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Jury Resumes Deliberations in Derek Chauvin Murder Trial; Nation Braces for Verdict as Judy Deliberates Chauvin Case; Brooklyn Center Mayor Says He Experienced Racism in Minnesota; J&J Vaccine Manufacturing Halted at Plant That had Contamination Issue. Aired 9- 9:30a ET
Aired April 20, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Their lives for a better, more just America.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.
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BERMAN: You have generations of struggle.
KEILAR: A remarkable partnership there. It's amazing to see.
CNN's coverage continues right now.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Very good Tuesday morning. Lots of news this morning. I'm Jim Sciutto.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow.
Well, the prosecution has made its case. The defense has made its. And now the fate of the Derek Chauvin murder trial rests in the hands of 12 jurors in Minneapolis. Right now we're waiting on those jurors to begin day two of their deliberations.
In its closing arguments yesterday, Chauvin's defense highlighted other factors they argue may have contributed to George Floyd's death, including heart problems. But listen to this. This is the prosecution on rebuttal flipping that narrative.
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JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTOR: You were told, for example, that Mr. Floyd died -- that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. You heard that testimony. The reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin's heart was too small.
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SCIUTTO: As jury deliberations play out, the nation is bracing for the possibility of unrest. Law enforcement agencies in Minneapolis and in other cities around the country are preparing for any violence that could be sparked by the outcome of the trial. This as lawmakers are facing renewed pressure to act finally on police reform in some sort of bipartisan compromise.
CNN's Josh Campbell, he is in Minneapolis, he will be in the courtroom today.
Josh, we don't know how many days the jury will deliberate. They're going to start later this morning. Tell us how things will play out.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's important first for those who may not have served on a jury to understand just how personality driven this process is. Think about it. You have 12 members of the public who presumably didn't know each other before this trial. They do build relationships during the course of the trial but they are then put in a room and told to deliberate, go through the evidence. Try to come up with some verdict on the three counts that this former officer is facing.
I can tell you, having been on a jury and been in the criminal justice system that this process is often involved with people who are more outspoken. Maybe some less so. But every one of those jurors in that room has an equal voice. And of course, a very large responsibility. Now as far as this specific jury today, we know that they will remain fully sequestered throughout this process of the deliberation. The daily start and ending times have not yet been established.
The court said that they could go as late as 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The judge said that they can have contact with their family. Of course they've been staying in hotels, but he's admonished them to not discuss the specifics of this case with anyone other than their fellow jurors. And now of course, they've been provided with that mountain of evidence, all the exhibits, all the images, all the video to go through.
But it's basically going to come down to this. The two competing arguments in this case, best summarized by the prosecution and defense yesterday during their closing arguments. Take a listen.
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STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: You can believe your eyes. It's exactly what you believed. It's exactly what you saw with your eyes. It's exactly what you knew. It's what you felt in your gut. It's what you now know in your heart. This wasn't policing. This was murder.
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: All of the evidence shows that Mr. Chauvin thought he was following his training. He was, in fact, following his training. He was following Minneapolis Police Department policies. He was trained this way. It all demonstrates a lack of intent.
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CAMPBELL: Now as Jim said, we don't know how long deliberation will go. It could be hours, it could be days, it could be weeks. I'm headed into court here in just a few minutes. We'll see what the day brings -- Jim, Poppy.
HARLOW: Josh, thank you. We're so glad to have you on the ground there.
For more on what may be going on in that jury room, as Josh just explained, let's bring in our friend and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates.
So, Laura, so many things to ask you. I just want to begin with what I was so struck by yesterday and that was Steve Schleicher, the prosecutor who gave the first closing argument, not the rebuttal. What he said repeatedly about this being a pro-police prosecution. Here he was.
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SCHLEICHER: Make no mistake. This is not a prosecution of the police. It is a prosecution of the defendant. And there's nothing worse for a good police than a bad police. This was not policing. He betrayed the badge and everything it stood for. It's not how they're trained. It's not following the rules. This is not an anti-police prosecution. It's a pro-police prosecution.
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HARLOW: Over and over again. Did it work? Was it impactful and important?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is very impactful. And here's why. There is a psychological hurdle that people have in the United States of America and beyond. Nobody wants to believe that a police officer wakes up in the morning, Poppy, puts on his or her uniform, adorns the badge and then goes out to kill somebody in the United States of America. A civilian in an unjustified way, of course.
So this is a way of getting to the idea of, look, this is the 10-foot pole distancing. This is not an attack on all police. This particular person was not acting in the nobility of the profession. This person was not trained to do this. You heard law enforcement official after law enforcement official, including his own chief, talk about who sets the policy. Training experts say this is not at all what we have instructed.
