Return to Transcripts main page


Young Adults Driving New COVID Surge; Derek Chauvin Trial Week Two. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 5, 2021 - 14:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You are watching CNN on this Monday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here.

We begin today with a compelling start to week number two of the testimony here in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He, of course, charged with multiple counts of murder in the death of George Floyd.

The court is at lunch break right now. Of course, we will get back to trial, to those live proceedings the second they sit down.

Meantime, let me just bring you up to speed. Last hour, we heard from the chief of police there in Minneapolis, Medaria Arradondo, who really became a familiar face to all of us covering this story last summer.

He is the man who fired Derek Chauvin. And he was asked about the department's training in terms of use of force. Just remember, this is all in the context that then officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes.

This morning, the jury also heard from the emergency physician who initially treated George Floyd when he arrived at the hospital, this doctor revealing that he found none of the internal indicators that typically cause a heart attack, and that this doctor says he believes George Floyd died from lack of oxygen, rather than, as we have been hearing from the defense, that his own heart was failing him.


DR. BRADFORD WANKHEDE LANGENFELD, E.R. PHYSICIAN: Mr. Floyd had been in arrest for, by this time, 60 minutes.

I determined that the likelihood of any meaningful outcome was far below 1 percent and that we would not be able to resuscitate Mr. Floyd. And so I then pronounced him dead.

JERRY BLACKWELL, MINNESOTA PROSECUTOR: And, Doctor, was your leading theory then for the cause of Mr. Floyd's cardiac arrest oxygen deficiency?

WANKHEDE LANGENFELD: That was one of the more likely possibilities. I felt, at the time, based on the information I had, it was more likely than the other possibilities.

BLACKWELL: And, Doctor, is there another name for death by oxygen deficiency?

WANKHEDE LANGENFELD: Asphyxia is a commonly understood term.


BALDWIN: Let's start our coverage this afternoon was CNN security correspondent Josh Campbell, who is live outside that Minneapolis courthouse.

And, Josh, I just want to skip straight to this police chief, who we're about to hear more from on the other side of this lunch recess. This is a man who clearly is well-respected in the community. He started out as a cadet way back in the 1980s and gradually worked his way up to being Minneapolis police chief.

And he wrote a number of the training, the protocol which these officers are trained to follow. What stood out to you from his testimony?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, people may be asking, what is the prosecution building to here?

And, obviously, we're now in the lunch break. We will be hearing more from the police chief. He will be questioned after that break. But so much so far has focused on the training standards of this police department.

And what I think we can expect coming up is basically the prosecutors are trying to set the stage that, look, these officers receive annual training in crisis intervention, in CPR, obviously, the use of force, a robust training program that doesn't just happen once in their career, but they're continually retrained on it over and over, and especially when it gets into the idea of a police officer as a first responder, someone who should render care to someone, to use CPR.

Sure, they're not doctors, they're not medical experts, but they do get a sufficient amount of basic training. And so the main question is going to come down here, why didn't Chauvin or any of the other officers there, for that matter, render basic aid to George Floyd as he was laying unconscious on the cement?

So, this is what we're building up.

One interesting note from one of our reporters in the courtroom said that, whenever the questions started to pertain to some of this training, they saw an uptick in jurors actually taking notes, so this jury focused a lot on what we're seeing there.

And, again, we will see more of that questioning right after the lunch break.

BALDWIN: You bring up the jury. Something else I really noticed was, to me, this is the first person sitting in that witness box who really talks and physically turns and is talking to the jury as he's answering. Significant.

Josh Campbell, thank you.

Let's discuss all of this with Elie Honig, former federal prosecutor. And also with me, CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey. He's the former Philadelphia police commissioner, former chief of D.C. Metropolitan Police.

So, guys, good to have you back today.


Chief Ramsey, I want to begin with you, as, of course, we're listening, hanging on every word of police Chief Arradondo. It is significant to have a sitting chief testifying in a case involving one of his former officers. He is the one who fired Derek Chauvin. He is the one who -- and, also, we should point out the other three officers involved.

But he's also-called George Floyd's death a murder. And I know you have spoken about testifying in cases involving your former officers. What is that like? And what did you make of the chief's testimony?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, we're just getting into the testimony, the meat of it anyway, talking about the policy, talking about the training.

