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Three Other Officers Charged in Floyd's Death; Tipping Point on Vaccine Enthusiasm. Aired 9:30-10a ET.

Aired April 21, 2021 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[09:33:36]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The big question now is about next steps. What does Derek Chauvin's conviction mean for the three other ex- officers charged in George Floyd's death facing charges for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Right. They'll face trial in august. Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, all fired and arrested after Floyd's killing.

Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with more on their upcoming trials and the charges that they face.

And, I mean, you know, I think that was obviously a huge question in this trial in terms of what could be used from this in that trial.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it's going to be all of the same evidence, Poppy, right, the same witnesses, the same body-worn camera footage that we have seen so much of at this point.

One of the interesting things that's going to -- what's going to be interesting to see is, how the defense attorneys for the three officers, how they try to use this trial, certainly the publicity, the attention and all the evidence that is now out in the public, how they're going to try and use that to perhaps maybe try to move the case, try to do something else to argue that perhaps somehow all the publicity has now prejudiced their clients in the cases against them. So that's certainly going to be interesting.

And then again also bringing in, you know, a lot of these witnesses, a lot of the young people who testified, the people in the community who testified, having to relive a lot of this for the family of George Floyd.

[09:35:04]

They're all going to have to relive all of this again from the testimony and from all of the footage that we have seen. The other thing, obviously, what's going to be interesting is to see

the presentation by the prosecution, specifically some of those initial officers who responded to the scene. One of those officers we've seen in the video pointing a gun at George Floyd and just how frightened he was at that moment. So all of that, that testimony surrounding all of that is going to come during this trial, which is set for August 23rd.

And, of course, the big question about, how does the city, the country prepare for the next phase of this -- of this trial and what's to come.

SCIUTTO: Yes, Chauvin's own sentencing and then that trial. Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.

Well, just in the last few moments, we have received a new booking photo, as it's known, of Chauvin as he heads to prison. We also learned this morning that he will be segregated from the rest of the general prison population while he's there. A step that is taken, say authorities, when safety is a concern.

But that's a new photo of Derek Chauvin following his conviction.

Joining us now, Charles Ramsey, former Philadelphia police commissioner, former D.C. police chief as well, and Terrance Gainer, former Senate sergeant at arms.

Gentlemen, thanks so much both of you this morning.

Charles, I want to begin with you because you served in uniform. You commanded men and women in uniform for decades. And I just wonder if you can describe how police officers at work, on the beat, take this verdict in. Do they individually rethink the way they police? You know, this is beyond a policy question. It's a practice question, how this plays out in the real world.

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER AND FORMER D.C. POLICE CHIEF: Well, the reality is, the majority of police officers do not police, if you could call it policing, anything like Derek Chauvin.

I think, and I go back to the closing arguments by the prosecution where they said, this isn't an anti-police trial, it's a pro-police trial. And it is pro-police in that when you think about the officers who have died in the line of duty, you think about the men and women who serve with honor every single day, this actually supports them.

And so the majority of officers -- and I've not spoken to a single one who saw that tape who thought his actions were proper, or anything other than just criminal, quite frankly. So, you know, as far as the men and women of the department go, I mean, he got a trial. He got a fair trial. He was convicted. I've not heard just a single question.

And the Fraternal Order of Police even, the National Fraternal Order of Police agreed with the verdict. And so I really do think that this is a time now for change, real

change in policing, and that's for the benefit of the men and women who are out there doing the job every day.

HARLOW: To that exact point, Terrance, I wonder what you think about this. LZ Granderson writes in "The Los Angeles Times" this morning, quote, progress doesn't come from one verdict. Progress is having one of those three cops with Chauvin that day intervene to save Floyd's life. As long as good cops still need a video to go viral before turning in bad ones, we'll be in the same spot we were the day before Floyd died.

Is he right?

TERRANCE GAINER, FORMER SENATE SERGEANT AT ARMS: Well, there's a possibility that he's right. But what I've seen across the country, and what Chief Ramsey has seen, is the change and a lot more conversations about the duty to intervene.

So I think this was a very important message to all law enforcement, even -- even though this case was easy to see how bad it was, we still have to work at the fact that police officers have to remember their fundamental duty is to serve mankind. And they have to intervene when they need to intervene.

SCIUTTO: Well, it's interesting, in the George Floyd Justice and Police Act, the proposed police reform legislation, duty to intervene is one of the changes. Training on that in effect, reinforcing training on that, but also other steps, banning chokeholds, ending or overhauling qualified immunity, which protects officers in civil suits.

But I wanted to, Charles Ramsey, to zero in on one point, mandating use of deadly force as a last resort. And this gets to my last question. You know, I'm not saying that the law enforcement is full of officers like Derek Chauvin. I'm just asking, does this lead to police reconsidering when deadly force is justified, right, and training -- putting more barriers around that, right, you know, a greater emphasis on de-escalation over escalation, if you know what I'm saying? Is that possible? Is it necessary?

RAMSEY: Sure. And, in fact, it's happening now. De-escalation is a big part of police training, and deadly force should be a last resort. Officers should do everything they can to protect life, not take life.

But, at the same time, every time an officer uses force, it's not -- it shouldn't be viewed as being criminal or being wrong.

