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Soaring Numbers Of Unaccompanied Children At U.S. Border; Spring Break Travel Soars As Restrictions Loosen; France's Death Toll Tops 90,000 As Hospitalizations Rise; U.K. Reels Over Sarah Everard's Murder; Texas Reports Multiple Tornadoes And Large Hail; Activists, Family Search For Justice For Breonna Taylor; Yo-Yo Ma Serenades Clinic After Second Shot; London Theater District Could Reopen Soon. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired March 14, 2021 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi. Welcome, wherever you are. I'm Robyn Curnow.
Coming up, vaccines are going into arms, stimulus checks in the bank account. Spring break is here and it's not the right time for beer parties at the beach just yet.
Plus protests in London over the death of a 33-year-old woman. A police officer is charged with her murder and sparked a national outcry and movement on social media.
Plus terrified, crying and worried, harrowing tales from children detained in overcrowded facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.
CURNOW: It may feel like the U.S. is emerging from a dark winter into a brighter spring but experts are begging Americans to avoid travel, to wear masks and to stay vigilant. But signs are encouraging. CDC data show one in five Americans have now received at least one vaccine dose and over one in 10 are fully vaccinated.
Perhaps adding to a sense of relief, Americans are receiving stimulus checks in their bank accounts. But health officials say now is not the time to let down your guard as Paul Vercammen reports.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coronavirus restrictions are loosening up from coast to coast but one of the nation's top health experts is warning governors if there was ever a time to put on a mask, this is it. DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: I would just appeal to all of those leaders who have people's lives on their hands look at the data, take some risks with your political base if you need to but do the right thing.
VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Health officials are also deeply concerned Americans are letting their guard down by getting on planes in record numbers since the outbreak began and by clustering during spring break.
DR. JOSEPH VARON, CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, HOUSTON: If you come to Texas, you would say, hey, the pandemic disappeared overnight. It is amazing. You go outside, all the clubs are packed, people not wearing masks, it's very disappointing.
VERCAMMEN (voice-over): A key vaccine benchmark has been met in California so they will ease restrictions.
State officials announce they met their goal to vaccinate 2 million people in the hardest hit poor neighborhoods, teachers, agriculture workers and restaurant employees all eligible to get shots. The list expands to Californians with certain medical problems on Monday.
Also on the Golden State horizon, more reopenings of California movie theaters, museums, zoos, gyms and restaurants indoors on a very limited basis, the reason for restaurant workers to expect more tips, starting at midnight Sunday.
WAITER OROZCO, RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE: There were moments that we didn't have a lot of customers coming in, so you get frustrated sometimes. But right now, everything starts coming back with the vaccine and reopening, it feels more secure now.
VERCAMMEN (voice-over): More good news on the vaccine front, the CDC says more than 100 million people have received a COVID-19 shot and age eligibility requirements dropping in many states. And AstraZeneca hopes to get emergency authorization approval for is vaccine at the end of this month or into of April.
DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: The FDA scientists will review the data very carefully. They will get access to the complete file. And if they see any signs of any concerns, they're not going to give emergency use authorization to this vaccine.
VERCAMMEN: But in Mississippi, this memento is a touching and heartbreaking reminder that COVID-19 kills. Jeff Nabors suffered from heart disease, rushed to marry his sweetheart of 17 years.
SHERRY NABORS, WIDOW OF COVID-19 VICTIM: It wasn't what we had in mind, it was beautiful. It was beautiful and it was so touching and it was so perfect.
VERCAMMEN: But Sherry went from newly wedded to widow in days because of the virus that so far killed 500,000 people in the United States and counting -- Paul Vercammen, CNN, Los Angeles.
CURNOW: The E.U. vaccine rollout has been plagued with problems since the beginning. Now there's this: six European countries are calling on Brussels to guarantee equal access to vaccines.
Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, Latvia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic sent a letter to E.U. officials claiming deliveries to member states aren't happening on an equal basis. On Friday, Austria's leader even claimed that secret business deals were being reached with vaccine makers. And a slow vaccine rollout is the last thing Europe needs right now.
