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U.S. Hits Record Four Million COVID Vaccine Doses In A Day; Interview With Dr. Anthony Fauci; Suspect In Capitol Car Attack Posted He Had Lost His Job, Believed Government Was Targeting Him With "Mind Control"; Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) Discusses Attacks At Nation's Capitol, The Matt Gaetz Sex Controversy, The Crisis At The Border; New Video Footage Fills In The Gaps Of George Floyd Arrest. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 3, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta.

This just into CNN, the very latest COVID vaccine data from the CDC, a record day and record numbers. Get this: 4 million doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered in the United States over the past day. That's right, the last day.

The White House and CDC officials are celebrating this, saying first day with 4 million or more, the COVID-19 director at the White House tweeting millions coming together to accelerate our progress toward controlling the pandemic. It is good news, and more optimistic numbers.

The CDC reporting that 161 million vaccine doses have now been administered here in the U.S., more than 59 million people in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated. And officials, though, quick to warn that the pandemic is still a very real threat.

Several states are seeing worrying numbers of new infections. Pennsylvania just today reporting more than 5,000 people testing positive for the coronavirus. And in Michigan today, more than 8,000 new cases.

And joining me now, you will recognize this face, we all know him very well, it's Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

Dr. Fauci, thanks so much for joining us.

We're obviously a very long way from the days where scientists had to warn Americans not to inject themselves with bleach. Thank goodness those days are behind us. But a year in the pandemic, there still seems to be a messaging problem.

The week began with the CDC director, as you know, warning of impending doom and then ending with the CDC saying it's fine for fully vaccinated people to travel within this country without tests or quarantines.

Can you help us clear up the confusion? Do you agree there might have been a little confusion over the past week for people who are still wondering what is safe and what's not if I've been vaccinated?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, the point that Dr. Walensky was making earlier in the week when she made that statement was that the thing that we're concerned about, although as I'll get to in a sec, things are going extremely well with regard to the vaccinations. But what we're seeing after that big peak that we had around the Christmas holidays and New Year's, when it started to come down, it plateaued at a disturbingly high level of number of cases per day.

And one of the concerns we have is that when you plateau and then start inching up, as we are doing, as you mentioned just a moment ago in a few of the states, in fact several of the states, there's the danger, Jim, of having a resurgence and another big surge up. Like just yesterday, we had over 60,000 new cases in a day. That's disturbing. That's what happened in Europe and what is happening, in Europe, for the most part, is going through another disturbing surge.

So, the point she was making is we're not out of the woods yet, so don't declare prematurely victory because we're not there yet. That's the sobering news.

The good news is what you mentioned just a moment ago. We're getting three to four -- now today was 4 million doses per day. So it's kind of like a race between getting people vaccinated, and the more people on a daily basis you get vaccinated, the better chance you have of blunting or preventing that surge that we're all concerned about.

So, it's, you know, sobering news mixed with good news. And it's going to be really a race between those two. We would hope that throughout the country, we don't get that premature pulling back on public health mitigation methods, where we're seeing some states backing off on mask mandates, backing off on talking about congregate settings and restaurants and bars. We've just got to be careful.

We're almost there. We're getting there, but we're not there yet.

ACOSTA: And here's another one that gets confusing to some people. The CDC had to walk back comments from the director that vaccinated people do not carry or transmit COVID-19. I think the big question that people have out there is, if they're fully vaccinated, do they still need to wear a mask? What is your take on that, Dr. Fauci?

FAUCI: You know, it's pretty simple to explain, but it's understandable how people can get confused. We know from the vaccine trials, the tens and tens of thousands of people, that the primary end points of those trials was whether or not the vaccine prevented clinically recognizable disease.

It wasn't aimed at determining whether it prevents infection. So you could conceivably get a really good 94 percent, 95 percent protection against any clinically recognizable disease and still have some people get infected without any symptoms.

So, the question is, that being the case, if we're not sure of that right now, it is conceivable, maybe likely, that some people will get infected who are vaccinated, not realize it, because they don't have any symptoms and inadvertently spread the infection to someone else. It was for that reason that masks are still recommended for people who are vaccinated.

