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England Enters Step Two in Easing COVID Restrictions; Germany Tops Three Million Cases, ICU Beds at Peak Occupancy; Congress Returns this Week with Infrastructure on Agenda; Protests Erupt After Man Dies in Officer-Involved Shooting; Third Week of Chauvin Trial to Begin in Coming Hours; U.S. Army Officer Sues Police for Excessive Force. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 12, 2021 - 04:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Thankful pub landlords are throwing open their doors. We're live in London as England easing lockdown restrictions.

Meantime, the U.S. economy is poised for a rebound of its own as the country reopens. But the Federal Reserve Chairman says there's a catch.

The trial of former officer Derek Chauvin charged in the death of George Floyd resumes within hours. We'll tell you who may be taking the stand next.

And we're keeping a close eye on Brooklyn Center, Minnesota where protests erupted after an officer-involved shooting of a young black man.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Paula Newton.

Today is the day that millions of people across England have been anticipating.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one! Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats! Have your first drink. Please come down.


NEWTON: Well do you think they're excited? The country has now entered step two as it eases more of its COVID-19 restrictions. Now as you can see, this group of merry makers just couldn't wait for daylight and got the party started at a pub just as the clock struck midnight. Now both owners and customers are just happy to be back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) IAN SNOWBALL, LONDON PUB OWNER: No one knew how this was going to world out. We didn't even know if anyone was going to come. It's in Huddersfield. It's midnight. It's freezing cold and we got everyone come. And we don't have a single table that hasn't been looking on the rise up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's great. It's really great. And more than anything, for businesses to survive through all of this, I think that's the real happiness in getting this place up and running again.


NEWTON: Now in a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged everyone to behave responsibly. But he has admitted that he is looking forward to a pint in a pub garden just like the scene here in 2019.

We want to bring in CNN's Anna Stewart joining me now from London. Where else in front of a pub at this hour. You now, euphoria doesn't seem to cut it at this point in time. Tell us -- just take us through what is changing today and what's reopening.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, Paula, it's just been such a long lockdown. This is the third for England. It's been over three months. And so today, pubs, with which are really a pillar of the community in much parts -- many parts of the U.K. -- can finally reopen in England, but outdoors only. And Paula, it was snowing just a few hours ago. So it's going to be a really chilly pint. I'm amazed everyone was up for us at midnight.

This pub is reopening in just three hours' time. But they've spent the last few months transforming what was largely a car park into a huge beer garden. Lots of cover tents and of course plenty of heaters.

Now in addition to pubs, restaurants and cafes can also reopen in England today --outdoors only, though. Also, nonessential shops, hairdressers, hallelujah, nail salons, zoos. These can all reopen in England but only with of course COVID safeties in place. Obviously, a huge turning point for businesses who have been shut for so many months. And a really great moment for England. You know, this is a moment for us all to celebrate. The vaccination program underway. It feels we're getting closer to normal.

NEWTON: Yes, it has been absolutely a tough one, Anna. At this point, what does it say about a possible economic revival here? Especially on the High Street?

Yes, I mean last year U.K. economy shrank by nearly 10 percent and many businesses on the High Street, hospitality had been frankly on life support. And various government loan schemes, using a furlough scheme as well, and not all have survived. And that is the real tragedy here. There're hopes that there will be lots of spending particularly in the first few weeks given everyone's been stuck at home and have been limit online spending. So there are big hopes for a revival for the High Street.

But not everyone is happy. Particularly in hospitality. They can only open outside. It's incredibly cold. Not everyone has outdoor facilities. And for pubs, the British Beer and Pub Association said there are actually only 40 percent of pubs will be able to reopen today. Many of them will operate actually at a loss because they don't have huge facilities and they need extra staff to man it. And 2,000 pubs, unfortunately, will never reopen again and be some of the casualties of the pandemic. So there is some sad news in there, really. But there are hopes of recovery.


