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One Officer Killed, One Injured In Attack At U.S. Capitol; Emotional And Graphic Testimony In Derek Chauvin Murder Trial; Rep. Matt Gaetz Refutes Sex Allegations "Completely"; TSA Screenings Hit Pandemic High As CDC Discourages Travel; Pfizer & Moderna Vaccines Likely Protect Six-Plus Months; New York & Florida Diverge On Use Of Vaccine Passports; U.S. Adds 916,000 Jobs In March, Highest Level Since August; Florida Sheriff's Office Go "Beyond The Call Of Duty" Deputizing A Five-Year-Old Boy With Cancer. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 3, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Investigators are now working to find out more about the suspect who rammed into a police barricade outside the Capitol building hitting those two officers. Police say the suspect got out of the car, brandished a knife, and he was shot and killed by police on the scene. One officer survived the attack.
But the other, William Evans, an 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police and father of two died from his injuries. He is being remembered as a hero and a devoted family man. Right now flags at the Capitol and the White House have been ordered to half-staff in officer Evans' honor.
Let's go now to Capitol Hill. CNN's Boris Sanchez is there. So Boris, still a lot of unanswered questions about this case 24 hours later. What do we know about officer Evans and the other officer hurt in the attack? Yeah, Fred,
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. We're learning more about officer William Evans also known as Billy who was killed just about 24 hours ago now in that brazen attack on the Capitol. Officer Evans was an 18-year member of the force and he was well known to lawmakers and staff and members of the press. He was beloved here on Capitol Hill. And those who knew him best shared some of their grief with CNN. Here's some of what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON LAFOREST, FRIEND OF OFFICER WILLIAM EVANS: It is, you know, incredibly sad and just surreal, you know, to know that Billy died, you know, serving our country, doing something that he loved so much. Above all, he just -- he loved life. He loved being a dad and he loved -- he loved being a part of the U.S. Capitol Police.
MATT DERY, FRIEND OF OFFICER WILLIAM EVANS: It was real surreal to just think that -- I mean, I've literally just talked to him and we shared a laugh a couple of days ago and now he was gone. Has just been shocked ever since. I mean, it's been, you know, fighting back tears all afternoon and then trying to -- trying to make sense of it all and knowing that there's none to be had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: And Fred, it's obvious at this point, it's been a very difficult year for U.S. Capitol Police. Obviously, Officer Evans now becomes a second Capitol Police officer killed in the line of duty. Remember, Officer Brian Sicknick was killed during the January 6th insurrection. Important to remember a lot of other officers were injured and hurt during that insurrection, some of them actually dying by suicide as a result of that day's events.
Capitol Police now responding to an outpouring of support. Here's actually what they tweeted this morning. They write "The U.S. Capitol Police Department is deeply grateful for the support we've received from around the world. We wish we could respond to each one of you. Please know your sympathy is appreciated beyond words." Of course, we are still working to figure out details about that other officer who was injured, no updates yet on their identity or their condition.
Overall, though, it's just another tragic sad day for the symbol of American democracy. Yet another attack on the Capitol in 2021, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much. Bring us more as you learn it. Our investigators are now turning their attention to the suspect killed at the scene. Federal and police sources identify him as 25-year-old Noah Green, but it's what he posted on social media in the hours before the attack that investigators are looking closely at. CNN Shimon Prokupecz joining us right now. So Shimon, what more are we learning?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Fred, mental illness is one of the things that investigators are zeroing in on, focusing on whether or not that played a role in this attack and what was going through this individual's mind throughout the attack, obviously, but also in the days and the months leading up to the attack.
And so far, what they've been finding are a lot of these social media postings that we've been talking about, where he talks about concern over being afflicted by the suffering by the CIA and the FBI, other government agencies.
He also talked about how the U.S. government, their enemy of the black people, and also talked about in one posting where he wrote how he suffered multiple home breakings, food poisoning, and assaults and then he talked about something to do with mind control. So this has all investigators thinking and leaning towards the fact that this this individual was suffering from some kind of mental illness. They've been talking to family members and friends.
He also recently lost his job. So they're looking at that as perhaps as a factor as to what was going on in his life that would have led him to this brutal attack. One of the things is, you know, as we've been talking about this attack was, yes, he used this vehicle, but it's what he did after that is really troubling for law enforcement. And what they're really focusing on is the fact that he then had this knife and attacked police with this knife.
