Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Biden Commits U.S. to New Climate Change Goal; Tensions High Over Policing in the U.S. After Several Deadly Encounters; Ohio Officials Release More Video of Fatal Police Shooting of Teen Girl Who They Say Had a Knife Charged At Some Women; Minneapolis Police Leaders Pledge Cooperation with the DOJ Probe; Berkeley California Takes Steps to Reform Policing, Ban Police Traffic Stops. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired April 22, 2021 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:05]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Scioto.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

Breaking news, just minutes ago President Biden unveiling an ambitious new goal making it clear he wants the United States to lead the climate crisis fight.

SCIUTTO: Biden announced at his virtual climate summit with dozens of world leaders that the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2030. This is a significant uptick in the U.S. commitment, even well above that from the Obama administration. He does say, we as a country, cannot do it alone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No nation can solve this crisis on our own as I know you all fully understand. All of us, all of us, and particularly those of us who represent the world's largest economies, we have to step up. Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House. Also joining us, CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir. Good to have him on this as well.

Jeremy, I do want to start with you. I mean, this is a very ambitious goal. 2030 is only nine years away. This is not some, you know, random date well off into the future. Is this an aspirational goal or does this administration believe it's a practical one?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this administration believes that it's an ambitious goal but also one that they think is achievable. And while they haven't laid out a concrete roadmap yet for exactly how this is happening, that work is already under way. The president's National Climate Task Force is going to be convening sector by sector recommendations for how exactly they can meet this target.

Now when you stack this up to the previous target which was set up by President Barack Obama, when he joined the Paris Climate Accords, that was 26 percent to 28 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2025. We're now looking at 50 percent to 52 percent just five years later. So it certainly is ambitious here.

What we heard from President Biden at the start of this leader's summit just earlier this morning was that he was framing this not just in terms of the dire challenges that the world faces in terms of the environment, in terms of health and security, and all of the other issues -- national security issues really that stem from this, but also framing it from an economic perspective. And that was also intended of course not just for the audience of global leaders he was talking to but for the domestic audience right here where the president talked about the fact that this climate response by the United States and by other countries can be an extraordinary engine of economic opportunity.

Those were the president's words this morning and he said when people talk about climate, I think about jobs. And he laid out all of the different ways in which this could create millions of jobs, according to him. Not just in -- you know, broadly in the private sector but specifically, he honed in on blue-collar workers who Republicans have often tried to appeal to by talking about these -- this move away from fossil fuels as a job cutter. President Biden really trying to flip the script on that narrative.

HARLOW: So, Bill, it's an ambitious goal. It's one he's clearly dedicated to. At least he's got China and Russia going to this virtual summit. I don't know if that means they're actually going to play full ball on this, but he called it a decisive decade. Can we do this? Can we meet that goal?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we can. We have the technology. We certainly have the innovation available on the market right now and lots of other ideas in the pipeline. But this is very much a problem about human nature, and whether or not we can break the habits of a century of industrial revolution. Cheap, plentiful, efficient fuels have built the modern world that unfortunately are now destroying it, one storm, one drought at a time.

It is interesting that Xi Jinping showed up. We weren't sure that that would happen and he's also using sort of the Biden focus on jobs saying that green mountains are gold mountains. And the entire economy depends on us doing this and, in fact, actually Swiss Reid, which is a giant reinsurance company, they're the company that insure insurance companies, they put out an astounding new report. They analyzed the cost of inaction and if nothing is done they predict the world GDP will take almost a 20 percent hit by the middle of the century. China would be the biggest loser at 25 percent, the United States 10

percent. That's trillions of dollars in cleaning up storms and fortifying against the bigger ones that come behind. And so this is the argument there against those folks very much worried about the next few paychecks trying to get them to think in terms of next few decades, and the livability of the planet.

SCIUTTO: Bill, question for you. Because you have the science of climate, then you have the politics, domestic politics in this country, and you also have this kind of political pendulum swinging back and forth. Obama signs a global deal. Trump pulls us out. Biden gets us back in.

I just wonder, can these changes survive that kind of political back and forth, right?

[09:05:03]

Because, you know, if you have a new party in power in a couple of years or in four years' time, you know, that goal is going to change or go away. I just wonder how folks at home, should they say, it's more of the same, it's another promise, or will this one actually happen?

