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U.S. Adds Over Three Million Administered COVID-19 Doses To Total Tally; Seven Deputies On Administrative Leave After Death Of Andrew Brown Jr.; Feds Investigating Whether Rep. Gaetz Took Gifts Including Travel And Paid Escorts, In Exchange For Political Favors; Twenty Million People Facing Severe Storms Across Southeast; HUD I.G. Report: Trump Administration Delayed $20B Aid To Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria, Hampered Investigation Into Delay. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 24, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And from the people, a blouse are cultural art forms to continue on, and to grow in new ways.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of our vendors go through a verification process where we learn of their tribal affiliation and all of the products are native-made.
We have indigenous artists represented from tribes across the United States and Canada.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try to make sure that as much money as possible is going back to native artists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been learning how to bead to reconnect with my heritage and I saw many other indigenous people have as well. That's why I think it's great that from the people, brings everyone together on the same platform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right, we begin with a growing number of states now resuming the use of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The one-shot vaccine back online across the nation after the CDC's independent panel of vaccine advisors voted to lift a previously recommended pause. Officials determining that resuming use of the vaccine would save hundreds of lives and result in just a few dozen cases of rare blood clots at most.
The government suspended use of the vaccine after several women who received it developed blood clots. Johnson & Johnson has now updated its fact sheet to reflect that risk.
Joining me right now to discuss is Dr. Henry Bernstein, a voting member of the CDC's independent panel of vaccine advisors. And he's also an attending physician at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York.
Good to see you, Dr. Bernstein.
DR. HENRY BERNSTEIN, MEMBER, CDC ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES: Good to be here. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: So, you voted yes to resume the J&J vaccine. How did you come to that conclusion?
BERNSTEIN: Well, it's really impressive how the whole thing has unfolded. Remember that the nation's vaccine surveillance system identified a potential problem. Meaning, the blood clots and the low platelets.
That in turn prompted the full investigation and identification of now 15 cases. The -- it turns out that the 15 cases are quite serious and three of them were fatal. But that was out of more than 8 million doses of the vaccine.
And so, I felt that it was important for the vaccine to be reinstituted so that more people can get vaccinated. The more people that do get vaccinated, the closer we'll get toward normalcy.
WHITFIELD: So, you say even though you had the 15 cases, three of which were fatal, you believe what supersedes that is that people need to take notice that this vaccine safety surveillance system works, and that's what they need to appreciate from these findings.
BERNSTEIN: Absolutely, and we will continue to monitor it. It is the nation's vaccine safety surveillance system. And anyone can put in or submit a report about a potential adverse event after a vaccine, the public can do it, providers can do it, public health officials.
And when that system works, as it did in this case, you know, identifies signals that potentially could be problematic and require further investigation. And so, we will be monitoring this going forward.
WHITFIELD: And Dr. Bernstein, the study published earlier this week in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms that the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is 66 percent effective in protecting against moderate to severe cases, and more than 85 percent effective at protecting against severe to critical COVID cases 28 days after vaccination.
So, how important and how will that -- how important is that information and how will it be conveyed so that people who are reticent and are even more concerned after the pause, so that you try to restore their faith?
BERNSTEIN: Well, I can totally understand why people would be concerned, given the events around the vaccine over the last several weeks.
But I can assure you that all three of these vaccines are incredibly safe and effective overall. And I think that there are advantages even to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the fact that it is only one shot rather than two. It also can be kept in the refrigerator, doesn't need special cold chain storage requirements.
And so, it makes it much easier to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and reach those that are difficult to reach such as those in rural areas, those in the homeless, those that are home bound. So, it makes it much easier because the more people they get vaccinated, the faster we'll be able to achieve herd immunity.
WHITFIELD: Overall, do you see opening up vaccines to children younger than 15, really is a potential game changer in this nation as it pertains to closer, you know, reaching the herd immunity closer making sure that schools and college campuses are more safe.
BERNSTEIN: Well, you may -- you bring up a fantastic point. It is important for children to be vaccinated against COVID, not only to protect themselves, but also because when they get infected, they then transmit it to their caregivers, their individuals, in their family, or their community.