Having said that, as the weeks go by and we get more and more data, and it accumulates literally on a daily basis, it becomes clear that vaccinated people have a much, much lower level of this breakthrough asymptomatic infection, namely an infection that you don't notice, because you don't have symptoms, when you compare vaccinated people who get infected like that, versus unvaccinated, major, major difference. And that there are far, far fewer vaccinated people.

And then you look at the vaccinated people who've had breakthrough infections, the level of virus is much lower in their nasopharynx than the level of virus than people who are not vaccinated, who developed infections but without symptoms.

So it's looking like the data are gradually getting to the point where it's going to be an extremely low likelihood that a vaccinated person will be able to transmit to a person who is unvaccinated and not infected. We haven't nailed that down completely. We have started a college study among 20 colleges vaccinating people and determining if they can pass it on to their close contacts.

When we show that, that they don't, and I believe it's going to show -- and I don't want to get ahead of the study, but I wouldn't be surprised if it'd show that vaccinated people do not transmit infections to others, even when they have asymptomatic breakthrough infections.

ACOSTA: And a lot of that --

FAUCI: When those data come in, Jim, then -- yeah, you're going to you see a turnaround in the recommendation. So, the recommendations --

ACOSTA: Right, that's what I --

FAUCI: -- are being careful and conservative right now, right.

ACOSTA: That's what I'm wondering because when you start to see the case numbers go down, I think folks are assuming out there that you are going to put out guidance that we can start relaxing some of these measures, that people can take off their masks, that people can travel again.

And I think there's some frustration out there, Dr. Fauci, because people are going and standing in line, and getting these vaccines, then they get both doses, and then they hear these public health officials on CNN and elsewhere saying, well, you still have to wear a mask, well, you still can't travel. Well, you still --

FAUCI: Well -- ACOSTA: And you're asking everybody to eat their vegetables, and

they're wondering, Dr. Fauci, when they can go about living that their lives again.

FAUCI: No, Jim, you make a really good point. And what you're seeing is that as data are accumulating, the authorities in this case, the CDC, that makes those recommendations are waiting until they get substantial data and evidence to say, okay, now you can do that. Even though as more data trickle in before it's nailed down, that the people on the outside who see that are saying, no, wait a minute, we know it's less chance, so why do we just not have to wear a mask. That is coming soon, Jim.

I mean --

ACOSTA: How soon?

FAUCI: -- the official recommendation --


ACOSTA: I know we drive you nuts by asking how soon, but how soon?

FAUCI: Yeah. You know, I -- Jim, I can't give you a day or a week, but I can tell you, as we get more data showing that is going to be extremely unlikely that people are going to transmit, you're going to be seeing recommendations that people are not going to have to wear a mask. They're not there yet, but they're getting there.

Same way with the travel, saying now you can travel. When you travel, you don't have to get tested before and after, except if your destination demands that. You don't have to get quarantined when you come back from a situation.

So, more and more, you're going to be start seeing the advantages of getting vaccinated, whereas before, you're right, people ask a question, if there's nothing different, you know, why do we need to get vaccinated? Well, there's a good reason. One, you're protecting yourself and you very unlikely will get sick if you get vaccinated, but also, it will give you a freedom of getting back to some degree of normality.

And that's coming, Jim. Trust me, it's coming.

ACOSTA: All right. We're going to hold you to that.

And we're now seeing these troubling surges around the country. You've been talking about some of the numbers being too high. That brings something to mind that your former colleague, Dr. Deborah Birx, told our Dr. Sanjay Gupta in that excellent documentary that you took part in. Let's listen to that.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I look at it this way. The first time, we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.


ACOSTA: This is the moment that stood out to me from that documentary, Dr. Fauci, that I wanted to ask you about. Is that correct in your view that we lost nearly half a million people in this country who we didn't need to lose?

