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Millions Under Severe Winter Storm & Blizzard Warnings; Fifty- Nine NY Democratic Lawmakers Tell Cuomo To Resign; Memorial Event Marks One Year Since Breonna Taylor's Death; Air Travel Hits A New Pandemic Record Despite Expert Warnings; Study: New Alzheimer's Drug May Slow Down Cognitive Decline; CNN Witnesses Dozens Of Migrants Trying To Cross Rio Grande; Woman Arrested After Refusing To Wear A Mask At A Bank In Texas. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired March 13, 2021 - 12:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: And tomorrow night here on CNN, Stanley Tucci explores the beautiful region of Tuscany from the art, food and the culture there is nowhere on earth quite like it. The new CNN Original Series Stanley Tucci's "Searching for Italy" tomorrow night 9 Eastern and Pacific.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me on Fredricka Whitfield. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing a firestorm of controversy as a new allegation of inappropriate behavior comes to light.

The political pressure for him to resign mounting following a new article in New York magazine, and in that piece, a former political reporter who covered the Cuomo administration says the governor sexually harassed and embarrassed her in front of colleagues on multiple occasions her claims adding to the list of women now coming forward with allegations against Cuomo.

Congressional and state leaders in his own party, say Cuomo can no longer govern effectively and should resign. But Cuomo remained steadfastly defiant, saying in a teleconference Friday that he is not going anywhere. And he flat out denies the allegations against him.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I did not do what has been alleged. Look, it's very simple. I never harassed anyone. I never abused anyone. I never assaulted anyone. Now, and I never would, right.


WHITFIELD: I want to bring in now New York Assembly Majority Leader, Crystal Peoples-Stokes. Majority Leader Stokes, good that you could be with us. So, what are your thoughts now about this newest allegation in the New York magazine from a political reporter who said that he behaved inappropriately around her?

CRYSTAL PEOPLES-STOKES, MAJORITY LEADER, NY STATE ASSEMBLY: Well, I think all of these women should be heard. They should have their due process, much like I believe the Governor should have his. When women complain, people should listen. And I think that we have set up a process in New York, both through the Assembly Judiciary Committee, by the call of the speaker, as well as the State Attorney General Letitia James's process.

So, I think that the proper investigation will happen, the women will be heard, and the truth will come out. The Governor says he doesn't feel like he's guilty of this. He's perfectly able to have that position that women feel like he is they are perfectly able to have that position.

In this country, we have a process of law and order, the order should be followed, the process should happen. And if in fact, the facts show up that this is true, did this - did happen to these women, then Mr. Cuomo should pay the full price of that offense?

I am of the perspective that we should follow the process, a lot of judicial process to happen. And I know we'll come up with the right results.

WHITFIELD: So, is it fair to go as far as saying that you were standing by Governor Cuomo right now, while a growing number of members of your own party Democrats are calling for the Governor to resign? And you have said, you know, why? Why would you grow this - join this growing number of lawmakers for his resignation? You say it's just premature?

PEOPLES-STOKES: Well, I said this is about more than Governor Cuomo. This is about when you're accused of something you cannot be found guilty in the public arena. You have to be found guilty through a legal process. And I am saying that we should follow that legal process, determine what the facts are, and let them fall where they may.

WHITFIELD: And why is it among your fellow lawmakers? Why do you feel like you were in the minority in wanting to extend that?

PEOPLES-STOKES: Well, you can tell from the way I look. I've been in the minority my entire life. And so while it's not the most comfortable position to be in, it's the one that I feel in my heart is the right thing to do.

There are tons of people in this country who have suffered from a decision by the public, that they are guilty of something that they were not and many people have suffered through and our judicial system as a result of that.

Now, in my estimation, this is not about Mr. Cuomo. This is about a fairness process. If you've been accused of something you are not guilty of it until file so by either the Attorney General Letitia James and or the Judiciary Committee, headed up by my colleague, Chuck Levine.

WHITFIELD: And then listen to a New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who I spoke with last hour on why she believes otherwise that she believes the Governor does need to resign. This is what she said.


SEN. ALESSANDRA BIAGGI (D-NY): Calling for the Governor to resign and having impeachment proceedings is not a directly send it to - send to jail, right? This is what we are asking is that this is a person that stepped down so that we can continue the work of the state.