WEIR: I think there's no more time to dither on this. I think there's no more time to dither on this. Unfortunately we have waited so long, kicked this can down such a long road that this is sort of the make- or-break moment. And you're right. Activists I talked to, organizers of Earth Day marches who would normally be on the streets where they're trying to gin up support online, this virtual thing, say they're most excited they've been, at least definitely since Donald Trump was sworn in.

But they're also very anxious that these things can get done. Because you've got Democrats like Joe Manchin in a coal state of West Virginia that may stand in the way of these big sweeping infrastructure projects that are just the tip of the iceberg. I mean, really, to do this, we have to come up with a whole kind of concrete, we have to figure out airplanes that don't run on fuels that burn. Every sector of our society has to play a role in this. It's hugely ambitious.

Can it be done? Yes. Will it be done? That's up to the people.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it is. And the big part is to get full electric vehicles. You know, much -- you know, just, you know, 10, 15 years away or much bigger percentage than they are today.

Bill Weir, Jeremy Diamond, thanks so much for keeping on top of this.

Please be sure to watch a special CNN town hall with White House climate envoy John Kerry and others taking questions on how to combat climate change, how to get these goals met.

Dana Bash will host "CLIMATE CRISIS" tomorrow night 10:00 on CNN.

HARLOW: All right. Well, this morning, just two days after Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder, we're following two new deadly officer-involved shootings. The circumstances of the shootings different, but both sparking anger and protests in their respective communities. Last night, dozens gathered in Columbus, Ohio. They were remembering 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant. She was shot and killed by a police officer just on Tuesday. And the body camera footage shows the teen lunging at a woman with a knife in her hand.

SCIUTTO: That's right. The police there saying they did this to protect another life. In North Carolina, protests overnight after a deputy fatally shot a man as deputies attempted to serve a warrant. All this as the city of Minneapolis prepares for the funeral of Daunte Wright. That's today. The police officer, you may remember, shot and killed him during a traffic stop last week. Officials say it was an accident that the officer grabbed her gun thinking it was her taser.

HARLOW: Well, let's begin with Athena Jones in Columbus, Ohio.

Good morning, Athena. Officials there have actually released new, additional body camera images. More than what our viewers were able to see yesterday morning on this show, of what happened when those four bullets were shot into Ma'Khia Bryant and what she was doing at the time. Can you walk us through it?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Yes, two additional videos were released in a press conference yesterday. And they show some of the efforts, the life-saving efforts to try to save Ma'Khia Bryant's life. But the most important video remains, the two videos. One was a normal speed version and one was a slow-mo version that the police department was able to release about 5 1/2 hours after the incident on Tuesday night.

And that slow-motion video is very important because it's the only one where you can really see what was happening. And in that video you can see Bryant quickly move toward a girl. That girl falls to the ground. Bryant you can tell seems to have a knife in her hand. You can hear the officer yelling hey, hey, hey, get down. Then Bryant appears to lunge toward a second girl, the one in pink who's wedged up against the car there.

You can see Bryant with her right hand raised with what appears to be a knife in it. The officer saying get down, get down several times before firing those four shots. And then later you can see what appears to be a knife on the ground next to Bryant. And so that was very important to the police department, to the mayor to have that video released. They say they want to get as much information out to the public as quickly as they can. This was especially important on Tuesday evening because video had been circulating on social media taken by bystanders, not of the incident itself but after the incident. And that was circulating on social media.

We finally heard from the head of the police union yesterday who raised an important question. Take a listen to what Keith Ferrell had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEITH FERRELL, PRESIDENT, COLUMBUS POLICE UNION: I would ask you if that's your family member up against the car that had a puppy in their hand, what would you want that officer do in that split-second moment that they had a chance to stop harm to others? We have a duty to protect the public and ourselves. Certainly the public. These are the kind of decisions officers are forced to make every day.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And Ferrell gave his condolences to Ma'Khia Bryant's family and so has everyone in this situation. The mayor, the interim chief of police, all of them calling this a tragedy. All of them saying that it is terrible that this young girl lost her life in this incident.

