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Body Camera Footage Reveals Ma'Khia Bryant Had Knife; President Biden Pushes for George Floyd Justice in Policing Act; Vaccine Hesitant Present Next COVID Immunity Challenge. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 21, 2021 - 10:30   ET



SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: But in any appeal, any error, they're always balancing it against the weight of the evidence. And the weight of the evidence here is very, very overwhelming.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Shan Wu, Renato Mariotti, you're reminding us there are a lot more steps to go on this. Thanks very much.

Well, a teenage girl, shot and killed by an officer in Columbus, Ohio. Police say she was trying to attack two others with a knife. That appears to be the case in the body camera footage. We're going to take a closer look at that footage, what it shows, next.



SCIUTTO: There are new questions this morning following a police- involved shooting that took place just moments before the Derek Chauvin verdict came down. Police in Columbus, Ohio say that an officer shot and killed 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant after she allegedly tried to stab two other girls with a knife.

HARLOW: So police released body camera footage of this within hours. It shows the officer firing four shots at Bryant as she appears to lunge at one of the girls with a knife. Before we play this, we want to tell you it is very disturbing to see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what's going on? What's going on? Hey, hey, hey. Hey, get down, get down. Get down. Get down. Do (ph) (INAUDIBLE).



HARLOW: The officer who fired those shots has been placed on leave. City officials are pleading for patience as this investigation unfolds. Our Ryan Young is in Columbus this morning. Ryan, what do we know at this hour?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously this video is so disturbing when you watch it. One of the things that we know, why the video was released so quickly, is because social media really took this story and the shooting by storm. They were talking about what happened. But when you see this video, it sort of plays out a little differently than what was being spread.

We're going to show you the slowed-down version of this. And in the slowed down version, you can see what appears to be a weapon in the hand of Ma'Khia Brooks (sic), and the arm going backwards before the officer opened fire.

Now, obviously, this is very difficult, people took to the streets very quickly after this. You could understand people being angry after hearing about a police officer-involved shooting.

From what we're told, the city officials made that quick decision to put this video out, to hope to calm people down, to understand that the police officer was trying to save the life of another young person who was involved in this fight. In fact, take a listen to what the mayor had to say.


MAYOR ANDREW GINTHER (D), COLUMBUS, OHIO: We know, based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community. But a family's grieving tonight, and this young 15-year-old girl will never be coming home.


YOUNG: Yes, we learned she was just 16. Obviously, Jim and Poppy, this is very difficult, but this is also one of the reasons why people fought so hard to get body cameras, because we know that people in that neighborhood saw a different angle, some of them didn't see that knife, and it's because of this body camera footage and this open part of this investigation that helped sort of calm people down. There were protestors in the street last night, calling for action. And after the video was played, it seemed to calm things down.

Now, that officer has been placed on paid administrative leave. That's standard after a police-involved shooting, and at state agencies actually doing the investigation. But you can understand the sensitivity of the moment when it comes to police officer-involved shootings.

They actually believe Ma'Khia was the one who called for police officers before being shot, but that video is sort of hard to watch, especially with the knife in her hand -- guys.

SCIUTTO: Truly, truly hard to watch. It is why they have those body cameras, right? To create a video record of the moment. Ryan Young, thanks very much.


HARLOW: Ahead, will the conviction of Derek Chauvin spur political leaders to action and actually enact police reform legislation? An update from Capitol Hill, next.


SCIUTTO: President Biden says that Derek Chauvin's conviction for George Floyd's murder could be a turning point, could be what pushes this country to finally begin dealing with systemic racism. The president urged the nation, last night, to come together as he now calls on Congress to pass legislation enacting police reform.

HARLOW: Let's go to our colleague John Harwood, he joins us in Washington. John, good morning to you. That's one school of thought. And the other school of thought, even from some senior Democratic aides, I understand, is that well, maybe a conviction on all three counts here sort of lessens the urgency for reform. What are you hearing?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a very plausible theory. It could lessen the urgency, but what we heard from Attorney General Garland, with that pattern and practice investigation that he announced a few minutes ago, is that demonstrations -- the administration's not going to be satisfied with a single verdict, they're going to push for systemic change.

The same is true of police reform legislation, which has passed the House. Democrats are in negotiations with Republicans in the Senate. Always difficult to get 10 Republicans to go along to overcome a filibuster in a situation like this, but President Biden, in a phone call with the Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump, said yesterday they're going to get it done.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm anxious to see you guys. I really am. We're going to get a lot more done, we're going to get police -- we're going to do a lot. We're going to stand (ph) until we get it done.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE FLOYD FAMILY: Hopefully this is the momentum for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to get passed to have you sign.

BIDEN: You got it, pal. That and a lot more.


HARWOOD: Now, whether or not they get it done, it's hard to overestimate the sense of what Vice President Harris called relief at the White House yesterday over this verdict.


That's partly relief that they believe justice was done, as it often is not done in cases like this. Also relief that we avoided the possibility of massive unrest that could have resulted in loss of life and damage to property around the country. That in turn could have overwhelmed the rest of the President Biden's agenda, all the things he's trying to do. And there's a sense of relief over that too -- guys.

HARLOW: John, thank you, in Washington for us this morning.

Well, the Senate is facing renewed pressure to take up what you just heard Benjamin Crump ask the president for, which is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We are hearing key lawmakers on both sides planning to talk about the bill.