And as we said, he was not anyone's radar. It wasn't like the FBI had him on their radar or local law enforcement here in Washington, D.C. had him on any kind of radar.
PROKUPECZ: So, there was nothing that would have raised the suspicion of law enforcement concerning him. So now they're going back. And they're looking at all of this information to try and figure out exactly what led up to this. And really, ultimately, Fred the question, why?
WHITFIELD: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much for that. All right. Let's talk more about all of this. Linda Singh is a retired Major General of the Maryland National Guard and retired adjunct General of Maryland, where she oversaw the state's National Guard and emergency response. General Singh, so good to see you.
LINDA SINGH, RETIRED MAJOR GENERAL, MARYLAND ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: So, another Capitol Police Officer killed in the line of duty just months after the January 6th insurrection. What was your first reaction when you heard this news?
SINGH: My first reaction is that it was heartbreaking. The fact that I had just been talking with the chief of police earlier in the day regarding, you know, just leadership and training and some of the things that she's doing in terms of recruiting and trying to retain her force. And, you know, just -- it's really heartbreaking anytime that we lose one of our officers and even service members.
And I think the challenge is that when you're going through all of these different things back-to-back, it's just hard to pick your team back up. And that's what we've got to be focused on is not only getting to the bottom of what happened because if it is mental illness, we have to start figuring out how do we point people to the right resources and solutions for that but more importantly, focusing in on now what the Capitol Police and the Capitol leadership is going to need.
WHITFIELD: Really important points of just, you know, hard to pick up the team that was already the case after January 6th. And now this what an incredible setback. Retired General Russel Honore did a review of Capitol security for Congress. And here's part of his reaction to yesterday's attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSEL HONORE, RETIRED LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U.S. ARMY: Unfortunately, we lost officer Evans today. But by and large, that system word to capital, police responded, they stopped, the system work.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: You were on the task force, you know, the consultant with a General Honore during his review. Did the system work yesterday as far as you're concern?
SINGH: The system did work. When you look at the barriers that are in place, they're there for a reason. And unfortunately, you know, the police, just like the military, when you raise your hand and you take that oath, sometimes it comes at the cost of our lives.
And, you know, one life is still too many. But when I look at the security measures, those are the types of things that we have to continue to work on, we have to continue to reinforce, to ensure not just our capital is going to be secure, our members are going to be secure.
And even more importantly, our officers standing at those entrances will even be a little bit more secure.
WHITFIELD: The U.S. Capitol has always been under threat, right? Otherwise, you wouldn't have the kind of permanent barriers that you're talking about. But is it your concern now, particularly after two attacks in one year, in a matter of months, that this is only heightened the profile of the U.S. Capitol being a target? And if that is indeed the case what kind of measures do you see that need to be put in place to further protect it or to offer as some sort of deterrence?
SINGH: All right. I mean, I think the challenge is that it -- you know, these particular items, especially one, six, has emboldened individuals that may not have done something like this otherwise. And so, we're going to have to continue to be vigilant.
And I think the things that we recommended in the report still need to be worked on and be put into place. If we don't move forward with that, if Congress doesn't really look at that and move forward, so that we can do it in a way that's going to allow us to still respect the people's house, but to make it secure.
I think that will be missing. We'll miss the boat, and we could have something more serious happen.
WHITFIELD: National Guard troops have remained in place, many of whom have remained in place after January 6th. Do you feel like now this might be part of a permanent security installation around the Capitol?
SINGH: I think the challenge is that, you know, having the National Guard be a permanent force when you really want your Capitol Police to be the permanent force, right? And so we have to support them to get to the right level, so that they can continue to take over this mission. And that then the National Guard becomes the backup force, as they typically would. But for right now, we're going to have to continue to lean on all of the resources.
So, whether it's the National Guard or whether it's other federal forces, we're going to have to lean on those other in -- organizations until we can get the right things in place, until we feel like you know we can -- we can just kind of move through this as we would.
SINGH: And I don't want to say on a normal basis, but that we're following all of the things that we have the right level of resources on the ground.
WHITFIELD: Retired Major General Linda Singh, thank you so much, be well.
