Return to Transcripts main page

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Did Trump Misuse Foundation Funds?; Tulsa Police Shooting Stirs Controversy; Protests in North Carolina. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired September 21, 2016 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:28]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Anger and violence in yet another American city.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Protests ignited by another police shooting, another African-American man killed, but police say this time there was a clear threat to their lives and a gun.

Art of the self-deal? Donald Trump now facing serious growing questions about whether he used more than a quarter million dollars from his own charity to fight his own legal battles and for self- promotion.

Plus, mystery man wanted for questioning, the FBI looking for these two who found one of the New York City bombs. What might they know?

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

The national lead now, two cities bracing for more protests tonight after the deaths of two black men killed by police officers. We saw violent demonstrations last night in Charlotte, North Carolina, just hours after Keith Lamont Scott was shot to death in an apartment complex parking lot yesterday afternoon.

The officer who shot him is also black. Scott's family told CNN he was reading a book. But today the police chief said no book was found at the scene, but Scott did have a gun.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, new revelations today about what we did not see in the two videos showing the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, the unarmed man who had his arms up seconds before being shot last Friday. Protesters there are calling for the white female officer who killed Crutcher to be charged or to be fired.

Let's start in Charlotte, North Carolina, with CNN's Ed Lavandera.

And, Ed, police reportedly have footage of the shooting, but we're told, as of now, they're not releasing it. Why not? It seems like that would be an easy way to prove their side of the story.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the way North Carolina law works, Jake, is that it takes a court order for those police dash-cam or body-cam videos to be released.

But what we are dealing with here is two very different versions of what went down yesterday afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Violent protests erupted on the streets of Charlotte just hours after Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police; 16 officers were injured, tear gas was used to control the crowds. Some protesters threw rocks and bottles and tried to block roadways.

Five people were arrested. The shooting aftermath was captured on a Facebook live-stream recorded by Keith Lamont Scott's daughter. This is when she discovers her father is dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just shot my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) daddy! They just shot my daddy! He's dead!

LAVANDERA: The daughter lashes out at the officers on the scene, accusing them of planting a handgun at the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was sitting in the car reading a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) book. My daddy ain't got no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) gun. Look, plant, because that's what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you all do.

LAVANDERA: Scott's family denies he had a gun on him, but Charlotte police say there was no book and that Scott came out of a car twice with a handgun.

A team of four officers arrived in his apartment complex to serve a warrant on another man and that's when they crossed paths with Scott.

KERRY PUTNEY, CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG, NORTH CAROLINA, POLICE CHIEF: It's time to change the narrative, because I can tell you from the facts that the story is a little bit different as to how it's been portrayed so far, especially through social media. So, Charlotte, the challenge is ours. I think the future can be bright, but the work has to be done by all of us.

LAVANDERA: Brentley Vinson, the officer who fired the deadly shots, is also African-American. He has been placed on paid administrative leave. Vinson is a young officer, joined the Charlotte police force in 2014, graduated from Liberty University, where he studied criminal justice and played football.

Several teammates described him to CNN as a stand-up guy. Charlotte's police chief says officer Vinson was not wearing a body-cam and he says other video from the scene doesn't show more of what happened in the confrontation. Community activists are demanding transparency from the police department.

JOHN BARNETT, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: They need to be very transparent and know that they need to be able to inform of us exactly what's going on. And it's still under investigation is not going to be good enough.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: So, Jake, the main concern for tonight is whether or not we will see a repeat of the protests, the violent protests that erupted here last night. There have been calls for calm around the city. We will have to see how that plays out tonight -- Jake.

[16:05:00]

TAPPER: All right, Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.

Let's bring in the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jennifer Roberts.

Madam Mayor, thanks for joining us.

First of all, let me express all of our best wishes for what happens in Charlotte in the coming days.

Have you seen any parts of this video that shows the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott?

JENNIFER ROBERTS (D), MAYOR OF CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: I have not seen the video myself, and I know that in the past, when we have had incidents like this, the chief is very open to showing that video to -- not just to elected officials, but also to community leaders. We have done that in the past. We plan to do that this time.

