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Third Night of Clashes Between Police, Protesters; Defense Expert: Chauvin Justified in Kneeling on Floyd; U.S. Recommend Pausing J&J Vaccine Over Rare Blood Clots; Biden Aims to Withdraw U.S. Forces by September 11; Tehran Says It Will Increase Uranium Enrichment to 60 Percent. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 14, 2021 - 04:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: 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 Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, a third night of clashes in Minnesota as demonstrators protest over the deadly police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

The White House tries to ease fears after U.S. health officials paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

And ending America's longest war. Later today President Biden is expected to announce that U.S. troops will withdraw from Afghanistan.

Thanks for joining us. Well, Minnesota police confronted demonstrators on the third night of protests over the fatal police shooting of 20- year-old Daunte Wright. Despite peaceful daytime protests the scene turned chaotic as night fell. Water bottles and fireworks were thrown by protesters while police used flash banks to try to disperse the crowd. Police have declared the protests unlawful assembly and have arrested at least 60 people.

At one point protesters knelt for more than nine minutes to pay their respects to George Floyd, another black man killed by Minnesota police. The former officer charged with kneeling on Floyd's neck for that same amount of time is on trial right now just ten miles away.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota police chief as well as the officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright submitted their resignations. The mayor of Brooklyn Center says he has not yet accepted the officer's resignation. Officer Kim Potter is a 26-year veteran of the town's police department. Authorities say Sunday's fatal shooting during a traffic stop was accidental. That Potter mistook her service gun for her Taser. Daunte Wright's family is demanding justice.


Well CNN is on the ground in Brooklyn Center following these protests throughout the night. Earlier our Miguel Marquez was watching a face- off between demonstrators and police after the curfew began.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't know how much longer we're going to be able to stay in this position, but I just want to give you a quick scene set up. This is the state's patrol over here, coming up from the south side of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. You can see the crowd here that is trying to stay here, trying to show defiance in the name of Daunte Wright and challenging police. Many of them with umbrellas to keep the spray away from them. They've been spraying lots of pepper spray at them.

But this is the police station here, these are National Guardsmen on this side, sheriff's department here. This is a sheriff's department vehicle that they just pulled up to the very front gate of the police department. John, come over this way.

Bottles, lots of bottles, water bottles being thrown at police and fireworks being shot at police as well. There're also fireworks that have been sort of lit off in the area here. But this is the standoff now. Police have formed a cordon along the entire street here and they are moving toward the north to try to move this crowd back and this is -- John, come up here -- this is sort of what's left of the crowd.

It's these individuals with the umbrellas, much of the crowd has moved down a side street here and are probably not going to stick around very long. The curfew has just gone into effect here and it appears that the police want to clear the area as quickly as possible. They want it known that they can be here for hours and hours and do the protests and the remembrances and taunt them throughout the afternoon, but when it comes time to ending the protests and putting the curfew into effect ...


CHURCH: And people who knew Daunte Wright are remembering the person they've lost. A mentor of the 20-year-old spoke to CNN.


JONATHAN MASON, MENTORED DAUNTE WRIGHT: Daunte was such an amazing kid. He had a ray of sunshine that came from him, everybody looked up to him as far as an individual within the school. He always brought a certain type of joy and spunk to him and that's what drawn me to him right away. And you know, me and him kicked it off right away and I wanted to help him become a basketball player within Minneapolis. So you know, I fought to get him on the basketball team, we were working on getting his homework done.


CHURCH: And while tensions mount in Brooklyn Center, the defense for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, has started presenting its case in Minneapolis. CNN's Omar Jimenez is following that story from Minnesota.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The beginning of the defense's case for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin offered jurors the first expert witness to definitively defend Chauvin's actions.

BARRY BRODD, USE OF FORCE EXPERT: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): A use of force consultants saying the officers could have used more force when he resisted.

BRODD: I felt that that level of resistance exhibited by Mr. Floyd justified the officers and higher levels use of force that they chose not to select.