And I'm sure, after lunch, he will get into a lot more detail around that. But, yes, it is unusual to actually testify in court.

Usually, when a chief is testifying against one of his members that may be fired or disciplined, it is during an arbitration hearing. I have done hundreds of those, but maybe only three or four times actually called to court to testify against an officer.

But, then again, you don't usually have a case this high-profile either. And so it's unusual, but it certainly is necessary, because he is the one that sets policy.

I mean, policy, it comes from the chief. And so there is no one better suited to talk about the policy of the Minneapolis Police Department than the person who's responsible for creating it.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about that from the lens of the prosecution, Elie.

They went into great detail of the chief's experience, the MPD's training practices, many of which he wrote himself, Chief Arradondo.

And, again, as I noticed -- I'm sure you did, too -- this is someone who we have now saw sitting in the witness stand. And as he was speaking, especially as he was speaking about treating the community with respect, he would turn and he would look at the members of the jury.

What did you make of that and just his point about treating the community with dignity?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Brooke, get ready, because we have got a big moment coming this afternoon.

The prosecution is setting the stage for this witness, Chief Arradondo, to deliver devastating testimony. They have established that he is an expert, encyclopedic, on the training policy, on use of force. He cannot be touched on any of that.

He is speaking to the jury in a way that's calm, professional, relatable. As you noted, he is turning. He is looking to his right to hear the question from the lawyer and turning to the left and engaging directly with the jury. As a prosecutor, if you have a witness like this, you love to see that.

And it's interesting to hear Josh's reporting that the jury is taking notes and seems to be responding to that.

This witness, to me, embodies the idea of the police officer as a protector of the community, not as an occupier of the community. I know that is something Commissioner Ramsey has worked for much of his career to promote. And we are seeing it live and in person now.

I think it's really going to resonate with the jury. And we know what this witness is going to say. He has already publicly called Derek Chauvin's actions murder.

BALDWIN: Chief, what do you think of Elie's point about the delineation between having an officer be a protector vs. an occupier? What does that mean for people watching?

RAMSEY: I think it's incredibly important. I mean, you see it all the time.

And you could hear it really in the testimony of the witnesses on day one and day two, the community members that actually witnessed this whole thing. We know, when they see police acting that way, they certainly do not see them as protectors.

And it's unfortunate that, in many of our communities across the country, that is not how police are viewed, even though we want to be viewed that way. And things like what you saw during the video with Chauvin and some of the other viral videos does an awful lot of damage.

So, you get someone with the level of credibility as Arradondo, who just his tone of voice, his demeanor, again, he's an experienced witness. So he knows to direct his comments towards the jury. I mean, he has the kind of credibility that obviously Chauvin lacks, let's say. And I think it's going to make a tremendous difference.

BALDWIN: So, Elie, back over to you and to this forthcoming, devastating blow. Let's be specific.

I mean, ultimately, is the question from the prosecution to this well- respected police chief, Chief, given all of the training that you have written that these officers constantly are having to be up on, is it in training to have the knee on the neck of someone on the ground for nine minutes and 20 seconds? Is that the question?

HONIG: Yes, Brooke, I think the question essentially, is, did Derek Chauvin's actions on that day comply with policy? Did they comply with his training, the use of force policy at the police department?

And I think this chief is going to not just say, no, they violated the policy, but in a major way, in a very, very serious way. That's what he has said publicly already. And given the way that he's been established as a credible, believable, sort of engaging expert, I think that testimony is going to hit really hard, if we see it this afternoon.


BALDWIN: So we are we're looking out for that.

Chief, to you.

Chief Arradondo was asked multiple questions about de-escalation, right, and how it involves training officers to defuse a potentially dangerous situation, rather than using force as a first reaction.

What do you make just of how he was describing how MPD trains its officers and how Derek Chauvin should have handled that kind of situation?

RAMSEY: Well, he did a very good job.

And we started using the term de-escalation later on in the '90s, maybe early 2000s. But that's not a new concept. I mean, I started as a police cadet in 1968 and as a sworn member in '71. We didn't call it de-escalation, but trainers used to always tell, you want to try to calm things down. You want to be able to try to resolve it without having to get into use of force, if you don't have to.