[09:10:05]

But saying that, as of right now, it appears, you know, this was a reasonable use of force, of. Of course, this is being investigated by an independent body. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation that's part of the state attorney general's office. They are conducting this, they will reach conclusions -- Poppy, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. By training, use of deadly force allowed in what they know as IDOL situations, stands for in defense of life, and you have officers citing that in this case.

Athena Jones, thanks very much.

Let's go now to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. CNN's Brian Todd is following the latest on the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Brian, the sheriff's office has not released the body camera footage yet from that shooting. Do we expect to see that today?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're pressing for that, Jim. We're going to try to get some answers on that very soon from the Sheriff Tommy Wooden. He had said that there was body cam footage of the shooting of Andrew Brown last night but that as of last night, the sheriff said he had not viewed that footage. So we are going to press them for answers, press them to release that tape.

The sheriff said that they promised to be transparent. The state Bureau of Investigations is leading this probe. But still the community here is frustrated. There were a lot of people here last night in front of the Pasquotank County public safety office here confronting city council members. The protest spilled out into the streets over here. The protesters then blocked several intersections as they moved in that direction toward Perry Street. That's the street where Andrew Brown was shot and killed by the sheriff's deputy there.

But again, frustrated community members here. They are demanding answers. They don't feel like they're getting them right now. We spoke to a protest leader named Christian Gilyard last night. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIAN GILYARD, RESIDENT: Why must we be afraid to move around in our city? Why must we be afraid to drive our cars? Why? And those are answers that we're not getting. To grow up in an area where automatically as soon as you walk into a door and the police stereotype you, it's scary. A lot of people don't know what that feels like. A lot of people have never, you know, witnessed that.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: And the sheriff has said that the deputy in question is on administrative leave as of this morning. We spoke to two family members of Andrew Brown's last night. His grandmother and his former girlfriend. Both say we want answers. We don't feel like we're getting them right now.

Again, Jim and Poppy, that's something that is going to be crucial later on today. See if we get that body camera footage.

HARLOW: Yes, transparency so important, Brian. Thank you.

In Minneapolis, a team of Justice Department attorneys and Civil Rights Division are now on the ground. And they will stay there for a while. They are beginning their investigation of the city's policing practices in the wake of ex-officer Derek Chauvin's conviction.

SCIUTTO: This comes as an alternate juror in the Chauvin trial is now speaking out about the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA CHRISTENSEN, ALTERNATE JUROR ON CHAUVIN MURDER TRIAL: I would have said guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why did you think he was guilty? What led you to that belief?

CHRISTENSEN: I just felt like the prosecution made a really good, strong argument. Dr. Tobin was the one that really did it for me. He explained everything. I understood it down to where he said this is the moment that he lost his life. Really got to me.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: That's remarkable. A lot of folks watching that trial said the Tobin testimony made a real difference.

I want to speak now to retired LAPD sergeant Cheryl Dorsey. She was also the author of "Black and Blue: Creation of a Social Advocate."

Miss Dorsey, great to have you on today. I want to -- there's so much to talk about. So much in the news lately. I do want to start with the circumstances of the shooting in Columbus, Ohio. Because you've made the point that, for police, the use of deadly force is justified in these IDOL, in defense of life. When you look at that body cam footage and you see Ma'Khia, right, appear with a knife in her hand and position the body, attacking, it seemed, the other woman there, do you see the circumstances there that the officer made a judgment, he was protecting another person's life?

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD POLICE SERGEANT: In my opinion, this shooting was justified. And it's not just in defense of life. It's immediate defense of life. And so while I have people ask me, you know, what about a taser?

Well, tasers are certainly available and a tool that we can use, but there's no guarantee that a taser would have been effective and whether or not, if it had discharged properly, had taken this young girl down, had her body reacted in a timely manner to prevent her from continuing that downward motion, that stabbing motion.

And so a weapon is, you know, the only thing that an officer reasonably could have used. And listen, all loss of life is tragic. Officers carry guns for a reason. And sometimes we have to use them.

HARLOW: Sergeant Dorsey, now that the DOJ is on the ground in Minneapolis, they are doing what they did in Chicago, really, which is to see if there were significant and repeated civil rights violations by the police there given all the shootings and killings of black men at the hands of police in just the last few years in Minneapolis.