And I think for people of course, just really a bit of a morale boost I think for people here in England after a really long three months of lockdown able to return to the pub for a very chilly first pint -- Paula.

NEWTON: I think everyone will take it anyway and that dually noted salons are opening. Anna Stewart, thanks so much, appreciate it.

Moving across the channel now. Germany is having a far tougher time controlling the spread of the virus. The country is now surpassed 3 million cases. It seen a dramatic rise in new infections and health experts say ICU beds are now at peak capacity. Now that sharp rise in cases is one reason a German rail operator is cracking down on mask wearing. Deutsch Bahn is imposing the first nationwide ban on its trains for people refusing to wear one.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now from Berlin. Interesting to me, Fred, that this far down in the pandemic, you know, in Germany that you still need that extra set of enforcement to say, look, wear your mask. And Fred, tell us where Germany sees itself right now. Especially as we see these in Europe variants continuing to take hold in Europe.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's actually quite a degree of jealously among the Germans, as to what we were just hearing out of the U.K. where some of the lockdowns being loosened there. Really the opposite is the case here in Germany.

I was looking at the number of new infections earlier this morning and it's about 5,000 more than on Monday of last week. So certainly things very much going in the wrong direction. By the way, not just in Germany, but neighboring countries like for instance Poland and the Czech Republic as well, where the infection rates are also still very high. And so, there are some of those new measures, like the one that you just talked about with the German railway.

But quite frankly, Angela Merkel, also keeps saying that there needs to be a tougher lockdown here in this country, as well. And one of the things that her cabinet plans to do in the next couple of days -- they've been debating this for the past couple of days -- is a tougher lockdown, possibly also with nighttime curfews. Because they say they're having real trouble getting this new wave of infections under control.

And one of the big issues that we see here, Paula, quite frankly, is also a degree of political deadlock almost. Angela Merkel over the past couple -- really since the pandemic began, the past year and a half has been speaking to the state governors here in this country trying to come up with ways to be effective against the pandemic. But now it seems they've abandoned that, because they couldn't come to any sort of agreement on how to move forward. And Angela Merkel is doing this with her cabinet. And that shows that right now there's a great degree, there are problems here to try to get all of this current control.

And you're absolute right. The German Society for Intensive Care Medicine has said that the capacity in ICUs is getting dangerously low. That ICUs are filling up but at a devastatingly higher rate. There was one day last week where ICU capacity jumped by five percent in a single day. And at the same time, what you've had here, is really fairly slow vaccination campaign, for most part. But one of the things that we did see at the end of last week -- and that might be that silver lining here for Germany -- it that vaccinations did go up considerably on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday of last week.

And the main thing that was happening there was that general practitioners have started joining in the vaccination campaign. That really helped the Germans move forward more quickly. But they also say that vaccinations in this country not far along enough and not abundant enough at all to stave off this waive of coronavirus infections -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, it's a depressing thought. We'll continue to follow, again as you said, what the measures and new measures will be in Germany and the weeks to come. Appreciate it, Fred.

Here in the United States, meantime, more signs of hope and progress in the battle against the coronavirus. More than 187 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered right across the country -- that's according to the CDC. Nearly 22 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. That's about 73 million people. Experts warn the U.S. should not let its guard down just yet. The CDC reports that for the third straight week, new cases and hospitalizations are, in fact, increasing. And Michigan is in the middle of another surge. Officials there are pleading with the Biden administration to send the state more vaccines.


GARLIN GILCHRIST, MICHIGAN LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Vaccine doses and administering them is how we're going get through this and saving us from another hot spot. That really means responding differently where there is the most need. And right now the most need is in the state of Michigan.


NEWTON: I'm joined by Sterghios Moschos. He's an associate professor of molecular virology at Northumbria University. And thank you so much for joining us. We heard, you know, that summary of what was going on in the United States. Of course, Michigan having a hard time. The vaccine rollout has been nothing short of extraordinary. But when you look at what is going on in the United States, even with the vaccine doses distributed, what is the message there in terms of the danger of yet another virus resurgence?



