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NC Sheriff Wants Video Released In Fatal Shooting Of Andrew Brown; Bipartisan Talks On Police Reform Pick Up Pace In Congress; India Breaks Global One-Day Case Record For Forth Day In A Row. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 25, 2021 - 15:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'll be able to see my friends again.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (voice over): Walking alone through a still deserted Rutgers campus, Calcado has no regrets over their decision.


GOLODRYGA (on camera): And your view is the key to get back to fun is through vaccine.


GOLODRYGA (voice over): Bianna Golodryga, CNN, New Jersey.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

This just in, CNN has learned the family of a North Carolina man shot and killed by Sheriff's Deputies last week may have the opportunity to view police body cam video of the shooting tomorrow.

This coming as Sheriff Tommy Wooten says he wants to police video of the shooting of Andrew Brown. Jr. released to the public. The Sheriff says he will file a court motion as soon as Monday requesting a Judge release it.

Few details have been made public in the fatal shooting of Brown. He was killed by Sheriff's Deputies when they attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant on Wednesday. He was unarmed.

Let's bring in Natasha Chen. Natasha, what more can you tell us about this plan for the family to potentially view this body cam video?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Fred. I just spoke with Harry Daniels, one of the attorneys representing family members of Andrew Brown, Jr. The plan is to meet with the county attorney here tomorrow around 11:30 and they hope to be able to view this body camera footage. That has been the desire for not only the family, really the public has been calling for this to be released. Because of the few details that anyone has right now.

All we do have is 911 audio, where an emergency responder is heard saying that a 42-year-old was found shot in the back and, of course, that really concerns family members and the community if that is the case.

A witness also told CNN that she was on scene and saw Deputies shooting at Brown's car as she saw him trying to drive away.

So a lot of questions that could be answered by viewing this video. Yesterday, when the family gathered with a diverse set of members of the clergy, we heard from Reverend William Barber talking about this possibility that Brown may have been shot in the back.


REV. WILLIAM BARGER, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: There must be accountability. And we must know all of what happened and the tapes must be seen.


BARBER: America, here is the issue. A warrant is not a license to kill. Even if a suspect supposedly drives away.


CHEN: And after that press conference, they actually introduced a special guest in that audience, the mother of Eric Garner was there yesterday. She had traveled into town to support Andrew Brown, Jr.'s family. A couple of his children were also there and spoke emotionally about this past week and one of them saying that his newborn will never get to meet his grandfather.

So a lot of distressing times for this community and they are still waiting to really see accountability for now seven Deputies who were involved, remain on administrative leave, two other deputies resigned, and a third deputy has retired at this point -- Fred

WHITFIELD: Natasha Chen, you're right, distressing times, indeed. Thank you so much for that.

All right now to another police shooting under investigation. This one involving a Virginia Deputy who shot an unarmed black man just an hour after he actually gave him a ride home. Thirty-two-year-old Isaiah Brown was shot multiple times while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher as the Deputy returned to Brown's home on a domestic incident call.

The Sheriff's Department has now released body cam video and the 911 call. For more, let's bring in Polo Sandoval. So Polo, tell us more about what's being learned from all this.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well first out, Fred, Isaiah Brown, he is still in serious condition after his family says that he was shot 10 times by Virginia County Sheriff's Deputy on Wednesday.

They allege the shooting was a result of a miscommunication, that all the 32-year-old man had in his in his hand was the phone which he was using to speak to a 911 dispatcher when he was shot, and we're going to walk you through all this. We're going to play a portion of that call in addition to Deputy worn body camera video so you can see and hear some of the moments before and after those shots were fired by the Deputy.

According to the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office, he was responding to Brown's call of a domestic disturbance. I listened to that call. You can hear Brown having an argument with his brother. At one point in the conversation, Brown threatens to kill his brother, and Brown is also heard asking his brother for a gun, but his brother refuses and then seconds later -- and this is important -- Brown tells the dispatcher that he does not have a gun and that he is unarmed as he then walks out onto the street.

So as you hear sirens approaching, the dispatcher repeatedly instructs Brown to hold his hands up and that's where the audio that we're about to play picks up and again remember, what you're about to hear is actually what Brown's phone picks up as that officer or as that Deputy arrives on the scene.



DISPATCHER: Isaiah, are you holding your hands up?

OFFICER: Show me your hands.

DISPATCHER: Put your hands up.