[09:40:04]

There are going to be, unfortunately, times when that has to occur, but those aren't normal times. I mean it's rare, actually, when you look at the number of contacts. As far as the duty to intervene, if I could just very quickly, Georgetown Law actually has created a program, active bystander for law enforcement. They call it ABLE. And it's going national. And it's all about

intervening if you see misconduct on the part of another officer. So the duty to intervene is very, very critically important. It shouldn't be after the fact. Right on the scene, if you see something going wrong, step in and stop it.

HARLOW: Very quickly for you, Terrance, before we go, how important was it for you, as a -- as a former officer and other officers, to hear, in the closing argument from the prosecution, this is not an anti-police case, this is a pro-police case?

GAINER: I think it was very important because I think it sent a message to both the police and the public because even the shooting that just happened yesterday in Columbus, I've seen some of the interviews of neighbors, people of color, who have indicated this is different. So we all have to take a critical look. Police have to look at how they do their job. And the public has to be fair in how they see them do their job. So we've all learned from this.

And I think the other thing that struck me about this, we remember how Martin Luther King talked about the long arc of --

HARLOW: Justice.

GAINER: Bending.

SCIUTTO: Bends toward justice.

HARLOW: Yes. Ye.

GAINER: I think this -- I think this was the bend everybody was waiting for.

HARLOW: Wow. Wow.

Thank you, Terrance. Thank you, Charles, very much.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

HARLOW: More than 86 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID, but a new report says it could get much harder for the U.S. to reach herd immunity in the next few weeks. We'll tell you why, ahead.

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[09:46:13]

HARLOW: Welcome back.

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says the U.S. could reach a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm in just the next few weeks.

SCIUTTO: The report says essentially that the folks who still have not been vaccinated, have chosen not to be, are more hesitant and that that could present challenges for the U.S. reaching herd immunity.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with more.

So, Elizabeth, is it enough, right? I mean are there enough folks here to prevent getting to that magic number of herd immunity, 70 percent, 75 percent of the population being vaccinated or having some immunity?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, that's unclear, but the hope is, is that with the proper education campaigns, the proper PSAs, ads, et cetera, that we can sort of convince that approximately one-third of Americans who aren't so excited about getting this vaccine.

So let's talk about this Kaiser Family Foundation poll and why they say that we are at a tipping point. You know, right now, people who are wanting to get the vaccine, they're out there. They're enthusiastic. Sometimes they're waiting long times and they're going online and making appointments. So, the Kaiser Family Foundation says that in about two weeks everyone who wants a vaccine will have received it.

But, here's the catch. Again, it looks like about one-third of -- more than third of Americans either don't want the shot or aren't so sure. So that's the tipping point. We will have vaccinated all the people who want it. Now the job of the U.S. government is to try to educate that final, approximately 37 percent, that they need to get it.

Jim. Poppy.

SCIUTTO: That's a big percent, 37 percent of the country.

HARLOW: Big.

COHEN: It is.

SCIUTTO: Let's hope -- let's hope those efforts work. And, frankly, you know, a lot of them, it seems to have been affected by deliberate disinformation, right, against the efficacy and dangers of vaccines.

Elizabeth Cohen, great to have you on the story.

COHEN: That's right.

HARLOW: Thank you, Elizabeth.

Ahead, accountability this morning for the murder of George Floyd. Next, the 17-year-old girl whose video changed the world in the fight for justice.

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[09:52:48]

HARLOW: As we wake up this morning to a world where so many who have felt so much injustice for so long are finally seeing accountability, we have to remember that it very likely would not have been were it not for a 17-year-old girl. Her name is Darnella Frazier. That fateful day in May, in her hometown of Minneapolis, Darnella took her cousin on a walk to get a snack. And then she saw it, the knee of then Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on the neck of George Floyd.

It stopped her in her tracks, and she bore witness, not only herself, but for the world. She pulled out her phone, hit record and held it steady, not flinching, perhaps knowing the world needed to see this for any hope of justice to be served.

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DARNELLA FRAZIER, WITNESSED AND RECORDED GEORGE FLOYD'S MURDER: I heard George Floyd saying, I can't breathe, please get off of me. I can't breathe. He -- he cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew -- seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering.

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HARLOW: And then she also said this on the witness stand.

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DARNELLA FRAZIER, WITNESSED AND RECORDED GEORGE FLOYD'S MURDER: When I look at George Floyd, I look at -- I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all black. I have black -- I have a black father. I have a black brother.

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HARLOW: The day after George Floyd was murdered, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier told her hometown paper, "The Minneapolis Star Tribune," as soon as I heard him trying to fight for his life, it was like a natural instinct. The world needs to see what I was seeing. Stuff like this happens in silence too many times.

And last night George Floyd's aunt, Angela Harrellson, reminded all of us of that silence.

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ANGELA HARRELLSON, GEORGE FLOYD'S AUNT: The sad thing is, is that if it wasn't been for that 17-year-old girl, Darnella, it would have been another black man that was killed by the police, his own fault, and they would have said, oh, it was drugs, oh, it was this.

[09:55:04]

And we would never have the story. We wouldn't be here today talking.

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HARLOW: And as "Washington Post" columnist Margaret Sullivan reminds us so importantly in her moving piece as the verdict came down, what Anita Hill said to Darnella Frazier, presenting her with an award earlier this year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANITA HILL: Your quick thinking and bravery under immense pressure has made the world safer and more just.

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HARLOW: Her name is Darnella Frazier, and she is now 18 years old. And she, like George Floyd, changed the world.

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SCIUTTO: A very good Wednesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

[10:00:00]

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is now convicted on all three counts in George Floyd's murder.