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Biden Commits U.S. to Cutting Emissions by as much as 52 Percent by 2030; New Study Affirms J&J Vaccine has 66 Percent Efficacy Against COVID-19; Minneapolis Police Leaders Pledge Cooperation with DOJ Probe. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired April 22, 2021 - 10:00   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


Lots to cover this morning. In just minutes, we may hear from President Biden as he leads a summit on the climate with leaders from some 40 countries around the world. He has announced an ambitious cut, at least a goal, to cut green house gas emissions in this country.

HARLOW: President Biden is committing the United States to reducing our emissions by 52 percent below 2005 emission levels within the next nine years. This is a huge step as the president looks to put the U.S. back at the front of the global effort to address the climate crisis.

Let's begin this hour with Jeremy Diamond outside the White House. How does he plan -- I know it takes all of us to get there, what is the plan?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, listen, the White House officials yesterday on a call with us and described multiple pathways to meet this target by 2030. They say that it is an ambitious target but they believe that it is achievable. And now the president's national climate task force over the coming weeks and months is going to be looking sector by sector at specific, putting forward specific recommendations for how to actually meet this target.

But what we heard from President Biden today was talking about the idea that this is not just a U.S. effort but this must be an international effort. And it is the return of U.S. leadership on this issue of climate change after four years of denial from former President Trump. You heard President Biden talk about this next decade by which he wants to meet this target as the decisive decade. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all know 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.


DIAMOND: And President Biden also framed this for a domestic audience in terms of economic growth. He talked about the fact that the U.S.'s climate response could be an extraordinary engine of economic opportunity. Those were his words this morning.

We saw the president talk about this not only in terms of the broader economy but specifically talking about blue collar workers, and then being able to put into new green economy jobs going forward, building out that infrastructure.

Of course that, dovetailing with President Biden's plans for this $2.2 trillion infrastructure proposal that he has put before Congress. But no doubt that President Biden sending a strong signal that the U.S. is back in terms of leading on this issue and calling on other countries to also increase their targets for carbon reduction over the next decade. Jim? Poppy?

HARLOW: Jeremy, thank you, at the White House for us.

Calls for transparency and accountability growing, of course, after three more fatal police shootings of African-Americans in the last 11 days in this country, we are getting new body camera footage from the police shooting of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant. This happened in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday. Police say it clearly shows her there, you see them highlighted image with a knife in her hand, aiming at another young woman in North Carolina. Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a deputy as authorities attempted to serve a warrant. Protesters now demanding to see that body camera footage.

SCIUTTO: And today, family and friends gather to say farewell to Daunte Wright. He was shot and killed last week during a traffic stop, in which the officer involved grabbed her firearm instead of her taser.

We should note, the circumstances of all of these shootings, the interactions with police, are different, very different. Sadness and anger though, we're seeing, a lot of commonality in these communities.

Let's begin with CNN's Athena Jones in Columbus, Ohio, because the police there, they've released more body cam footage. And when you watch it closely, their story seems to hold up here, right, that Ma'Khia had a knife and was preparing, it seemed, to attack or stab the other woman involved. What you are finding and what are police saying?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim, that's exactly right. The police put out two more videos yesterday from the other officers arriving on the scene, but those mostly showed their points of view and also the life-saving efforts, the efforts to save Ma'Khia Bryant's life. But the most important video remains that first set of videos the police department put out about 5.5 hours after the incident on Tuesday evening showing the body camera footage of the officer, Officer Nicholas Reardon, who shot Bryant.

And you can see in that slow motion version of the video, which is the only one where you can tell what is going on, it's important to watch. It shows Bryant quickly moved towards one girl. That girl with a knife in her hand, or what appears to be a knife.


That girl falls to the ground. You hear the officer say, hey, hey, hey, hey, get down. Then you see Bryant lunge toward another girl, the one in pink, who is wedged, as can you see, against the car. You can see Bryant's right arm raised with a knife in her hand. The officer says get down, get down, several times, and then fires those four shots. Later in the video, you can see a knife next to Bryant, who is there on the ground.