JIMENEZ: But during cross-examination, prosecutors pushed back, specifically on the length of time of the use of force, asking if the same situational awareness an officer might use to monitor a crowd should also be used to monitor a suspect's medical condition.

STEVE SCHLEICHER, MINNESOTA PROSECUTOR: Particularly if they're exhibiting signs of distress.


SCHLEICHER: Loss of consciousness.


SCHLEICHER: Inability to breathe.


SCHLEICHER: Loss of pulse.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): At times growing tense.

SCHLEICHER: The defendant did not alter the level of force that he was using on Mr. Floyd, did he?


SCHLEICHER: Even thought Mr. Floyd by this point had become as you put, compliant, fair?

BRODD: More compliant, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Well what part of this is not compliant?

Brodd: So I see his arm position in the picture that's posted.


BRODD: You know, a compliant would have both their hands in the small of their back, and just be resting comfortably, versus like he's still moving around.

SCHLEICHER: Did you say resting comfortably?

BRODD: Or laying comfortably.

SCHLEICHER: Resting comfortably on the pavement


JIMENEZ (voice over): Some of the testimony Tuesday went into George Floyd's past, including a portion of a 2019 arrest, which the Judge allowed because he ruled it was similar to the deadly May 2020 confrontation, a confrontation by police followed by a rapid ingestion of drugs.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So he told you that he had taken a pill at the time the officers were apprehending him.


JIMENEZ (voice over): The paramedic who recommended Floyd go to the hospital that day was called by the defense focusing on drugs taken then and the high blood pressure recorded.

NELSON: Did you record what his blood pressure was at that time?

MOSENG: It was 216 over 160.

JIMENEZ (voice over): The prosecutors drew a critical bottom line in their cross examination.

ERIN ELDRIDGE, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: He didn't have a stroke while you were with him?


ELDRIDGE: He was never given Narcan, correct?

MOSENG: Correct.

ELDRIDGE: He didn't stop breathing.


ELDRIDGE: His heart didn't stop.


ELDRIDGE: He didn't go into cardiac arrest.


ELDRIDGE: He didn't go into a coma.



CHURCH: And our thanks to CNN's Omar Jimenez for that report.

Well, the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is on hold in the United States, advisers from the CDC will hold an emergency meeting later today on the rare and severe blood clots among a very small number of women who have received the J&J shot.

Just six reported cases out of about seven million doses administered in the U.S., but the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recommended a pause on the vaccine until a review is complete. Many other countries also have plans to use the Johnson & Johnson shot. Here you can see the millions of doses ordered worldwide, more than 200 million for the African Union and 500 million for the global COVAX program. The J&J rollout in Europe has also been paused.

And to be clear there is no definitive link as of yet between these blood clots and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. And as Alexandra Field reports Americans are weighing the risks. Risks.



ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a setback that won't set everyone back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really originally wanted the Johnson & Johnson, so I didn't have to come back for the second one, but it is what it is.

FIELD (voice-over): But it could critically damage confidence among people who are less certain.

TATIANA MARTINS, NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT: I think people who have vaccine hesitancy are probably looking for things to validate their hesitancy.

FIELD (voice-over): Federal vaccination sites across the country have temporarily stopped administering Johnson & Johnson shots along with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies and a growing number of states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took the J&J. A lot of my staff did. If and when it's safe to return to giving the J&J, we'll do that.

FIELD (voice-over): In many places, people scheduled for the J&J shots already being offered other vaccines.

DENISE FAIR, CHIEF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER, DETROIT HEALTH DEPARTMENT: For those Detroiters who were scheduled for a J&J shot, we're going to replace them with either Moderna or Pfizer. FIELD (voice-over): All of this after the CDC and FDA issued a recommendation to pause the use of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot reported in six of more than the 7.2 million people in the U.S. who have been given the shot. All six cases occurring among women between the ages of 18 and 48, within six to 13 days after injection and including one death.

Health experts expected a small number of complications. This type of clot wasn't among them.

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I think what people be is, is don't freak out. I'll be going on in my life, but I would be very in tune to my body and if I develop shortness of breath, if I develop leg pain, I develop a headache and I'm within two to three weeks of having had a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, I would immediately notify my health care provider.

