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Calls Growing for Release of Bodycam Video in Police Shooting Death of Andrew Brown, Jr.; U.S. Update Mask Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People; Countries Deploying Vaccines and Equipment to India; EU Sues AstraZeneca, Claiming Vaccine Contract Breach; Census Changes Number of House Seats for 13 States; Police Reform Legislation Faces Uncertain Future in Senate. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 27, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM, and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, tensions grow in North Carolina after the death of Andrew Brown at the hands of police. Protesters are demanding to see the bodycam footage and say police have something to hide.

The U.S. promises to share the vaccine wealth but is it enough to pull India out of its COVID crisis as the country faces the worst outbreak of the pandemic.

And firsthand accounts from Myanmar's bloody crackdown as the military tortures its own people.

And we begin with scenes of anger on the streets of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Crowds are demanding the full release of bodycam video showing the deadly police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

And you can hear there the chants of "hands up, don't shoot" and others chanted "Black Lives Matter." protesters also gathered outside the home of the county attorney. Peaceful marches have taken place daily in Elizabeth City since Wednesday and that's when sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brown while trying to serve a warrant.

Brown's family members are among those calling for that full bodycam video to be made public. They spoke out after watching a 20-second clip of the footage on Monday. CNN's Natasha Chen has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want?

CROWD: Video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want?

CROWD: Video. NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): More than five full days after Pasquotank Sheriff's deputies shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Brown's family viewed body camera footage from the shooting.

KHALIL FEREBEE, SON OF ANDREW Brown JR.: My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life. You know, he was not in no -- the officers was not in no harm of him at all. It's just messed up how this happened.

CHEN (voice over): The family said they were shown only 20 seconds of video from one deputy's body camera. Even though Sheriff Tommy Wooten told CNN previously that there were multiple body cameras worn by deputies on scene and only after the county attorney made redactions including the blurring of faces.

LASSITER: He had his hands firmly on the steering wheel. They run up to his vehicle shooting. He still stood there, sat at his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel while being shot at and so he backed out, not forward but backs out away from the officers who's still shooting at him.

CHEN (voice over): Letting the family see only 20 seconds of body camera footage further stokes suspicion from Brown's family and community.

BEN CRUMP, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: When the video came on, they were already shooting him. And so obviously they are still trying to deflect and hide everything on the video.

JANET BUTAR, ELIZABETH CITY RESIDENT: We got fed up what we've heard. They've been getting away with a lot of (BLEEP) doing dirty (BLEEP) and they just got caught up in it and that need to be put away. They got to pay the price too. They're ain't better than us.

CHEN (voice over): The crowd gasped when Attorney Bakari Sellers described the tense interaction with the Pasquotank County attorney over what the family and attorneys would be seeing and who could be in the room to view the footage.

BAKARI SELLERS, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: I've never been talked to like I was talked to in there. Mr. Cox told me, a grown black man that he was not (BLEEP) going to be bullied.

CHEN (voice over): A copy of the death certificate obtained by CNN shows Andrew Brown Jr. died by homicide with a penetrating wound to the head. CNN also obtained a search warrant that shows the Sheriff's Department had been authorized to search for crack cocaine and other narcotics as well as evidence of other criminal activity, but the warrant was marked not executed. The Sheriff's Department had previously said they were there to also serve an arrest warrant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A warrant does not mean you're guilty. A warrant should not mean your execution. A warrant should not mean you get shot in the back.

CHEN: Now the family and attorneys say they only saw 20 seconds of video and are very suspicious about what happened before and after.


But Sheriff Tommy Wooten posted a video to Facebook Monday afternoon saying the whole event happened so quickly and was over in about 30 seconds. Wooten also said that his office has now officially filed a petition for a judge to grant the release of the body camera footage to the public.

Natasha Chen, CNN, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.


CHURCH: And CNN's Brian Todd was in the town where Andrew Brown was killed as demonstrators called for the release of bodycam footage.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've declared a state of emergency in case, you know, there is more -- there is any unrest. I have to say there really has not been unrest. There's been no violence. There's been no looting, nothing like that. Five nights, this is the sixth night we've been out here. The previously five nights it's been very, very peaceful, very well organized and the community here determined to keep it that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show that real footage. Show that real footage. That's all we want.