FAUCI: Well, what Dr. Birx was saying, it could have been mitigated. She didn't say we would have avoided all of those deaths. What she was saying is that when we know what was going on --

ACOSTA: Well, a good number of those deaths.

FAUCI: Well, yeah, what she's saying is when we finally knew what we were dealing with, we clearly could have had and should have had a much more strong adherence to the guidelines. And the things that concerned Dr. Birx and me and others in the medical team, were that we were not pushing as hard in getting people to adhere it.

And it was -- it was a divisiveness, Jim. There were people who were not wearing masks because of a political statement. That is really, you know -- you know, inexplicable, because it's not a political thing. It's a public health measure.

And that's one of the points that I believe that Dr. Birx was making, and that we were in a situation, we had an outbreak, people were getting infected, people were getting hospitalized, people were dying, and we were still arguing about whether or not you should wear a mask or whether or not you should avoid congregate settings. That's what she was saying referring to.

She was saying in the first 100,000, it was really unclear what was going on. But as soon as it became clear that if you adhered by the guidelines, you would diminish the number of infections, and yet a number of people, states, cities were not doing that, then we could have avoided some of the issues, and the issues being hospitalizations and deaths. That's what she was referring to.

ACOSTA: And what about -- and what about this criticism, Dr. Fauci, that had she spoken out while she was at the White House, that that would have made a difference? Do you buy that?

FAUCI: Well, you know, in some respects, yes, but in most respects, no. I'm -- if you're in there in the White House, I believe -- in fairness to her, I mean, I know her, she's a good friend for decades. She was in a very difficult position, because she was living there in the White House. She had an office on the ground floor of the West Wing, so she had to live in that situation.

She didn't have the opportunity of being away from it, being able to give advice and not have to sit there and live with it. So, you can criticize her if you want, but I like to cut her some slack. ACOSTA: But let me ask you about that, Doctor, when you say cut her

some slack, you know, I wonder, you know, she -- she is somebody who is in a position where she could have gone out in front of the cameras and said, you know, President Trump should not be saying people should inject themselves with disinfectants, that, you know, this business of about hydroxychloroquine is nuts, it hasn't been proven, you know, she didn't do those things. She didn't make those decisions.

And I know you know this, because you're mindful of this, but there are so many Americans out there who say, you know, my goodness, if Dr. Birx had just gone out there and warned people and said -- you know, it might have cost her her job, and said President Trump doesn't know what he's talking about, that might have made a difference. You don't agree with that?

FAUCI: You know -- no, I don't agree or disagree. I'm just telling you, she was in a very difficult position. Of course, if you analyze it and go back and say what she could have done or should have done, you're right, but you also need to appreciate that she was really in a tough position.

ACOSTA: All right. Let's move forward. A key model used by the White House estimates an additional 61,000 people will die between January 29th -- excuse me, March 29th and July 1st. Trump is gone, there is no Scott Atlas, it's President Biden, he's leaving the scientists in charge, scientists like yourself.

So, if you had your way, what would you do to prevent further deaths? If some of these deaths could have been prevented during the pandemic, what more can be done now --

FAUCI: Yeah.

ACOSTA: -- to make sure we aren't looking back and saying, gee, I wish we didn't lose X number of people.

FAUCI: All right. So, I look at it now. The take now looking forward X number of weeks and say, okay, it's in our purview now, it's in our ballpark. The two things that you do: A, you keep pushing down, and doubling down on public health measures. And, B, you do whatever you can to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and expeditiously as possible.

The second, you just mentioned at the top of our segment, Jim, that we're doing in record time. Four million people vaccinated is really a lot of people. If you multiply that by 30 days in a moment, you've got 120 million vaccinations that you've done. That is what you need to get your arms around this outbreak and to prevent additional deaths, additional hospitalizations, additional infections.

The other one is doubling down on the public health measures. And you hear the president explicitly getting out there and saying, let's not declare victory prematurely. So, it's up to people to realize -- and, you know, we say it over and over again, that we need the local people, we need the governors, and the mayors and others, to be able to say, we're not out of it yet. ACOSTA: Right.