CURNOW: We've seen COVID cases surging right when it was hoping to reopen. New restrictions in Italy are set to start on Monday. Most of the country will be affected, including Rome, the capital, and Milan, its financial hub.
Spain is marking one year since it announced a state of emergency for the first time because of COVID. They imposed some of the strictest measures in Europe.
In France, the health minister said hospitals in Paris are filling up again with one person being admitted to the ICU every 12 minutes. Delia Gallagher joins us from Rome, Al Goodman is in Madrid and Cyril Vanier is in Paris.
Delia, I want to go to you first. The new lockdown measures to go into place Monday.
It's going to impact Easter, isn't it?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, here we are again. Italians preparing to go into lockdown starting Monday. A little over half of Italy's 20 regions will be full lockdown, including cities like Rome, Milan and Venice.
Easter weekend, a total lockdown for the country, although it does seem that Italians will be able to go to Easter mass at a church closest to their home.
But authorities are saying, Robyn, that these measures were necessary. They say there has been a rise in the rate of transmission due to variants first identified in the U.K. they say is now prevalent in Italy and the variant from Brazil is showing clusters in Italy.
The prime minister on Friday said he understood the difficulties this is going to pose for children's education, for the economy and for the psychological well-being of Italians. We did already this last year. But he said it was necessary to avoid a deterioration in these numbers.
The prime minister also said that he wants to triple the number of vaccines that are currently happening in Italy. They're currently vaccinating 170,000 people a day. He wants to make that 500,000 a day. The COVID commissioner came out yesterday with a plan and said that it
would be helped by the fact that there's now approval for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one dose, so they are aiming to have all Italian adults vaccinated by the end of the summer.
CURNOW: Delia, thanks for that.
Al, I'm going to come to you there in Spain. It's a year since that state of emergency was declared.
What's the status right now?
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. That lockdown lasted three months. Everyone at this time a year ago, everyone had to stay home all the time except to go out to buy food, medicine, see a doctor or go to work.
Here in Puerta del Sol in Madrid, police were out telling people to go home, even using drones telling people to go home. That lockdown a year ago did manage to get down the first wave but it was the second wave later in the year and a third wave earlier this year.
Now Spain has the seventh highest number of cases in the world, 3.1 million, and the 10th highest deaths, 72,000, according to Johns Hopkins; 40 percent of those deaths were in senior citizen homes.
So many people in Spain know someone who died or had a difficult case. In my case, a Spanish journalist friend died. The economic toll also has been very difficult; 16 percent unemployment. Spain one of the world's top tourist destination saw international arrivals drop by 75 percent and there are limited supplies of vaccine in Spain.
Just 3 percent of Spaniards have gotten the vaccine. Add all that up and authorities looking ahead to Easter week have decided to close all of Spain's regions, no travel between the 17 regions.
So people from Madrid will not be able to go to the coast, for instance. But Spain's touristic islands in the Mediterranean, the Canaries in the Atlantic will be able to receive a limited number of international travelers -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Thank you for that.
I want to take you to Paris where Cyril is standing by.
This is really concerning news that ICUs are starting to fill up.
What can you tell us about that?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, Robyn, it really is alarming. Every day the government is looking at those infection numbers and reassessing its position. A few weeks ago the French president was expected to lock down the entire country, issue a national stay at home order but he decided to zag when everybody thought he was going to zig. He said, no, we're going to keep the country open, avoid damage to the
economy that costs billions of dollars of week to the country. So we'll keep it open with tight restrictions because restaurants closed, a strict curfew starting 6:00 pm nationwide is in force.
But we are going to allow people to go to shops and we are going to allow those who need to go to work. Well, the result has been that there's a bit of a stalemate in this race between the virus and the vaccinations.
VANIER: The level of infections in France has been pretty much steady but inching up. And the alarming part, to get back to that, Robyn, is that infections have been steady at a high plateau. And that is why you are slowly seeing the pressure build up on the hospital system and especially on the intensive care units.