So everyone involved agrees this is a tragic -- this a tragedy. The mayor, the interim police chief, the head of the director of public safety and the police union all saying this is a tragedy. But they're saying that it appears that this was a reasonable use of force.

Now, we are hearing for the first time from some of Ma'Khia Bryant's family members, two of her cousins, Don Bryant and Deysha Torrence (ph), put out a statement. Here is part of what they said in that statement.

Ma'Khia was a good student, a good person and did not deserve what happened to her. We want to remind everyone Ma'khia was only a 16- year-old teenage girl. We are deeply disturbed by the disproportionate and unjustified use of force in this situation.

We also, though, heard finally from the police -- the president of the police union who said, in part, we have a duty to protect the public and ourselves. These are kinds of the decisions officers are forced to make. We do not know potentially how many lives could have been lost in addition or people seriously injured.

And so, again, this is an incident that is being investigated independently by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. That is part of the State Attorney General's Office. They will reach their conclusions. But the mayor and law enforcement saying that it appears that this was a justifiable use of force in defense of another. Jim? Poppy?

HARLOW: Athena, thank you.

Let's bring in now from Columbus, Ohio, Council Member Shayla Favor. She serves as chair of the city's criminal justice committee. Thank you very much, Councilwoman, for joining us this morning.

SHAYLA FAVOR, CHAIR, COLUMBUS CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE: Thank you for having me on these unfortunate circumstances.

HARLOW: Look, your community is not only reeling from this 16-year- old dead, also from the killing of Andre Hill, who was unarmed, and the officer who killed him has now been charged with murder. He was shot by a Columbus Police officer within seconds of the encounter. Medical assistance was not rendered for minutes, although they were able to handcuff him when he was bleeding on the ground. Those are different. They're different situations.

My question to you is, as a community, what are the biggest questions that those you represent have this morning as they have seen another one of their own killed by an officer?

FAVOR: Well, let me start off by allowing an opportunity to extend my deepest condolences to Ms. Bryant's family and loved ones. You acknowledge the death of Mr. Andre Hill. In fact, our community is reeling from three deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Approximately two weeks before Mr. Andre Hill's death, Casey Goodson Jr. was also shot and killed by law enforcement in Columbus.

Multiple things can exist and be true at the same time. I can acknowledge that there are great public servants that serve as officers that protect and serve our city every day. Look, I worked with many of them as a former prosecutor. But I can also acknowledge the fact that we have systemic problems within our police department.

For me, it's just too easy to reduce the video down to Ms. Bryant having a knife and the only way that she could have been stopped in that moment of crisis was by that lethal force, that extent of the lethal force. It's my job as a legislator but also as a black woman that's been deeply impacted by these events to challenge the status quo, to cast a different vision and create subsequent legislation that reduces, if not, prevents the number of dangerous interactions between residents and law enforcement.

SCIUTTO: Speaking specifically of the incident involving Ma'khia Bryant, we spoke last hour to a retired LAPD sergeant, Cheryl Dorsey, about a police obligation, it's called immediate defense of life, IDOL, when someone else is threatened, which the video appears to show those circumstances here. But I want to play for you Cheryl Dorsey's view of this and get your reaction. Have a listen.


CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD 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've had people ask me, you know, what about a taser? Well, tasers are certainly available and a tool that we can use but there is no guarantee that a taser would have been effective.

Listen, all loss of life is tragic. Officers carry guns for a reason and sometimes we have to use them.



SCIUTTO: I wonder what your reaction is to that view, Shayla, given the particular circumstance here's and the apparent danger to the life of the other girl involved. FAVOR: You know, I think that's why I'm committed to truly investing in additional resources that support strong intervention and de- escalation. All day yesterday, I was involved in conversations where we had school administrators. We had teachers. We had community-based interventionists weighing in on this conversation, that there were other measures that could have been taken.