SINGH: You're welcome. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up. Emotional testimony and dramatic video during the Derek Chauvin trial. As witnesses recount the final moments of George Floyd's life. Family attorney Benjamin Crump will be joining me live to talk about the trial and his reaction to yesterday's damaging testimony.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Pain, regret, heartbreak and trauma dominating the first week of testimony in the murder trial a former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The case now gripping the nation after dramatic video of George Floyd's death first shock the world months ago.
WHITFIELD: CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look at how video evidence is being presented in court. Some of the video that you are about to see is very hard to watch.
THOMAS LANE, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: Put your hand up there.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the beginning of the end of George Floyd's life. A police body camera capturing the moment officers confront him and remove him from his vehicle.
GEORGE FLOYD, POLICE MURDER VICTIM: Please don't shoot me, Mr. Officer, please.
FOREMAN (voice-over): But is it is the compendium of so many cameras in so many different angles emerging in court that is filling in the complex picture of his death.
FLOYD: Don't do me like that, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
FLOYD: I'm claustrophobic. I'm claustrophobic, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're arguing with me.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Just minutes before his encounter with police turned violent, a security camera inside a nearby food store had caught Floyd in a very different light.
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, CASHIER: He seemed very friendly, approachable. He was talkative.
FOREMAN (voice-over): He also seemed high to clerk Christopher Martin, who says Floyd bought cigarettes with a possibly counterfeit bill, went outside, would not come back to settle up and police were called.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the car.
FLOYD: I'm not a bad guy.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Sixty-one-year-old Charles McMillian was passing by and the cameras caught him yelling to Floyd, you can't win.
CHARLES MCMILLIAN, WITNESS: You can't win, my man. You can't win, man.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Floyd was put on the ground, pinned down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop moving.
FLOYD: Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!
FOREMAN (voice-over): That store clerk came out, joining about a dozen people watching, calling for police to ease up. He put his hands on his head.
MARTIN: I saw people yelling and screaming. I saw Derek with his knee on George's neck.
FOREMAN (voice-over): McMillian saw it, too.
MCMILLIAN: Oh my God.
FOREMAN: For more than nine minutes, as officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck, cameras rolled from numerous angles, all showing the same thing. Chauvin not letting up, Floyd saying again and again.
FLOYD: I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.
FOREMAN (voice-over): A 17-year-old, who did not want to be on camera, recorded the scene on her phone too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering. This was a cry for help.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Amid those cries, another cop asked Chauvin.
LANE: Should we roll him on his side?
DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: No, he's staying put where we got him.
LANE: I just worry about the excited delirium or whatever.
CHAUVIN: That is why we have the ambulance coming.
FOREMAN (voice-over): But the time that help arrived, all those cameras showed George Floyd was not moving any more. And one caught Chauvin's comments right afterwards.
CHAUVIN: We got to control this guy because he's a sizeable guy. It looks like -- looks like he's probably on something.
FOREMAN (on camera): The defense is arguing that, as hard as it may be to look at any one of these videos, this is just a police officer doing his job. But the prosecution clearly believes if the jury looks at all this videos together with the testimony, they will come to the conclusion that George Floyd's death was inexcusable, criminal and there's no other way to look at it. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: And still the come. The political and sports worlds colliding over voting rights. Georgia governor Brian Kemp challenging a decision to move the MLB All-Star game out of Atlanta and even former presidents are sounding off.
WHITFIELD: The decision by Major League Baseball to pull the all-star game out of Georgia as a reaction to the new voter voting law in Georgia is drawing strong pushback from Georgia's governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Election integrity at expands access to the polls and ensures the integrity of the ballot box. Then why did MLB moved the all-star game yesterday? Because Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams have spent days lying to Georgians and the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Joining me now to discuss this CNN political commentator David Swerdlick who is also an assistant editor for The Washington Post. David, so good to see you. So, Georgia governor Brian Kemp, you know, showing no signs of backing down or making any changes to this new law. What do you, you know, what do you see here in this strategy of his to dig in, turn up the rhetoric as the MLB pulls out of the state?