The Lieutenant Governor will take over the duties of the governorship and we will be able to do our work. It is not a call for the Governor to step down and then be sent to jail or be punished.


BIAGGI: The process will still continue, but the distraction will go away.


WHITFIELD: So, I hear what you're saying to and you say, you know he - while the Governor is accused, you know, he is owed due process. But then you listen to the state Senator who says that these accusations are impeding his ability to govern this state. What's your response to that?

PEOPLES-STOKES: Well, with all due respect to my colleague in the Senate, I'm not sure why these accusations are impeding her from doing my job, her job. But I can tell you that they are not impeding me from doing mine.

We are in the process in the State Assembly and going through our budget. We have been in budget hearings and budget conferences for the entire year. I as you know, carry the legislation that will legalize adult use of cannabis in New York State.

And my staff and I have been aggressively working with not just the Governor and his team, but with our programming council team from the New York State Assembly. So, it's not impeding the work. What's impeding the work is the constant Twitter movement, a conversation in the public about something that should happen when the processes are already set up to allow them to happen.

I don't see any reason why the two should compete with each other. I think we can chew gum and walk at the same time. And I think it's completely possible to get our job done without stopping because the government refuses to resign.

WHITIFIELD: And in my follow up to her about how this is impeding his work? She said that he has to constantly respond to the allegations, and that is a distraction, your thoughts?

PEOPLES-STOKES: Well, I'm not the one that's making the allegations. But I do believe that the women who have made them deserve to be heard. And I believe that the processes are in place to allow that to happen. We can really quite frankly, stop having this conversation about whether or not he resigns or, or whether he should resign by just continuing to do our job that we've been elected to, to serve our constituencies. I have not been prohibited from doing that. And I don't believe that any of my other colleagues have either.

WHITFIELD: Have you spoken to the Governor recently?

PEOPLES-STOKES: On the issue of legalizing adult use cannabis, I have spoken to the Governor.

WHITFIELD: Did you also talk to him about these allegations at all?

PEOPLES-STOKES: I did not ask him about these allegations. And he did not offer any information.

WHITFIELD: OK. And while the majority of state lawmakers, excluding you, you know, are calling for his resignation. The latest Quinnipiac Poll showed Cuomo still enjoys 55 percent of voter support so for Cuomo's ability to lead whose backing is most essential.

PEOPLES-STOKES: I think the backing of the voters is most essential in his ability to lead and they've already spoken several times in electing him to be Governor. By the way, if these proceedings go through, and he's just needed needing to leave, then he should leave.

But if he doesn't, he will have to front the voters again. And quite honestly, I trust the opinion of the voters. I represent a district where my people are not clamoring for me to suggest that he resigned. In fact, there are many of them are appreciating the position that I take and allowing the due process to happen.

And by the way, if I have to say this, it's a little disconcerting, that there's so many people out there who suggests that the letter that was written by myself and 21 other - not letter I'm sorry statement, my 21 other assembly members was somehow concocted by the Governor.

That's disingenuous. No one else's stuffs are questioned in that way. No one asked my other colleagues who encourage you to write a letter to suggest that he resigned. And I don't think that I and my other colleagues should be questioned in that manner. It's disrespectful and it's not fair.

WHITFIELD: Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, thank you so much for your input. I appreciate it.

PEOPLES-STOKES: You're so very welcome and trust you'll have a great day and stay safe.

WHITFIELD: Thank you, you as well. Alright, today marks one year since Breonna Taylor was killed by police in her own apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. A memorial event for Taylor is scheduled to start in about an hour and we'll continue to cover it throughout the afternoon. Jason Carroll is there in Louisville. Jason, what are you seeing? JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the stage has been set and the crowd has started to gather and very soon. Breonna Taylor's mother will take that stage. And let the people know who have come out here that justice in her eyes still has not been served.


TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: I'll never get to a point where I'm over what happened to her.

CARROLL (voice-over): Tamika Palmer says she will mark the one year anniversary of her daughter Breonna Taylor's death by attending a rally Saturday to remind people justice has not been served.


PALMER: It's been a year for people, but every day is March 13th for me still.

CARROLL: Every day?

PALMER: Every day.

CARROLL (voice-over): March 13, 2020 the day Taylor was killed during a botched police raid at her apartment.

PALMER: You know, always be that sense of anger because you know that she should be here.