[09:15:00]

The numbers we do know are that 20 percent of the population of Minneapolis is black, but 60 percent of the people killed by police in Minneapolis from 2009 to 2019 are black. So, I mean, those numbers bear out the disparity. They're trying to get to the why? My question for you is, does it make a difference in the end? Does the action they can take, a consent decree, change things significantly, the latest example being Chicago, did it work?

SCIUTTO: Yes.

DORSEY: Well, you know, consent decrees always work while they are in, you know, motion, if you will. And once it's over, it's back to business as usual. And so I know that there's such a high threshold for a violation of civil rights, maybe we should be looking at violating human rights because before Mr. Floyd was a black man, he was a human being. And we know that there's a pattern of practice. We heard Derek Chauvin had 22 personnel complaints, had only been disciplined once.

We know that when officers put hands on you, when they hurt you, that they're going to take you to jail for something. We've seen videos where officers are saying stop --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

DORSEY: Resisting when none is being offered. And how many times now during his 19-year career are black men suffering, women, too, in jail because of financial burdens, wrongful incarcerations, why? Because Derek Chauvin's word was taken over 20 times. SCIUTTO: Miss Dorsey, I want to call you Sergeant Dorsey actually,

even though you're retired. You have a couple different remedies for this being tried. As Poppy mentioned, you have the Justice Department investigation may lead to consent decrees.

But you also have legislation on the Hill right now. And this may be a moment, although we've had moments before, and it doesn't go anywhere, but this maybe a moment where it happens. When you look at these police reform proposals, what is the one or more most essential element in your view? Is it just about banning chokeholds or is it something broader?

DORSEY: It's something much broader and it's multifaceted. We have chokeholds that are banned on police departments across the nation, and when we see it as in the case of Daniel Pantaleo on Eric Garner, they told us it wasn't a chokehold, that was upper body seatbelt --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

DORSEY: Restraint. And so qualified immunity must go away. Officers must be held financially, personally responsible, that's going to be very difficult given the -- what we hear from unions, the pushback. But I would like to see decertification of officers who engage in malfeasance, misconduct, criminal activity because if an officer is decertified, he can't go to another police department and become an officer somewhere else.

SCIUTTO: And that's it, one of the proposals has something like that in there, sort of a database to track this kind of behavior. Cheryl Dorsey, so good to draw on your experience. We appreciate you coming on this morning.

DORSEY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Still to come, as America reckons with reforming police across the country, the city of Berkeley, California, is providing an example of how it could work. They are banning police officers from carrying out many traffic stops at all. If it gets to the state, it may change everything there. The mayor of Berkeley joins us ahead. And new details on the attack on the U.S. Capitol. CNN is now learning officers were allegedly ordered to ignore Trump supporters and only intervene in anti-Trump demonstrations.

SCIUTTO: Plus, the CDC is expected to update its guidance on vaccines and masks. What might that look like? What does it mean after you're vaccinated? Do you still need a mask outdoors? Lots of questions, we're going to be live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:20:00]

HARLOW: A new study affirms that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is 66 percent effective at protecting against COVID. This comes as the CDC's independent panel of acting advisors will meet tomorrow, will re-evaluate the pause on that vaccine. SCIUTTO: CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us

now. Elizabeth, 66 percent effective in general, but a higher, even higher percentage in terms of preventing serious disease, is that right?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And I think another important thing to remember is that that's 66 percent, Jim, that is based on a trial that was done partly in South Africa. And we know that the variant was circulating at that time, and that variant is smart and it managed to some extent outwit the vaccine. So, I want to give you some numbers that look at the J&J trial only in the United States and compare it to the two other vaccines that are in use right now in the U.S.

So, Moderna was found to be 100 percent effective against severe COVID-19 and Pfizer, 95 percent effective. Johnson & Johnson and their U.S. trial, 86 percent effective against severe disease when you look 28 days post vaccination.

So, that is a difference, but I think you could argue that it's not a gigantic difference, that Johnson & Johnson vaccine, still quite effective against severe disease. Now, Poppy mentioned the issue with blood clots, a very small number of people who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have gotten blood clots. The vaccine is now on pause. That rollout is on pause.

The CDC advisors meeting tomorrow, it's expected that they will take it off pause and probably add some kind of a warning or some limitations perhaps to how the vaccine should be used and whom it should be given to. Poppy, Jim?

