeth in their mouth, unable to digest the food that they are eating, they cannot hear well and are isolated from their kids and grandchildren and their communities they can't hear and people have trouble seeing because the cost of dental care, the cost of eyeglasses, the cost of hearing aids is astronomically high. And we got to deal with that. And that's why I am fighting to expand Medicare to include dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, lowered the age of eligibility for Medicare to 60. And we pay for that by finally having the courage Anderson to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, which charges us by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.
So if we can have Medicare, negotiate prescription drug prices, we will save approximately $450 billion over a 10-year period, which will enable us to expand Medicare provide dental hearing aid and vision care and lower the costs, lower the age of eligibility.
So to my mind, what infrastructure is about, it's not only physical infrastructure, it is human infrastructure. It is understanding that tends that, you know, we have a life expectancy in this country, we don't talk about it very much 39th in the world, and for lower income and working-class people, the numbers are even worse.
So when we talk about human infrastructure, it means doing what many countries around the world have done for years, and that is provide the basic health care and childcare and paid family and medical leave that their families require.
COOPER: Yes. Senator Sanders, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
SANDERS: Thank you.
COOPER: We are continuing to watch the scene here in Brooklyn Center Minnesota. As events change, we'll bring you the latest. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Right now we continue to follow the scene in Brooklyn Center Minnesota you see a protesters on the streets with curfews now in effect after another fatal police shootings.
As we follow that story, we'll also update you now in a story we reported more than three years ago, about a young man named Billy Donovan. A story was part of a larger series we did well covering a major medical crisis that has a different sort that's also killed hundreds of thousands across this country, the opioid crisis. We're sad to report tonight that Billy has passed away. Billy had dreams of being a tattoo artist and was a father to a young child.
When "360's" Gary Tuchman met Billy on the streets he was 31 years old, and he'd been living on the streets south of downtown Boston for a while Billy struggled with addiction for most of his life. He told Gary that he'd started on pills when he was 13 years old. And after that it was heroin, first snorting it, then injecting it. Addiction was such a struggle for Billy he couldn't actually stop shooting up the first time that Gary met him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): So, it's possible it's possible for you to stop shooting the heroin when we talk.
BILLY DONOVAN: It was hard.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Hard to you.
DONOVAN: If I gotten in me it would be but --
TUCHMAN (on-camera): But that's what I'm wondering like you feel such a strong urge to can't stop while we talk.
DONOVAN: Yes, yes, there's nothing that would stop me. And that's how bad it gets.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Are you afraid you're going to die from this?
DONOVAN: I know I'm going to die from this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Billy had gone for treatment many times, but he always relapsed. His mom had tried many times to get the help he needed and so many families do. But at the time we met Billy, she wasn't sure where he was until our report. That's when some friends got him back into rehab.
And when Billy and his mom were able to reconnect, she told us weeks later the Billy seemed to be doing better at the detox center, we see appear to be staying longer than previous dams to help him kick his habit. Billy's mom, sister and aunt we're at his bedside when he died. His family's in our thoughts tonight.
If you were anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse. The government runs a confidential helpline. The numbers 1-800-662-HELP, again that number is 1-800-662-4357. The government says that last year the number of calls they received was 27 percent more than the year before the coronavirus pandemic began.
The news continues right now. I want to hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.