But the vaccine alone is not doing the job at the moment because we don't have sufficient vaccine coverage in those populations that have not been vaccinated. As a result of that we see the unfortunate situation that we're seeing in Michigan.

NEWTON: There's been a debate really with doctors here in the United States arguing whether or not there would be another wave of the pandemic. I mean, when we look at the -- if we take this to the U.K. and look at data that has been out there, it's pretty impressive. Right across the board, right, new cases down, hospitalizations down, deaths down. Is this a vindication for the lockdowns or for the single dose vaccine strategy? I guess in comparing the U.S. and the U.K., where do you think we are?

MOSCHOS: I think it's important to say that it's vindication for the lockdowns. The vaccine is just about starting to kick in in terms of effect in the elderly population and those at high risk that have already been vaccinated. The rest of the population have been -- are not protected right now. And it's essential -- I can't underscore it enough --that we do our bit to contain transmission and prevent the transmission from happening. So no breaching of the rules just for a little bit. Because that's going to show up in three or four weeks from now.

NEWTON: Meanwhile analysts are watching for the economy to pick up steam as more places with coronavirus restrictions and reopen. Now the chairman of the Federal Reserve tells "60 Minutes," the U.S. economy is poised for a rebound as long as the virus is under control.


JEROME POWELL, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: What we're seeing now is really an economy that seems to be at inflection point and that's because of, you know, widespread vaccination and strong fiscal support, strong monetary support. We feel like we're at a place where the economy is about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly. So the principal risk to our economy right now really is that the disease would spread again. You know, it's going to be smart if people can continue to socially distance and wear masks.


NEWTON: Jerome Powell provided a rosier economic outlook Sunday, and that was in contrast to previous, more cautious remarks on the economy's recovery. The central bank last week underscored it would be sometime until substantial further progress was made on employment and inflation. Law makers are returning to Washington this week with plenty of

problems to address but no clear path in Congress to resolve them. Democrats in the White House are trying to advance a center piece of Joe Biden's agenda -- the roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan and tax proposal. Arlette Saenz has more.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden will hold the first of a series of meetings here at the White House with lawmakers to try to build bipartisan support for his infrastructure proposal. The meeting will include those Democrats and Republicans as the president himself has said he's open to hearing ideas to improve this plan.

Now Republicans have opposed that $2.25 trillion price tag and also the way that the president has proposed to pay for it. By raising the corporate tax rate. The White House has said they're open to hearing other ideas but so far they haven't heard a suitable alternative.

Now this meeting is similar to the approach the president took with the COVID relief package when he invited Republicans into the oval office at the very beginning. Though he ultimately went it alone without any Republican support. One of the senators who will be attending the meeting here at the White House with the president, he said he hopes the negotiations will be different.

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): We are willing to negotiate with him on an infrastructure package and this trillion dollar number is way too high for me. I'll just tell you. But negotiation has to be something different from what we had on the rescue plan. But the president should have come back with a counteroffer. And if he will do that with the Republicans that are meeting with him at the White House tomorrow, I think we can get somewhere.

SAENZ: And it's not just about holding these negotiations with Republicans, the president also needs to make sure he can keep his Democrats in line. As you've heard progressives saying they want him to go bigger with the proposal and moderates like Senator Joe Manchin saying they also don't agree with that 28 percent corporate tax rate that the president has proposed.

Now on top of this infrastructure meeting, the president will also be dropping by a virtual meeting that some of his top advisors are holding with CEOs from major auto and technology companies to talk about the supply chain for semiconductors. This comes as there's a global shortage in computer chips that are used in things like automobiles and also other electronics. And the White House is trying to ensure that they can shore up the domestic supply, so they don't have to rely on foreign countries for these types of items in the future.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NEWTON: Embattled Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz who was recently denied a meeting with Donald Trump -- according to sources. They say Gaetz request was rejected by aids close to the former president, who have urged Trump not to stick his neck out for him.