TODD: This is the kind of mood they're in. They're determined to be peaceful, but they want the footage out there. Community expressing the same sentiment. But the Brown family attorneys are, and the petitions will be in front of the judge in the next few days both media petitions and others. We're going to see if that pressure to release this footage really comes to fruition.


CHURCH: And the attorney for Andrew Brown's family says there is likely a reason behind the hesitancy to release all the footage from Brown's death. Take a listen.


WAYNE KENDALL, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN'S FAMILY: Well, it's pretty obvious to us that they are trying to hide something. I mean, there's obviously no reason to not allow the family to see the entire raw video. I assure you that had Andrew Brown been doing something that he should not have been doing, if he had been doing something that was incriminating, if he had been doing something that would have justified his shooting, we would have had that video the same day.


CHURCH: The governor of North Carolina gave his state address Monday evening. Roy cooper brought up the issue of racial injustice but did not mention Andrew Brown's name directly.


GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): Over the past year and just in the past week we've seen the harm suffered by too many people of color in our state and across the country and I want to say clearly we must all stand together to stop racial injustice in North Carolina.


CHURCH: And later this hour we will look at what Congress is doing to enact police reform.

I want to turn to the COVID pandemic now and the White House plans to announce updated mask guidelines in the coming hours for anyone who is fully vaccinated. And that could include no more masks while outdoors. There will also be new guidance on the activities fully vaccinated people can resume.

The U.S. is also planning to release part of its AstraZeneca stockpile to other countries. The U.S. has tens of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but they will have to go undergo a quality review before they can leave the country. Many of those doses could be headed to India, the new epicenter of the pandemic. Cases there remain dangerously high, although the country reported a slight dip in new cases for the first time in a week. India's health care system is in crisis mode with severe shortages of not just vaccines, but other critical supplies. And help can't come soon enough.


DR. SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, W.H.O. CHIEF SCIENTIST: We need all the supply chains to remain open at this very critical time. This is a time really for global solidarity and it's very encouraging to go see the number of countries that have stepped up to help India in the hour of need, just as India helped other countries in their hour of need. And so, on the vaccine front I think we need to find this kind of a global solution.


CHURCH: And New Delhi has been particularly hard hit by the alarming surge in fatalities. As CNN's Vedika Sud reports, hospitals and crematoriums are struggling to keep up.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: These raging fires all day and through the evening, the surge in cases being so much that there is a waiting really for these bodies to be put on the pile by family members. There is a queue outside just waiting for the final rights to end for a family member who has died of COVID-19.

Body after body being brought into this crematorium in India's national capital New Delhi that has seen a new surge not only in cases but in fatalities as well. Family members pulling out bodies such as this one from ambulances lined up in this crematorium ground and taking them for cremation. They have grown up with these people, have lived with them and now it's time to say the final good-bye.

NEERAJ PAL, NEPHEW (through translator): My uncle died at about 11:15 p.m. on April 24th. The hospital didn't inform us.


When we called the help desk we were told he is no more.

SUD: One of the more heartbreaking scenes I witnessed was when a 27- year-old was picking up the ashes of his 49-year-old mother. His brother is still in hospital recovering from COVID-19 while his father has just got home after recovering from infection.

I'm standing right behind another crematorium. This time in South Delhi. What you can see is about 50 people at work here. They're trying to get 100 platforms ready. This is going to be a makeshift crematorium because of the increase, the exponential increase in fatalities, we believe that this makeshift crematorium should be ready in the days to come.

And standing outside a COVID emergency ward at a hospital in New Delhi. It is here where a lot of people have been coming and almost begging for beds and oxygen for their loved ones. If you look at all these cars starting from here almost a dozen of them parked right outside this emergency ward. They are asking just for beds and oxygen which they have been denied. As of now because there are no beds available according to officials inside this hospital.

They are old people here, old women, old men. They are even younger people gasping for breath in these cars, and just waiting for that one lucky moment where they get a bed inside this facility.