So, we really do need them to be studied, receiving the vaccine. We won't need tens of thousands of people or children of different ages studied the way we did it in adults because we know with more than 200 million doses how safe these vaccines are overall.
But we will need to study them in several thousand children in various ages. So, we go down to 12 years of age and then we go five to 11, and then we go six months to two, and two to 5-year old. So, we could do what's called age de-escalation.
And we really do want everyone to have an opportunity to be protected against the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Henry Bernstein. Thank you so much, good to see you. Be well.
BERNSTEIN: Good to see you. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: The U.S. added over 3 million vaccine doses to its total vaccination tally on Friday. Over 91 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, making up about 28 percent of the population. Experts say, at least, 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.
CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro joining me now from New York. So, Evan, what do you learning? What do you hearing from people particularly now the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being made available again to people.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, that's right, Fred. The governor did say today the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will roll out here in New York again immediately now the federal government has lifted its hold on it.
But I want to talk to you about what's happening when it comes to vaccinations in America right now, because where I am standing something absolutely remarkable is happening.
I've been -- I've stood outside multiple vaccination sites all over New York throughout this entire pandemic. And where I am right now, outside the Museum of Natural History here in Manhattan is very, very different.
I want to show you just two things to look at. These people in the orange hats, they work for the city, they're talking to people, and they're grabbing on the streets, they're walking down the street here.
And on the other side of me over here, you have a nurse standing by the subway entrances of the way into the museum.
What those folks are doing is literally hawking the vaccine. This location is now a walk-in site for vaccinations. Anybody who wants to get one can get one. And there is some concern in New York that we're seeing some of that hesitancy here, we're seeing all over the entire country.
You know, previously, the whole conversation was about, you know, can we get appointments? Are there enough availability of the vaccine? Well, that process is over with. We've gotten to the point here in New York, we're about 30.2 percent fully vaccinated. Which is a good number, but you need 70 to 80 percent to be completely vaccinated.
So, now, the government is turning to actually cajoling people on the streets, stopping over the street, say, hey, why don't you come in and get a vaccine shot right now. And if you do, here at the Museum of Natural History, they'll give you a pass for four people to come in for free to the museum after you get a shot.
So, it's a whole different approach based not on the idea of scarcity and getting an appointment and standing online, but of being like we have the vaccine, we just really, really need you to take it. That's a huge, huge change that shows what the next phase of this pandemic is going to be, getting those hesitant people to get out and get the shot. Fred?
WHITFIELD: My goodness. All right, museum passes, new incentive to get vaccinated in New York. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much.
All right more questions now remain unanswered following that deadly police involved shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in North Carolina. This morning, Elizabeth City officials revealing that they still don't have all the details about what exactly happened Wednesday morning.
Officials making a very clear distinction that the shooting and the warrants involved county sheriff's deputies not the city's police force or city management, but that county sheriff's office remains tight-lipped about the pursuit and the shooting of this 42-year-old black man. And has yet to release any body cam video.
Meanwhile, calls for the release of those videos are growing louder. In fact, North Carolina's governor tweeting his support for the videos to be shown to the public as quickly as possible. On Friday, the city council held an emergency meeting requesting the videos be made public. And today, city officials revealed that, that request will be formally filed on Monday.
WHITFIELD: CNN's Natasha Chen was at the press briefing involving city officials.
Natasha, tell us more about what we're learning.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes. So, Fred, like you said, the city officials don't know a lot of details at all about this case. They were not involved in what happened on Wednesday morning. And so, they said they're pretty much in the dark as much as the public is and you can feel public frustration growing as the body camera footage still has not been released.
In fact, members of the public were gathered at that press conference trying to seek more information and we are here by the waterfront because some of them are expected to gather here for a march shortly.
Now, the sheriff of the Pasquotank County sheriff's department told us yesterday that he would not answer questions about who fired shots, so where Brown was shot on the body, and that the body cam footage is, so far, he's deferring to the district attorney's office to protect the integrity of the investigation.