And the Governor is calling the description of voter suppression. He's calling that the big lie.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good afternoon, Fred. I think there's an answer to Governor Kemp's question, which is that Major League Baseball in its statement said that they were going on the side of making voting easier, not harder and indicated that they didn't think that this should be a partisan issue which of course it shouldn't. Republican efforts in Georgia, Republican efforts around the country, despite what Governor Kemp has said and will continue to say are aimed at making it harder to vote.
And it's coming out of an election that was free and fair that had no evidence of widespread or systemic voter fraud but in which in Georgia, Republicans lost big time.
SWERDLICK: President Trump lost and Republicans there lost both Senate seats. It's hard not to read this as a reaction to that. Governor Kemp in that clip sounded upset but I suspect this plays well for him. It gets him back on the good foot with Republicans after he declined to do the bidding of President Trump to take further steps to try and overturn the electoral college count in Georgia.
WHITFIELD: So, the MLB move, you know, is also sending reverberations across the sports world and political spectrum. Today, former President Barack Obama tweeting this. Congratulations to MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens. There's no better way for America's pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always lead by example. But of course, that's the stark contrast to former President Donald Trump who was slamming the move.
He sends out this statement saying boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with free and fair elections. So David, Trump, you know, loves to blast what the right calls cancel culture but yet here he is calling for a boycott of the MLB and companies, is there some hypocrisy and what Trump is calling for.
SWERDLICK: Well, I don't even know if hypocrisy is the issue in terms of the way the different presidents responded. Their responses are pretty predictable. President Obama is saying, hey, good for you Major League Baseball, you're standing up for making voting easier, and President Trump is continuing, it's an opportunity for him to continue his sour grapes over having lost the election.
I will just say that anytime now a statement like that, from a politician up to and including former President Trump says that this is something that's woke or canceled culture is just really missing the point again. In America, everybody who has the right to vote should have the opportunity to vote.
And it shouldn't be a partisan issue, that access to the ballot box should be easier rather than harder within reason as long as there's no evidence of widespread or systemic voter fraud, which again in 2020 there simply wasn't. And that's why courts rejected President Trump's challenges including those challenges with regard to Georgia.
WHITFIELD: So Georgia is not the only state and with new legislation in the works. I mean, it was passed in Georgia, but there are, you know, more than 40 other states that are considering more than 250 similar pieces of legislation. But guess what, in Texas, American Airlines and Delta are already positioning themselves to challenge any kind of legislation that critics call restrictive. So, will big business up end these sweeping new legislative moves?
SWERDLICK: Well, I think it remains to be seen what comes out by the time we get to the 2022 election, but increasingly in this situation, you're seeing big corporations stepping up to sort of defend the right to vote and easy access to the ballot box where state governments led by Republicans are using efforts to make it harder to vote. It's similar in my mind, strangely too how a lot of corporations stepped up as we were fighting the pandemic when the Trump administration wasn't all hands to the pump on getting people to wear masks and social distance, et cetera.
I can't predict where this is going to leave the two parties in 2022. But clearly corporations are responding to what they see as their customer's wishes, and what they see as good corporate citizenship rather than waiting around to see what Republican-led state governments do.
WHITFIELD: All right. Let me ask you to shift gears a bit now with this growing controversy surrounding Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. He is under investigation for a possible sexual relationship with an underage girl and for allegedly paying women for sex. He denies wrongdoing and says he has no plans to resign. Can he continue to hold on to his job if his fellow Republicans start to demonstrate they're not supporting him?
SWERDLICK: Well, I think Fred, you're already seeing that there's not a ton of noise among Republicans nationally. There's a few people defending him. But he's not getting that robust defense from members of his party that someone in his position would want. I think you've got four categories of --
WHITFIELD: -- in part because he was reportedly, you know, sharing inappropriate images right there on the House floor?
SWERDLICK: Yes. Several of our colleagues have already reported out that there were Republicans even though they haven't gone public by name who have said, look, we didn't appreciate the fact that according to them and according to what has been reported, he was, you know, sort of engaging in this inappropriate behavior right when he should have been conducting House business.
The most serious charge that he's being investigated for -- of course, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But if the Justice Department finds out that there was a relationship with an underage girl, that is huge, huge trouble for Congressman Gaetz beyond his seat.
For some of the other charges, paying for sex or whether he was inappropriate with his House colleagues, I think those are also serious charges.