I think it's very important that people do see the evidence and that we're going to work with this active investigation to make sure people get the accurate information about what really happened. It's a tragic time for our city.

I am asking for calm. I am asking for the community to have peaceful protests and to let our officers and our community do its work of finding out the real truth and making sure we do have evidence that explains that and shows that.

TAPPER: I think everybody would agree that, if the evidence and the video shows that the officer's version of events is the correct one, that that is a very important thing to come to the public. Have you spoken with anybody who has seen the video?

ROBERTS: I have spoken to the chief.

And, again, there are different perspectives and different videos. There are a couple of different body cameras. There were some dash cameras. There may be some community videos.

And so we want to make sure, when you see all the perspectives, that we have a complete picture of what happened. And, again, we have a tradition of being transparent. We have a tradition of being thorough in our investigations. We absolutely intend to work with the community. I have talked to many leaders in our community who are understandably upset, and we are hoping that they will work with us as we bring all these facts to light.

TAPPER: Madam Mayor, the police chief, I believe he couldn't say for sure if Scott pointed his gun towards police. Does that matter legally, or is the presence of a gun enough?

ROBERTS: Well, what I have heard our chief talk about is the officer has to perceive a real imminent threat.

And there are protocols they go through. There is extensive training that they go through. And this is not anything to be taken lightly. We are working very hard on our community policing relationships, where our officers are in our communities, where they're playing basketball with our kids, where they know our communities, where the communities know them. We have worked many years to build that relationship here in Charlotte.

TAPPER: How quickly would you like to see the video released to the public, shown to the family and community leaders?

ROBERTS: Obviously, as quickly as possible. I look forward to seeing that very soon.

We have had a lot of communication going on today. We have had our local, our county, our state and federal government engaged. We want to make sure we're getting good information to people. And we do want people to not jump to conclusions based on partial information or incorrect information.

We had some incorrect information out earlier about the race of the officer. Again, this information about a book. I mean, there are so many stories. We want to have clear, irrefutable evidence. We're working very hard to make that accessible.

TAPPER: All right, Mayor Jennifer Roberts, thank you so much. Good luck tonight.

Police in Tulsa now say the unarmed man killed by a female officer last Friday had PCP in his SUV, but no evidence as of now that there were drugs in his system. Helicopter and dash-cam cameras show Terence Crutcher with his hands up seconds before he was shot. An attorney for the officer says she had an exchange with Crutcher before the shooting and could tell Crutcher was under the influence of something.

But Crutcher's family is not convinced.

CNN's Ana Cabrera spoke with the officer's attorney. She joins me now live in Tulsa.

And, Ana, where does the police investigation stand today?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're hearing, Jake, that the police investigation, at least the local investigation, could be wrapped up and turned over to the district attorney's office as soon as Friday, even before the toxicology and the autopsy results are released.

Now, the police chief here in Tulsa has vowed to have a transparent and a very thorough investigation, knowing the eyes of the world are watching.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA (voice-over): Terence Crutcher has his hands up walking back to his SUV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he's got his hands up there for her now.

CABRERA: Moments later, he is on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he may have just been Tasered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shots fired!

CABRERA: Crutcher was unarmed.

[16:10:03]

Protesters are now calling for the arrest of officer Betty Shelby, who fired the fatal shot, while another officer fired his Taser.

QUESTION: So, she chose to use lethal force instead of the Taser.

SCOTT WOOD, ATTORNEY FOR SHELBY: No. The appropriate response for her when she believed that he could be armed was to get her gun out and hold him at gunpoint.

CABRERA: Wood says Crutcher wasn't responding to police commands and started reaching for something in his car when Shelby opened fire, although there are questions about whether the window was open or closed.

REV. JOEY CRUTCHER, FATHER OF TERENCE CRUTCHER: It's the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me in my life.

CABRERA: Crutcher's family filled with grief.

DR. TIFFANY CRUTCHER, SISTER OF TERENCE CRUTCHER: I have a final text message, the very last one, where he told me that he loved me.

CABRERA: On the fatal night, Crutcher, a twin brother and father of four, was already outside his SUV in the middle of the road when officer Shelby says she encountered him en route to another call.