You know, so, I asked during the press conference whether the city manager felt frustrated at this process. And here is what he said about his take on the whole situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONTRE FREEMAN, MANAGER, ELIZABETH CITY: I would be lying if I told you that my belief is being tested. This time is where the rubber truly needs the road. And so because we have had very little -- extremely little, we probably know even less than what you all know about this occurrence.
My plea to all of you is that I need every single person watching and listening to keep your eye on this situation. I don't need any distractions whatsoever to take away from this very fluid and very necessary investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: What we do have is the 911 audio of the dispatch from Wednesday. And we can hear an emergency responder, saying that a 42-year-old has a gunshot wound to the back.
Right now, there are seven deputies who are on administrative leave. They were involved in the event, Wednesday. There are two other deputies who have resigned a third one who has retired from the sheriff's department. And, of course, everyone is waiting about this body camera footage in North Carolina. It requires a court order for that to be released. And so, that's what the city's emergency meeting was about yesterday, to try and file -- have that formal request filed as of Monday, and that gives the sheriff's office a few days to respond.
Now, the question is whether the city council who was not related to this event has any standing to request that. At the same time, CNN, we should mention is part of a coalition of 14 news organizations who have also served a petition on Friday to request that same body camera footage, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And Natasha, what about Andrew Brown's family? What are they saying? How are they handling this?
CHEN: Yes, they have been very open with the media about their pain and their frustration. They're expected to speak this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. alongside Reverend William Barber, alongside -- also the head of the local NAACP here to talk about what's going on for them.
You know, Andrew Brown Jr.'s aunt Betty Banks talked to us about what a loving father he was. He has several children who are represented by an attorney who will also be there this afternoon. And, you know, she says that he was not armed at the time of this incident.
And so, they are really also eagerly awaiting more information. They met with the sheriff's -- the sheriff yesterday and they were hoping to be able to see this footage and were very disappointed when they were told that wouldn't be possible.
WHITFIELD: All right, still so many unanswered questions. Thank you so much, Natasha Chen there from Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
All right, coming up, new details on the federal investigation into Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. Prosecutors are looking at whether Gaetz took gifts including travel and paid escorts as part of a scheme to illegally influence him over the issue of medical marijuana.
And a new report shows the Trump administration delayed $20 billion in aid to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. And then, signing the investigation into the delay.
WHITFIELD: New details emerging on the federal probe of Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. Sources now telling CNN that part of the investigation is focusing in on a 2018 trip Gaetz and others took to the Bahamas.
Let's bring in CNN's Marshall Cohen for more on these developments. Marshall, what more can you tell us about these new details of this investigation?
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER (on camera): Hey, Fredricka, CNN has learned that the federal sex trafficking investigation into Congressman Gaetz is also looking at whether he took gifts, as you mentioned, in exchange for political favors. Gifts like free travel and paid escorts as well.
Sources briefed on the matter say that the justice department is scrutinizing a 2018 trip that he took to the Bahamas. Gaetz was there along with several young women. Investigators in the public corruption unit are specifically looking at whether that trip was part of an orchestrated effort to illegally influence the congressman regarding the medical marijuana industry.
Now, CNN has previously reported that Gaetz is under investigation for possibly engaging in a relationship with a woman that began when she was just 17-years-old. And they're also looking into whether Gaetz attended sex parties in Orlando with other prominent Republicans that involved women, drugs, and sex for money.
So, investigators in that probe already have one key witness who is cooperating. That's Joel Greenberg, he's the former tax commissioner in Seminole County. He's a close friend of Gaetz, and also attended some of those parties in Orlando.
COHEN: He was indicted last year on dozens of federal charges including sex trafficking. He is expected to plead guilty to some crimes in the coming weeks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And so, Marshall, the Gaetz probe also includes scrutiny of public -- potential public corruption tied to medical marijuana industry. So, what can you tell us about that?
COHEN: Yes, it's really interesting part of this. Gaetz, as you may know, he has a long history of advocating for medical marijuana, for relaxing the rules around that schedule one drug, and even crossed party lines in Congress to work on some of those bills.