OK, currently there are 4,000 people in France in intensive care units. That has to be compared to about 5,000 intensive care beds pre COVID. Of those a quarter are in Paris and the capital is where there's most pressure on hospitals right now.
The hospitals have been told to delay and postpone previously scheduled care. They are currently transferring patients out of Paris to other regions to make space for incoming patients.
And I'll repeat the statistic that you mentioned at the top, a patient is being admitted to hospital for a COVID-19 infection every 12 minutes, so at this stage it's anyone's guess as to whether the gamble to not to shut the country is going to last.
CURNOW: OK, thanks for that, Delia Gallagher in Rome, Al Goodman in Madrid, Cyril Vanier in Paris, appreciate it.
We're seeing an outpouring of rage and grief in London for the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard for the sexism and violence that women face across the U.K. every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Crowds chanting, "Reclaim our streets and shame on you."
The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine, made a private trip to the memorial. You can see the back of her, paying respects to Sarah Everard and her family. She says she remembers what it felt like to walk around London at night before she was married.
Nina dos Santos is in London with all of this.
Hi, what can you tell us about this real sense of grief but also outrage that sparked Sarah's death?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): Well, morning to you, Robyn. You know how they say dawn gives everything a fresh perspective, this is the perspective that many Londoners who are here for a second day in a row to pay their respects to Sarah Everard are seeing.
It's peaceful, similar to what my team saw yesterday evening as thousands of people congregated upon this spot for an unofficial vigil, one which ultimately the police used brute force to break up.
And that's prompted a lightning rod for debate over women's rights and safety on the streets of London and how police are protecting them.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): They came to remember a young woman whose life was cruelly cut short, only to be wrenched from their vigil by officers from the very force where her suspected killer served.
The death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, while walking home, has plunged Britain into a moment of reckoning on women's rights and safety.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Essentially, women have a curfew now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as it gets dark out, you either have to be with someone or you have to be home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're fed up of having to worry all the time and not feel safe. And this has just proven our fears to be true.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Sarah vanished March 3rd while walking from one residential part of the capital to another at around 9:00 pm. Her remains were found last week nearly 60 miles away. And a serving London Metropolitan Police officer has been charged in connection with her death.
DOS SANTOS: What shocked so many is both the randomness of what happened to Sarah and the relatability of the circumstances under which she disappeared. She was last seen walking along this busy street in South London after having been to visit a friend, who lived nearby.
It wasn't particularly late and this isn't a particularly dangerous area.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): The vigil for Sarah had been organized by women in the neighborhood where she vanished but was canceled due to COVID regulations. Yet thousands still came; their aim, to reclaim women's rights to walk where they want, when they want, without fear.
LUDOVICA ORLANDO, ORGANIZER, RECLAIM THESE STREETS: While maybe abduction is not as common as been said, being groped on a bus is. Being yelled at is. Being followed home is. And those are things that need to change because -- just because not all the stories don't end in tragedy doesn't mean they're not worth telling.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): On Twitter, women shared their stories.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can vividly remember getting harassed by a man who tried to assault me when I was 18.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On my walk home, a man in a car pulled up next to me to tell me I had --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was 13, a man followed me and my friends down the alley and flashed us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to know (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tracy Kidd (ph), Nellie Staffer (ph).
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): In Parliament one lawmaker shared the names of women who were killed in the U.K. this year. Among them, six who perished the same week Sarah went missing.
For David Challen, who campaigned to overturn his mother's sentence for killing his abusive father, there's a lot men in Britain can do to better understand and aid women's plight.
DAVID CHALLEN, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: It's time for misogyny to be recognized as a hate crime. These are offensive acts on a sliding scale that creates harm and violence and trauma for women throughout their lives. They all have it in common and men are blind to it.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): The scenes of police, arresting masked women holding a vigil despite COVID rules, sparked anger nationwide. And politicians from all sides demanded an explanation. The Met said they hadn't wanted to act.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people's safety.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Sarah Everard's family said their daughter was beautiful and bright, a shining example to us all. In the senseless tragedy of her death, many hope her memory may guide the way for other women towards a safer path home in the future and away from scenes like these.