They didn't call it de-escalation. It was just the way in which you tried to handle things to kind of calm the situation down, so you could get control of the situation. Of course, now it's far more formal than it used to be.

But I can't think of any department now that doesn't emphasize de- escalation in training and in service training. And again, every year, you go through in service training. So it doesn't matter when you start it. You're getting brought up to speed every single year through additional training, because policies change, training changes, the law changes, everything changes over time, and you have to be kept abreast of it.

BALDWIN: I'm listening to you. And I'm also thinking, let's Zoom out for a second, Elie, because, as you have -- you have tried so many cases.

And I'm thinking of the jurors, and I'm thinking of the note, that one of our folks in the court has observed these jurors scribbling notes as they have been listening to this police chief. You juxtapose his testimony today, right, this expert testimony, this senior law enforcement member who could potentially give this devastating blow.

And then you think of the emotional testimony from those eyewitnesses from last week. And I'm just wondering, from your own experience, what kind of testimony tends to weigh more on the hearts and minds of jurors?

HONIG: So, Brooke, they both matter, right?

You want to appeal both to the mind and to the heart. I think the eyewitnesses that we saw last week really appeal to both of those senses. They gave very clear, sort of blow-by-blow accounts of what they saw on that street. But, also, they were emotional in a way that I think was very humanizing, very relatable.

Now, if you look at this witness, he's a professional. He's a police chief. He wasn't there. He didn't witness it. However, he knows his stuff better than anybody. And one thing that's really jumping out to me is, he has a real sense of the humanity of the people he's speaking to.

The way he talks about the community he serves, the way he sees himself as part of that community, I think, is coming through, to me, even just watching him through the TV. And I imagine it's coming through to the jurors who are just a few feet over to his left.

To that point, chief just to close this out before we take a break, I jotted down this note. The chief made it multiple times. He was saying, this may be the first and only opportunity an officer interacts with a member of the community. And even if the officer isn't having the best day -- I'm paraphrasing, roughly -- he says it's about dignity and respect, and so we have to make it count.

Your thoughts, Chief?

RAMSEY: He's absolutely -- he is absolutely right.

First of all, most people really don't have any personal contact with police. And when they do, it's something they are going to always remember. So how do you want to be remembered? You want to be remembered as being rude, disrespectful, abusive, or do you want to be remembered as being understanding, being professional?

I mean, that's what you want. And every single police officer really is the ambassador for not only the department, but actually the profession of policing, with every interaction they have with the community. It's not the police chief, necessarily. It's the men and women at the street level that are out there responding to these calls, because that's how people view police, and that's how you're ultimately judged as a profession.

BALDWIN: Gentlemen, I so appreciate both of you and your perspectives as we watch this trial, week number two.

Stay with me. We will jump back in it momentarily, as soon as they're back from the lunch break.

In the meantime, coming up, a heartbreaking new model reveals the impact of COVID on children. We will tell you how many have lost parents to this devastating virus.

Plus, why the CDC director is blaming young people for the recent spike in COVID cases.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN's special live coverage.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We will take you back to the Minneapolis courtroom when they come back from lunch in just a bit.

Meantime, to COVID, where the pandemic and the message today from health officials really remains the same: Get vaccinated as soon as possible. The warning comes as cases and hospitalizations are surging across the country. And, so far, Americans are listening.

Over the weekend, the U.S. hit a record. More than four million shots were given in a single day. How about that? New analysis conducted by CNN shows the U.S. is vaccinating people nearly five times faster than the global average. One in four adults has been fully vaccinated and more mass vaccination sites are opening this week.

The U.S. is averaging three million shots per day.

But back to the spike in cases and hospitalizations, CDC officials say it is mainly among young adults. Several factors are to blame, including record spring break travel, youth sports activities, and those highly transmissible variants.

The White House is encouraging everyone to just hang on, stay safe and get a vaccine.



DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I understand that people are tired and that they are ready for this pandemic to be over, as am I.

Please continue to hang in there and to continue to do the things that we know prevent the spread of the virus.

If we all continue to wear a well-fitting mask, physically distance, and get vaccinated, America can and will get out of this pandemic. We can meet this moment if we keep doing our part. Everyone working together, getting vaccinated as soon as possible is how we can turn the corner.


BALDWIN: And even with these encouraging vaccination numbers, officials say not enough people are protected yet, and the start of a fourth surge may already be here, one expert likening the current state to a Category 5 hurricane.