But, while he's been dealing with that issue, he has repeatedly intersected with the doctor named Jason Pirozzolo, you can see him on your screen here. He's an Orlando-based hand surgeon who founded a medical marijuana advocacy group. And Gaetz wrote in his book that Dr. Pirozzolo was one of his best friends.
Now, according to reports, this doctor was with Gaetz on that 2018 trip to the Bahamas which is now under investigation for potential corruption. A source tells CNN that back in April 2018, when Gaetz introduced a medical marijuana research bill in Congress, Gaetz hand delivered a fully written draft of the bill to his staff, and that, that draft overlapped significantly with the agenda that Dr. Pirozzolo's group had been pushing.
Now, Fred, I want to be totally clear before I send it back to you, neither Congressman Gaetz, nor Dr. Pirozzolo have been accused by the justice department of wrongdoing. They have not been charged with any crimes. Gaetz has vehemently denied that he ever paid for sex or that he had sex with any underage women. And regarding these latest developments, his spokesman told our colleagues that he is a long-time policy expert on marijuana and that it's laughable that he could be influenced by others on this particular topic. Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Marshall Cohen, all fascinating. Thank you so much. So, Republicans in Arizona have started reviewing ballots cast in 2020 as they continue to question the election results.
More than 2 million ballots from Maricopa County along with 400 tabulation machines have been handed over to the state Senate for the audit.
Senate Republicans sought a recount of the ballots from Arizona's largest county to examine unsubstantiated claims that fraud or errors tainted President Biden's win. The partisan audit which could stretch for roughly two months comes after county election officials conducted two audits and found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or other issues.
All right, still ahead, a key clue in the search for a missing submarine. Why the investigation is shifting from a rescue to a recovery mission?
WHITFIELD: Hope is fading that 53 Indonesian sailors on board a sunken submarine will be found alive. The country's Navy says it's found debris from the sub. The debris was so deep in the ocean it confirms what Navy officials had feared that rescue efforts would now turn to recovery, instead.
Blake Essig, joining us now from Tokyo. Blake, tell us what this debris tells them.
Blake, can you hear me? Oh, we don't have any audio, I think for Blake. Let's watch his report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPPONDENT (voice-over): Some of the debris displayed by the Indonesian Navy leading them to a bleak status change for a missing submarine carrying 53 crew members.
YUDO MARGONO, NAVY CHIEF, INDONESIA (through translator): With authentic evidence believed to be from KRI Nanggala, at the moment, we have raised the status from missing to sunk.
ESSIG: The submarine went missing Wednesday morning during a torpedo drill in the Bali Strait. It's been a race against time to locate the vessel with oxygen expected to have run out by early Saturday.
Officials believe the submarine likely cracked under intense pressure in deep water, allowing debris to escape. They say based on the findings, an explosion was unlikely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The items would not have come outside the submarine if there was no external pressure or without damage to its torpedo launcher.
ESSIG: Warships have been deployed to the area to search for the vessel using metal and magnetic detectors. The debris was found floating at a location where the ocean is 850 meters deep, which would make any possible evacuation difficult.
Authorities said earlier that the submarine could not survive at depths below 500 meters. Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Blake.
All right, up next, a tornado threat on the move. 20 million Americans facing potentially dangerous weather. Find out who is at risk and for how long.
Plus, a bombshell new report accuses the Trump administration of delaying hurricane aid to Puerto Rico, and then blocking the investigation that followed. Reaction from the mayor of San Juan straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: Severe storms are expected to strike the southeast today. Right now, 20 million people are facing damaging winds, hail, even a few tornadoes.
CNN's Allison Chinchar is joining us from the CNN Weather Center.
Allison, so good to see you.
This storm system has already spawned a tornado in Texas?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. In fact, in the last 24 hours, we actually had five tornado reports total across the country, almost 50 severe wind reports and over 35 large hail reports.
This is the same system that's still ongoing today, as it just continues to make its way farther to the east.
Some of the biggest strong storms are located down towards the gulf coast region. But all of this area dealing with very heavy rain.
Charlotte, Atlanta, Raleigh, all of those cities having at some point pretty heavy rain today.