So it allows the jurors that distance that some people may need to say, look, this is somebody who was using the badge to commit a crime under essentially the color of the law. And using the badge because he could, not because he was trained to do so or because in any way the amount of force used was reasonable. SCIUTTO: We should note, Laura, as you were speaking there that the
jury has begun now its second day of deliberations. It's only 8:00 Central Time right now. They're beginning early. Getting right to work.
Laura, a question for you. The judge's instructions at the end, just before they began their deliberations, I want to draw your attention to one particular line from those written instructions. They go, the fact that other causes contributed to death does not relieve the defendant of criminal liability.
This gets to a point that you have made repeatedly that while the defense argument here was there could have been other factors at play, size of his heart, drug use, carbon monoxide, et cetera, that from a legal perspective that -- I don't want to say that doesn't matter but that you don't have to prove that the knee on the neck was the only cause, but just a substantial cause.
Tell us the impact of judges' instructions like that to the jury.
COATES: That's a very important reminder for the jury. You need not have the sole cause. That might seem odd to people to say, well, how can you not have one sole cause of death? They're saying, it's not whether the underlying conditions that this particular person had could have some day led to his demise. It was about why he died on that day. What caused his death on that occasion.
Now I remember the defense last week tried to plant a case that said it wasn't that it was George Floyd who was in the wrong place at the wrong time who found himself under the knee of Derek Chauvin. It was Derek Chauvin essentially who happened to coincidentally be there the day that the sand left the jar for -- excuse me, George Floyd. And so this idea they're trying to make sure the jury understands, it's not the judge trying to put his thumb on the scale. It's a reminder of what the Minnesota law is that it need only be a substantial causal factor.
And one other point, Jim, it's as important for prosecutors to show jurors what they had to prove to meet their burden of proof as it is to show what they did not have to prove. And the idea of when you have no intent as being one of the components and unintentional murder as one of the components, the idea of not having to prove that it was the sole cause, that's important for a jury to know to contextualize and hone in on what the burden of proof was and whether they met it.
SCIUTTO: To be clear, Laura, just for my own understanding there, do you not need to prove intent for any of those three charges?
COATES: For the murder charges -- especially the one the third-degree murder and of course second-degree murder cases, you have the idea of this nuance. It's the idea of they need not intend murder to kill this person. You need to intend to commit the act that caused the death.
SCIUTTO: I see.
COATES: That's not the same as actual intent. SCIUTTO: I understood.
COATES: You've got second-degree and third-degree and manslaughter. The range is not intent. It's about the different levels of negligence and about the idea of committing an underlying felony. That being the assault.
SCIUTTO: Right. Understood. There's so much nuance here. It's difficult things for jurors to consider and to come to unanimous agreement on. That's what they're going to be working towards now.
Laura Coates, thanks very much.
COATES: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Well, law enforcement officials across the country are bracing for the potential of unrest, possibly violence as well, if the Derek Chauvin jury delivers a verdict that some find unfavorable.
HARLOW: Minnesota's Governor Tim Walz has just declared an emergency in seven counties in the region allowing him to bring in law enforcement help from Ohio and Nebraska.
Our colleague Adrienne Broaddus joins us in Minneapolis this morning.
Can you -- obviously, they're bringing in more folks because they saw what happened in the wake of George Floyd's killing. But can you talk about the other steps that are being taken in Minneapolis, what it's like on the ground there ahead of the verdict?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And part of the reason the governor said they're bringing in those additional members of the National Guard is because cities across the Twin Cities are exhausted. They don't have the resources to provide adequate public safety, according to Governor Walz. Obviously, Minneapolis was already preparing for what could potentially happen following the verdict in the Chauvin trial.
If you drive around downtown Minneapolis, you'll notice much of what you see behind me, barricades and barbed wires. We are outside of the police station in the downtown area. It's about a half mile from the Hennepin County courthouse. And this is a step to protect some valuable infrastructure that the city sees. Because keep in mind they don't want to happen what happened here 11 months ago following the killing of George Floyd. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed.
Some people are still dealing with that devastation and some business owners haven't been able to reopen because that happened right during the height of the pandemic. They were closed. And then the damage from the protesters came along and just amplified that situation.
Aside from what you see around the Twin Cities, schools are returning to distance learning tomorrow in Minneapolis. So parents once again struggling to juggle their schedules because the kids will be at home. And Poppy, these are many children who are asking what's happened? And
what happens now will impact those students -- Jim and Poppy.
HARLOW: Yes, for sure. Adrienne, thank you, on the ground in Minneapolis.