Dr. Roshini Raj is an associate medical -- associate professor of medicine at New York University's Langone Health.

And so, Dr. Raj, nice to see you.


BALDWIN: To the point about the CDC saying cases are rising among young people, how different might a serious surge among young people look?

RAJ: Well, I think one of the main differences, which is a good difference, is, we're going to see less deaths and hospitalizations because young people do in general fare better than the elderly when it comes to COVID-19.

And we know now a very large percentage of people over the age of 65 have been vaccinated. So, that's great news. However, young people still can get sick, and they can get quite seriously ill. And we know that one of the new variants, which is circulating quite highly among the U.S. population right now, does cause more serious disease, in addition to being more contagious.

So, we're certainly not out of the woods yet. We also know that young people tend to flout the rules more, and they are ignoring some of the restrictions in terms of socializing and social distancing and wearing masks more than their elderly counterparts were doing before vaccination.

So it is very much a race against time trying to get everyone, including younger people, vaccinated as quickly as possible, so we can kind of avoid potentially the height of that fourth surge, although we're already seeing part of it even now.

BALDWIN: And having fun on spring break, right? We're hearing another reason for the case spike...

RAJ: Yes.

BALDWIN: ... record-breaking travel.

Just for adults too here, my question is, is it still too soon? And should people, even those, let's say, fully vaccinated, can they travel now?

RAJ: Well, the question that I had, which I think was answered somewhat recently, was, even if you're fully vaccinated, does that mean you cannot spread COVID to other people? And we weren't sure about that answer. Now a large study showed recently that, yes, if you're vaccinated,

it's very unlikely that you can get the disease at all, even asymptomatically, so it would be very unlikely you would get it and not know it, and then spread it to someone else.

So, I do think, if you're fully vaccinated, it is probably OK to travel at this point. And then the CDC came out and very recently made the same decision and guidance. But you have to be mindful of, yes, you're vaccinated, but maybe your travel companion isn't yet. And do you want to be sort of egging them on to let's go take that trip we finally can take...


RAJ: ... when they're not quite ready from an immunologic standpoint?

So, for an individual who's fully vaccinated -- and I'm talking about two weeks after their last vaccine, after their second dose, but -- if they got the two-dose regimen, then I do think, generally, it is safe. But, again, the sort of culture of everybody traveling, we're certainly not there yet from a societal standpoint.

BALDWIN: And just quickly remind us, if you are feeling side effects -- this is -- included myself, so sort of self-serving question, but just remind us why we're feeling side effects and why getting vaccinated just still so crucial.

RAJ: Absolutely crucial.

And if you're getting a vaccine, and you feel a side effect -- and not everyone does, so don't assume you will because you heard a story from a friend of yours that they felt lousy -- but, if you do, that's actually a sign that your immune system is working and the vaccine is working to boost your immune system, so that you will be able to fight COVID in the future.

It's actually a good sign that the vaccine is working in you. And, as lousy as you may feel, if you talk to anyone who's had moderate or severe COVID, they felt much worse.


RAJ: And, Brooke, you can even probably speak to that.


BALDWIN: I'm sitting here raising my hand thinking -- yes, it was like I felt like I had COVID all over again for about 24 hours, and then, bang, it was gone.

RAJ: Right.

BALDWIN: And I'm grateful for these vaccines, and I am grateful for our doctors and nurses administering them.

Dr. Roshini Raj, thank you so much. Good to have you on. RAJ: Great to see you.

BALDWIN: Minutes from now, week two of testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial will resume. We will take you live to that courtroom in Minneapolis coming up.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN.

Any moment now, we expect testimony to resume, day six of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

My analysts are back with me, Elie Honig, Chief Charles Ramsey.

And, Elie, last hour, we heard from Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo. And you and I were chatting a moment ago, and you said, stand by essentially for this devastating blow that will happen in this next line of questioning between the prosecution and the chief.

Take us in the mind of the prosecutor and the line of questioning and what ultimately they're looking to achieve.

HONIG: Yes, Brooke.

So, the prosecution is going about this in a very methodical manner. They spent morning with this witness establishing him as this sort of unimpeachable expert. Does he know what he's talking about? He literally wrote the policy.