We have tornado watches in effect across the southeast. Some of the counties on the far west side will drop off after 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Some of the eastern counties will not expire until 9:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.
The main threat going forward is going to be threats of hail, damaging winds and, yes, even a few tornadoes, especially in these yellow and orange areas here.
You will notice for some of these areas is what we call back building, storms piling up in some of the same places they already had them this morning.
So not only is that a concern for the strongest, severe thunderstorms but also potential for flooding. Because a lot of these areas, if you just keep getting rain over and over again, it's going to start to pond.
The areas of biggest concerns are going to be southern Alabama, Fred, as well as southern Georgia, where we could pick up widespread two to four inches. Some spots six inches of rain.
WHITFIELD: Wow, that's pretty significant.
Allison Chinchar, keep us posted. Thank you very much.
A new report just released this week is raising serious concerns about the response to Hurricane Maria and how that impacted Puerto Rico.
An investigation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General found the Trump administration delayed $20 billion in relief funds. And then put up barriers to investigators who were trying to determine what was behind the delay.
According to the report, former HUD director, Ben Carson, and other former officials refused to be interviewed and declined to give information about decisions related to Puerto Rico's disaster relief effort.
Hurricane Maria devastated the island, killing 3,000 people back in 2017, and now this new report is reopening those old wounds.
Joining me right now is the former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, now a distinguished fellow at Mount Holyoke College, Carmen Yulin Cruz.
So good to see you.
I want to get your thoughts on this. You were in the middle of it all. And it seemed that every turn, you were taking on the Trump administration and its lack of response.
Now you hear of this report. What are your thoughts?
CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE & FORMER DEMOCRATIC MAYOR, PUERTO RICO: Well, Donald Trump has our blood on his hands and everyone that helped him stop the aid that was coming to us. I remember distinctly, in late September waiving a red flag and
saying, we are dyeing here and you're killing us with your bureaucracy and inefficiencies.
And 3,000 Puerto Ricans cannot open their eyes today. Because you see, Fredricka, you can kill a person with a gun or you can kill them with neglect. By withholding that aid, Donald Trump might have pulled the trigger himself.
Here's what happens when an aid or item is weaponized for political purposes.
And I have to tell you even more -- I think President Trump really practices his own brand of racism and negligence in Puerto Rico.
We have to remember that was at the beginning of his term. Then we saw the culmination of that discrimination of that negligence in the handling of the Trump administration over the COVID crisis.
So it is very, very sad, very unnerving, and very -- I cannot even find the word literally to express how I feel.
Because what this confirms is that we didn't need a report to tell us, Trump made a decision to kill, kill the Puerto Rican people.
And while Congressman Bennie Thompson and others were pushing the administration, all of those that aided him, including our current commissioner, a Republican that supported Trump, and decided to say Trump had given us everything we had asked for in the form of government, they gave Donald Trump the excuse.
And then he just turned his back on the Puerto Rican people.
What we have to look at is what are the lessons learned here. How do we make sure that when Congress gives money not to help but fulfill its basic responsibility to save lives, what can happen, and what needs to happen in an administration so that is not repeated?
WHITFIELD: Certainly, this report asserts a concerted effort of deprivation in a time of crisis to people.
So now with this discovery, or an understanding based on this report, do you think there really is any way to recover? Is there any way to undo so much that was done, further putting people's lives in jeopardy?
And, as you said, 3,000 people died and others may have died because of the deprivation.
CRUZ: The lost lives will never come back to us. And I think there's always a pain that we all, all Puerto Ricans who went through this will carry for the rest of their lives.
There was also a lot of pain that was caused by Puerto Ricans that had to leave Puerto Rico and migrate into the southern part of the United States, into Holyoke, Massachusetts, where I am at, at the Mount Holyoke College.
But I think what we need to do is, one, the Biden administration has been really clear and has taken steps already to unfreeze the 30 billion that were given.
What the American people have to understand, the billions of dollars that were announced, most of them have not gone to Puerto Rico yet and have not been used.
Just recently, last week, HUD released some of that money.
The other thing that needs to be done is, how do we in the government push that money down to get into the municipality.