OFFICER: Show me your hands now. Show me your hands.

OFFICER: Drop the gun.

OFFICER TO DISPATCH: He's got a gun to his head.

OFFICER: Drop the gun now, stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.


OFFICER: Shots fired, shots fired one down. Show me your hands. Show me your hands. Drop the gun. Drop the gun.


SANDOVAL: And when you hear that, when the officer repeatedly commands Brown to drop the alleged gun here, obviously speaks to that, a belief that he thought that he was potentially armed.

However, the Virginia State Police does confirm for CNN that Brown was in fact unarmed at the time of the shooting. A Brown family attorneys suspects that the Deputy simply mistook the cordless phone in his hand for a gun.

So we now want you to see exactly what the Deputy's body camera shows. And of course, a warning, this video may be disturbing for some.


OFFICER: Drop the gun. He's got a gun to his head. Drop the gun now. Stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.



SANDOVAL: Again, authorities say that Brown does remain in serious condition with nonlife threatening injuries. Now, the question is what comes next?

Brown's attorneys are calling on authorities to actually release the audio between the dispatcher and the Deputy. The Deputy's identity, Fred, has not yet been released as the Virginia State Police's investigation bureau actually handles this case.

But again, there is going to be a big question: was this deputy told to expect somebody who was armed or was it as the Brown family describes it, that he perhaps think that it was actually a gun when in fact it was a phone or a combination of both?

That's going to be part of the investigation?

WHITFIELD: All right, you report on those nonlife threatening injuries. Let's hope that Isaiah Brown recovers, fully recovers.

Thank you so much, Polo Sandoval.

All right, meanwhile, in Congress, optimism is growing that reforms to policing may actually get done. Congress has been grappling with the issue in recent months and calls for action growing louder in the wake of Derek Chauvin's murder convictions for the killing of George Floyd.

Last week, Republican Senator, Tim Scott, proposed a compromise on the controversial issue of police qualified immunity, a doctrine that protects officers from civil litigation by plaintiffs alleging wrongdoing.

And Democrats have put forward their own set of new reforms in recent weeks. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on Capitol Hill with more on this. Suzanne, where do these negotiations stand right now?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Fred, something very unusual is happening here on Capitol Hill. You're hearing talk about compromise as well as police reform.

There's a renewed sense of urgency here from both Republicans and Democrats who are vowing to make this happen.

Now, as you know, it was in March, the House passed, it was largely on party lines here the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Now, it would require on the Senate side a lot more cooperation with Republicans, namely 10 Republicans to go along to build -- actually defeat a filibuster that 60-vote threshold.

One of the reasons why they are so optimistic is the people involved, Representative Karen Bass, the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, working with Republican Senator Tim Scott. He is the lone black Republican senator. He is also working with Senator Cory Booker, all three of them putting their heads together here.

The compromise, as you had mentioned, is on that qualified immunity. It is a very controversial proposal here. Those who defend it say, look, it is necessary to protect those officers making those quick split second decisions in dangerous situations.

Those critics saying it enables them, essentially shields from accountability. Now, Fred, this is just a sampling of today of the lawmakers how they feel about this. It is very much on the table, but still very controversial.


REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): Right now, we need to end qualified immunity. Period. You know, that's my stance.

We compromise on so much. You know, we compromise, we die. We compromise, we die. We compromise, we die.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): I don't know if I'm willing to blow up the deal. I don't consider that blowing it up. But we do have to look at ways.

Now, if Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott can show us some other way to hold officers accountable, because this has been going on for just decades, and officers right now are not really held accountable.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): My idea along with Senator Scott is you can't sue the police officer, you sue the department if there's an allegation of Civil Rights abuse or constitutional right abuse.

We can solve that problem. We can solve the issues if there's will to get there. And I think there's will to get there on the part of both parties now.



MALVEAUX: So Fred, Scott is saying actually, sue the police departments, not those individuals. That as a compromise, he's putting forward in this legislation and other key elements include national chokehold ban, a national no-knock warrants ban, racial and religious profiling ban, creating a national database of political misconduct, police misconduct grants for police training and anti-lynching legislation.

Fred, they're going to try to get a framework for this by May 25th, the one year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thank you so much for all of that.

All right, President Biden will likely address police reforms and much more as he holds his first address to the joint session of Congress later on this week. And it comes as Biden prepares to mark his 100th day in office.