CARROLL (voice-over): None of the officers who raided Taylor's apartment had been charged in her death. Instead, a grand jury brought charges of felony one endangerment against one of them Brett Hankinson for firing through Taylor's wall into a neighboring apartment.

The State's Attorney General defended the officers' action saying they were justified because Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired at the officers first that night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The male was holding a gun, arms extended in a shooting stance.

CARROLL (voice-over): Walker argued he fired in self-defense thinking someone was trying to break in. He says the officers never identified themselves, but the officers say they did. Just this week a Kentucky Judge permanently dismissed charges against Walker who was initially accused of attempted murder for shooting at the officers.

STEVE ROMINES, ATTORNEY FOR KENNETH WALKER: He's just supposed to say thank you and walk away no, that there has to be a consequence. There has to be accountability.

CARROLL (voice-over): Accountability is key not only to people like Walker and Tamika Palmer but to thousands of demonstrators such as Pastor Timothy Findley, who protested over the past year calling for police reforms in the wake of Taylor's death and the deaths of other African Americans at the hands of police. PASTOR TIMOTHY FINDLEY, KINGDOM FELLOWSHIP CHRISTAIN LIFE CENTER: When we think about March 13th now it's Breonna Taylor, not just remembering her name. But it's really become a rally call, a rally call for justice in our city and justice in our state.

CARROLL (voice-over): Last year, the City of Louisville paid Taylor's family $12 million in a civil settlement and passed Breonna's law, which bans no knock warrants and mandates the use of body cameras during searches. And the city's Mayor says there has been a top to bottom review of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot to do. We have done a lot. But we're going to keep working at this.

CARROL (voice-over): But it's still not enough for Palmer with any officers charged in her daughter's death. She says justice is something that still eludes her. With the help of her attorney, she penned an open letter to President Joe Biden in "The Washington Post" asking his administration to enact national policies to hold police accountable.

LONITA BAKER, TAYLOR FAMILY ATTORNEY: I guess I'm hopeful, because we're at a point of reckoning where if we don't fix it, we're going to be in a lot of trouble. She's more hopeful than me.

CARROLL: And why is that?

BAKER: It's a trust thing like at this point you don't - I don't trust them.


CARROLL: And an FBI investigation is still underway, and the hope is that perhaps these officers will be held accountable at the end of that investigation. But meanwhile, at one o'clock, just about an hour from now, behind me, a rally will be getting underway that will be followed by a march. Tamika Palmer will be here at that rally as one way of honoring her daughter, Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you so much from Louisville. All right, coming up mask-less and under arrest a police confrontation caught on camera see the violent video and hear the suspect side of the story. Plus, air travel smashing records just as coronavirus infections drop we're live in Florida with the new concerns about spring break.



WHITFIELD: More people boarded airplanes Friday than any other day since the start of the pandemic. More than 1.3 million people passed through TSA checkpoints the highest number since March 15th of 2020 CNN's Natasha Chen joining me now from Miami Beach. Natasha, a lot of people descended upon Miami Beach for spring break. What's going on? NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. It's been really busy. The restaurants on the beach are packed. And we saw in one situation people excited getting up to dance and the servers tell them, please, if you're going to get up from the table, put a mask back on.

But we're talking about just a couple servers versus a lot of excited people. And this is a challenge of course, for city leaders as well as the restaurant operators. Businesses have really suffered over the pandemic. So, they want the business, but they want everything to be done safely.

We talked to the CEO of a restaurant group who actually opened Cafe Americano on Miami Beach during the pandemic. I asked him what that was like given that this is their first spring break for that restaurant, and how they're going about it safely.


MATIAS PESCE, RESTAURANT OWNER: We have been working very hard with the city officials, with the landlords and also with the with the owner operators so all of us want to protect our staff and the people in order to keep open to give us the faces opening under business. So that way we train our staff in order to take control and take care of the social distancing. Because it's very important in order to be sustainable in the future.


CHEN: And you're seeing a lot of the restaurants there with that outdoor space. Ocean Drive there sort of became pedestrian only during the pandemic to allow for those restaurants to come out and use that space for outdoor dining. Now you can tell what's happening as far as crowds go by looking at hotel occupancy statistics.