FIELD (voice-over): The CDC and FDA say the pause will allow for a review of the new data. It will also provide time to notify health care providers about how to identify this type of clot and how to treat it.

FAUCI: It's going to be more like days to weeks rather than weeks to months.

FIELD (voice-over): Health officials are urging people to stay confident in the safety and efficacy of vaccines, stressing there are no similar concerns with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

FAUCI: You're talking about tens and tenses and tens of millions of people who receive vaccine with no adverse effect. This is a really rare event if you look at what we know so far.

FIELD: And here at the Javits Center in New York people who were scheduled to get a J&J vaccine are being offered a dose of Pfizer instead. The Governor Andrew Cuomo says the pause will not hold up appointments statewide. The state was also counting on a greatly diminished number of Johnson & Johnson shots this week because of a manufacturing problem. On top of that the CDC has now sent an email to all states instructing them to hold on to those doses of Johnson & Johnson and label them do not use for now.

In New York Alexandra Field, CNN.



CHURCH: And as we just heard the White House insists the pause in Johnson & Johnson will not seriously impact the national vaccine plan because there are already enough Pfizer and Moderna doses for 300 million Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My message to the American people on the vaccine is I told you all, I made sure we have 600 million doses of the MR -- not of either Johnson & Johnson and or AstraZeneca. So there is enough vaccine that is basically 100 percent unquestionable for every single solitary American.


CHURCH: Meanwhile, there is encouraging news from Moderna, which says its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective for at least six months after vaccination. The company cited preliminary results from its phase three trial. It also showed the vaccine is more than 95 percent effective against severe disease.

Well, the U.S. surgeon general also echoed President Biden's optimism on the vaccines. He spoke earlier with CNN's Anderson Cooper.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: The good news is that we actually have adequate supply with Moderna and with Pfizer to be able to vaccinate the adult population by the end of July in the United States and even much of the adolescent population.

But the other piece is with Moderna we've actually found that we can actually enable it to be stored in manners that primary care doctors can actually store it in their offices and deliver it. Actually, I had family members of mine who are doctors who are delivering and administering the Moderna vaccine to patients. And in the early days we weren't sure if that was even going to be possible.

So I'll say the more this vaccination campaign has gone on the more we've been able to find ways to get it out into the population, administer it and I'm confident even with what's happening with Johnson & Johnson we will be able to vaccinate the country and do so effectively.


CHURCH: Joe Biden is looking to do in Afghanistan what three other U.S. presidents couldn't, leave. We are live in Kabul ahead of a major announcement on ending America's longest war.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well President Joe Biden will speak to lawmakers in a joint session of Congress on April 28th. He got the formal invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday. She asked him to share his vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the country. Pelosi had said she held off inviting the president amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

And a likely hot topic at that point session of Congress, Afghanistan. Later today President Biden is set to announce U.S. forces will leave the country by September 11th. That will be two decades since the 9/11 attacks and the start of America's longest war.

But despite trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, Afghanistan remains extremely volatile. Many observers fear a hasty exit by the U.S. will be a win for the Taliban. The militants could erode basic rights, especially for women, and bolster a safe haven for terrorists.

For the latest from Afghanistan CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now live from Kabul. So Nick, what impact will a withdrawal of U.S. troops in September likely have on the lives of Afghans and of course, on the Taliban's influence and power?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: What is key exactly how that withdraw occurs and what precedes it. Now Joe Biden has been clear through his officials trailing this announcement that they are leaving regardless. Not a conditions-based withdrawal before it can be said that America has been here for 20 years.

The symbolism of that is very important but it also plays in two ways, yes, to an American public -- many of whom frankly are not even sure if America is still fighting this war -- but also to a peace process that is ongoing where there are huge hurdles. Where there are a Taliban gaining ground militarily here in parts of the country being the government, frankly, running their own backwards society where women often aren't allowed out without a male companion. Where the Taliban set taxes, have their own form of justice.