HARLOW: We're waiting for tomorrow on that, thank you, Elizabeth. Let's bring in now Dr. Leana Wen; a CNN medical analyst and emergency physician, also formerly the Baltimore City health commissioner. Good morning Dr. Wen. You wrote a really interesting piece about, you know, the fact that we need to focus more on how incredible it is to be vaccinated, right?

[09:25:00]

And I understand, and it's very serious what's been happening for some people with the J&J vaccine. But for the vaccines on the market right now, speak about your concern that not enough is being made of the incredible rewards for it --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

HARLOW: And what we're up against, which is in a few weeks, more vaccine than people who want it.

LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: Right, Poppy. I am hearing this very dangerous narrative building of people saying, well, what's the point of getting the vaccine if re-infection or these breakthrough infections could still happen if we have to get booster shots.

And by the way, there are these blood clots. I really don't think that we as the public health community and also as the medium are putting the emphasis in the right place, which is to really discuss the incredible, scientific breakthrough that these vaccines really are. I mean, now we have growing evidence that the vaccines are so effective in the real world.

The CDC report that came out last week found that there were 5,800 cases of breakthrough infections. People who got vaccinated but still got infected. That sounds like a lot except when you compare that it's 5,800 total breakthrough infections compared to every single day we're having 60,000 to 70,000 new infections daily for those who are not vaccinated. And I think we really need to be telling the story of how effective these --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

WEN: Vaccines are and how they will be our path out of this pandemic.

SCIUTTO: Yes, I mean, people are still dying, right, and the data shows this saves lives. Yourself, your family members, your co- workers. I do want to ask you about this new data on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. So the headline figure, 66 percent efficacy. And we're a bit spoiled now, right, because you know, Moderna and Pfizer, 90 percent, 95 percent, we kind of expect that to be the standard here. But when you look closer at the data, does that efficacy number actually increase over time the further you get out from the day that you get the jab?

WEN: Yes, that's right, Jim. So, it does look like that the -- there are two things. One is what Elizabeth had mentioned, which is the study is an international study. And so, we're also seeing that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is effective against the South African variant, the B-1351 variant.

The second thing is that the vaccine does look like that, it substantially increases in effectiveness from 14 days to 28 days. So after 28 days, there's an increase in effectiveness. And it may well be that we need to let people know that with Pfizer and Moderna, you have full protection 14 days after your second dose of that -- of those vaccines. After Johnson & Johnson, maybe we should be telling people you have optimal protection 28 days after your one dose.

SCIUTTO: Yes --

HARLOW: Pregnant women. I mean, you were pregnant, going through a lot of this by our side, going through a lot of COVID by our side and obviously the vaccinations came out after you had already given birth, but the fact that the "New England Journal of Medicine" says now that they have found no safety concerns among pregnant women with the Moderna or Pfizer MRNA vaccines. How big is that?

WEN: I think it's huge because we know that pregnant women are at increased risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. Higher rate of being hospitalized, higher rate of being in the ICU, higher rate also of pre-term births and consequences to the mom and the baby.

And so, a lot of pregnant women have been wondering, well, should I get the vaccine? It wasn't initially studied in clinical trials, so, is this safe? Well, now we have these -- this new evidence, a study of 35,000 pregnant women who have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and there were no dangerous safety signals that were found in 35,000, more than 35,000 pregnant women.

So I think this really gives a lot of confidence in our advising women that, yes, this is something that you should consider very seriously to protect you, to protect the baby and also to protect others around you, too.

SCIUTTO: It's pretty remarkable place to be. A little over a year after we first identified this pandemic that you have tens of millions of Americans vaccinated. We've got three workable vaccines, you know, they're life saving. They're safe for most people. It's good news. We should acknowledge that.

WEN: That's exactly right. And I think that at this point, we really need to focus on increasing vaccine acceptance because the Biden administration working with local and state officials have done such a good job with increasing supply of the vaccine. Increasing the rate of administration, but now we really need to increase vaccine uptake.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: Dr. Wen, thank you. As police reform talks continue on Capitol Hill, one city is taking action now. They are working to basically stop their police officers from doing traffic stops, from pulling over people in most situations. The city's mayor tells us why, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)