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Four Dead in Mass Shooting at a California Office Complex; Trial of Ex-Cop Charged in George Floyd's Death Resumes; Major League Baseball Season Begins Today; Pfizer Is Preparing To Seek Ful FDA Approval For Its Two Shot Coronavirus Vaccine. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired April 1, 2021 - 09:00   ET

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


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto. Poppy Harlow has the week off.

[09:00:04]

Just minutes from now, the fourth day of testimony gets underway in the murder trial of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin. Emotional, powerful witness testimony on day three giving jurors a clearer picture of George Floyd's final moments under Chauvin's knee.

And for the first time, the public heard a body cam clip capturing his former officer's reaction to that deadly arrest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: We got to control this guy because he's a sizable guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, I --

CHAUVIN: It looks like he's probably on something.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: We're also following breaking news this morning. Another deadly mass shooting in our country. This morning, four people are dead, including a child, after a gunman opened fire at a business in Orange County. Police are expected to give an update later today. And we will begin there.

CNN's senior national correspondent Kyung Lah is outside the scene there this morning.

Kyung, an update from police later today. Tell us what we know so far.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hopefully we're going to learn some more details about what led up to this shooting because right now we don't have a whole lot of publicly available information from the police. What we do know is that they have been here at this business complex throughout the night and this morning. They are clearly still collecting evidence.

This is a bit of a large scene because this is a business complex. So what we do know from neighbors is about dinnertime last night, they heard the sound of gunfire coming from this business complex. There are about six businesses in this particular building. Shortly after that gunfire, the sound of sirens as police officers arrived. And then the first responding officers, there was gunfire exchange. The sound of gunfire rang through this neighborhood.

We would later learn from the Orange Police that that was their first responding officers engaging with the suspect. The suspect was wounded and taken to the hospital. We know of a woman who was wounded, a fifth person who was wounded, and she remains in the hospital in critical condition. But when police started to go through the business complex, they did discover four people who had been killed. One of them a child.

We don't have official details on the age or gender of the child. We were able to speak to a relative of someone who works in that business complex. Paul Tovar told us that his brother and his niece are missing. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL TOVAR, NICE AND BROTHER HAVE OFFICE N COMPLEX: I'm just trying to find out his well-being. He's not answering his phone. Neither is my niece. I'm pretty scared and worried. I wish I knew more. I don't know. Right now I'm just praying really hard.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: And just about an hour ago, Mr. Tovar came up to us and we talked, and he said he still doesn't know. He still doesn't have any word about his brother or niece and it's just been agonizing hours throughout the night. One gun was recovered by the police department.

And, Jim, as you said, we hope to learn much more in just a few hours from the police here.

SCIUTTO: That poor man. By CNN's count, at least the 20th mass shooting in America in just the last two weeks.

Kyung Lah, good to have you there. Thanks very much.

Now let's turn to the Derek Chauvin trial. Day four of testimony begins less than an hour from now. We're going to bring it to live. Today's courtroom action after the jury and the public saw never before publicly seen body camera video of police interaction with George Floyd.

CNN's Josh Campbell, he is in Minneapolis covering this for us.

So, Josh, what were the key revelations yesterday and tell us how today will play out.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, yesterday was very emotional in court as we heard from some of the witnesses who were in and around the scene whenever George Floyd was killed, including three people who were there. We also heard from a police lieutenant, an officer who was in charge of video footage for the department. And he walked jurors through some of the new body camera footage that was released. We'll show some of that to you here.

You see different angles, different vantage points from some of these officers as they arrived there at that store, and as they made contact with George Floyd. You see very quickly that the scene escalates. One of the officers draws a weapon and points at Floyd as he's seated in the driver's side of a vehicle. Of course things escalate from there. That ultimately leading to his death after Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes.

Now one thing that we saw from some of these witnesses is just the remorse, just the agony that they still go through to this day wishing things could have turned out differently, to include one witness, a 19-year-old cashier who was inside the store. Now of course he was key here because he had allegedly received a counterfeit $20 bill from George Floyd on that day. That leading another store employee to call police. That's how this all began. That cashier saying that he wishes things would have turned out very differently.

[09:05:06]

He talked a little bit about the guilt that he's facing now. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going through your mind during that time period?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, CUP FOODS EMPLOYEE: Disbelief and guilt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why guilt?

MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CAMPBELL: And of course, it's not just the witnesses who were feeling that agony now. Members of the George Floyd family are also watching this very closely. Of course, they are seeing some of this footage play over and over again, which is really taking its toll. One of their lawyers spoke this morning with our colleague Alisyn Camerota on "NEW DAY" and talked about what the family is going through. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, GEORGE FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: George suffered. He was tortured. There's no question about that. The Floyd family is going through a torture every single day. This is very hard for them now to see new footage, new angles, and they are hearing the visceral groans and grunts, the grueling aspect of George fighting for his life.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CAMPBELL: Now of course, one thing we're waiting to see, Jim, is whether Derek Chauvin himself will be testifying, whether he himself will offer any type of remorse or regret. We will wait and see. The trial resumes here shortly. There will be additional witnesses. Of course we'll be in court, we'll continue to bring you the latest -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Josh Campbell, thanks very much.

With me now, Laura Coates, CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, and Charles Ramsey, former Philadelphia police commissioner, former Washington, D.C., police chief.

Thanks to both of you. Laura, this is of course a jury trial. Jurors are human beings. That testimony yesterday deeply emotional from eyewitnesses who watched this unfold close up. I pictured 61-year-old Charles McMillian there breaking down into tears. Knowing how courtrooms work, what impact does that kind of testimony have?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Extraordinary impact. I mean, the idea of having over the course of several days some of these jurors have gone from never even having seen the eight-minute and 46- second video that we thought was out there as opposed to nine-minute and 20-plus second. Then you have testimony from a former firefighter. You have people crying on the stand as a mixed martial arts fighter. You have a 911 dispatcher saying that she thought something was wrong.

You've got multiple underage children. The youngest being 9 years old. And then somebody more than half a century older than her breaking down on the stand. Can you imagine what the trauma was like for those victims as well? And the question lingering in these jurors' mind is for all of these different witnesses to feel such profound guilt about what they were unable to do, not save a life, only a few feet away from the very person who stands trial right now, having been accused because he had the agency.

It was within his power. He is an officer. And he chose not to do anything. This is top of mind for the jurors. And you can believe all eyes are on him wondering, why did you do it?

SCIUTTO: Charles Ramsey, for the first time we hear just in the body cam footage from Derek Chauvin. You might call this his explanation, right, or an attempted explanation for doing this. Have a listen and then, as a police officer, I want to get your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAUVIN: We got to control this guy because he's a sizable guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I --

CHAUVIN: Looks like he's probably on something.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: A sizable guy. Chauvin says there. Looks like he's probably on something. You watched this unfold here, the level of force used. The length of time that level of force was used. Is there anything in police training that shows that that is a justified response?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, he's trying to justify something that is simply not justifiable. Unfortunately, his body-worn camera apparently fell off when they were pulling Floyd out of the car, but the other officers apparently their cameras were still intact. And so the images you see of Floyd on the ground struggling briefly and then pleading with officers is not coming from the Chauvin video. It's coming from others.

But it still gives you the sense of what took place, and we think it's emotional now. It's going to get even more emotional as they play the entire period of time from a body-worn camera. Again, you're up close and personal with Axon camera, you know, and you hear him pleading and then you'll hear his life slowly slip away. I mean, that's going to be a very emotional time.

SCIUTTO: Laura Coates, you heard the cashier in the Cup Foods, a former cashier now, testify that he appeared -- that George Floyd appeared to be high in his view. He had some interaction with him, asked him some questions, et cetera. Appeared to be high. Legally, does that matter?

COATES: Well, they are trying to make it matter if you're the defense. It does not matter anymore than setting the scene because, remember, the idea is whether there was a counterfeit $20 bill.

[09:10:04]

Whether he was under the influence of any of substance. It does not go to the meat of the matter. It's more like the Golden Girls, picture it, Sicily, 1922. All right, picture it, Minneapolis, 2020 on this scene. What's happening? Why did the police ultimately -- why were they called? But in terms of why Derek Chauvin, again why Derek Chauvin, not George Floyd, is on trial is because of his unreasonable, excessive use of lethal force on somebody who was no longer posing any threat whatsoever.

Why did he continue to do so? And was that a substantial causal factor in his death? Not the sole cause but a substantial causal factor? But what's so important about this video and having the in-store video was showing what his body language was like. What was George Floyd doing? Was he somebody that was threatening to other people? You saw a toddler walk by him. A pregnant woman walked by him. Multiple store employees who were able to have conversations on the side, not about him.