This is from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau showing hotel occupancy from 2019 until now you see that projected for this month, or 72 percent occupancy which is still down from the 2019 number but still so many more people looking into hotels this month compared to this month last year when things first started shutting down, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha Chen, thank you so much.


WHITFIELD: Let's bring in Now Dr. Celine Gounder, a CNN Medical Analyst and Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist. She's also the Host of the "Epidemic" podcast so doctor, good to see you. The world is marking you know, one year since the Coronavirus, was declared a pandemic.

You shared your concerns on the show just days before that as we waited for Former President Donald Trump to announce the nation's first Coronavirus death. Listen to how you put it.


DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I got an email from somebody in Westchester County who said he had just come back from Milan. He had flu like symptoms, he called up his primary care doctor, his doctor said, you know, don't come here go to the hospital.

He called the hospital they weren't very helpful either. And you know that that kind of thing is really concerning. I think providers on the front lines, many of them if they're not at the top tier hospitals are not sure what to do.


WHITFIELD: I know it is weird looking back at what your thoughts were. But you know, how do you reflect on that now?

GOUNDER: Gosh, I don't think we knew how bad things were about to get. And while many of us infectious diseases and epidemiology and public health had some sense that this was going to be a big deal. I don't think any of us could have predicted over half a million Americans would end up dying from this over the past year. And so, I think it's really with great sadness that I - that I hear that clip.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And now there seems to be a lot of renewed hope. You know, the U.S. has now administered more than 100 million Coronavirus vaccine doses and more than 35 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. So are you satisfied with the progress that has been made and a lot of it in just a matter of weeks?

GOUNDER: Yes, really. I mean, just in the last two months or so dramatic improvements have made in terms of vaccine supply. We're going to have 600 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine available to us by July. So that's 300 million Americans that can be vaccinated with that supply.

And now 200 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also going to be available. So that gets you to enough vaccine for 500 million Americans. We have only 330 and 260 million of them are adults, we have much more supply now than we possibly need. And so this puts us in a much stronger position, we are scaling up vaccinations dramatically.

Also, we're now up to about 2.3 million shots in arms a day and I expect that will continue to go up.

WHITFIELD: And the White House says it is starting to turn down vaccine requests from other countries because it is still prioritizing Americans. So how important in your view, is it for the Biden Administration to prioritize the rest of the world as soon as possible?

GOUNDER: I think it's important for people to remember that when you allow the virus to spread, whether that's in the U.S. or outside of the U.S., every time the virus spreads from one person to another, it has the opportunity to mutate. And some of the strains that we're most worried about have arisen in South Africa, in Brazil, and they're concerning, because the level of immunity, the strength of your immune response that you need to overcome those strains is much higher.

And while the vaccines currently remain effective, that may not remain the case if the virus is allowed to spread in other countries allowed to mutate elsewhere. And if that happens, it's only a matter of time before those variants end up here as well.

WHITFIELD: Yes, obviously, it would be potentially a huge setback for everybody. So, let me pivot now to some other news. And this is, you know, a sliver of good news, especially in the battle against Alzheimer's disease. So early results from a new clinical trial showed that an experimental drug by Eli Lilly could slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients, what do you know about this?

GOUNDER: So, this is still a pretty small study about 250 people, half of them got this new drug Donanemab, half got a placebo. And the way this drug works is it helps to clear Amyloid, which you can kind of think of as this garbage that's left over after your cells metabolize various different things, and it's not well cleared from the brain.

So, you end up with this Amyloid plaque in the brain, which is what seems to be part of how people develop Alzheimer's. And so, by helping to clear that you can slow the progression of Alzheimer's, it's not a slam dunk. You know, this is a small study. It was about a third of an effect in terms of degree of slowing of progression.

So, you know if you were to take the drug, for example, for 10 years, you would gain back about three years of better cognition. So, you know there is a significant impact, potentially.


GOUNDER: Especially when you consider about 6 million Americans have Alzheimer's.

WHITFIELD: Yes, some progress, some hope. All right, Dr. Celine Gounder. Good to see you. Thank you so much. All right up next, CNN cameras rolling as dozens of migrants attempt to cross the Rio Grande along the U.S./Mexico border. I'll talk live with a writer who says the southern border is President Biden's biggest test yet.



WHITFIELD: With the massive influx of migrants at the southern border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, is now asking for volunteers from the agency to help with a growing surge. The ICE volunteers are needed to help with security for migrant families and unaccompanied children and could be deployed as soon as this weekend.