But those will have more of the political ramifications in terms of whether his caucus abandons him, in terms of whether he gets a serious challenge for his seat in 2022, and whether or not he's pressured to resign.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Yes, 38-year-old three-term Congressman.
David Swerdlick, thank you so much. Good to see you.
SWERDLICK: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Stay well.
Two Republican Congresswomen are revoking their endorsements of Texas Congressional Candidate Sery Kim after comments she made about Chinese immigrants being unwelcome.
Representatives Michelle Steel and Young Kim said in a statement, "We talked with Sery Kim yesterday about her hurtful and untrue comments about Chinese immigrants and made clear that her comments were unacceptable."
During a candidate forum on Wednesday, Sery Kim answered a question about the U.S. immigration crisis by saying, "I don't want them here at all," referring to potential Chinese immigrants.
Straight ahead, air travelers shattering records during the busy holiday weekend, despite a surge in coronavirus infections. But should Americans really be flying right now? We'll talk about the new CDC recommendations next.
WHITFIELD: The CDC is urging Americans not to travel, but TSA screenings show people aren't taking their advice. Nearly 1.6 million people got on a plane yesterday, a pandemic-era high.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky explained their guidance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Fully vaccinated people can resume travel at low risk to themselves.
And while we believe that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the rising number of cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Emergency physician, Dr. Anand Swaminathan, is with us from Westfield, New Jersey.
So good to see you, Doctor.
So the CDC is saying, even though you've been vaccinated, while it's possibly safe for you, you could still put others at risk. Explain to our viewers why that is.
DR. ANAND SWAMINATHAN, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Fred, I think we have to understand that the vaccine clearly does protect the person who got it.
And we have data now saying it does protect others around us. A 90 percent reduction in all cases. But 90 percent reduction isn't 100 percent.
So it's still possible for me, being fully vaccinated, to contract it and transmit it to somebody.
The travel itself probably isn't the big issue. It's what you do after you travel. The fact you're going to be eating out at restaurants. You're going to be in crowded areas.
So, I think, yes, the ideal is that we don't travel. But if you're fully vaccinated, I think this CDC recommendation is reasonable and science based, saying it's probably OK but if you don't have to, only do it if you have to.
I think that's the message we should be getting across.
WHITFIELD: Dr. Fauci was on FOX News this morning talking about the long-term outlook on wearing masks. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: If we get a major surge and we have a continuation of an increase in cases, it is conceivable that we may be having to wear masks in 2022.
But if we continue to get people vaccinated and we get the overwhelming majority of people together with those who have been infected and the level of infection goes way down, we very likely will not have to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So in your view, how close do you think we are to that kind of turning point?
SWAMINATHAN: I wish we had a good answer for that.
I think what we should be doing right now is embracing the public health measures that we know will limit spread, so masking, distancing, not gathering indoors. With the idea, if we can just stall a little bit longer until the vaccines really get ramped up enough that everybody can get one, that's really going to change the dynamic about what we can go back to doing.
And what Dr. Fauci is really alluding to in many ways is the fact, the more spread we get, the more variants we get, the more likely one pops up where our vaccines don't work as well. And then we're going to be talking about this pandemic rolling into next year, the year after.
We really do have to keep to those public health restrictions now so that we can wait for those vaccines and really squash this as much as we can before it gets even more out of hand.
Fred, we're already in that fourth surge. It's what we do now that will make a huge difference this summer and then going into the fall and next year.
WHITFIELD: And there remains questions about the vaccines, how long are they effective. Experts say, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines likely offer protection beyond a six-month period.
Is that significant enough of a time frame for us all?
SWAMINATHAN: The big problem here is we only have six-months-worth of data. We just don't have a ton of data saying how long this will last. And that will keep coming out.
So I tell people all the time when they ask me, how long will this protect me, I say, right now, we have six months of data so I can assuredly tell you six months.
But we will learn over the next few years how long this will last. We have an inkling this will last longer. Booster shots may well be in our future. That's something we may see.
But for right now, we can't give any data beyond six months simply because we don't have the data yet.
WHITFIELD: So New York is launching an app to let people show they've been vaccinated, while Florida's governor is banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.
Which of those approaches do you most favor?