I'm not waging war against police officers. I'm waging war against the system that helped contribute to this unfortunate situation that we have here today. This system could have failed black and brown and often low income people of any race. And so we have to think about how do we shift the way in which we perceive threats and police our communities? And I think that can be done with strong intervention and de-escalation training. And I want everyone to be able to walk away from the scene.

HARLOW: There is a bill coming within the next few days, according to the governor of your state, Mike DeWine, and here are a few things that it would do on policing. It would obviously increase and hopefully improve training. It would also include a use of force statewide database that doesn't exist to know officers' history, which is important, and a discipline database at that. And it would lead to independent investigations of officers in these critical incidents, independent investigations.

What do you think of it? You're nodding so I think you're support it. Does it go far enough?

FAVOR: I absolutely support those measures. But I support even more specifically talking about Ms. Bryant's situation, my colleagues and I engaged in a set of community engagements after the murder of George Floyd last year. And from those conversations, we overwhelmingly heard from our residents that we would need to invest in non-police or other community trained modes of policing, unarmed crisis response. And so I continue to say I can't help but think what would happen if we had social workers present, if we had community-based intervention present.

Now currently in Columbus, Ohio, we do have a mobile crisis response team. And that's where a mental health specialist is paired with an officer and shows up on scene. And they are able to diffuse some of those situations when residents are in the midst of a crisis.

We want to create an office of alternative crisis in Columbus. I support it 100 percent. There has to be a way to ensure that we don't lose another life like we did on Tuesday.

SCIUTTO: Yes, because so many communities police officers end up being, in effect, mental health professionals, right, in terms of the things they're called in for.

Before we go, you have been watching events on Capitol Hill. Many moments missed since George Floyd's death, but it sounds like there could be a moment here that the Republicans and Democrats might be working towards a compromise on police reform. I wonder do you have that hope that you might finally see some of those changes you're talking about at a national level?

FAVOR: Absolutely. You can't do this job if you don't have some level of hope. You know, Tuesday, you know, I along with many other Americans had that initial sigh of relief but it is only a moment because the fight continues. And I am hoping that through that conviction, we can reach across the aisle that we can reach consensus as a country to do what is right in order to protect all residents, all people of this country.

SCIUTTO: Shayla Favor, thanks for the work you do. It's nice to have you on this morning.

FAVOR: Thank you for having me.

HARLOW: Okay. Next for us, what are the chances that you could get coronavirus after you're fully vaccinated? We have got the actual data and details from a promising new study, ahead.

SCIUTTO: Plus, a familiar story, Arizona State Senate could take up a controversial election reform bill today. The state's top election official slams the legislation, says it's attempting to solve a problem that doesn't exist. We're going to speak to her.

And in just hours, Daunte Wright will be laid to rest. CNN speaks to the owner of the funeral chapel that is helping the Wright family today just as he did for George Floyd's family last year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On one hand, you're upset being African-American in this country, and on then the other hand, being professional, you have to do all that can you to focus to help our families.




HARLOW: There's new data and what it shows is that the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is 66 effective at protect against moderate to severe cases of COVID and more than 85 percent effective at protecting against severe to critical COVID cases after 28 days post-vaccination.

SCIUTTO: Those are good numbers.

Joining us now to discuss, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, he's an epidemiologist and a CNN Contributor, also former health director for the city of Detroit. good to you have on again, Doctor.

I wonder if you see this data about the J&J vaccine up to 85 percent in terms of preventing severe disease plus an expected announcement bringing J&J approval back perhaps with some guidelines for certain kinds of patients.

[10:20:13] I mean, do you see the makings here of the comeback of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a viable option for vaccination in this country?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. First, thanks for having me, Jim and Poppy. And, yes, I sure do hope so because we know that on the outset, the J&J vaccine has certain advantages. It only requires one shot. And on top of that, it doesn't require the same kind of cold chain storage that is so hard to supply as you hit communities that are out in more rural communities or even abroad. And so I do hope this is the beginning of a comeback.