It is kept all at the central level of the Puerto Rican government. And it, too, can be used for political purposes.
Now to make sure those moneys are to go directly to municipalities to make things go faster and quicker.
But certainly, I have to repeat, with a lot of pain in my heart, Donald Trump and the Republicans that aided him and supported him in keeping that aid and fulfilling a promise to the people of Puerto Rico, that aid was on the way, have blood on their hands.
And that will never be forgotten.
WHITFIELD: Former San Juan Puerto Rico mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, thank you very much, joining us from Massachusetts.
CRUZ: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: I know a Puerto Rican flag is behind you. And your thoughts, I know Puerto Rico still very much in your heart and thoughts.
Really appreciate your time. Thank you.
CRUZ: Thank you very much.
WHITFIELD: Up next, CNN's Bill Weir takes us inside the plight of Arizona farmers for our firsthand look at how the climate crisis is affecting their livelihood.
WHITFIELD: President Biden is pledging to cut greenhouse gases in half by 2030.
And as CNN's Bill Weir shows us, mega droughts crippling the American southwest are just one of the reasons why climate change is front and center for the president. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
NANCY CAYWOOD, CAYWOOD FARMS: This is my granddad. And he bought our farm in the mid-'30s.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the plains of southern Arizona, Nancy Caywood's family farmed this land for four generations, part of an industry that generates more than $23 billion a year for the state and uses a lot of water. About 70 percent of Arizona's H2O goes to agriculture.
CAYWOOD: Our water is just full of silt, and it would constantly be clogging drip lines and sprinklers, so the water in our irrigation district is plant irrigation.
WEIR: Depending on where you live in Arizona, your water can come from rivers, reservoirs or from wells, all of which have been impacted by a 20-year mega drought fueled by the climate crisis.
KATHY JACOBS, CENTER FOR CLIMATE ADJUDICATION SCIENCE & SOLUTIONS: *: Most of the Colorado River basin has been in a shortage condition for much of the last 20 years. It's common to have variability with short- term drought but this is much longer than what is considered common.
There's clearly the fingerprint of climate change on this drought. Primarily, because of increasing temperatures. What we do know is when the temperature increases, we actually see a decrease in flows in the rivers.
WEIR: The water for Caywood's farm flows 100 miles from the San Carlos Reservoir. The water levels there have been dangerously low since the mega drought started in 2000. In some years, it's gone completely dry, leaving a stain like a bathtub ring.
JACOBS: The river systems in Arizona are in jeopardy. Period. If that is the only source of supply for a farmer, then clearly the impact of climate change on water available in the reservoirs is a critical consideration. If it's not there, you're not irrigating.
CAYWOOD: So here's going to be the main canal. This is going to all be cut off.
WEIR: While farmers have been growing cotton in Arizona for a long time with the support of government subsidies. Raising such a thirsty crop in the desert has become all the more controversial.
Either way, Caywood have no choice but to let 100 acres of intensive cotton or more water-intensive alfalfa turn to dust.
CAYWOOD: We'll have to carefully choose what we grow and how we water it. When we watch weather forecasts and we see no water coming into the lake and the dam levels continue to go down, we're going to become very concerned.
WEIR: Her neighbors share that worry. Across the region, fallow fields have transformed the landscape, a sign of larger change that may already be here.
CAYWOOD: When I'm driving around here and I see all of these housing developments go in, it's almost heart-wrenching. It almost makes me want to cry.
It is so sad when a big store comes in or shopping mall or housing development, and it's been put on really good farmland.
WEIR: Located about 60 miles from Phoenix, this farmland is near one of the fastest population booms in the nation. It is prime real estate.
And according to Caywood, without enough water, farmers are selling to developers or, in some cases, solar companies.
CAYWOOD: I completely understand what happened. This drought doesn't appear to be ending any time soon and it just finally got down to where there was really no choice other than go ahead and sell.
We've been approached on sales but the dollar amount wasn't where we wanted it. And we would really rather farm than have somebody put solar panels on our farm.
WEIR: What's happening on Caywood Farms could be a sign of what's to come for other farmers in Arizona.