SCIUTTO: Joining us now to discuss the police response, Charles Ramsey, former Philadelphia police commissioner, former D.C. police chief.
Charles, good to have you on.
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: It's a delicate balance, right, that law enforcement and the National Guard, by the way, has to strike here. Now, I mean, you have protests, peaceful ones like the ones we just showed there with Adrienne's report, marching through the streets. You have other ones that have become more violent. And we've seen police kind of ratchet things up and down and you have some commanders now promising, vowing to de-escalate rather than escalate.
And I just wonder, as you've watched the response and the preparations for this verdict, do you see them striking a balance there of allowing peaceful protests, but responding in such a way to control violence if it were to happen?
RAMSEY: Yes, I think so. I mean, you have to have that balance. Even when you have a situation where a few people start to break windows, let's say, or cause other types of destruction, you have to take action. It is very important that as soon as you resolve that you de- escalate once again. The majority of people that are there are there to peacefully protest. They are upset. They have an issue. They have a constitutional right to petition their government. That's what they're there for.
But there's not unusual to have a group of folks that are there who have something different in mind and that's where you wind up with a problem. Often that occurs at night and that's why you see a dramatic shift usually between the protests you see during the day and sometimes what you see at night. Again, not everyone at night is violent or causing problems, but there are some. So police have to be prepared for both.
HARLOW: I want to show you the editorial board piece in the "Minneapolis Star Tribune" this morning. Here's the headline. It says stop the attacks on journalists. And it details -- maybe we don't have it, but I mean -- there you go. It details what happened over the last week, Charles, even after a judge issued this order on Friday to ban law enforcement from using physical force on journalists. Within hours of that, journalists covering the protests in Brooklyn Center were rounded up by officers, told to lie on the ground on their stomachs.
Reporters and photographers gassed with chemical spray at close range, shot with rubber bullets, treated roughly even after showing identification. By the way, it happened to our colleagues twice. It happened to Omar Jimenez right after George Floyd was killed. It just happened to our fantastic producer Carolyn Sung. I bring this up because I wonder if it concerns you and is indicative of what may be to come against journalists ahead but others protesting in the streets after this verdict if that happens.
RAMSEY: Well, it definitely concerns me. I mean, there's another balance there. I mean, reporters are there to do their job. And, you know, if there's going to be something that puts them in danger and you let them know so they can move and not be hurt, I mean, that's one thing. But to actually go through what I saw earlier with some of the journalists, no, that should not occur.
I remember when I was in Philadelphia, we had an issue, it wasn't around demonstrations. It was around crime scene protection and access to crime scenes. Some reporters like to get a little too close to a crime scene. I actually called in directors of the various news organizations, print and visual media, and we sat down and went through the directive and I took their suggestions and they helped create the new directive that we use in order -- on how to deal with the media.
And so there are ways in which you can have those kinds of discussions and avoid those problems that come up because they have a First Amendment right to be there to cover it. I mean, that's not to say a mistake can't be made but if they're showing I.D. and so forth, there's no excuse for that.
SCIUTTO: The largest police union in the country, Washington, D.C.- based Fraternal Order of the Police, it issued a statement welcoming in their words loud but peaceful protests ahead of the Chauvin verdict.
I wonder how important that statement is, in other words acknowledging that there's a right here to protest, but obviously keep it peaceful.
RAMSEY: It is incredibly important, I think for them to speak up. And rarely do you hear a union say anything like that. So I'm very pleased when I saw that, when I heard that, believe me, more unions should step up and deal with those kinds of situations. I mean, that's our constitution, too, as a police officer.
The same constitution that people have that are out there demonstrating in the streets. They have a right to do it. Our job is to protect that right, but at the same time, protect property, protect individuals that could be harmed or what have you. That's where the balance comes in. It's give and take, but the bottom line is, we're there to support their right to protest, not to take that right away.
HARLOW: Commissioner Ramsey, thank you so much this morning --
RAMSEY: Thank you --
HARLOW: Especially. Well, still to come -- wait until you hear what the mayor of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, says he has been victim of racial profiling, violence by police in his city and more than once. His story ahead. And more trouble for Johnson & Johnson. A manufacturing facility has paused production of their COVID vaccine at the request of the FDA. More on that ahead.
SCIUTTO: And the D.C. medical examiner says that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick did not die due to injuries sustained during the Capitol insurrection. The details of that finding and what it means, coming up.
HARLOW: Well, more trouble in the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. The FDA has now ordered a plant in Baltimore to pause manufacturing while they inspect that facility.