The President is expected to promote the next phase of his massive U.S. infrastructure plan as well as other achievements and priorities he has highlighted over the past three months.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.

Shots in arms and money in pockets. That's important.

It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It's a once in a generation investment in America.

I've concluded that it's time to end America's longest war. It's time for American troops to come home.

We have to step up. Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade.


WHITFIELD: And a new poll out this morning shows how Americans think Biden is handling his job. His approval rating now at 52 percent.

CNN's Joe Johns is in Wilmington, Delaware where President Biden is spending the weekend. Joe, how do these numbers compare to the President's predecessors?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, let's take a look at it. He's on the low end of modern American Presidents at the end of the first 100 days. Well ahead by the way of Donald Trump, who was his predecessor, but well behind Barack Obama and also George W. Bush.

So the question is, why is that? One reason, clearly, the American electorate continues to be polarized since Donald Trump left office and that certainly is a factor. Most of the Democrats voting for Joe Biden saying he is doing a great job, most of the Republicans saying they don't support Joe Biden.

So the one good news here for Joe Biden is that he gets some of his highest marks on his handling of the coronavirus -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then Joe, the President is also preparing for his first address to Congress. What more are you learning about what might be in his talk? His speech? JOHNS: Well, there's a lot of thought that he is going to talk about

COVID and what he sees as his successes in getting the vaccine out. Also, expected to talk about what he wants to do with the economy going forward and there's the American family plan, which the President is expected to put out.

A lot of people don't have a whole bunch of information about that, but what we do know is they are expecting to put in an increase in taxes, including the capital gains tax as well as marginal tax rates.

So Republicans oppose, of course, tax increases, and that could be controversial. It's going to be a real mix. A very different speech from what we've seen for the United States Presidents in their first term before the United States Congress, in part because of COVID.

A lot of social distancing. You won't see the shoulder-to-shoulder kind of standing room only situation from past years. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: Yes, different times -- different speech rather for very different times.

Joe Johns, thank you so much, in Wilmington, Delaware.

All right, and this just in, new information on a possible meeting between President Biden and Vladimir Putin. We're live in Moscow with details.

Plus more of Dana Bash's exclusive interview with Vice President Kamala Harris. What Harris is saying about gun violence in America and the immigration problem at the border.



WHITFIELD: All right, and this just in to CNN. Russian media is reporting President Joe Biden could meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June.

Let's get right to CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Moscow. So Fred, President Biden had been calling for a Summit between the two. Is there hope that this could ease tensions and where would this Summit take place?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very difficult to say. It would most probably take place or pretty much take place in Europe, Fredricka, and two sides -- or the Russian side say they are still working this out.

It was interesting, we saw this this evening on Russian TV and this is a senior Kremlin a called Yuri Ushakov and he said that the meeting could happen in June, and there are already talks about particular dates as well. Now, he didn't say what exactly those dates could be.

We also reached out to the Biden administration. So far, they have not given us any update. But what's going to happen in June, actually, is that President Biden is going to be in Europe anyway. He is going to be in the U.K. to attend the G-7 Summit there and then, he is also going to be in Brussels for a NATO Summit.

So around that time, it is possible. There's some who are speculating, it could possibly maybe be on the sidelines of the G-7, but it really is completely unclear at this point in time.

The Russians also saying that so far, there are no working meetings to actually hash out what the two leaders are going to talk about, where they could make some progress. But of course, it does come at a time of very heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington that were eased just a little bit at the end of last week when the Russians withdrew some troops from the border with Ukraine.

They also allowed the opposition politician Alexei Navalny to see some independent doctors as well. Of course, that's something that the Biden administration had been calling for.

Nevertheless, of course, the President Biden hitting the Russians with some really tough sanctions for the election meddling in 2020. Also, of course, the SolarWinds hack as well and the Russians hitting back and banning some senior administration officials.

So, certainly, President Biden saying it is key to have a Summit with Vladimir Putin, he believes and he hopes that it could be something that could ease tensions.

Now looking at possibly that being in June, waiting to see which country it could be in, and what exactly the dates are going to be, but certainly things do seem to be shaping up there.


WHITFIELD: Wow. That's pretty remarkable indeed. All right. Thank you so much. Fred Pleitgen, appreciate it, in Moscow.

The first 100 days of the Biden administration have been marked with political victories and heartbreaking tragedies. The White House surpassing its goals of vaccinating 200 million Americans against coronavirus. But there are still massive problems facing the nation.

