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Family of Andrew Brown Jr. Releases Autopsy Report; President Biden Lays Out New Guidelines For Vaccinated. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 27, 2021 - 14:00   ET


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The CDC is able to make this announcement because our scientists are convinced by the data that the odds of getting or giving the virus to others is very, very low if you have both been fully vaccinated and out in the open air.


The CDC also clarified which outdoor activities are safer or less safe, depending on whether you have been vaccinated. The bottom line is clear. If you're vaccinated, you can do more things more safely, both outdoors, as well as indoors.

For -- so, for those who haven't gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you're younger or thinking you don't need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated now, now.

Yes, the vaccines are about saving your life, but also the lives of the people around you. But they're also about helping to get us back to closer to normal in our living, more normal living, getting together with friends, going to a park for a picnic without needing to mask up.

We're back to that place now, as long as you get vaccinated. So, go get the shot. It's never been easier. And once you're fully vaccinated, you can go without a mask when you're outside and away from big crowds.

I want to thank the team at the CDC for everything they're doing to help us lead with science and bring our communities out of this crisis safely and responsibly.

And I also want to thank everyone who has gotten the vaccine for doing your patriotic duty and helping us get to on the path to Independence Day, which I will be discussing more in detail next week.

In the meantime, I urge all Americans, don't let up now. Keep following the guidance. Go get your vaccination now. It is free and it is convenient. Ninety percent of the American people live within five miles of a site where you can get a vaccination.

You can do this. And we will do this.

Thank you all, and God bless you. And as much as it is a temptation to stay outdoors on this beautiful day, I have got more work to do. Thank you all very, very much. Bye-bye.

QUESTION: If the risk is so low outdoors, why doesn't it apply to everybody?

QUESTION: Would you have any preconditions before meeting with Vladimir Putin?

BIDEN: I -- one at a time.

QUESTION: If the risk is so low outdoors, why doesn't this new guidance apply to everybody?

BIDEN: Because the science indicates that the most certain way to make sure it doesn't spread if both people have been vaccinated, the people you're with and you're outside.

QUESTION: And you chose to wear a mask. Sir, you chose to wear a mask. You chose to wear a mask as you walked out here. What message were you sending by wearing a mask outside alone?

BIDEN: Watching me take it off and not put it back on until I get inside.

QUESTION: Do you have preconditions before meeting with Vladimir Putin?

BIDEN: I will discuss that all another day.

Thank you.


QUESTION: ... AstraZeneca, will you make it faster to get -- for them to get the vaccine, the vaccines we will get soon?

India, they're suffering...


BIDEN: I'm sorry. I'm going -- just the last question I will take, and I'm really going to be in trouble.

With regard to India, I spoke at length with Modi, the prime minister. We are sending immediately a whole series of help that he needs, including providing for those remdesivir and other drugs that are able to deal with this and prevent in some cases, but recover -- help recovery.

Secondly, we are sending the actual mechanical parts that are needed for the machinery they have to build a vaccine. And that's being done as well.

We're also discussing -- I have discussed with him when we will be able to send actual vaccines to India, which will be my intention to do. The problem is, right now, we have to make sure -- we have other vaccines like Novavax and others coming on, probably.

And I think we will be in a position to be able to share, to share vaccines, as well as know-how, with other countries who are in real need. That's the hope and expectation.

And I might add, when we were in a bind in the very beginning, India helped us.

Thank you.

QUESTION: What did you ask the vice president to do to help with vaccine skepticism?

QUESTION: How do you convince those still hesitant?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota, along with Victor Blackwell.

You have been watching President Biden touting what he calls -- quote -- "stunning progress" in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, his administration making a new push for Americans who have not yet gotten vaccinated to do so, and the CDC unveiling these new guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans.


Let's get into all of it.

Let's bring in chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

OK, Sanjay, let's talk about the big headlines. Basically if you are fully vaccinated, you can now enjoy, for the summer, lots of activities outdoors unmasked, but not if you're in a big venue, basically, like a concert or a stadium.

So, let's start there with that change. But, also, why do you still need to wear a mask in a big venue if you're vaccinated?


So, first of all, I think, just from a scientific standpoint, I think in some ways, what these new recommendations or a loosening of the guidelines reflect is, I think, what the science has shown for some time. You're just very unlikely to transmit this virus if you're outdoors.

I mean, we have known this for some time. Now we have plenty of data. Fewer than 10 percent of overall cases have come from outdoors. The virus transmits exponentially more likely indoors vs. outdoors.