Now the Florida Congressman is facing criminal sex trafficking probe and denies all allegations against him. A spokesman for Gaetz said the Congressman never requested a meeting with Trump.

Still to come on CNN, George Floyd's family is preparing to hear more painful testimony as prosecutors are set to wrap their case in the defense in the Derek Chauvin murder trial gears up to present theirs.


NEWTON: The National Guard is being deployed and there is now a curfew in the town of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Now this after police shot and killed a black man during a traffic stop on Sunday. You see some pictures there. It happened less than 10 miles away from were former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial resumes later today. Protesters were seen marching toward the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Sunday. And the night took a violent turn. Officers say the police building was hit with rocks, businesses were broken into, and there were reports of gunshots in the area.

Now earlier in the day, police say they tried to arrest 20-year-old Daunte Wright seen here for outstanding warrants after pulling him over. Now he was shot after going back to his car.


He called his mom right before it happened, and she spoke to the media about it.


KATIE WRIGHT, VICTIM'S MOTHER: That he was getting pulled over by the police and I said, well, why did you get pulled over? He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. A minute later I called and his girlfriend, which was the passenger in the car, and said that he'd been shot.


NEWTON: State officials are investigating the police shooting and testimony -- we go to testimony of the murder trial from former police officer Derek Chauvin, and that picks up in just a matter of hours. Now the prosecution is set to call a member of George Floyd's family to the state before resting its case like early this week. Here is CNN's Adrienne Broaddus with more.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know a medical doctor who was slated to take the stand on Friday will testify today. But before the prosecution rests its case, a member of George Floyd's family will also take the stand. That family member has the ability to remind the jury Floyd was a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a father, who was loved. That family member who humanized Floyd to the defense and the prosecution. This is a case but to Floyd's family, he was so much more.

The family member who also be able to speak intimately about Floyd's love for his little girl. On that video that has been widely shared throughout the course of the trial, we hear Floyd call out "tell my children I love them."

The testimony over the last two weeks, which included hearing from top brass with the Minneapolis Police Department and other medical experts, including the medical examiner here in Hennepin County, Dr. Andrew Baker who performed the autopsy on Floyd's body, was painful for members of the Floyd's family to hear. But that pain, they say, was necessary. And as we enter the third week of the trial, the family is preparing to hear more painful testimony. This time from witnesses the defense calls. As the defense will argue Floyd died from a drug overdose and underlying medical conditions.

In Minneapolis, I'm Adrienne Broaddus, CNN.


NEWTON: A police officer in Virginia has been fired after he and another officer pointed guns at, pepper sprayed, and pushed a black U.S. army lieutenant to the ground --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You received an order.


NEWTON: -- traffic stop last December, Windsor police say the officers did not follow department policy. Now the other officer involved is still employed. The active duty soldier is suing the two officers. Lieutenant Caron Nazario is black and Latino. He was pulled over after police mistakenly thought he was driving without a license plate. The traffic stop quickly escalated and was captured on two body cameras and the lieutenant's personal cell phone.

Now CNN hasn't been able to reach either officer at this time, and it's unclear if they have lawyers. We're also reaching out to both officers and the police union for comment. Natasha Chen has more on the story and a warning some of this may be difficult to watch.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 6:30 p.m., December 5th, 2020. Lieutenant Caron Nazario driving in his Army fatigues through the small town of Windsor, Virginia, saw flashing lights in his rearview mirror. He wasn't sure why he was being pulled over. According to his lawsuit, he slowed down and put his blinker on, indicating his intention to pull over, but didn't do so for another minute and 40 seconds, which he later explained was in order to find a well-lit area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Driver, roll the window down. Put your hands out the window. Turn the vehicle off, put your hands out the window.

CHEN (voice-over): Hearing these different commands while sitting in his car with his seatbelt on, Nazario began recording from his own cell phone and put his hands out the window as ordered. It turns out Officer Daniel Crocker had not seen the temporary license plate taped to the back window of Nazario's brand new Chevrolet Tahoe. And seeing tinted windows and a driver not stopping right away, Crocker decided it was a high-risk traffic stop.