Immigration concerns are growing at the U.S.-Mexico border and the recent rash of mass shootings have gripped the country.

CNN's Dana Bash sat down with Vice President Kamala Harris in a wide ranging one-on-one interview, and she talked about the need to address the nation's gun problem.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There have been at least 50 mass shootings in America in a little over a month. Your administration has made clear that infrastructure is the next big legislative priority. Why not guns? Anthony Fauci told me over the weekend that gun violence is a public health emergency.

KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I would disagree. We actually, as an administration have taken action. The President issued Executive Orders, for example, on ghost guns and there is only so much however, that a President can do through Executive Action.

This President, Joe Biden, has a long standing history of speaking very clearly and unambiguously about the need for smart gun safety laws back from the time that he was in the Senate through today.

But I guess that emphasizes the point that both he, when he was in the Senate and when I was in the Senate, same thing, we were pushing for legislation. Congress has to act.

BASH: Exactly.

HARRIS: Because we have to codify it. That's a fancy word for make permanent, make the law that we agree, we should have background checks. That's just reasonable gun safety laws. We should have an assault weapons ban, assault weapons have been designed to kill a lot of people quickly. They are weapons of war and Congress has to act, Dana.

I mean, you know, I was recently in Connecticut. Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and the Governor, there are so many people, the families of Sandy Hook. You know what I honestly thought? I honestly thought that when those babies, 20 six and seven-year-old children were slaughtered, I really thought Congress would act, I thought that would be a thing, and it didn't happen.


WHITFIELD: And now, to those big concerns at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Vice President has been tasked by President Biden to take on the issues surrounding the migrant increase. The U.S. has seen over the last few months, here's what the Vice President had to say about that.


HARRIS: We're making progress, but it's not going to evidence itself overnight. It will not. But it will be worth it and I will tell you, part of my approach to this is we've got to institutionalize the work and also internationalize it, which is why, for example, I'm working with Ambassador Thomas Greenfield and we're going to be increasing the requests we're making of our allies in the United Nations, because, again, this is about the Western Hemisphere. We are a neighbor in the Western Hemisphere.

And it is also about understanding that we have the capacity to actually get in there if we are consistent. Part of the problem is that under the previous administration, they pulled out essentially, a lot of what had been the continuum of work, and it essentially came to a standstill.

BASH: You're rebuilding it.

HARRIS: We have to rebuild it. And I've made it very clear to our team that this has to be a function of a priority that is an American priority, and not just a function of whoever happens to be sitting in this chair.

Because for example, looking at again, the root causes: extreme weather conditions. That has had a huge impact on one of their biggest industries, which is agriculture, including drought, right? And so a residual point not only is it about the economic devastation and what we need to do to assist with economic development and relief, but it's also -- they've got extreme hunger there and food insecurity.

And so what we need to do to address that? Because again, if parents and if children cannot literally eat, if they cannot have the basic essential things that everyone needs to live, of course, they're going to flee and that's what we're saying.


WHITFIELD: All right, that exclusive interview with the Vice President Kamala Harris.

Are coming up, a desperate situation, India, as COVID cases skyrocket and supplies run short, how the Biden administration now plans to help.



WHITFIELD: The Biden administration now sending relief to India as the nation battles a record case surge. The White House planning to send therapeutics, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment.

India reported more than 349,000 new cases today breaking the global record for the most new infections in a single day for the fourth day in a row.

Indian Prime Minister Modi says the country's second wave has shaken the nation. Hospitals are running out of beds and facing an extreme oxygen shortage leaving families devastated.



VISHWAROOP SHARMA, FATHER DIED OF COVID-19: He knows he was going to die. He was saying, I'm going, I won't be able to breathe. I need something. I need -- I need more medicines. But nothing is provided to him and he died in front of me on my hands.


WHITFIELD: Joining me right now to discuss is Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Sorry, I got a cough drop in my mouth. So hopefully I can talk with and make sense, and also suck on this thing at the same time.

So Dr. Jha, you know, you've just written a piece in "The Washington Post" headlined "India's coronavirus surge could collapse its health system. The U.S. can help." Are you encouraged to hear the Biden administration is sending therapeutics, ventilators and other items? Is that enough?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes. Fred, so first, thanks for having me on, and the situation in India is heartbreaking. I mean, that story alone, it's just one of thousands happening every single day across that country.