WOOD: She could tell that he was under the influence of something. People who are under the influence have unpredictable behavior.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Nothing in that video justifies them using excessive lethal force on him. And if we're going to start declaring a death sentence to anybody that has drugs in their system, well, they're going to go to a lot of communities, not just our community.

CABRERA: Tulsa police investigators say they found the drug PCP in Crutcher's car. Results of a toxicology report expected in four to six weeks will be part of the puzzle in a case that's sparked a national conversation, with politicians to sports stars talking about issues of race and police accountability.

T. CRUTCHER: If any good can come out of this, we're hoping that America will open their eyes, and let's put some systems in place to prevent this from happening again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: It is that hunger for change that continues to motivate a group of demonstrators here in Tulsa. They call themselves We the People.

They are peaceful and passionate. They believe they did make a difference in another controversial police shooting and seeing justice. It was the case of Roberts Bates, perhaps you will recall, the reserve deputy who was convicted earlier this year in the shooting death of Eric Harris.

Now, we're told justice in that case gives some of the folks in this community hope, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Ana Cabrera in Tulsa, Oklahoma, thank you so much.

Donald Trump weighing in on both deadly shootings. And in one of the cases, he is taking a side that might be unusual. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:16:31] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Turning to our politics lead. Former boxing promoter Don King introduced his friend Donald Trump at a black church today. The language Mr. King used may not be what you would expect to hear at political outreach event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON KING, BOXING PROMOTER: If you're rich, you are a rich Negro. If you are intelligent, intellectual, you're an intellectual Negro. If you're dancing and sliding and gliding (AUDIO DELETED) -- I meant Negro --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Speaking at that same event, Donald Trump offered his thoughts on the two officer-involved shootings of black men that are dominating talk on the campaign trail and in the news today.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is live in Orlando, Florida.

And, Jeff, Mr. Trump was pressed on his thoughts for the shootings. His response might be a surprise to some.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It did indeed, Jake. Donald Trump said he was very troubled by the shooting of that unarmed black man in Oklahoma last week. Now, he has touted his support from police before, but he said in this case, police simply must do better.

Now, here in Florida, Hillary Clinton said, communities must respect police, but police must respect their communities.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY (voice-over): Two more police shootings reverberating on the campaign trail tonight. Donald Trump bluntly suggesting the Oklahoma officer choked when shooting an unarmed black man.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This young officer, I don't know what she was thinking. I don't know what she was thinking. But I am very, very troubled by that.

Did she get scared? Was she choking? What happened? But maybe people like that, people that choke, people that do that, maybe they can't be doing what they're doing.

ZELENY: At a church in Cleveland, Trump going where he's rarely gone before, criticizing the police, whose support he often touts.

TRUMP: That man went to the car, hands up, put his hand on the car -- I mean, to me, it looked like he did everything you're supposed to do. And he looked like a really good man.

ZELENY: Hillary Clinton calling for new national standards for police using force. In Florida, acknowledging the challenges facing police, even while lending her voice to protests into Tulsa and Charlotte.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There is still much we don't know about what happened in both incidents, but we do know that we have two more names to add to a list of African-Americans killed by police officers.

ZELENY: Crime, punishment and politics suddenly front and center in the presidential contest, sparking a conversation about race.

CLINTON: We are safer when communities respect the police and police respect communities.

ZELENY: Trump said the shootings are tragic but one more sign the streets of America's cities are in decline.

TRUMP: In some cases, they're less safe in places like Afghanistan. You know, we hear about Afghanistan. Some of the inner cities are less safe. ZELENY: Surrounding himself by boxing promoter Don King, Trump again

trying to extend his hand to black voters but drawing criticism for saying African-American communities are more troubled than ever before.

TRUMP: Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they've ever been in before, ever, ever, ever.

ZELENY: Congressman John Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement, angrily denouncing Trump in an interview with CNN.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Is he saying it's worst than the signs that I saw when I was growing up that said white men, colored men, white women, colored women?