But this was never explained to Nazario, who, for several minutes, continued to ask why he'd been pulled over.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many occupants are in your vehicle?

NAZARIO: It's only myself. Why are your weapons drawn? What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car now.

NAZARIO: I'm serving this country, and this is how I'm treated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, guess what, I'm a veteran, too. I'm going to obey. Get out of the car.

CHEN (voice-over): Body camera footage shows Officer Joe Gutierrez, gun drawn, unfastening the Velcro around what might be his taser at this time.

NAZARIO: What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on? You're fixing to ride the lightning, son.

CHEN (voice-over): The lawsuit says Nazario thought "ride the lightning" meant he could be killed.

NAZARIO: I'm honestly afraid to get out. Can I ask what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You should be. Get out now.

NAZARIO: I have not committed any crimes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're being stopped. You're not cooperating at this point right now. You're under arrest for -- you're being detained. OK? You're being detained for --


NAZARIO: For a traffic violation I do not have to get out of the vehicle. You haven't even told me why I'm being stopped.

CHEN (voice-over): About two to three minutes in, Officer Crocker tried to open the driver's door. In his report, he wrote, quote, "When I attempted to unlock and open the driver's door, the driver assaulted myself by striking my hand away and pulled away from Officer Gutierrez's grip." But in his own body camera footage, Nazario is not seen striking anyone. Crocker's report also says that at this point Gutierrez, quote, "gave several more commands to comply with orders or he would be sprayed with his OC spray." But no such warnings could be heard. Gutierrez just sprayed Nazario, still without any either officer having told Nazario what exactly he was pulled over for.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car now.

NAZARIO: I don't even know if I can reach my seatbelt. Can you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your seatbelt off and get out of the car. You made this way more difficult than it had to be. Get on the ground. Get on the ground.

NAZARIO: Can you please talk to me about what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground now.

NAZARIO: Can you please talk to me about what's going on? Why am I being treated like this? Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you're not cooperating. Get on the ground. Lie down or you're going to get tazed.

CHEN (voice-over): The officers handcuffed Nazario, then stood him back up. He told them his dog was in the backseat and was choking from the pepper spray. Medics arrived and the conversation mellowed.

NAZARIO: What would have been a two-minute traffic stop turned into all this.

CHEN (voice-over): Nazario explained why he didn't immediately pull over.

NAZARIO: I was pulling over to a well-lit area for my safety and yours. I have respect for law enforcement.

CHEN (voice-over): But Gutierrez said that wasn't the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The climate we're in, with the media spewing with the race relations between minorities and law enforcement, I get it, OK? So, like, I told you, as far as you not stopping, you weren't comfortable, and you wanted a well-lit spot, Lieutenant, that happens all the time. It happens to me a lot. And it's I'll say 80 percent of the time, not always, 80 percent of the times, it's a minority.

CHEN (voice-over): And while the officers couldn't understand why Nazario didn't get out of the car as instructed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why wouldn't you comply?

CHEN (voice-over): Nazario said he didn't know why he was being stopped.

NAZARIO: I've never looked out the window and saw guns blazing immediately.

CHEN (voice-over): Gutierrez eventually told Nazario that he had a conversation with the chief of police and was giving him the option to let this all go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no need for this to be on your record. I don't want it to be on your record. However, it's entirely up to you. If you want to fight and argue, and I don't mean to be disrespectful. OK? I mean, you have that right as a citizen, if that's what you want, we'll charge you. It doesn't change my life either way.

CHEN: The officer said his life wouldn't be changed whether Nazario was charged or not. But with the video of this incident widely shared, all three lives are undoubtedly changed. Politicians are weighing in, including Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who on Sunday directed Virginia state police to conduct an independent investigation.

Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


NEWTON: Still to come, we hear reaction from Prince Philip's children, as Britain morns the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. The latest from Windsor next.