FAUCI: People say, well, you just want to confine us forever. No, this is not going to last forever, because every day that you get 4 million, 3 million people vaccinated, you get closer and closer to control.

ACOSTA: No question.

FAUCI: What we're saying is double down. Just hang in there a bit longer, and the vaccine and the vaccinations of people in this country are going to override the surge of the virus.

ACOSTA: I hear what you're saying --


FAUCI: There's no doubt the vaccine is going to win out. Yeah.

ACOSTA: Let me just interject if I may, because our Evan McMorris- Santoro was in Times Square earlier today talking about how they're opening some things in New York City. We saw images just a short while ago -- here are some live pictures right now of Times Square in New York City.

It is jam-packed full of people, Dr. Fauci, in Times Square, people are out there -- yes, many New Yorkers are doing the right thing, they're wearing masks and so on, God bless them for doing that.

But as you know -- I know you live in the D.C. area, just like I do, we are starting to see traffic again. We are starting to see lots of people down on the National Mall to look at the cherry blossoms. It seems like people are starting to say, you know what, I'm tired of this, I'm done with this, I'm getting my vaccines.

And so, how do we prevent a new surge of cases if people have just said, that's it, I'm done, Dr. Fauci is a nice man, I like listening to him and so on, but I'm ready to move on, and move on with my life?

FAUCI: It's not easy, Jim, because this COVID-19 fatigue is a real phenomenon, and people are feeling it. We're now 14-plus months into this, and it's totally understandable that people have had enough of it.

So, what we're saying and we hope that to some extent, or maybe to a large extent they listen, that we are going to get to where they want to be, where I want to be, where you want to be, where we have enough people protected with the vaccines, that we can go out and watch the cherry blossoms, and we can go out and enjoy as we get warmer weather. It's going to happen. It will, just don't get careless about it.

ACOSTA: But do you think that recommendations from health experts like yourself and (ph) the White House are in touch with reality on the ground, in places like Times Square and the National Mall where you have --

FAUCI: Yeah. Well --

ACOSTA: -- people out there and do it?

FAUCI: I'm not sure -- yeah, Jim, I'm not sure there's much more we can do but to try and get people to appreciate. But the thing we can do is what we're doing with the vaccines. We're really, really pushing on that.

And, you know, there was an announcement a couple days ago about the COVID-19 community corps, where we're essentially engaging trusted messengers from the community, be they people who are trusted church leaders, clergy, athletes, entertainers, people in the community, to get people to get out there and when vaccine becomes available to you, to get vaccinated.

I agree with you completely, Jim. It's a tough sell to get people who have COVID-19 fatigue to just continue to abide by the public health measures. It's not going to be easy. I hope we have a degree of success. But in the meanwhile, you and I are talking about this, but every day, 3 million to 4 million people are getting vaccinated. That is going to be the solution, Jim. That's the solution.

ACOSTA: All right. And we need everybody out there to line up and get their shot and do their part to end this pandemic. And, Dr. Fauci, you've done that every day. We appreciate you coming in and talking to us and letting me interrupt you a little bit here and there, and get some more questions in there. So, appreciate your time.

Thanks for coming on with us. I hope you're doing well, and happy Easter this weekend.

FAUCI: You too, Jim. Thank you for having me.

ACOSTA: Thanks, Dr. Fauci. We appreciate it.

Coming up, one officer dead, another wounded after yet another attack on the Capitol. What online postings reveal about the mind of the suspect, next.



ACOSTA: High alert today in the nation's capital, following yet another deadly attack less than three months after the January 6th insurrection. Concrete barriers going up this morning after a man rammed his car into a barricade just yesterday, killing Capitol Police Officer William Evans, a father of two, and 18-year veteran of the force. Another officer was injured in the attack.

The 25-year-old suspect was shot and killed by police after he ran toward officers brandishing a knife. The motive remains unclear, but CNN has learned that just last week, the suspect ranted about the CIA and FBI, claiming to be a victim of mind control.