But the Taliban at this point for the last 48 hours have twice said they are not interested in the key plank of Biden's negotiated strategy here which is a peace summit in Istanbul. It was meant to happen this Saturday, now it's being called for Saturday week. Many countries attending but the Taliban saying at this stage they are not interested.

We've heard from them before so that may well change. They say they don't want to go until all foreign forces have left. The Afghan government, well they have been reluctant to some degree to look at this peace process because the Biden administration wants a transitional government first with the Taliban involved so everyone can work out how the country moves forward. The Afghan government want to see elections first. So that's the major crisis really for the peace talks as they move forward.

And then there is the reality on the ground. A fighting season as they call the summer months here fast approaching with the Taliban fractured as it is, not always speaking with a cohesive voice, but definitely winning on the battlefield. Held back often only by U.S. air strikes that are kept in check often by diplomatic talks asking the Americans to hold off.

So we're into a key few months here, it will be important to hear exactly what Joe Biden says and the details of their departure. We're hearing NATO allies, frankly, always dependent on U.S. infrastructure to be here saying they will likely leave with the Americans, too. It may be before September 11th if these peace talks go well. But you have to understand here, the Taliban have always had a saying, the Americans have the expensive watch, but they have the time, and they see time on their side here certainly.


They've been waiting for this moment for decades and now they have it, the Americans saying we're going, the Afghan government clearly saying they wish they weren't and a peace process now in front of them where they're frankly feeling emboldened enough to say they're not interested.

That will likely change, I think, but still a very complicated few months ahead here where ordinary Afghans will be desperately hoping it doesn't result in greater violence and the Americans and other Westerners who served here, lost lives, limbs, parts of their life to it hoping that some sort of gain can be left behind for America's longest war -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from Kabul. Many thanks.

Iran says it will ramp up its levels of uranium enrichment to 60 percent. Tehran made the announcement just days after an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility and says it's a response to that incident. Iran accuses Israel of sabotage and has vowed revenge. Israel has had no comment. The 60 percent level is short of what's required for a nuclear weapon, but it's a major step toward it. The U.S. calls Iran's move a provocative announcement while France says it's a grave development.

And CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is in Berlin, he joins us now with more on all of this. Fred, what impact might this have on Iran's efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with the U.S.?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's already having a big effect on the negotiations, of course, are taking place in Vienna. It certainly makes things more difficult. I don't necessarily think that it's going to derail those talks, but it certainly is having an effect.

One of the things that happened this morning, Rosemary is that Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, he was speaking publicly, and he confirmed that, yes, Iran going up to that 60 percent enrichment, speeding up that enrichment and going to a higher grade of uranium that that is in direct response to what happened there at the Natanz nuclear facility. He said Iran cannot stand ideally by. He also said that obviously, Iran wants to send a message that even if there are things done against Iran's nuclear program that Iran will continue to press forward.

He said that old centrifuges are destroyed, new centrifuges will come into effect. The interesting thing that the Iranians have been saying is that the process of trying to get to that 60 percent enrichment of uranium is something that's going to start very soon. They're probably going to seeing that kick into really full gear next week. So that is something that is ongoing.

Then you have the United States who are saying that they're not sure whether Iran is serious about these negotiations. This move of going up to the 60 percent enrichment that that is something that they say is obviously very troubling to the United States. They said that the Iranians have to show that they are still serious about those negotiations. And the U.S. quite frankly is also calling on its allied nations that are still in the nuclear agreement, of course, France, and the U.K. and Germany, to also reject the Iranians going up to that 60 percent.

So it certainly is something that kind of weighs on the mood of those negotiations, nevertheless those negotiations are going to continue. They were supposed to continue today, actually, Rosemary, however, it appears as though one of the people in one of the delegations got a positive COVID test. And so therefore, they've been pushed back by a day and are now set to start tomorrow. So they have not been derailed but you do feel how this incident does really weigh on the negotiations and is certainly having a certain degree of influence as well -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Of course, Fred Pleitgen joining us live from Berlin, many thanks.

Protesters in Minnesota are demanding accountability following the latest police killing of an unarmed young black man. Details on when the officer involved could face charges. That's next.