SCIUTTO: Democrats say they want it passed by the anniversary of George Floyd's murder -- that's next month. CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill with the latest.

So, Manu, there are two schools of thought here, that this conviction either sparks action or further delays it. In other words, that there's a sort of sense that, well, it's been satisfied, we don't have to do this right now. Where do these discussions stand?

MAJU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're only the informal stages at the moment. There have been those informal talks that have been happening for some time, that Democrats in the House already pushed through the same bill that they passed last year, that did not pass the Senate.

The Republicans in the Senate have their own alternative that the Democrats blocked last summer as well.

So the goal in the Senate side is trying to reconcile those two versions, and there have been discussions on the informal basis happening with some key players that are on the Republican side, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Cory Booker, the Democrat from New Jersey, engaged in the Senate talks, as well as Karen Bass, who's a sponsor of the House bill.

I spoke to Karen Bass last night in the aftermath of the Chauvin verdict, and she made very clear that she thinks that there will be substantial negotiations happening in the days and weeks ahead. And she told me their deadline, they want to get a deal done by May 25h, the day -- the anniversary of the George Floyd death.

Now, there are some key differences between the two sides and their bills. The Republicans want to incentivize local police departments to make some of the changes, Democrats push for things at a more federal level.

But one of the biggest differences is a sticking point over the issue of qualified immunity, whether or not to give protections for law enforcement -- for police officers in civil court. Democrats want to gut those protections, Republicans have been opposed to the Democratic approach on that issue.

TEXT: George Floyd Justice in Policing Act: Ban chokeholds and no- knock warrants; Training on racial bias and duty to intervene; Create National Police Misconduct Registry; Mandate use of deadly force as last resort; Overhaul qualified immunity

RAJU: So a lot of key discussions and negotiations ahead. Can they reach a deal? Still an open question, but there had been some optimism that there could be a deal reached. I talked to Tim Scott about this just -- several days ago. He said he believed that they could get to a deal on that issue of qualified immunity, as well as some of the other key sticking points.

So, guys, we'll see. A lot of discussions ahead, but at least at the moment, some optimism -- guys.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and Tim Scott of course was one of those pushing for action last summer, right? Didn't come to be then, but key player in this. Manu Raju, thanks very much.


More than a third of Americans say they either do not want a COVID-19 vaccine, or aren't sure yet. Now, a report warns it will be much harder, as a result of that hesitancy, for the U.S. to reach necessary herd immunity. Those details, coming up.


HARLOW: All right, welcome back. Well, there's a new report that is raising some flags, warning that vaccine supply will actually soon outstrip demand here in the United States.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it's remarkable. the Kaiser Family Foundation says the U.S. could reach a tipping point, it calls it, on vaccine enthusiasm or hesitancy in the coming weeks. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with more.

So, Elizabeth, in effect it's saying that the last group, the kind of stragglers here for vaccination, that many of them just either don't want it or say they may not want the shot.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: that's right, Jim. And unfortunately, these stragglers, they constitute a pretty big group. And we forget about that, because for the past few months, what we've been talking about is all the enthusiasm and people wanting these vaccines and standing in line and going online to make appointments.

Well, that group is about to be finished, they're about to be done. And then we have to move onto the people who don't really seem so excited about getting it.

TEXT: Have All Americans Who Want a COVID-19 Vaccine Received One? In two weeks, everyone who wants a shot will have one; 37 percent of Americans don't want the shot or aren't sure

COHEN: So let's take a look at what this Kaiser Family Foundation poll showed. What they showed is that in about two weeks, everyone who wants a shot will have received one. That's great, that's great. But, on the other hand, about 37 percent of Americans -- according to Kaiser -- says they don't want the shot or they're not sure if they want the shot.

That's not great, that's a big chunk of people, it could threaten the ability to get to herd immunity in this country. So now the challenge isn't getting the vaccine out there, that was tough, but that challenge was met. Now the challenge is how do you educate this group so that they will get vaccinated so that all of us are protected -- Jim, Poppy.

HARLOW: So the CDC, Elizabeth, the vaccine advisors there meet Friday -- again, to talk about the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. They did not make a call last week, when they met. Will they make a call this week on whether it comes back to market in the U.S.?

COHEN: Yes, my sources are telling me that they do expect a real decision on Friday. And here are the two options that they're thinking are the most likely.

So this group is the group that advises the CDC on sort of the instructions on who should get a vaccine. And what they're thinking is that either the recommendation will be to issue a warning, saying, hey, in an extremely small number of people, people are getting these really terrible brain blood clots. Here's a warning, everybody, you make a decision whether you want that vaccine.


Or they will decide, you know what, we're going to tell a group of people, you know what, you're at high risk for these blood clots, don't get this vaccine, we're not going to give it to you. That's probably young women.

TEXT: CDC Advisers Meet Friday on J&J COVID-19 Vaccine. Most Likely Outcomes: Warning about very small chance of rare, dangerous blood clots; Highest-risk group will be told not to take vaccine; That group likely to be women under 50

COHEN: Or they might do a combination, a warning and a ban on getting the vaccine for certain groups -- Jim Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Well, we'll bring those recommendations the moment they're out. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

HARLOW: And thanks to all of you for joining us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto, what a day, what a year of news. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts after a quick break.