DOS SANTOS: Robyn, many Londoners will say this moment had been coming for quite some time. We asked why the conversations weren't had earlier and perhaps the answer lies in how this particular vigil was suppressed so swiftly yesterday evening.
You get a sense on the ground that things haven't by any means died down. As you can see, there's flocks of people arriving early on this Mothering Sunday in the U.K. to pay their respects and also people continuing to lay flowers here at the bandstand, which is the place where those ugly scenes took place yesterday evening -- Robyn. CURNOW: Let's talk about the reaction to the police handling of this
vigil. In many ways, it's ignited questions about anti-protest legislation, about the government, about Boris Johnson.
What's been the response and how is the government going to manage the fallout to the way the police really manhandled a lot of women yesterday?
DOS SANTOS: Well, you've got various components of local and national government here that are starting to express their indignation over the scenes that happened yesterday evening.
Boris Johnson was one of the people who was a little more conciliatory on Twitter yesterday evening, where he originally said that he and his partner marked this event in their own way by lighting a candle that they put outside the doorstep of Downing Street, saying their thoughts were with Sarah Everard.
He later tweeted, I cannot imagine how unbearable their pain and what is. We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime. That was seen as sitting on the fence a little bit in the Twittersphere. What we saw also was people like Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London. That's a job that Boris Johnson had a number of years ago when he himself was mayor of London.
Khan has oversight of how the Metropolitan Police does their business here in London. He expressed indignation that these scenes that we saw here yesterday evening and said he was demanding an urgent explanation.
That was reiterated by the home secretary herself, who is a woman like the person who runs the Metropolitan Police. This has prompted a much bigger conversation inside the U.K. about changes in legislation as well try to prevent that sliding scale of negative male behavior that eventually can have such damaging and dangerous consequences for people like Sarah Everard.
There's members of Parliament I've spoken to, who said it's urgent that the country should consider introducing misogyny as a hate crime in future domestic abuse legislation to get the message through, that there is this sliding scale of behavior and it has to stop, because women feel scared.
CURNOW: Thanks, Nina.
So multiple tornadoes touched down in Texas. The latest from the Weather Center here at CNN. We'll have that and much more coming up next.
(MUSIC PLAYING) CURNOW: Texas is reporting at least nine tornadoes along its
Panhandle. Freight trucks were overturned and there was heavy damage to property in the area. There were several reports of golf ball sized hail as well.
Also, severe late winter storms are threatening other states. Nearly 7 million people are under winter weather alerts. They could see heavy snow, even blizzard conditions.
CURNOW: Warnings of a humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico. Why so many migrants are making the journey right now. You're watching CNN. That story next.
CURNOW: It is 29 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching CNN.
U.S. officials are struggling to deal with soaring numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the border with Mexico. Facilities are so overwhelmed.
CURNOW: And CNN has found that children are staying in custody longer than the thee-day limit. Things are so difficult, the Homeland Security chief has ordered federal emergency officials to help.
Lawyers spoke to some of the children this week. They say the children are terrified and worried because they can't speak with family members. Some said they hadn't showered for days. CNN went to the Rio Grande Valley, where many migrants cross into Texas. There were scenes of danger and desperation as they made their way across the river. Here's Ed Lavandera with this report.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the 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.
LAVANDERA: Hey, amigos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey.
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.
LAVANDERA: The Rio Grande Valley has been ground zero of the latest surge of migration. And here you see the operation unfolding here in front of us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't do that. Don't do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't do that.
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.
LAVANDERA: You can see that this is a serious operation. There are dozens of migrants. There are still some above the hills there. And it is quickly moving. A handful of guys move people back and forth on these rafts. They have life vests for the migrants.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): It's a highly organized system. We will 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 administration is more welcoming, even though many are still being turned away.