SCIUTTO: Yet, one more challenge. Last month, 15 million doses of the vaccine were ruined when workers at that plant mixed up ingredients for the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines. We should note that the J&J shots used to date in the U.S. were manufactured overseas. Last week, the FDA and CDC paused use of the J&J vaccine after six reported cases of a rare but dangerous blood clot among women who had recently been vaccinated.
HARLOW: Oh, let's discuss all of this with Dr. Richard Besser; former acting director of the CDC, current president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and because we're talking about J&J, I just want to put this out there for a disclaimer. Your foundation funded through a charitable donation from the creator of Johnson & Johnson. So now -- I mean, now what with J&J?
You've got this plant issue, you've got no decision yet by the -- by the, you know, governing bodies, and you've got a list of symptoms that people need to look out for after getting vaccinated, that includes sudden severe headache, backache, new neurological symptoms, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, tiny red spots on the skin or new or easy bruising. How long do we have to watch and see if we get those?
RICHARD BESSER, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION: Yes, you know, I think it was a very smart decision by the CDC, by the FDA to put a pause on the administration of the J&J vaccine for a number of reasons.
You know, when the vaccine trials are done, they're done in tens of thousands of people, and that will pick up more common side effects. But it's not until you administer a vaccine in millions of people that you see something that could be extremely rare. And the signals here, these six individuals, are that there could be a connection between the J&J vaccine and this very rare type of clot.
And the reason it's important to take a pause is that there are different ways to treat clots in people. And the routine way to treat a clot that someone might get in their leg, the more common types of clots is with a drug called Heparin. For this special type of clot that has been seen in these six
individuals, giving that drug Heparin is actually dangerous. So taking a pause, they can -- they can let doctors know what to look for, how to approach that and hopefully maintain confidence in the whole vaccine system that we are looking for, for anywhere possible complication, and when that happens, there's going to be transparency and people will know what's going on.
SCIUTTO: Yes, it's remarkable that the main drug used to address clots actually make this worse in this case. I wonder, though, given Dr. Fauci's comments earlier this week, saying that perhaps by this Friday, the FDA will reauthorize this use with recommendations. That assessment, plus putting out this more detailed guidance on what symptoms to look for after taking this. I wonder if you see the makings of a path back for the J&J vaccine. I mean, is that something of a hopeful sign amidst this?
BESSER: Yes, you know, I hope so. Dr. Walensky yesterday said that there may be a few additional cases that have been identified during this period. But what I'll be looking for is what kind of a recommendation do they make?
When you look at the cases so far, they were all seen in women younger than 50. So, do they have a different recommendation for women than they do for men? Or is there just information that's shared so people can make an informed decision? The occurrence is very rare. You know, you talk about six cases in 7 million doses.
But you have to think about whether 7 million is the right number if all of the cases were in women, and there're some reason that women are at risk and men are not, then that number of 7 million may be, you know, six cases in 3 million or 4 million. So, we'll be looking to see what they -- what they say on Friday.
I hope it comes back because, you know, a one-dose vaccine is really valuable, and a vaccine that doesn't require ultra cold temperatures especially in countries where refrigeration, freezing is not something that's relatively accessible. You want to have more vaccines out there.
HARLOW: You wrote such a powerful piece in "USA Today" about our kids and as we reopen and lift mask mandates. Here is what you write. "Americans face a challenge of our own making on the path to herd immunity. Our failure to properly consider the needs of children." What are we doing wrong?
BESSER: I think there's a lot we're doing wrong. I'm a pediatrician and a parent. And you know, we're talking now about this pandemic being over. But there are no license vaccines, there are no approved vaccines for children. And although the severity of COVID, thankfully, is less in kids, until we have those vaccines out there, we need to wear masks.
We need to wash our hands. We need to do these things to protect children. And we need to make sure that the resources are getting to schools so that children can learn in person and in particular, if you look at schools that serve lower income communities, schools that serve black and brown children, there's a real disparity between what's available for those schools and what's available for schools that --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
BESSER: Serve primarily white children in wealthier neighborhoods. We have to fix that.
SCIUTTO: There's an education disparity like there's a wealth disparity, exposed by this pandemic. Dr. Richard Besser, thanks so much.
BESSER: Thanks so much, Jim, thanks, Poppy.
SCIUTTO: Ahead this hour, we're going to ask a community leader in Minneapolis about working for real change after the Chauvin trial no matter what the verdict, what steps are needed to move forward. Some recommendations still to come.
HARLOW: We are moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Take a look there, futures slightly lower this morning, investors keeping a close eye on what's happening in Washington when it comes to a host of legislation. Also, the LinkedIn co-founder telling CNN Business companies should halt funding for politicians who move to limit voting rights.