The request comes as the White House is taking several new steps aimed at reducing the dramatic surge of unaccompanied migrant children. Right now, a record number of unaccompanied children, more than 3,700 are now in Border Patrol custody. Another 8,800 migrant children are in HHS shelters. CNN's Ed Lavandera witnessed a wave of migrants crossing the Rio Grande.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As sun sets on the Rio Grande our boat winds its way through the deep bends of the river that separates Texas from Mexico, near the town of Hidalgo. That's when we stumble across a group of migrants loading into a raft.

(Speaking in Foreign Language)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, we're good.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Our group eases the tension. A few men appear to lead the raft full of parents and young children to the U.S. side.

(on camera): The Rio Grande Valley has been ground zero of the latest surge of migration. And here you see the operation unfolding right in front of us.

(Speaking in Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): After the first raft crosses the river, the magnitude of this moment reveals itself. Dozens of migrants emerge and walk down to the river's edge.

(on camera): You can see that this is a serious operation. There are dozens of migrants. There are still some of the hills there. It is quickly moving. A handful of guys move people back and forth on these rafts. They have life vests for the migrants.

(voice-over): It's a highly organized system. We'll watch the raft make about six trips back and forth. Scenes like this are escalating in the Rio Grande Valley. There's the growing perception among migrants in Central America that the Biden ministration is more welcoming, even though many are still being turned away.

CHRIS CABRERA, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: These are really, really high numbers I have -- I've never seen it as busy in 19 years.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Chris Cabrera is with the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents Border Patrol agents. He warns the agency's frontline field stations like this massive tech facility are being pushed to the limit with migrants in custody.

CABRERA: We're crowded. We're overcrowded. We don't have anywhere to put people but we have them in our custody, and the system is bogged down. And there's no place for us to send them because the next level is not open yet.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This is a rare view of the field station set up about a month ago by the Border Patrol. The tents are used to handle the initial field processing for the tens of thousands of migrants apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley. There are bathrooms, first aid care, and migrants are removed from the area by a steady stream of buses. While some migrants cross illegally, some are allowed to cross legally.

SANDRA, SEEKING ASYLUM: (Speaking in Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Sandra is overwhelmed as she recounts living in a tent city with her son for the last year on the Mexican side of the border. She worked as a teacher in the camp. She's allowed to wade out her asylum case in the United States. That 38-year-old mother says she fled Honduras after years of threats from a family member.

(on camera): Then one day finally showed up at her house with a gun and started firing into her house and that one of her older children and some others tackled the man and prevented him from killing her and that that's the reason why she's seeking asylum here. She says she can't live in Honduras and she would have to find someplace else to live.

(voice-over): That desperation is what we heard from the migrants on the rafts crossing the Rio Grande.

(Speaking in Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Some tell me they're escaping crime, have lost their homes. The last father on the raft tells me he's here with his wife and daughter.

(Speaking in Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): They're searching for a new opportunity, he says, back on the other side of the river, another group waits their turn.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, on the Rio Grande.


WHITFIELD: All right here to talk more about this situation unfolding at the southern border is Raul Reyes. He has a CNN opinion writer, an attorney, and immigration analyst, Raul so good to see you.


WHITFIELD: All right, so Ed brought us some extraordinary pictures there. You know, can you see that this administration or any administration for that matter can handle this kind of influx?


REYES: Yes, sure. For one thing, you know, we are seeing this influx but with respect to the border agent that he interviewed, who said we had never seen these levels of people approaching the southern border, that actually is not true based on the government --

WHITFIELD: He said in 19 years. REYES: Right, but actually, based on the government's own statistics, we saw higher numbers in 2019 for sure. So but, you know, that's a side point. This is a situation where we, that administration is Democrat and Republican, they've been there before. You know, Obama tried to focus on deportations along with enforcement, it didn't work. Donald Trump focused on very severe enforcement measures as a deterrence and deterrent, that didn't work.

So the challenge for the Biden administration now is to effectively and compassionately figure out what to do. And as difficult as might seem, you know, he does have some options right now. And I think a lot of immigrants and immigrant advocates are cautiously optimistic about what the administration can and will do.

WHITFIELD: So one of the options I guess this administration, Biden administration is about to exercise is asking for volunteers within the ICE agency to help with security. What do you envision in that scenario?