Regarding outdoor concerts, I think, Alisyn, that was your question, that is the one area on that graphic where they still have a vaccinated person wearing a mask.

And, frankly, that may change as well as more and more people get vaccinated. I don't think it's absolutely clear-cut, again, for the reasons I just mentioned. I think it's just very unlikely for the virus to spread outdoors, period.

If you're in an area of the country where there's a lot of virus there, one of these red zones, and you're going to be next to somebody for a prolonged period of time, where you can't physically distance, perhaps that's the situation that they're sort of saying you would still need to wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated.

But I got to say, it's very unlikely in those situations for vaccinated people to be transmitting the virus outdoors. So, as we talked about a few weeks ago, saying we anticipate these guidelines changes, I would anticipate in a few weeks that we would see guidelines change again, loosening on things like what you're asking about.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Kaitlan, the president made the plea again, go and get the shot. He says it's never been easier to do so.

But the truth is -- and our medical analyst Dr. Saju Mathew tweeted this -- is that this is great for people who either have been vaccinated or are a part of that crowd who's saying, I'm going to get it, but there's no rush.

But there's a large amount of people who are doing these things already and have no plans to get vaccinated.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think that is something that the White House is trying to use this new CDC guidance to address. You heard President Biden just there saying, this is an incentive to get vaccinated for people who are younger or just who haven't decided to go get it yet or have been hesitant to go get it.

He said, now is the time to get it, saying it's never been easier to get a vaccine than it is right now. There are not the issues that we faced in earlier months with lines and trying to scramble to find an appointment and having to refresh a Web page several times a day. He's saying, now it's really easy to get a vaccine. Here's a reason you should get a vaccine, though, of course, as Sanjay was noting, I still think there are people who are talking about how cautious this guidance is from the CDC, talking about what fully vaccinated people can do outdoors.

And the reason that you also heard Dr. Walensky, the CDC director talk about earlier, was, when you're outside and you're in a crowd, it's hard to know who is vaccinated and who's not and who is maybe partially vaccinated, but not yet fully vaccinated or not yet past those two weeks of their second dose, if they're getting the second -- the two-dose shot.

And so I still think that's part of it. But I think, overall, what you were saying is they are trying to drive a clear message here, which is that there is an incentive to get vaccinated. And that also has to do with what is becoming quickly their number one problem, which is vaccine hesitancy, because you are now starting to see the number of people getting their second shot be higher than the number of people who are getting their first shot.

That means or at least suggests that fewer people are going to get that first shot, getting in line to get vaccinated. And so that's data that the White House is following clearly and keeping in mind as they are trying to out these new guidelines as a reason to get vaccinated.

CAMEROTA: And, Sanjay, I know that you're not a political pundit. But do you think that it's possible that the government is being too conservative in terms of these guidelines?

And would it, from a doctor's perspective, be more of an incentive if they loosen the reins a little bit more for double-vaccinated people?

GUPTA: Yes. No, I really do.

I mean, I think I think Kaitlan's absolutely right. I mean, the science behind these recommendation changes have been -- that science has been, I think, pretty clear for some time. I mean, Alisyn, we have been talking about the tremendously lower likelihood of actually spreading the virus outdoors vs. indoors for months, I mean, going back to last year.

I think this is incentive to try and tell people like, OK, now that we know these vaccines can save your life, here's what you get to do with that life.


But I think some could argue that it is still cautious, given what we know. Now, I have been talking to lots of public health experts just in anticipation of these guideline changes. And there are some people who say, within their communities where they live, they're still considered red zones. They still have a lot of viral transmission there.

So, the idea of trying to put this blanket sort of loosening of the guidelines across the nation, they're concerned about that. And they're also concerned about the fact that, how do you know who necessarily is vaccinated or not vaccinated? What is this going to mean for just somebody that you see around walking outside or in a restaurant or something like that?

You're just not going to know. So it's going to be difficult to enforce this. But, overall, I think, just in terms of outdoor stuff, we have said it for some time. I think the science has sort of made it clear for some time that you really don't need a mask because the virus just doesn't transmit well outside.


And, Kaitlan, that gets directly to your question during the White House briefing was, this is guidance to the states. Is the expectation that, regardless of transmission in some of these states, I mean, the red zones, if they're asking states to follow this guidance, and now lift those outdoor mandates?

COLLINS: Yes, I think it's about 26 states that still have outdoor mask mandates in place.

And so that's been a big question, because, of course, the CDC can come up with this guidance, but it's really up to the states to actually put these mandates and put these restrictions in place, not the CDC.