He's stretching. He's not falling over. You've got a teenager who was sent by a manager twice out to the car to check on him. There's no posing of a risk of threat here. And so the question is when these officers draw their guns and then put them away because they no longer feel that they are in imminent bodily harm or a lethal threat is being used against them, why was it then used by the officer?

And as Charles Ramsey is speaking about, this idea of sort of a David and Goliath story is absurd. You have a power dynamic, sure. If there's different body weight and height. But once a man is rendered unconscious, handcuffed, prone, not breathing, no pulse, and you've got presumably a stream of urine coming from under his body, please tell me why this is a David and Goliath story for a police officer and somebody who is lifeless.

SCIUTTO: Charles Ramsey, you have on trial here in effect what Officer Chauvin did, right? The application of force but also the question of what he and the others did not do, which was apply or attempt to apply life-saving treatment or even just turn him on his side or something like that. Listen, because one of the other officers, Officer Lane, actually raises this concern. Another moment caught on body cam footage. Let's have a listen. I want to get your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS LANE, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: Roll him on his side?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

LANE: OK. I just worry about the excited delirium or whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we have an ambulance coming.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: From a police training perspective, you hear Chauvin there saying, no, no, we called the ambulance. No need to roll him on his side. Is that the right thing to do there? Right? I mean, are you trained to do more, right, to prevent this outcome, to try to save his life?

RAMSEY: Yes, I've mentioned before, once they had him down in a prone position, face down, hands behind him, you got Chauvin on his neck, you got other officers on his body. You have something called positional asphyxia. You have to be very concerned about that. That is part of police training. As soon as a person is under control, you roll them on their side or you sit them up so they can breathe.

When they're in that position, the chest can't expand and contract. It cannot breathe. And that's why it's so important and Lane was right when he said that. And I think that's going to hurt the defense of Chauvin again. It's not as if he was unaware that the proper thing to do at that point in time was to roll him on his side or even sit him up, if that was possible. So, you know, this is getting worse and worse for that particular officer, Chauvin, because he ignored even his own fellow officer trying to tell him that, you know, we could be having a problem here. We need to get this guy on his side.

SCIUTTO: That's a good point. Not just folks in the crowd or even, for instance, we have an off-duty EMT person there but one of his fellow officers on the scene.

RAMSEY: Right.

SCIUTTO: Charles Ramsey, Laura Coates, great to have you.

Coming up this hour, it is a fight for normalcy, but the fight against this pandemic, it's just not over. It's in the data. Today fans are welcome across the country to stadiums from Major League Baseball's opening day. Is it really safe?

Plus, President Biden holds his first Cabinet meeting as he pushes a massive new infrastructure plan, but this Cabinet meeting will not look like any other in the past.

And after days of pressure, major corporations are now speaking out against Georgia's new restrictive election law. The state's governor firing back. The latest on this standoff.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:15:00]

SCIUTTO: Opening day is here, the suffering Mets fans certainly happy. The Major League Baseball season begins today, cardboard cutouts of fans, piped in fan noise. Those are officially thankfully out.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins me now from Yankee Stadium in New York City. Sorry you couldn't get to Citi Field but we'll forgive you, Polo. It will be open at a limited capacity. What is that capacity? And what should fans expect at the ballpark? I mean are we looking at like temperature tests, masks and so on?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, they maybe tossing those cardboard cutouts but it will certainly be anything but a normal return to baseball at least here at Yankee Stadium that's because when Yankee fans head (ph) here and also, as you mentioned a little while ago, the Citi Field in nearby Queens they will see all sorts of reminders that we are still in the middle of pandemic.

Those fans will have to show proof of a recent negative COVID test or recent vaccination. They will also be seated in pods distanced from fellow fans. And also most notably, to answer your question, about 20 percent capacity or 20 percent capacity that the State of New York will be allowing here at Yankee Stadium and at Citi Field. Ultimately it depends on what state you're in. The capacity that the stadium will be - will be using here.