REYES: I think it's a good first step. To me, you know, this problem, obviously, is very complicated. I see things that the administration could do in short term and long term. Short term, what they can do is bring in a surge of personnel to help process these children out of the Border Patrol facilities. They were never designed for children, even the temporary facilities. They're just not a place for kids.

So those -- they need more personnel to help process them out of those places. The ICE agents could certainly assist. Secondly, when these children go into the care of Health and Human Services, whether you're talking about 10 facilities or shelters, again, these are not places that are ideal for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics says a child is harmed by even one day in detention.

So what the government needs to do is, again, surge health personnel, medical personnel, and child welfare advocates to help evaluate these children, process their claims, and as quickly as possible, place them with family members. But overall, with the Biden administration, this is -- now I'm talking long term, this is the big challenge is to move away from this model of mass encampments or mass detention of kids where you have hundreds of kids in these facilities.

And I always tell people, whether you talk -- whether you call them shelters, facilities, tent cities, kids in cages, any of these terms we use, no one would want their own child, their nephew or their grandchild in any of these places.

WHITFIELD: So what is the alternative? But what is the alternative because you're talking about trying to process, identify, and document a lot of people at once, so what do you do? How do you do it?

REYES: Right, I believe one alternative is moving to much smaller scale models in terms of if you're going to process children, and they don't have family members or guardian, the United States available, placed them in a facility maybe with, you know, a few dozen kids rather than hundreds. And the fact is there are nonprofits. There are immigration advocates, there are charities that want to help to bring in as many community organizations and partners as possible would help this process.

And something that Biden administration can do literally on that they could do on Monday is to make this process -- make this whole process as accessible to the media as possible to show what they say are improvements to the process, to help them improve what they're doing with these children. And just to bring about greater accountability because, you know, Biden himself said this week, as Americans, there's nothing we can do when we do it together.

So in the same way that he has committed to a massive expansion of federal efforts in terms of fighting COVID and providing relief to the -- our economic situation right now, he needs to do the same, especially for the migrant children. And the public support is there. I tweeted out earlier today. There was research this week from University of Washington that showed overall 82 percent of Americans favor letting these migrant children be released into the United States so family or family member or guardian.

So the public support is there. It's a question of the political will. And I just want to remind people as we talk about the border, unauthorized crossings, and what's happening, these children are exercising their legal right to asylum. So it's a question of the Biden administration living up to the words and also us as Americans living up to our deals and caring for the well-being protection of children.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there for now. Raul Reyes --

REYES: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: -- thank you so much.


We'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: A Texas woman is in trouble with the law all because she wouldn't leave a bank when asked since she wasn't wearing a mask. Bank employees asked her to leave repeatedly but she refused. So finally, they call police and as Shelley Childers reports from our affiliate KTRK in Houston, this is what happened.



TERRY WRIGHT, ARRESTED FOR CRIMINAL TRESPASS: Do not touch me. Who do you think you are? Oh, back up, back up, some old lady is getting the handcuffed here.

SHELLEY CHILDERS, KTRK-TV, HOUSTON, TEXAS (voice-over): It was a dramatic escalation inside a Bank of America in Galveston, a 65-year- old, Terry Wright, ended up on the ground during an arrest for refusing to leave the Bank. Galveston police released this body cam video that shows the officer trying to get Wright to leave at least five times because she refused to follow their mask policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they ask you to leave, you have to leave.

WRIGHT: My money is in this bank. And I'm going to take it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, then you have to abide by their rules. Well, you need to go and get a mask and then take your money out. We're going to do this the easy way or hard way.

WRIGHT: What are you going to do, arrest me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. For intruding on premises, you were going to go outside.


WRIGHT: Are you serious?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why go out outside.

WRIGHT: I think this lady got some issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got issues?

WRIGHT: That you're taking away people's human rights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, OK. Let's go outside. Let's go outside.

WRIGHT: Now, if you're going to shoot me, people. He's going to shoot me for trying not to breathe.


WRIGHT: Come on, dude.


CHILDERS (voice-over): Wright who is on a bucket list trip across the country in an R.V. says she was aware of the statewide mask mandate, rollback.

WRIGHT: I've been traveling all over Texas and I've never had an issue with not wearing a mask. And I knew the Governor just poo-pooed it.