[16:20:08] Is he saying that the conditions are worse than when we were beaten at lunch counters when trying to get served?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: Now, images of violence, and protest in the presidential race once again, just five days before the first debate. Jake, I can tell you, Hillary Clinton is spending the rest of these five days preparing for that. This event in Florida that just ended a few moments ago is her last campaign event until she steps onto that stage Monday night -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.

Joining me now, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. He's a supporter of Hillary Clinton, but he's here today to talk about law enforcement and race relations.

Mayor, thanks so much for being here. We appreciate it.

MICHAEL NUTTER (D), FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: So, you've been the mayor when there was a questionable shooting of an African-American man. Tell me what the process is like in terms of both the police and the community.

NUTTER: Well, first, I think the first order of business is always to express deepest regret and sympathy to the family. Without making any judgment about what happened, how it happened, all of that. You just have to acknowledge the fact that a family lost their loved one.

The second is, gather every piece of evidence, information, data that you can. Don't make any pre-judged statements. Don't make any assumptions. And if you don't know the answer to a question, say you don't know the answer to the question, because it will all eventually come out.

But I think it's most important that you can communicate what you can communicate out to the public. You want to be open. You want to be transparent. And you have to be held to a standard of accountability. Police use of force is one of the highest responsibilities that we

give our police officers. And, by the way, there are 18,000 police departments all across the United States of America. There is no one universal standard on use of force. There are some guidelines in all of those departments. Or you can look to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. They have kind of a basic guideline.

But it's really about how much force do you need to exert to get someone to do what you asked them to do or comply or to not be a threat.

TAPPER: We've seen the violence in Charlotte. And the shoot -- the shooting officer there is African-American.

NUTTER: Yes.

TAPPER: And the victim is African-American.

NUTTER: Yes.

TAPPER: Does that matter?

NUTTER: You know, I think on TV and for all the commentary, you know, there is usually less of a discussion about inter-racial strife. But at the end of the day, it's about police and community relations, regardless of the race of the citizen, regardless of the race of the officer. If people don't trust the police and if the police are scared or not trusting of the citizens, you have a much bigger problem.

Certainly, it gets more attention if it is a white officer and an African-American, mostly men, unarmed. You get all of that activity but the real issue is how are we policing our streets and how do people feel about police in their communities. And are we doing enough in training, in equipment, in getting bias out of our respective minds and hearts. That's the real question. And we need to have some tough conversations about that.

TAPPER: Last question. We have heard from the community in Charlotte. We have heard from the community in Tulsa. What do you hear when you talk to police officers? How are they feeling these days?

NUTTER: Police officers are feeling in many instances literally and figuratively under attack. When we saw the tragedy in Dallas, when we see other incidents across the country -- I, you know, during my time as mayor, I lost eight police officers killed in the line of duty, five by gunfire.

So, I was at those hospital emergency rooms. I saw those families literally fall apart when they realized their loved one was not going to pull through. I went to those funerals.

And at the same time, I have had to talk to parents about their children either killed by another citizen, or in some instances, where there was an officer-involved shooting. So I have seen both sides of this. And quite honestly, the officers

in many instances are not feeling support or an understanding from community members. And at the same time the community members, in some instances, are afraid of the police, which is the worst of circumstances.

We have to bring police and community, community and police back together. That's officers on the beat, getting to know the citizens that they serve. And just because someone may live in a crime-filled neighborhood does not mean that that person is a criminal. And just because an officer may have done something, whether in Philadelphia or somewhere else, doesn't mean that every officer has evil or ill will in their heart.

These are critical, last-minute, last-second decisions that have to be made. We'll get all the facts in both of these cases. But at the end of the day, two African-American men are dead at the hands of police, and we need to change that conversation, ask the tough questions and get some answers.

[16:25:04] TAPPER: Thanks for being here, Mr. Mayor.

NUTTER: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

The Trump campaign pushing back today on claims that he used his charity foundation as something of his own personal piggy bank, including buying a six-foot painting of himself.

And then the FBI now looking to question these two men. Investigators say they are the ones who found one of the bombs in New York City, and the police need to find out what else they might know.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We do have some breaking news coming into CNN right at this minute. U.S. officials are telling CNN that the Pentagon suspects ISIS launched a chemical weapons attack against U.S. and Iraqi troops.