SWAMINATHAN: This is the idea of the vaccine passport, which it's a lot of common sense here. Let's show that you have been vaccinated in order to access certain things. So whether that be indoor dining or event stadiums, concerts, whatever that is, it makes a lot of sense.
But I think if we're going to look at passports, we also have to look at equity with those passports. How do we make sure everybody can get access to a passport? Fred, not everybody has a Smartphone. I have a lot of patients with
flip phones, those burner phones, where they get certain amount of minutes and it's done.
SWAMINATHAN: Those patients, those people can't have these apps. So we need to find a solution that works for everybody.
It's not fair that people who have means will have this app, have that passport, when there are a lot of other folks who also have been immunized that just don't have access to that.
So we're going to need really a multitiered solution that both has an app, has a Smartphone application. But then there's also got to be some kind of paperwork, some other ways of doing this.
Some ideas that have been floated out there, like the bracelets like when you go to Disney, where you scan through everything. What if you get those to people?
SWAMINATHAN: You get your vaccine, you get the wristband with a microchip, so that it's clear you've been vaccinated. There's going to be different outtakes.
But we need to really think about how to do this equitably so that everybody who has a vaccine can have some record of having had a vaccine.
WHITFIELD: Right, equity, starts there. It's still the bottom line on all of it.
Thank you so much. Good to see you, Dr. Anand Swaminathan.
SWAMINATHAN: Thanks, Fred. Take care.
WHITFIELD: Thank you. You, as well.
And if you missed Dr. Sanjay Gupta's special with the pandemic doctors, you can watch it tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.
All right, some welcome news in regard to the U.S. economy's recovery from the pandemic. The March jobs report is beating expectations.
Employment growth booming last month at the fastest pace since last summer with employers adding 916,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropping to 6 percent.
President Biden reacted to the news at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We saw the economy gaining traction in March as the American Rescue Plan moved and got passed bringing new hope to our country.
Next week, over 130 million households will have gotten their $1,400 per person rescue check. Funds are on their way to local communities to put educators, health care workers, home health care aides, police, firefighters, sanitary workers back on the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Alison Kosik looks at what's behind those promising numbers.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredericka. The pandemic recovery is picking up speed. Job growth in March smashed expectations with employers adding 916,000 jobs. It's the biggest monthly gain since August.
Plus, January and February's numbers were revised higher. The unemployment rate also fell from 6 percent from 6.2 percent, the lowest since the start of the pandemic.
What's at play here? More businesses reopened, people got vaccinated, weather improved, and schools are having kids back, allowing some parents to get back to work.
As for the job gains, some were in sectors hardest hit by the shutdown. There was a big rebound in leisure and hospitality, as more people started eating at restaurants and traveling.
Education jobs jumped 126,000 as schools reopened. And 110,000 jobs added in the construction industry thanks to the red-hot housing market. And then the potential increases in business services and manufacturing.
But these are not new jobs. These are ones added back to the economy after millions of jobs were lost. We've still have got an 8.4 million job hole to fill from the pandemic.
And the recovery continues to have a disproportionate impact on women, especially minority women. Many were employed in the hardest-hit industries or have had to leave their jobs to take care of their children.
The unemployment rate among black women remained high at 8.7 percent, and Hispanic women at 7.3 percent, versus white women at 5 percent.
The biggest risk that could undercut the recovery is still the same, the coronavirus. Cases are rising again across the country as states begin lifting restrictions.
Still, as Americans receive their stimulus checks and get vaccinated, economists are optimistic this report could be the start of an acceleration of growth in the labor market -- Fredericka?
(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Alison.
We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: The officer killed in Friday's attack on the U.S. capitol was William Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force and father of two. He is remembered as hero and devoted family man.
Evans is one of three capitol officers who has died in the last few months.
CNN's Alex Marquardt looks at what the force has been through this year.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT voice- over): For the third time this year, the United States Capitol Police is laying to rest one of its own.
MARQUARDT: A procession on Friday afternoon for Officer William Evans, a member of the First Responders' Unit, who just last month had marked 18 years on the force.
YOGANANDA PITTMAN, ACTING CHIEF, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: And it is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers have succumbed to his injuries.
MARQUARDT: The acting chief of the Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, reminding America what her officers have endured this year starting in the first days of 2021 with the insurrection.
PITTMAN: I just asked that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers. This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of January 6th. And now the events that have occurred here today.