CHRIS CABRERA, NATIONAL BOARDER PATROL COUNCIL: These are really, really high numbers. I have never seen it like this in 20 years.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Chris Cabrera is the National Board Patrol Council, the union that represents Border Patrol agents. He warns the agency's front line field stations, like this massive tent facility, are being pushed to the limit with migrants in custody.
CABRERA: We are crowded. We are overcrowded. We don't have anyone where to put people. But we have them in our custody and the system has bogged down. And there's no place for us to send them because the next level is not open yet.
LAVANDERA: 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).
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 camp.
She is allowed to wait out her asylum case in the United States. The 38-year-old mothers said she fled Honduras after years of threats from a family member.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).
LAVANDERA: Then, one day, he 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 is seeking asylum here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).
LAVANDERA: She says she can't live in Honduras and she would have to find someplace else to live.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): That desperation is what we heard from the migrants on the rafts crossing the Rio Grande.
LAVANDERA: (Speaking Spanish).
LAVANDERA: (Speaking Spanish).
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Some tell me they are escaping crime, have lost their homes. The last father on the raft tells me he is here with his wife and daughter.
LAVANDERA: (Speaking Spanish).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).
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.
CURNOW: John Sandweg is the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was also the former acting general counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Good to see you, sir. Thanks for joining us.
How concerned are you about these record highs in children arriving in the U.S. and also the worsening conditions?
JOHN SANDWEG, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Well, obviously it's concerning. But this is part of a trend we've seen over the last five years. I think it's something that's perfectly manageable.
And the Biden administration seems to be doing what is needed, which is surging resources to deal with the problem.
SANDWEG: Long-term, though, this is a manageable problem. Really, just it's a problem in and of itself, just because of the unique nature of children, who are crossing the border without any adults.
CURNOW: Let's talk about these children. It seems to be the fact that it's the amount of children, the number of children, who have been making this journey and crossing, rather than the sort of general population of numbers of people coming over.
Why is that?
Why are we seeing these kinds of numbers right now?
SANDWEG: You know, one of the things we haven't done very well as a government is having funded the portions of our border security apparatus that deal with unique populations and vulnerable populations, like children, like families.
So it doesn't take much of an uptick for there to be resource constraints and problems, where, suddenly, Health and Human Services, the U.S. agency responsible for placing them in shelters, is overwhelmed.
In terms of why this is happening now, I think it's two factors. One is the Trump administration over the last year have been pushing these kids to wait in camps in Mexico. The Biden administration understandably said we're not going to continue that policy.
So you had a lot of kids already staged in northern Mexico, Central American kids, ready to come across, hopefully to be reunited with parents or other family members as it was.
But two, of course, is just the mass desperation we see in Central America, where you continue to have a security crisis, you continue have no economic opportunity. You have families who are separating themselves voluntarily, parents coming up here, earning enough money, sending it home to bring their kids up.
That's the fundamental root of the problem right there.
CURNOW: CNN's also reporting that many of these women and children say they made the journey because they heard the Biden administration was allowing in women and children.
How is this sort of non-Trump approach, non-hardline approach, a more humane policy making the situation worse?
And also critically could become much worse in the coming months, if, at least, the basic messaging is not dealt with here as well?
SANDWEG: The administration is trying to get the message out. Everybody who comes across that border is placed into deportation proceedings. We need more resources to make sure those proceedings move more quickly.
But the fact is, everybody who comes across the border is placed into deportation proceedings and their cases will go forward.
The real problem hee are the smuggling organizations, which make a tremendous amount of money lying to people to get them to come across that border and into this country.
A lot of what we're seeing are the smuggling organizations spreading false narratives about the Biden administration policies. It's a very difficult message to counter. You see the administration putting out a lot of messaging to say, don't come. But it's difficult to counter what the smugglers are telling the people on the ground.
CURNOW: Thank you very much for joining us, John Sandweg, appreciate you, thank you very much.
SANDWEG: Thank you.