It's in big trouble. India is in big trouble. Their government has not done a good job of anticipating and managing this pandemic, certainly not this wave and the U.S. has a lot of capacity here.

So in my op-ed, I wrote out a list of things that I thought the U.S. government can do and the statement today, pretty closely matches that, so I'm very encouraged. Of course, there's a lot of details to be sorted out, but I thought this was a really big step in the right direction.

WHITFIELD: So the U.S. has an estimated 35 to 40 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been authorized here in the States. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. may consider sending excess COVID-19 vaccine doses to India. Listen to this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We really do need to do more. I mean, I don't think you can walk away from that and we are. Right now, even as we speak, George, there's discussions about really ramping up what we can do on the ground, oxygen supplies, drugs, tests, PPE, as well as taking a look in the intermediate and long run about how we can get vaccines to these individuals.


WHITFIELD: So how much of a difference do you think that'll make?

JHA: I think it can make a big difference. Again, vaccines are only one part of the strategy and we do have these doses sitting around that we're not going to use the United States. So, I think that's a no brainer, but we actually are also just developing a lot of excess supply right now.

We're still producing a lot of vaccines. Vaccinations are slowing. I think, it's going to be really important to get those vaccines out to countries that are really struggling.

WHITFIELD: In India, in fact, has administered, you know, more than 140 million coronavirus vaccine doses over the last three months. But because there's, you know, there are more than a billion people in India that means that country ranks lower than many others per capita of vaccinations according to CNN data.

So, what challenges then do you see for India's population? Oh, I think we lost audio -- our connection. We could see him, but he

can't hear us any longer. We'll try to reconnect, if not, at the very least. Thank you so much, Dr. Ashish Jha.

All right, for more on coronavirus, Jim Acosta will interview Dr. Anthony Fauci at four o'clock today. Jim will also speak with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in the five o'clock hour.

Up next, tragedy in Baghdad, at least 82 people killed in a hospital fire. How residents tried to save lives and why rescue crews weren't notified for 30 minutes.



WHITFIELD: Iraqi officials say at least 82 people were killed when a massive fire over took a major hospital in Baghdad. Initial report say it likely started after an oxygen tank exploded.

Arwa Damon has more on the tragic situation.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The person filming cries out in horror. There is the sound of another blast from within the inferno. A woman screams.

It is Baghdad's Infectious Diseases Hospital filled with COVID-19 patients and their family members. Hussein Salem was inside caring for his mother. He was urging her to try to eat something.

"I couldn't save her," he sobs. "We tried to evacuate my mom. But once we reached the door, we were blown away by one of the blasts," he remembers. The pain still so raw, so incomprehensible.

He is at the Baghdad morgue waiting for her charred remains, along with the others whose loved ones either suffocated to death or were burnt, some beyond recognition.

His father's anger seeps through his sorrow. "When tragedies happen, government officials always give bogus reasons. They always try to justify their devilish ways," he says.

As seen in this CCTV video, the explosion believed to be an oxygen tank that blue came from inside one of the rooms. People start to run. Someone, it looks like a patient, an elderly man is pulled out.

The flames appear to be getting larger. A man arrives with a handheld fire extinguisher, but with no fire proofing. It was not enough.

That blast led to a series of others. The fire alarm was faulty. It was half an hour before the Civil Defense says it got a call.

By the time they responded, so many were dead, so many wounded.

Residents in the area had taken it upon themselves to try to help, breaking through windows to save those inside.


DAMON (voice over): Back in February, we filmed at this hospital in the intensive care unit. We spoke to doctors and family members about people's reluctance to come to hospitals, about the lack of faith in Iraq's healthcare systems, who have yet to recover from sanctions dating back to the Saddam Hussein era, and then nonstop war and rampant corruption.

This, this is what all that has led to. Murta just stares at his hands, cut up from breaking glass to let in some air. His aunt and grandmother perished inside. He could not save them. "No one could imagine this could happen," he says.

But tragically, Iraq has a way of delivering the unimaginable, and with it, unimaginable pain. Arwa Damon, CNN.


DAMON (on camera): And Fred, so many of those who perished, they were the elderly. They were the ones who were in the ICU who were unable to get up and run, and as you heard in that report, whose loved ones, whose relatives had tried so hard to save them, but were unable to do so.