CNN's Pete Muntean joins us now from Capitol Hill. Pete, we're learning new details about the suspect. They are

disturbing details, and the post that he made online before the attack. Can you tell us more?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. You know, investigators are just now starting to dig into the past of 25-year- old Noah Green to try and figure out his exact motive behind yesterday's attack. Maybe the most telling so far are his social media posts appearing to become to an Instagram account belonging to Green, there's a trio of posts in the days before yesterday's attack.

The first such post where he said, quote, I have suffered multiple home break-ins, food poisonings, unauthorized operations and mind control.

The second post, a meme, featuring a photo of the Nation -- the head of the Nation of Islam.


He said in the text around it, the U.S. government is the enemy of black people.

A third post describes terrible afflictions he says presumably by the CIA and the FBI.

Now, Green graduated from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, not all that far away from here. A 2019 graduate, he said to have played football there, and said to have been a pretty good athlete. We have also learned that he was a bit of a quite, loner type.

The head of the Department of Homeland Security says this investigation is just beginning and there's a lot to glean here, but right now, no chances being taken with the security here. The black fencing back there, that is what went up not long after the January 6th attack here, but new this morning are the new concrete jersey barriers that gone in place just behind it.

So, this is increasingly a fortified fortress around the Capitol, along with the 2,300 members of the National Guard here guarding as well -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Pete Muntean, thank you so much. We're going to be seeing those barricades I think for a while now in the nation's capital. We appreciate it.

Coming up, how do members of Congress feel about two attacks on the Capitol in less than three months? Congressman Joaquin Castro is my guest next. And there he is right now. We'll talk to him in just a few moments.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: As we mentioned before the break, Friday's attack comes less than three months after an armed mob stormed the building, raising questions about what security is needed to protect the very seat of American democracy.

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro, of Texas. He sits on both the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees.

Congressman, thanks for joining us.

In this case, it appears the suspect was suffering from some kind of delusions. But do you believe that the riot on January 6th at least created the impression, to some extent, that the capitol can be successfully attacked, that it made it a target, and that we might see problems like this develop in the future?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Yes, absolutely.

First, I want to express my condolences to the family of Officer Evans, who served in the Capitol Police Department so honorably for 18 years.

But I compare what happened on January 6th at the capitol and the changes that I think will ultimately be permanent at the capitol to what happened at airport after 9/11.

If you remember, for those that were flying before 9/11, you could take your family to the gate to see you off as you were going to board the plane. You didn't need a ticket to get past security at that time.

All of that changed after 9/11. So I suspect there will be permanent changes at the U.S. capitol on the House and Senate side, after January 6th.

I think it shows, Jim, there's vulnerabilities when it comes to a large group of people who try to overtake the capitol. So we have to address that.

But also when you have one person who is intent on hurting, whether it's the capitol police officers or the staff or the others who are there.

ACOSTA: There's been a lot of frustration voiced by your Republican colleagues, and even some Democratic colleagues, that the fencing needs to come down. They're frustrated with it. They want they want it to go.

Would you feel safe going to the capitol without it?

CASTRO: Yes. What we need to do is balance safety and transparency. The House of Representatives where I serve -- really the whole capitol complex is almost unique among the capitals of the world.

Because people are used to being able to literally knock on the door of their Senator or representative and sometimes catch them there and say hello. You can't do that everywhere around the world.

You know, so I want to make sure the people of this country can show up and interact with the staff and, hopefully, with the members of Congress.

And at the same time, you know, the capitol has been a larger target of extremist and extremists. So we have to find a way to balance those two things.

Specifically on your question about the fencing, would I feel safe? Yes, I think I would. But I know that we need to make sure that everybody feels safe. Not just the members of Congress but everybody that works there as well.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you about the controversy surrounding Republican Congressman Gaetz. He's now caught up in a sex trafficking probe.

He's accused of showing nude pictures of women to lawmakers, including on the floor of the House.

I assume you're not one of those House members that looked at his phone. You're obviously from a different party, very kind mind mindset from Gaetz.

But if the allegations are true, would you call on your Republican colleagues to demand his removal?