CURNOW: Still to come on CNN, one year since the police killing of Breonna Taylor and still no officer have been charged.
CURNOW: The latest on the search for justice and accountability. That is ahead.
Also we'll show you why there are barricades around the intersection where George Floyd lost his life last year in a police encounter as well.
CURNOW: The search for racial justice overtook the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday. It was a year ago when Breonna Taylor was gunned down in a botched police raid.
Taylor's mother told CNN she still seeks accountability as none of the four officers involved has been charged in her death. No-knock warrants are now banned in Louisville and the family received a $12 million settlement.
President Biden tweeted on Saturday, "As we continue to mourn her, we must press ahead to pass meaningful police reform in Congress. I remain committed to signing a landmark reform bill into law."
Breonna Taylor's boyfriend has now sued the police for what they did that night. He spoke at Saturday's rally in Louisville. Jason Carroll was there.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A rally and march for Breonna Taylor, protesters who came out here heard from a number of speakers, including civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.
One of those who addressed the crowd was Kenneth Walker. You may remember him. He was Breonna Taylor's former boyfriend. For months, he faced charges of attempted murder for firing at those officers on the night of that botched raid.
Walker saying he acted in self-defense, saying that the officers never identified themselves; the officers saying that they did.
Well, this week a Kentucky judge dropped those charges. And Walker told the crowd how he felt about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNETH WALKER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S BOYFRIEND: They dropped the charges against me and --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, that's right.
WALKER: -- we got to keep going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Walker's attorney filed a federal lawsuit against the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, alleging that the officers violated his constitutional rights. The Metro PD responded, saying that they don't comment on pending litigation.
One point is very clear, from those who were out here today, they say their marching for justice will continue -- Jason Carroll, CNN, Louisville, Kentucky.
CURNOW: Jury selection has begun in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. People around the world will have seen the video of him pinning George Floyd's neck to the pavement last year for nearly nine minutes. Sara Sidner in shows us what it's like at the site of that deadly encounter today.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The place where George Floyd took some of his last breaths is both sacred space and at times a battlefield.
JEANELLE AUSTIN, GEORGE FLOYD GLOBAL MEMORIAL: We are a grieving community.
SIDNER (voice-over): On any given day, at any given hour, the situation changes here. When we arrived, caretakers were cleaning up. There was nothing but calm and black joy.
But this past Saturday, gunshots rang out. A man was killed steps away from where Floyd suffered. Business owners and some residents complain the sound of gunshots are not uncommon.
SAM WILLIS JR., OWNER, JUST TURKEY: They can have any time. Yesterday, like we had mentioned, it happened that -- it was 1:00 in the afternoon, over 20 shots fired.
SIDNER: In order to get into George Floyd Square, which is what they have dubbed the area where George Floyd took his last few breaths, you have to pass through barricades on every single side.
SIDNER (voice-over): There are also resident-appointed guardians of the square, sometimes refusing entry. None of it sanctioned by the city.
AUSTIN: It's predominately white neighbors who -- they weren't -- they weren't allowing the police in because they were protecting the black community, because they saw what happened three weeks earlier.
SIDNER (voice-over): Resident Jeanelle Austin has spent nearly a year collecting and preserving every single memento for a George Floyd Global Memorial art installation. She says no trust has been built between the community and police there.
While she and others like Billy Briggs are busy making a space for art, other citizens have taken up the role of policing and even medical services in the area.
BILLY BRIGGS, SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS RESIDENT: The square is open to anybody that wants to come. We don't dictate free will. But we are going to look out for the safety of our community members, of the visitors.
SIDNER: What do you say to people who say, look, this is the police's job, this is the EMS' job?
AUSTIN: We work with EMS. EMS, we work with.
SIDNER (voice-over): And the police? AUSTIN: The police, they need to work on themselves. There is a distrust. They have not corrected themselves. The way -- the police work for some people and not for others.
SIDNER (voice-over): The police chief, who last May prayed at the intersection while the city raged over Floyd's death, says it's time for the square to open up again.