MARQUARDT: After a dramatic ramping up of security following January 6th, things had just begun to ease, with the perimeter moving back, fences coming down, and a hope among members of Congress and law enforcement for some return to normalcy.
That hope was shattered Friday with the second major act of violence on Capitol Hill in under three months.
(SHOUTING) MARQUARDT: U.S. Capitol Police, along with Washington, D.C. Police, were the first line of defense against the insurrectionists on January 6th.
MARQUARDT: They were screamed at, beaten, and sprayed with chemicals by the rioters.
Officer Brian Sicknick was hit with what's believed to have been bear spray. He died from his injuries a day later. Two officers later took their own lives.
The wife of Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood said his suicide was in the line of duty, saying the insurrection and the days that followed took an incredible toll.
Officer Harry Dunn described the pain to CNN's Don Lemon, calling it hell.
OFC. HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: You have good days, and you have bad days but just thinking about it just takes you back to that -- like you said, that hell day. And it's tough to -- it was tough to live through. And it's also tough to relive talking about it.
MARQUARDT: Dunn told CNN that the Trump supporters who were there that day used racial slurs against black officers. He talked about the depression that many officers felt afterwards.
DUNN: Officer Sicknick was killed. We had officers that took their life because of the distress that they endured from that day. That is what happened. I don't know how you can word it any different than what exactly happened.
MARQUARDT: In the examination of what happened on January 6th, it was called the worst of the worst in the two decades of service of Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza.
CARNEYSHA MENDOZA, CAPTAIN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE DEPARTMENT: As an American and as an army veteran, it's sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens. I'm sad to see the unnecessary loss of life. I'm sad to see the impact this has had on Capitol Police officers. And I'm sad to see the impact this has had on our agency and on our country.
MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: Up next, police officers in Florida going "BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY" to make a 5-year-old boy with cancer.
[13:57:30] WHITFIELD: A 5-year-old cancer patient lives out his dream, thanks to sheriff's deputies in Florida.
CNN's Randi Kaye tells us how they went "BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY."
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: That's a real badge and you are now a real deputy, all right? Congratulations.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Manatee County, Florida, there's a new sheriff in town. Actually, a new sheriff's deputy. His name is Jeremiah Valera.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: We got this flag for you, buddy. So now you're an official member of our K-9 Unit, too.
KAYE: Jeremiah is just five years old but he was recently given his own badge and deputized by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office after they learned he has a rare form of childhood cancer.
The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation alerted them and deputies jumped into action, inviting Jeremiah to spend a day with them.
SGT. STEPHEN CHENARD, MANATEE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I have a son myself, 11 years old, a little older than Jeremiah. But to see him and his strength and what he's going through was amazing to see. To put a smile on his face for that day was worth it.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: How's that, bud?
JEREMIAH VALERA, 5-YEAR-OLD CANCER PATIENT: OK.
KAYE: Jeremiah got to meet a canine dog and check out a high-tech SWAT vehicle.
He even radioed for backup.
VALERA: I need backup! I need backup!
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: You got the backup. We've got plenty of backup, buddy.
KAYE (on camera): So to see him that day, did that just -- how much did that warn your heart?
DANIELA ISAZA, JEREMIAH'S MOTHER: Oh, that meant the world for us to finally have some happiness and a little break from what became our normal routine.
KAYE (voice-over): These days their normal routine of treatment and doctors' visits is taking a toll on Jeremiah.
It all started about a year ago when Jeremiah was diagnosed with stage-four neuroblastoma. His mom says doctors think the cancer started in his spine, then spread.
He's had chemotherapy, bone marrow biopsies, and stem cell transplants, and now gets 14 shots a month for immunotherapy.
It's a lot for a 5-year-old to handle, so being deputized really lifted his spirits.
ISAZA: When grandpa comes to visit him, he loves to pull him over.
KAYE: All of it has inspired Jeremiah to get better and one day become a police officer. He already has the uniform and takes a picture with every officer he meets.
KAYE (on camera): What do you like about police officers?
VALERA: They protect kids.
KAYE: They protect kids. They sure do. That's smart.
And you want to be a police officer?
KAYE (voice-over): And now, when Jeremiah returns to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, his new friends couldn't be happier to see him.