SONIKA BABBAR, DAUGHTER OF COVID-19 PATIENT: I brought my father here. There are no beds. There are people who are in the corridors lying on the floor and the very first question they ask, after the PPCR test, what is the infection rate, am I getting oxygen? To which I was in the (INAUDIBLE) I thought this is what the hospital would provide.

SUD: Relatives of patients suffering from COVID-19 have been waiting for ambulances in order to take them home, but these ambulances have been so busy getting patients here or to crematoriums that it's been extremely difficult for them to get the sick ones home after being denied a bed.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


CHURCH: Earlier I spoke with Dr. K. Srinath Reddy who is president of the public Health Foundation of India and I asked how the Indian COVID situation that once seemed under control reached this point of crisis.


DR. K. SRINATH REDDY, MEMBER OF ICMR NATIONAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19: In fact, it was predicted by some models that there would not be a second wave. They were clearly erroneous, of course. There were several of us who cautioned against it and said herd immunity is not there and we need to be on guard.

However, they're interests in reviving the economy, which had gone sluggish during the pandemic and even earlier had a bit of a slump and the sadly strong desire among people to get back to normal life, that that received this impression that the pandemic had ended very wrongly. And therefore the society opened up with multiple large gatherings, celebrations of weddings and birthday parties but more importantly large gatherings for political rallies, elections at the local body level, assembly level as well as religious gatherings and so on. And that gave the virus as well as the variants which were beginning to appear by then free passage to roam around at will and infect as many people as possible.

CHURCH: And Doctor, the United States and other nations are sending help in the form of oxygen supplies, ventilators, PPE, test kits and eventually millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses. And Russia will send its Sputnik-V COVID vaccine in May. How critical is all of this and how quickly could this help turn the situation around in India, do you think?

REDDY: Well, the immediate response that we need to really implement with great rigger is to contain the transmission by preventing any super spreader events, that means all gatherings of any significant sites whether outside in the public areas or closed buildings. Those have stopped completely and only limited number of people hob moving and meeting. That would be the important element.

And of course, ensuring that people wear their mask, definitely outside of home, and wear it properly. Those are the important immediate measures. Vaccination does need to be stepped up but protect the people who are vulnerable and are likely to have severe disease at the same time trying to contain the transmission.


CHURCH (on camera): British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied saying he would rather let the bodies pile high in their thousands than impose a third lockdown. The comments were reported in the "Daily Mail" newspaper and Mr. Johnson was asked about them Monday.



BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think the important thing, I think, that people want to -- us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work, and they have. The numbers of deaths, the number of hospitalizations are currently very low. That doesn't mean that we've got it totally licked. It doesn't mean that COVID is over.


CHURCH: The "Daily Mail" claims the Prime Minister made the comments in October shortly after agreeing to a second lockdown. Mr. Johnson did impose a third lockdown in January.

Well across the channel Europe is facing its own drama. The EU is suing vaccine maker AstraZeneca for breach of contract, accusing the drug maker of not delivering the doses it promised and not having a plan to distribute them in a timely manner.

For the latest on this lawsuit let's turn now to CNN's Cyril Vanier. He joins us live from London. Good to see you Cyril. So how is AstraZeneca responding to this lawsuit and why is the U.K. getting the lion's share of vaccine doses while Europe struggles?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's a very fair question. First to the AstraZeneca side of this, they are saying that the claim is without merit. The lawsuit is without merit and they will defend themselves strongly in court.

For Europe this is the culmination of a months' long war of words with AstraZeneca. They pulled in the CEO. They berated his publicly. They actually tried to offered help, to AstraZeneca see how they could improve their supply chain, whether there's anything that the European commission could do or supply to help AstraZeneca improve its deliveries.

None of this has worked. And since the beginning of the year AstraZeneca has only delivered a fraction of the doses that were contractually promised to the European Union. So the EU is signaling with this lawsuit that they are done with talking and they want to address this matter in the courts. It is now in the hands of lawyers.