CASTRO: Yes, I think, if those are true, I think he should resign.

And Speaker Pelosi asked the Ethics Committee to launch an investigation, which I think is appropriate.

And even though they may find that either because of a statute of limitations or things happened before he got to Congress that are the subject of this probe, that that the Ethics Committee doesn't have jurisdiction or the House doesn't have jurisdiction to punish him that way, I think, if these things are true, he should resign.

It was very disturbing what I read about what he's alleged to have done.

I haven't had much interaction with them. I think I've been part of one conversation that was in. Other than that, I see his interviews on television once in a while.


ACOSTA: And I want to go to the subject of immigration. It's an issue you've been really focusing on.

The Biden administration, as you know, is struggling with the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

We have seen troubling videos of overcrowded facilities in Donner, in Texas. Children sleeping on mats on the floor. We learned just on Friday that border apprehensions have spiked, that they spike in March, including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors. Those are mind- boggling numbers.

You just returned from a trip to the border. What did you see? And what can be done about the images of these children crammed into these facilities?

Because that is -- we're just watching it right now. That is unsustainable.

CASTRO: Yes. There's a confluence of things going on that have led to these conditions.

First, there were natural disasters in Central America not too long ago.

Also, we have seen a cyclical, basically, uptick of people trying to present themselves for asylum at the U.S./Mexico border.

And also, President Biden is trying to honor American and international law in allowing, right now at least, unaccompanied minors to actually present themselves for asylum and be allowed to remain in the United States while they wait for their day in court.

So you have a lot of people that are anxious to have their case presented in a court of law and have it decided.

We have to completely reimagine and redo what we do with people when they present themselves at the border for asylum, and they take their next step or their first stop after that.

Most of those pictures you see -- and the video I recorded, for example, in 2019, in El Paso, Texas, where there were about 15 or 20 Cuban women who were essentially in what looks like a prison cell that were in unsanitary, cramped conditions back then.

That is a problem with the facilities that we send people to at their first stop. I think that we have to completely change the way we do that.

I think this administration has an opportunity, over the coming months and the next few years, to create a completely difficult, more humane way of temporarily keeping people, keeping them safe while they're waiting to be placed with family and relative sponsors.


CASTRO: So I hope the Biden administration will take that on.


I want your response to this video released by the Border Patrol -- we can put it up on screen -- it's very disturbing -- of smugglers dropping two toddlers over a 14-foot fence separating the U.S. from Mexico, and then just leaving them there.

Those little girls are 3 and 5 years old. Fortunately, they're OK.

But as a father, what is your reaction to seeing something like that? And what does this video say about what's happening right now?

CASTRO: I think, overall, what it says is you have a lot of very desperate people who are willing to do anything to have her kids be in a safer place, and that place is the United States of America.

I don't believe, Jim, that 99 percent of people willingly leave their homeland and trek 1,000 miles with kids that are 5 and 10 years old just for the fun of it. They're fleeing very violent, very dangerous, desperate situations.

Part of the answer also has to be our nation making a very strong investment. I've talked about a Marshall Plan for Central America, helping to boost the economy and the rule of law and the safety for the people in the Northern Triangle.

Because I don't think that the overwhelming majority of those people actually want to leave. I think they feel very much forced to leave.

ACOSTA: but I know you have blamed Trump for a lot of these problems that are unfolding right now. This is now happening on Joe Biden's watch.

Could this be a problem for Democrats in the midterms? Could you be handing the Republicans a gift if it's not sorted out quickly?

CASTRO: Look, obviously, I think in the 2022 midterms, Republicans will run on something, whether it's one big issue or two big issues or three. And you can see them trying to figure out how effective the issue of immigration will be for them in the next election.

But most of all, putting the politics of that aside, we have to get this issue right. We have to get the solutions right. We're dealing with human beings.

The Biden administration is approaching all of this, not with the dark heart that Donald Trump and Stephen Miller did, but with the intent of actually solve it.