MEDARIA ARRADONDO, CHIEF, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: If there's anyone who can -- who's over in that space who's saying that that is truly about uplifting that intersection in his name, but yet the violence is continuing, the homicides are continuing, I would disagree vehemently with that position.
SIDNER (voice-over): That will not happen easily. The community has given the city 24 written demands in exchange for opening up the square.
AUSTIN: If you lift those barriers without first providing restorative justice to the community, people are going to forget about the harm and the trauma caused to this community.
SIDNER: And that young lady that you see there says that all of the things that have been collected for nearly a year will turn into an art installation very soon as a part of her job as a board member with the George Floyd global memorial there, making sure that happens.
And there's this: $500,000 of the unprecedented $27 million pretrial settlement with George Floyd's family and the City of Minneapolis is going to go towards the business district near the area where Floyd lost his life -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.
CURNOW: The boxing world has lost one of the sport's greatest fighters. Marvelous Marvin Hagler passed away at home Saturday at the age of 66. His wife posted the news on Facebook. She said it was unexpected but didn't mention the cause of death. He was the undisputed middleweight champion for seven years in the 1980s.
Still to come, a pandemic was a showstopper in London's theater district. Why hope is growing that the West End could soon see a revival.
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CURNOW (voice-over): One of the most famous musicians there in the world treating people at a vaccination clinic to an impromptu performance on Friday. That is cellist Yo-Yo Ma, wearing a mask and socially distanced.
He had just received his second vaccination shot at the Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts. Like everyone else, he had to wait 15 minutes to make sure there were no side effects before he could leave.
A spokesperson for the vaccination project said Ma elected to use their time to serenade the clinic because he, quote, "wanted to give something back."
And many of us might welcome a little bit more drama in our lives after a year of lockdowns and social distancing -- or maybe not -- but Scott McLean now has some good news. The London theater district could spring back into life soon.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was almost a year ago today that the famous busy, vibrant West End of London suddenly emptied out. Virtually overnight, shows were canceled, staff were laid off and almost all of the money dried up.
Some shows moved online last year. Others even briefly came back in person before being canceled again because of new COVID restrictions.
MCLEAN (voice-over): This time around, though, the CEO of the Royal Opera House says he is optimistic that they will as soon as possible be back for good, at least with limited capacity shows, starting in mid May.
ALEX BEARD, ROYAL OPERA HOUSE CHIEF EXECUTIVE: And the reason for that is, of course the vaccine. And so I'm very confident that we can get back out on the 17th of May.
Exactly what happens after that, I don't know. Let's see how things pan out of the next few weeks.
MCLEAN: What about the audience?
Will they need a vaccine?
Will they need a test?
BEARD: For the audience, the key thing there is to make sure that everything is properly safe in terms of social distancing.
MCLEAN: It's just not practical to test everyone.
BEARD: We don't need it.
MCLEAN: Online shows are not a substitute for the real thing.
BEARD: They are a brilliant complement. But is it a substitute for a standing ovation in this space, the hairs
tingling at the back of your head, that thrill of being in the shared breath of a performance?
It can't match that but it's an amazing way to stay connected.
MCLEAN: Is it a financial institute?
BEARD: Not at all.
MCLEAN: Can you envision a scenario in the next year where the West End feels like the West End again?
BEARD: Definitely. There are obviously some things that need to be sorted out between now and then in relation to operating protocols. To make a big musical work, you have to have approaching a full house. But at least now we're on a trajectory where that can be foreseen with confidence.
MCLEAN: The British government has already set aside more than $2 billion in grants and loans to the arts industry. The Opera House has its own tab of about $30 million to pay back over the next two decades.
While West End theaters are preparing to reopen their doors come May, the government said that is a best-case scenario, assuming the case counts continue to fall. For the arts industry, this lockdown won't truly be over until the fat lady actually gets back up on stage and sings.
CURNOW: So let's hope that happens soon.
That wraps up CNN for this hour. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks for joining me. Kim joins you next. You're watching CNN.