And the U.K. has been a major irritant in this story because as the EU was seeing only a fraction of the promised doses arrive on the continent, they were also seeing their neighbor, the U.K., getting all the doses they had ordered. And as far as the EU is concerned, that is unfair and that is a breach of contract.

AstraZeneca would tell you that that is not the case because they have two different customers with two different contracts, two different factories and two different supply chains and that doses were being produced essentially better by the factory in the U.K. was working better because there had been an earlier investment made by the U.K. Whereas Europeans had been a little late. Again, this would be AstraZeneca's argument.

Europe disagrees with this because they put hundreds of millions of euros on the table to ramp up production facilities for AstraZeneca. So all of this is now going to be a complicated legal matter, probably going to take months before we hear from this again. What will actually Europe be able to achieve with this lawsuit? That is another question. One thing it's not going to do, it's not going to get vaccine doses in the arms of Europeans any faster -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, we'll watch to see what comes of all of that. Cyril Vanier bringing us the latest from London. Many thanks.

Time for a short break now. Just ahead, fallout from the 2020 U.S. census, which states are losing seats in Congress and which are gaining? We'll take a look.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well early results from the 2020 U.S. census will be changing the makeup of Congress as early as next year. Seven states will lose a seat in the House of Representatives, including California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. New York fell just 89 residents short of keeping its current congressional districts. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas will each gain seats in the House. And CNN political commentator Michael Smerconish says the results may not be what they first appear.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST "SMERCONISH": The headline tonight is one of shift toward the South, the South tends to be red, the takeaway seems to be this is to the benefit of the Republican Party. But when we get the demographic information as to what populations are growing, my hunch is that you're going to see growth among folks who are black, Latino and young.

So maybe in the short term there's advantage for Republicans but in the longer term that demographic shift there will be more folks in the South than there will be in the Rust Belt, but they tend to be Democratic voters. So where this heads in the long term I think is much different than where it goes in the very short term.


CHURCH: Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress are negotiating a police reform bill this week, but the legislation which passed the House now faces an uncertain future in the Senate. CNN's Manu Raju has the details.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Minneapolis, Louisville, Brooklyn Center, Columbus, Elizabeth City, as deadly confrontations with police continue to mount, so is the pressure on Congress to do something about it. Democrats set a goal to get a deal done by May 25th, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death. But two huge issues are dividing the parties, whether to lower the threshold to charge police officers with a crime and whether victims can sue cops in civil court. Both Democratic demands that Republicans are resisting.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Are you willing to blow up this deal over that issue?

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. Officers right now are not really held accountable.

RAJU (voice-over): South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the chief GOP negotiator who is slated to deliver his party's response to President Biden's Wednesday address to Congress has proposed a compromise. He says that police departments should be sued not individual officers and he says that Democratic efforts to make it easier to charge officers with a crime is, quote, off the table.


Republicans are signaling they will get behind whatever approach Scott ultimately endorses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I definitely support Senator Scott's efforts.

RAJU (voice-over): But there's still a laundry list of other sticking points, including whether there should be a federal ban on choke holds as Democrats demand. Or if the federal government should instead incentivize local police departments to curb the use of excessive force as Scott has proposed. Progressive Democrats are urging their negotiators to hold the line.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO): We compromise on so much, you know, we compromise, we die. We compromise, we die.

RAJU (voice-over): Biden is expected to address the issue during his Wednesday speech to Congress.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We will also talk about a range of priorities that he has for the upcoming months of his presidency including putting in place working with Congress to put in place police reform.

RAJU: Now, I caught up with Senator Tim Scott and he told me that a federal ban on choke holds is, quote, not off the table in the ongoing negotiations. That had been a sticking point as Democrats had pushed for a federal ban, Scott had pushed for state police departments, local police departments to be incentivized to ban the practice but potentially that's one issue they can resolve. And he said the talks are progressing and he believes they will be on the serge of getting a deal soon, potentially as soon as May.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


CHURCH: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, Turkey's failure to slow the spread of COVID-19 has the country on the verge of another lockdown. More restrictive than ever.


CHURCH: Well President Joe Biden is expected to lay out new guidelines later today for anyone in the U.S. who is fully vaccinated against COVID.