CHILDERS (voice-over): She spoke with ABC13 tonight admitting when she walked into the business, she was asked to wear a mask and refused.

WRIGHT: She's like, well, then you'll have to leave. And I said, no, I just want to close my account and then I'll wait. And so she goes, well, if you're not going to leave then I'm going to call the cops. And I said, well, do what you have to do.

CHILDERS (voice-over): Legal analyst Steve Shellist says even with the statewide mask mandate lifted, private businesses can enforce their own mask policy. STEVE SHELLIST, LEGAL ANALYST: No shoes, no shirt, no service. Businesses have the right, private businesses have the right to set out whatever things they want within limitations as long as they're not discriminating and require their customers to comply.

CHILDERS (voice-over): And during the arrest. She tried to get other customers involved. They showed her no support.


WRIGHT: Police brutality, right here people.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no it is not.


WRIGHT: Wow, what a bunch of sheep. Wow. I'm not a wearing people. This is what they do to you.

CHILDERS (voice-over): Tonight Galveston police say she is charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest. Terry tells us she does not believe in the pandemic and there was nothing she would have done differently.

WRIGHT: My civil right is not to wear a diaper on my face. And that's how I feel about it.


WHITFIELD: And that was Shelley Childers reporting for our affiliate KTRK in Houston. And CNN has reached out to the Galveston Police Department and to Bank of America for comments.

All right, the pandemic has pushed many small business owners to the brink. But some are finding ways to adapt and innovate. Here's today's Start Small Think Big.


YOLANDA OWEN, OWNER, IWI FRESH: I am known as the skincare farm chef. Iwi Fresh is the first farm-to-skin spa in Atlanta, Georgia. We partner with local farms where we handpick all the fruits and vegetables, and we make raw skincare recipes. My business journey started with my grandmother. She left a legacy with me of healing with home remedies. I graduated as an engineer, went into corporate America. I had this burning passion to start my own skincare line. I've been in business for a decade now. I started from the garage to a spa to whole foods.

Iwi Fresh stands for it is what it is. Every ingredients is raw, there's no chemicals. The carrots are in our cured moisturizer. The lettuce is in our toner. The cucumbers are in our eye cream.

During the pandemic we had to shut down for three months, which really ignite me to be more innovative. We did the curbside pickup. So, excited. We did the virtual skin consultation. Hi. And we pivoted to a waterless pedicure which was less contamination.


I started Iwi Fresh with $10,000. And here I am today with the spa, with second location, and my products are in whole foods. It really just takes passion and believing in yourself and you can make it happen.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back, the White House is warning organizations to address hold vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity. Attacks are escalating on Microsoft Exchange e-mail server as a service used by countless groups and companies around the country. Brian Fung joining us now from Washington with more on this. So Brian, the details get a bit complicated. And this is unrelated to the solar winds hack that we've been talking about these last few months. So can you explain this threat?

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Sure. Well, Fredricka, this is a very serious problem. In my 10 years of covering cybersecurity, I've never seen U.S. officials so publicly alarmed about threat like this. We've seen numerous attacks against law firms, think tanks, defense contractors and more based on as number of vulnerabilities that Microsoft released recently saying that, you know, this vulnerability allows attackers to gain control of an entire organization's computer network.

And in just the last week, we've had security researchers say that the attacks are getting worse. As many as 20,000 servers that use the software are still unpatched and potentially vulnerable to this type of attack. And the attacks are doubling every two to three hours, according to some cybersecurity researchers.

So this is a very, very serious threat. Microsoft has released a number of software updates, and the U.S. government is urging organizations across the private sector to download and install them as soon as possible. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: And Brian, the Biden administration is bringing in the private sector for its response. How is that working?

FUNG: Yes. So the administration is setting up these conversations, bringing in the members to the private sector that has been highly focused on this threat, so that it can help manage this tax and develop a response. The U.S. government has a multiagency response group. And now, private sector individuals are being brought in to, in some cases, classified facilities to be able to have these conversations with U.S. government about what to do next.

[12:55:25] And, you know, as far as we know, no consumers have been affected by this. But of course, if you work at one of these organizations that's been hit, your information could theoretically have been impacted as well. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, alarming indeed. Brian Fung in Washington, thanks so much.

And we'll be right back.