And yes, the Iraqi Government has said it will investigate and that it will hold those who are responsible for this accountable. Yes, they have suspended the Minister of Health, they'll be looking into him. They'll be looking into other authorities.

When it comes to the family members who are suffering right now, none of that matters. And for so many Iraqis, this really just epitomizes everything that is wrong with their country right now. This is the result of repeated government failures, of mismanagement, of corruption, of the misallocation of funding.

And there has been rising anger against the government for quite some time. Right now, people are angry about the fact that they still don't have regular electricity, angry about the fact that unemployment numbers are significantly high. The economy is in a downward spiral.

And now on top of all of this, this is what they have to contend with. The key issue here, one that the government has always been reluctant to address is really trying to go over the core reasons why this sort of a thing can even happen, and until that is actually fixed, sadly, Iraqis are going to have to endure the unimaginable over and over and over again.

WHITFIELD: Arwa Damon, you spell it out, hardship on top of hardship there. Thank you so much.

Indonesia is officially pronouncing the 53 crew members on board a sunken submarine dead. The Navy launched a frantic rescue operation to find the vessel after losing contact on Wednesday. Today, they did find contact, but only with the wreckage. It had broken into three pieces and sunk to the ocean floor.

Investigators still aren't sure what caused the submarine to sink, but the government is planning to give posthumous honors and rank to the entire crew.

And this programming note. Join W. Kamau Bell for a new season of his show "United Shades of America." This season, he travels the country, masked up and socially distanced to talk with people about COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and so much more.

That's next Sunday, 10:00 p.m.

We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: All right, Americans have faced one of our darkest years in recent memory, pandemic shootings, pain and suffering. My next guest is part of a family with a long legacy of public service, fellowship and outreach.

And he has authored a book that at the very least, may help some of us unite in our pursuit to heal. Tim Shriver is the author of a new book and it's in the title, unite, "The Call to Unite: Voices of Hope and Awakening." Tim has also been the Chairman of the Special Olympics since 1996. So good to see you, Tim.

TIM SHRIVER, AUTHOR, "THE CALL TO UNITE VOICES OF HOPE AND AWAKENING": Thank you, Fredricka. So wonderful to see you.

WHITFIELD: Boy, we all need this. Boy, we need a lot right now. And this really is like a Bible like, you know, size guide on inspiration and hope and kindness. How did this come to be? And what was your objective?

SHRIVER: Well, at the very beginning, you know the pandemic, you'll remember, Fredricka, there was such a sense of despair, calamity, we didn't have any idea where we were headed. Eckhart Tolle in the book reminds us of sort of a painful lesson that in the midst of chaos can come awakening.

We felt, our small team, my colleague, Meisha Robinson, in particular, who works with us at Unite, felt that this was a moment that we needed. We had to awaken the voices of those who are ready to take the chaos, the pain and find the hero within themselves, find the path forward that could get us through this together.

We knew, I think we still know that the only way out of this, as Brian McLaren writes in the book, Fredricka, the only way out is together. And so we thought a year ago that the way out was to elevate the voices of those who could find the positive in the midst of all of this pain.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh, so true. So true. I mean, and included in your book, you know are many of my favorite people whose thoughts I am happy to read: Lee Daniels, Arianna Huffington, Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra, Angelique Kidjo, Julia Roberts and your sister, Maria Shriver. So how did you pick the people? And once you picked them, did they all say yes?


SHRIVER: You know, almost -- we thought at the beginning, we'd just have a few people. And almost universally people did say, yes. We looked for people and this is not hard to do. We looked for people who are willing to say, as Jackie Lewis -- Reverend Jackie Lewis writes in the book, everyone has a gift. Everyone -- she uses the word "everyone" -- is a house of God, not some of us, not a few of us, not the ones we agree with, everyone.

We wanted those people who could articulate how that power to bring people together wasn't the same as agreeing with everyone, but we wanted those voices that said, if we listen deeply to each other, and if we see everyone as being a house of God, then we've got a chance.

I started to ask, you know, and of course it helped, but you know, my sister joined us and then oh, that yes, and then it helped that they had come and said yes, and it helped that some of these big name figures, Bishop Jakes and others said, yes, but in the end, we had, you know, the book has over a hundred voices. This is this is a book edited by Tim Shriver and Tom Rosshirt, but the voices are the voices of your neighbors. They're the voices of grocery store clerks and Uber drivers.