But here at Yankee Stadium only about 11,000 fan which is really just a fraction -

[09:20:00]

SANDOVAL: -- of a normal opening day here. Sharp contrast of what we're seeing in Texas where the Texas Rangers welcoming their fans at 100 percent of their stadium capacity. Drawing some criticism from the Commander in Chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a mistake. They should listen to Dr. Fauci and the scientists and the experts. And - but I think it's not responsible. You see what's happening in Europe now when they lifted the mandates. They're going back - I don't know we just don't follow the science and beat this. Just flat out beat it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: As for the rest of the baseball season, President Biden calling on fans to simply be responsible as they head out and enjoy the game be it today or the rest of the season here. And a quick reminder, Jim, Yankee Stadium and also Citi Field they've been extremely busy for the last month and a half or so because they've been doubling as mass vaccination sites. About 11 stadiums across the country are going to continue to offer those services to residents albeit working around game schedule.

Jim.

SCIUTTO: Got you. Well it's good that it's starting let's just hope it's done safely. Polo Sandoval, thanks very much.

Pfizer is now preparing to seek full FDA approval for its two shot coronavirus vaccine. This is the pharmaceutical giant has announced that the vaccine provides at least and we should note that at least six months of immunity after the second dose. And offers protection as well against the emerging new variants of COVID-19, that's also important.

Joining me now to discuss, Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Medical Analyst, emergency physician, also Former Baltimore City Health Commissioner. Dr. Wen, great to have you on because when I saw that figure, six months and I just got my first shot yesterday, I said wait just six months. But to be clear here should we look at that as a minimum of six months? How do to understand this?

LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: That's exactly right. Yes, that's exactly right and I'm very glad that you've gotten your first dose of - of - of the vaccine. But that's right. So we don't know exactly how long the protective effect of these vaccines will last. If it's like other vaccines we expect that it will last at least a year and probably longer, probably a couple of years.

But we just don't have evidence to that effect yet because the clinical trials didn't start that long ago. And so what Pfizer is saying that they now have evidence that the protective effect will last at least six months. Probably it's going to be quite a bit longer. But this is excellent news. And something also they said this morning is that it looks like the vaccine that they have appears to be effective against the South African variant, the B.1.351 variant. Which I think is also really excellent news.

SCIUTTO: That is. And to be clear against the South African but also the U.K. variant? WEN: Yes. There has been no evidence for any of the vaccines that we have that they are not efficacious against the variant from the U.K., the B.1.1.7 variant. So -

SCIUTTO: Understand.

WEN: -- all good news so far on the vaccines.

SCIUTTO: OK I mean the other good news on the vaccine, right, is the accelerating roll out here. I mean you look at that number there, 150 million vaccines administered so far, about 16.4 (ph) percent have been fully vaccinated but an obstacle now because the Johnson & Johnson one shot vaccine, a production area in Baltimore, 15 million potential vaccine doses spoiled.

Given that the Johnson & Johnson roll out was already somewhat behind schedule to some degree or behind the best hopes. How much an interruption will this be to the acceleration of vaccination supply?

WEN: Well there's no question that it is going to hurt our progress because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as you said, is the one dose. And so 15 million potential doses that now can't be used that's 15 million people who otherwise could have been fully vaccinated now. Well at least they will - will least be a delay in their vaccination. And so it's a problem.

But I would say that I think that just really underscores that vaccine production and development is complicated and we have the regulatory steps that are involved to catch such type of error. And I think it's really important for people to know that this production error does not affect any of the Johnson& Johnson vaccines that are already distributed. Those are absolutely fine, they're actually made in a different facility.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Yes, they were made in fact in a facility in Europe here and I suppose that's why you have quality control. Other data that stood out to me and this is remarkably good. I couldn't believe this (ph) figures but that nursing homes have seen a 96 percent decline in coronavirus infections since the vaccines started rolling out late last year.

I mean that's a remarkable job. Of course we started with folks in nursing homes, but folks who are most vulnerable. Are you surprised by how effectively this has controlled this in nursing homes?

WEN: I'm not surprised. I am really gratified because the residents in nursing homes and staff in nursing homes constituted 40 percent of all the -

SCIUTTO: Yes.

WEN: -- initial coronavirus deaths.

[09:25:00]

And we started our focus on vaccinations on those who are the most vulnerable, those in nursing homes. And so I think this is fantastic news and again just provides real world evidence that these vaccines are safe, they're effective and very importantly they are life saving.

SCIUTTO: Yes, exactly. And listen that's why - that's why we do this stuff. Dr. Leana Wen, thanks very much. Well soon President Biden's next step in pitching his sweeping infrastructure plan. Holding his first Cabinet meeting at the White House with everyone present. His push to pass the plan through Congress is though already facing hurdles, not just from Republicans but from some Democrats.

We're going to have more on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: Well first the unveil and now.