And it is also important to put this in context. These J&J numbers come in the context of data from the surge of COVID-19 in the presence of variants. And so it's kind of hard to compare J&J head-to-head, apples to apples, to Pfizer and Moderna, that were tested in the time before we really had variants and before COVID-19 started to surge in the fall.

So these really are good numbers. They really are promising. And we know that J&J is safe and effective for a long time. What the CDC will tell us hopefully tomorrow is for whom.

HARLOW: A lot of concerns. There were a lot of concerns about Michigan, the surge there, what was going on, even the governor was pleading with the Biden administration for more vaccine doses. It seems like things are getting better in Michigan. You're in Michigan. Are they? And if they are, why?

EL-SAYED: Well, thankfully, that's what the numbers look like. You look at a couple of days straight of declining cases and that really is a big deal given where we were. At the same time though, hospitals continue to face this surge. We know that hospitalizations tend to follow cases about 14 days behind. And so, you know, even when the case level is climbing, hospitals are going to lag.

I've been talking to folks working inside the hospital and they're telling me that it's worse than they've ever seen. And the patients coming in are younger and younger. They're people that you would not be expecting to be coming in hospitalized with COVID-19. That being said, cases going the right direction, that's good news.

It's a reminder though for the rest of country that B117 is serious. And even though we have record vaccines going into arms every single day, we're still far behind the kind of herd immunity, community immunity numbers that we need to have the kind of optimism and go back to the kind of life that we're all trying to get to.

And so the only way around COVID-19 is through it. That means backing up, masking up, washing up and vaxxing up when you get that opportunity.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you about masking up post-vaxxing up. Like a lot of Americans, I got my second COVID-19 vaccine yesterday, so still a couple weeks out from being immune. The CDC is considering new guidance here to kind of parcel out wearing a mask indoors versus outdoors after vaccination. Can you explain to folks at home so they understand what they should do under the same circumstances?

EL-SAYED: Yes. In order to understand sort of why a mask he is effective, I want you to imagine that at any given time there were bubbles, like there is a bubble blower coming out of your mouth. They're just coming out of your mouth.

The question you have to ask is if every one of the bubbles potentially holds virus, where do you want those bubbles to go? And, ultimately, ideally those bubbles would just fly away, right, so they wouldn't infect anybody else and you wouldn't get infected by anybody else's bubbles. And that's exactly what happens. It just happens on a micro scale. We just can't see them.

And so indoors if, you blow bubbles indoors, you know that those bubbles just sort of hang out there because there is really not quite quality ventilation. If you're outdoors, those bubbles blow away.

And so this rethinking on how we recommend masks has a lot to do with what we know about what happens to those bubbles, and outdoors because they're so likely to blow away, it's less likely that people are going to need masks to protect themselves than they would indoors.

And the last thing I want folks to understand is that herd immunity, this community immunity works in big scale and small scale. And so the more people around you who are vaccinated, the more protected you are because they're not able or less likely to pass the virus on to you.

And so the CDC is actively rethinking these guidelines, both because of what we know about ventilation and also because of the likelihood of being surrounded by other people who have also been vaccinated, which ten makes your existence and your ability to be and do in the world that much safer.

SCIUTTO: Well, Poppy, that helped me, the bubbles image.

HARLOW: All I'm thinking about is bubbles coming out of everyone's mouth now. That's all I'm going to think about as I walk by them. Keep your bubbles to yourself. Doctor, thank you very, very much.

EL-SAYED: Thank you.

HARLOW: Well, an alternate juror in the Derek Chauvin murder trial speaks out about the case, witnesses and the verdict. You'll hear directly from her, next.



SCIUTTO: Leaders of the Minneapolis Police Department are pledging their cooperation with a team of Justice Department attorneys, which is now already on the ground there, beginning the DOJ investigation into the city's policing.

HARLOW: Our Shimon Prokupecz joins us again live on the ground in Minneapolis this morning. Shimon, good morning to you. You were with us when this news broke yesterday. It was announced by the attorney general, Merrick Garland, and all I've seen is that the city of Minneapolis all around seems to really be welcoming this.


Is that right?