And, you know, ex-Presidents and ex-cons. Shaka Senghor has a beautiful selection here about what he learned, after spending some time in prison, and how he came out such a compassionate and deeply, deeply hungering man for love and unity.

So these are -- this is a book for the hopeful, for the brave, for those people who are hungry, and willing to take a chance on each other because maybe they know deep down, maybe we all know deep down, that that's what we need to get through this.

WHITFIELD: I love that you have such a compilation of you know, famous and not so famous. You know, you have writings from ICU nurses, first responders, teachers. Among them, you mentioned TD Jakes, who said, you know, "Don't call this COVID-19, but it should be called correction 19.

We've become too tribal," he says. And from Deepak Chopra, "A new story is emerging for humanity, a story of justice and joy and happiness and health. But right now, we're going through a grieving process. We're asking why me? We're becoming angry and resentful. We're starting to feel helpless and resigned."

Your goal -- your goal for this book?

SHRIVER: Well, first of all, I just want to thank you, Fredricka, for reading that. I want to thank you for giving yourself some time with the book. The book deserves a slow read. Leon Firth writes a comment on Amazon, it's one page at a time, and

it's a slow read, because we need to take some time as a community, as a country, we need to allow this pain. You know, Reverend Jen Bailey said to me when we were talking about this, you know, grief is love with no place to go.

We're grieving, where Rick Warren writes in the book that we're in a tsunami of grief, all of us. We need to take some time and slow our pace down a little bit, recognize that this is a moment of grief, but also unveiling, but see in each other, there are so many ways in which if we just, you know, the book is almost like it says practice self- compassion, listen, be brave, find new things and repeat. Practice this and rave and repeat.

WHITFIELD: Like that, like that laundry story.

SHRIVER: We have that story, you know, like what you do on your show, if we can get a little less outrage and anger, hatred, and a little more love and compassion and understanding, it doesn't make the problems go away, but maybe then, maybe then, we can hear each other enough to find solutions that will lead to meaningful change in the future.

WHITFIELD: Beautifully done. Tim Shriver, thank you so much. Thanks for putting your heart into this book. And you're right, it is really this awakening. It is a moment of absorption and absorbing your book, "The Call to Unite: Voices of Hope and Awakening." Thank you so much. All the best to you.

SHRIVER: There are more things with you on this, Fredricka. Knowing you for a full decade, and now here we are. Grateful, thank you.

WHITFIELD: I love it. I love it. Thank you. And you know, we're all holding hands together because it is just what you said, we have to do this together. We're grieving together and we have to heal together. And I thank you so much for reaching out and letting me know about your book and I'm feeling -- I'm feeling better already. Tim Shriver, thank you so much.

SHRIVER: And you're a leader in this so I am so grateful for that, too. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. You're so great. We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: All right, I feel like a broken record. I mean, this past week, this month, this year has been a lot and I know you have heard me reflect on this before: the persistent pandemic, the ongoing angst over vaccines, the verdict in the most consequential trial of the former police officer who killed George Floyd.

And now, more questions than answers in yet another litany of police involved shootings of black men, and black and brown children. It's almost too much to bear.

You can, as I have done a lot recently, look away from the photographs, the video for a moment, to pull yourself together. But we can't take our eyes off the ills that help breed these horrible outcomes. The ills of racism, hate, evil leading to generations old sorts of scales, that devalue lives because of the color of someone's skin.

You might feel overwhelmed like I do. I'm a mother of two black sons and a daughter. I'm a wife. I'm a sister and an aunt of black men, and I write on today perhaps you'll have a chance to read it that I worry, I cry like so many other mothers feeling this insurmountable burden.

"Among the worries keeping me up at night is the idea that my teenage son will walk or drive through the neighborhood he has known since birth and someone who doesn't recognize him or value his athletic five foot 10 inch frame. Wearing out grown out natural curls will bring him harm."

Or will a system or someone of ignorance stand in the way of his pursuit by belittling his belonging, questioning his qualifications all under the auspices of unjustified suspicion based solely on his skin color.

I want it all to stop, too. I don't know how we're going to get there. In addition to continuing to find inspiration from loved ones, like my mom, our ancestors, and perhaps it's just like Tim Shriver just said, that the way out is together and so I know together, we must find a way out because as Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Thank you so much for being with me today, this weekend. Thanks for giving me a moment to just get all of that off my chest.

Jim Acosta is up next.