So, you're right, it's going to take a little bit of time. But I'm convinced that they're trying to do what they can to treat people humanely and also to change the system.

ACOSTA: Congressman Joaquin Castro, thank for you that. We appreciate. Happy Easter this weekend. Come on again sometime soon. We appreciate it.

CASTRO: For sure.


ACOSTA: All right. Coming up, surveillance cameras, body cameras, cell phone cameras, so many videos captured George Floyd's arrest. And they're all playing a crucial role in court. We'll talk about that, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ACOSTA: Now to some powerful testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial. He's the former Minneapolis police officer charged with second and third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

The senior-most officer on the Minneapolis Police Force testified that Chauvin's kneeling on George Floyd's neck after he was handcuffed and lying, was totally unnecessary.


MATTHEW FRANK, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: What is your view of that use of force during that time period?


Pulling him down to the ground, facedown, and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for.



ACOSTA: Also emerging this week, new video footage expanding what we know about George Floyd's arrest and the moments leading up to his death.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a closer look.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the beginning of the end of George Floyd's life. The police body cam camera capturing the moment when they confront them and remove him from his vehicle.

GEORGE FLOYD, DIED DURING ARREST BY POLICE: Please don't shoot me, Mr. Officer, please.

FOREMAN: 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.



FLOYD: I'm claustrophobic. I'm claustrophobic, man.

CHAUVIN: You're arguing with me. FOREMAN: 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 & WITNESS: He seemed very friendly, approachable. He was talkative.

FOREMAN: He also seemed high to clerk, Christopher Martin, who says Floyd bought cigarettes with a possible counterfeit bill, went outside, would not come back to settle up, and police were called.


FOREMAN: Sixty-one-year-old Charles McMillian was passing by, and the cameras caught him yelling at Floyd, you can't win.



MCMILLIAN: You can't win, man!


FOREMAN: Floyd was put on the ground, pinned down.

FLOYD: Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!

FOREMAN: 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: 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: A 17-year-old, who did not want to be on camera, recorded the scene on her phone, too.

UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: He was terrified. He was suffering. This was a cry for help.

FOREMAN: Amid those cries, another cop asked Chauvin --

LANE: Should we roll him on his side?

CHAUVIN: 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: 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 --


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

FOREMAN (on camera): The defense is arguing, as hard as it may be to look at either one of these videos, this is just a police officer doing his job.

But the prosecution clearly believes, if the jury looks at all video 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.


ACOSTA: The testimony this week has been emotional and, at times, difficult to hear and relive. For resources on how to protect your mental health during the trial, visit

Before we head to break, a programming note. Witness the powerful story of Beulah Mae Donald and her historic victory against the Ku Klux Klan. "THE PEOPLE VERSUS THE KLAN," premiers with back-to-back episodes, Sunday, April 11th, at 9:00 p.m.


And we'll be right back.


ACOSTA: The recent attacks on Asian-Americans are just the latest reminder that prejudice and bigotry remain a serious problem here in the United States.

This week's "CNN Hero" salutes two tattoo artists in Murray, Kentucky, for their efforts to fight intolerance by covering up hate tattoos for free.

Since last June, their Cover the Hate campaign has helped dozens of people by erasing the vestiges of their racist paths.



RYUN KING, CNN HERO: Seeing people risking their living for the Black Lives Matter movement on TV, that moved me greatly.

This is generally helping people move past their past. It's powerful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Growing up, I was never raised to be racist. I just was around wrong the people. I wanted to show everyone that I was above them.

And one day, you just realize this racist thing is stupid. Everyone is equal. I look back on it now and I'm ashamed of it. You know?

KING: Let's go ahead and look at the design here.

Most of these tattoos are pretty outworn, old, and dated, just like the ideology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got two granddaughters and they're mixed. I love my grandbabies to death.

It's like a change in life. And this is the last step. And this man's here to help you fulfill it.

That is so cool.



ACOSTA: Get the whole story and nominate someone you know to be a "CNN Hero" at

That's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

The news continues right now with my colleague, Pamela Brown.

Have a good night.