And so whether or not this changes the guidance, and now encourages those governors to update their guidance for fully vaccinated people in their states, that remains to be seen.

But Dr. Walensky was pretty clear when I asked her. She said that they do not feel that fully vaccinated people need a mask outdoors, of course, with that caveat that you heard Sanjay talking about, if you're in a crowded situation like a concert or some kind of crowded area like that outside.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay Gupta, Kaitlan Collins, thank you for helping us explain and understand all of this.

OK, still ahead, developing details in the police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. -- what his family just revealed about the cause of death from their independent autopsy.

BLACKWELL: And Tucker Carlson spreading more lies about the coronavirus, but what he's saying now has taken potentially a dangerous turn.



BLACKWELL: The family of Andrew Brown Jr. has released the results of an independent autopsy today, six days after sheriff's deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, killed that 42-year-old father.

Attorneys say Brown was shot five times, but the fatal wound, the attorneys say, was a single shot to the back of his head while Brown was in his car. His family calls it an execution.


KHALIL FEREBEE, SON OF ANDREW BROWN JR.: To my pops, man, yesterday I said he was executed. This autopsy report show me that was correct.

Those three gunshots to the arm, that weren't enough? That weren't enough? You -- it's obvious he was trying to get away. It's obvious. And they going to shoot him in the back of the head? Man, that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is not right.


BLACKWELL: CNN now has video recorded by a neighbor of Brown shortly after deputies shot him.

You can see his car stopped there with deputies surrounding the vehicle. CNN's Brian Todd has been covering the story since the shooting

happened six days ago.

Brian, where do things go from here?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, the Brown family attorneys and the sheriff's office and other authorities here are pressing for the public release of that body camera video.

There were several sheriff's deputies on the scene that day. There were probably at least eight body cameras that were activated that day from sheriff's deputies. And there is a lot more footage presumably to be seen.

Now, the sheriff, Tommy Wooten, has said that the actual incident takes up only about 30 seconds of video, and that a lot of the other video on the body cameras is not necessarily relevant or it doesn't show you much.

But, again, the family wants more transparency. They want more of this video to be released publicly, so that we can all see it and kind of come to our own conclusions about how this shooting unfolded.

As you mentioned in your lead-in to this, Victor, this was some of the most jarring information that we got a short time ago today from the family and their attorneys of just how the attack, this shooting unfolded, and how many times Andrew Brown was shot.

Here is one of the family attorneys, Wayne Kendall, who spoke about that.


WAYNE KENDALL, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF ANDREW BROWN JR.: Mr. Brown had his arms up on the steering wheel of the vehicle that he was then located in.

And what happened was that there were five -- four bullet wounds -- excuse me -- four bullet wounds to his right arm. These bullet wounds, according to the autopsy, were more or less glancing shots. They were not fatal shots.

So he was able to back up as these shots were coming into the vehicle. He was able to back up, turn the vehicle around, spin off across a vacant lot. And, at that time, he was hit in the back of the head here, and that is the fatal bullet wound.


TODD: So, Andrew Brown receiving a total of five shots in his body, four of them in his right arm. The fatal shot was a bullet wound to the back of the head, which, according to the family's autopsy report, says that it entered in the back of the neck and penetrated his brain and his skull.

[14:20:07] Separately, we asked the family, OK, so we know now five shots hit

him. Do you have any information on how many shots total were fired at him? Attorney Ben Crump said they believe dozens of shots were fired at Andrew Brown last Wednesday -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Brian Todd for us there in Elizabeth City, thank you so much.

And CNN has just learned that the FBI is now opening a federal civil rights investigation into that shooting.

Let's bring in Anthony Barksdale, a CNN law enforcement analyst, former acting police commissioner, and Charles Coleman, civil rights attorney and former New York prosecutor.

Commissioner, I see you nodding here.


BLACKWELL: Your reaction to the announcement of that investigation?

BARKSDALE: Oh, Victor, you just made my day. I am so happy that the FBI has jumped into this. I feel like it means the president, the vice president, that they are watching this travesty go on in North Carolina. And that's a big deal. That's a big deal.

CAMEROTA: I'm -- we remember, Commissioner Barksdale, when you were on with us yesterday, when we were just getting in the information from the attorneys...


CAMEROTA: ... right after they had seen what they called the snippet of 20 seconds of this bodycam video.

And now that you hear that -- what they just said, that multiple -- I mean, many, many shots were fired at Andrew Brown Jr., and you had said to us yesterday that you thought that this was a case of contagious shooting.