Twenty-five miles to the west, Dan Thelander's crops have been spared from the mega drought so far.
DAN THELANDER, TEMPE FARMING COMPANY: The water comes in through that gate and runs out to the entire border.
WEIR: He can access water from Lake Mead, the country's largest reservoir by volume. It holds Colorado River water for several states in the west.
But in the drought, water levels at Lake Mead are at record lows. And Arizona's share might be reduced by about 18 percent next year based on a federally approved drought contingency plan.
Farmers like Thelander could be among the first to face cutbacks.
THELANDER: The only alternative we will have is to plant less acreage.
So this crop of triticale that you see behind me, in a couple of years, I don't think that we'll be farming this land. It'll be fallow because we won't have enough water to farm all of our acreage.
WEIR: To offset that loss, the local irrigation district is drilling new wells at a cost of $1 million each. But in a drought, groundwater can also become scarce.
Thelander thinks that he is only going to get a fraction of what he has now. THELANDER: We will have to lay off employees. We won't be buying as
many seeds or fertilizers or tractors. And so we will have to scale down and operate a smaller farm. And so, yes, it is going to be real bad.
CAYWOOD: Here it comes.
WEIR: The Caywoods are unable to drill a well, so the only thing they can do is to lease land down the road, which has a lease to the Colorado water, which is also running low as the snowpack gradually disappears.
They plan on growing corn, pay the bills, and make it through another season.
CAYWOOD: We're going to hang tight as long as we can. It is in our blood. We love it.
WHITFIELD: Wow. That is an extraordinary look at the landscape.
Bill Weir, thank you so much for that reporting.
Still ahead, trying to bridge the gap of trust in policing in the community, one officer is going "BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY" to make a difference.
WHITFIELD: All right. These are pretty tough times for relations between the police officers and their communities. Trust is broken and the gulf is deep.
But some officers are going "BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY" to help build bridges, like one Atlanta officer who lends a hand to the homeless on her beat.
CNN's Natasha Chen has her story.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When she is not responding to 911 calls, 25-year-old Atlanta police officer, Molina Lim, starts every day by checking in on businesses around northwest Atlanta.
OFC. MELINA LIM, ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT: There are times when I have walked into a robbery at this location before.
CHEN: But it is the stop near the end of her day that brings a smile to her face. JOEY "DOC" BELAHOHIM (ph), HOMELESS IN ATLANTA: I think so much of
CHEN: Shortly before the pandemic, Lim drove past Joey Belahohim (ph), who goes by the name of Doc, on the side of the road and noticed his sign.
He was not begging for money or anything, and just holding a sign and waving at everyone. So I went to grab my lunch, and so I decided, hey, I'll get two lunches today.
CHEN: And 61-year-old Doc, who told us his drinking and drug addiction have cost him well-paying jobs in the past, remembers the first time Lim pulled over to talk. He wondered if he had a warrant out on him and thought Lim was going to take him to jail.
BELAHOHIM (ph): I remember that I was afraid. But she quickly eases the relationship and basically says, what do you need.
CHEN: When George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis last year, their connection strengthened at a time when police and community relations were deeply strained.
LIM: He said that he was pro BLM and I was able to get him a special shirt that said "BLM," Black Lives Matter.
CHEN: Lim made sure Doc was safe during major protests, all while working long shifts.
LIM: We stuck by together a lot during the protests, huh?
BELAHOHIM (ph): Yes.
LIM: I knew that the community was hurting. I knew that their trust was broken with us. But the main reason I got into this job was to connect both sides of community, that we're not always the enemy.
CHEN: And with the rise of anti-Asian attacks and the recent spa shootings in Atlanta, Doc is concerned for his friend, too.
BELAHOHIM (ph): I hate that we have people who are so one-sided and that Asian Americans right now, they are being picked on. And a lot of violent things are happening. So I was just hoping that nothing would happen to you, you know.
LIM: Ah, I thought about you, too.
CHEN: Lim has brought Doc food and clothes over the past year, but Doc tell us it is not about the gifts. It's the daily chat and mutual support that lifts them both up.
LIM: It's taught me patience. It's taught me compassion.