Can you just expound on that now?

BARKSDALE: Oh, sure, Alisyn.

OK, so let's say you're the officer and you perceive there's a threat. And you're with a squad of other officers. So you discharge your weapon at what you perceive is the threat. Then I jump in and just start shooting without even understanding why you're shooting or evaluating for myself if there's a threat.

And then Victor starts shooting. So now we're all shooting at a threat that may or may not really be an issue. So, it is a phenomenon that happens in policing. The way around that is training, real training over and over again, where just because one officer shoots doesn't mean that you get a hail of bullets that were poured on, like Mr. Brown received.

I'm sorry. I'm just a little excited from that news. But that's what contagious fire is.

BLACKWELL: All right, Charles, I want you to listen to the sheriff there in Pasquotank County in North Carolina.

I want people to know that, although they're standing in front of -- or behind a podium, they're not taking questions from reporters. This is a recording that was placed onto Facebook. Let's watch this.


TOMMY WOOTEN, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, SHERIFF: This tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds. And body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher.


BLACKWELL: So, if it's 30 seconds, and that's the recording, what do you glean from the family only having, according to their attorneys, access to 20 of it? If there are 10 seconds more and it's shaky video, why does it hurt -- if they're going to break the seal and show the family video, why not show them all of it or another angle?

CHARLES COLEMAN JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, Victor, that's the million-dollar question.

And the answer is that everything that has been done around this case by law enforcement has been wrong from the start. Unfortunately, because we have seen so many of these different things happen over and over again, there's an actual blueprint that we have in terms of how to handle these situations.

And one of the key elements of that blueprint is transparency, transparency around what the actions of the officers were, transparency around the information that we know from law enforcement's perspective, and transparency, not only to the family, but also to the community.

We have seen none of that. We haven't heard from the head prosecutor in that county. We have barely heard from the sheriff. Police have been tight around details. And it all raises the question of why.

And so, when you ask that question of why, the next question logically is, what's so bad? What is it you're trying to hide? What is it that you are trying to prevent us from knowing that you are this tight on the details this long after the shooting and this killing has occurred?

So, from my perspective, when you ask the question around, well, what does it hurt, it obviously hurts whatever it is that they're trying to hide or keep us from finding out.

CAMEROTA: And, Commissioner, because you're so excited to hear the news that we just broke that the FBI is now getting involved, I mean, yesterday, it sounded from the attorneys as though the local officials, not the sheriff so much, but the county attorney, were not being helpful, that they were basically being obstructionist.

Now that the FBI is involved, does that mean the local officials have to open the books, have to show them everything, have to cooperate?

BARKSDALE: One of the things that I know from my years of law enforcement is that the feds are the game-changer.


They have leverage. They have power. And you don't want to mess with the FBI. You just don't. So, if those in North Carolina want to keep playing their little stupid games, the FBI has got something for them.

BLACKWELL: Charles, we have had this conversation over the last -- well, last year, since that video of the George Floyd killing, murder, we should call it now, was released, about de-escalation.

And that's usually reserved for the interaction with law enforcement. But there is a degree of de-escalation of the seething and the pain we're seeing in Elizabeth City right now that law enforcement can engage in short of releasing the video.

Is there not -- there can be some engagement to try to head off some of the questions and quell some of the concerns.

COLEMAN: Well, again, I think that transparency is a key element to it.

And, yes, I think you're right, Victor, that the release of the video is perhaps the ultimate measure of transparency in a case like this. But, yes, there are additional measures that can be taken by law enforcement and elected officials in Elizabeth City right now to help address the public's pain, to help speak to the distrust that exists between the community and law enforcement.

And none of that has been done. I really have to underscore how unusual it is that we have not heard anything from the prosecutor in Elizabeth City. These are elected officials who are there to lead. And in a time like this, when there's so much on the line, particularly placing it in context around, as you already mentioned, the national conversation around police reform and police violence in our communities, this is the paramount importance that they would step up and have something to say.

And they have been silent. And that's a perfect example of something that could be done shy of releasing the video, which would make a difference in terms of public sentiment.

CAMEROTA: Such a good point. And, as we have just said, maybe things will change now that the FBI is involved.

Anthony Barksdale, Charles Coleman, thank you both very much.

BARKSDALE: Thank you. COLEMAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, President Biden is preparing for his historic speech tomorrow.

And his first address to a joint Congress -- joint session of Congress will look very different because of the pandemic, how top lawmakers are now deciding who gets to go.