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Travel Increases During Memorial Day Holiday Weekend as More Americans Get Vaccinated and COVID-19 Cases Fall; Oil Prices Rise in U.S. Due to Supply Chain Issues; Miami Beach Mayor Expresses Concern over Number of Visitors During Holiday Weekend; Some Americans Refraining from Getting COVID-19 Vaccination; Supply of COVID-19 Vaccine Low in Parts of World; U.S. Intelligence Community Investigating Origins of COVID-19; Oakland, California, Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong Interviewed on Effect of Defund the Police Movement on Policing and Crime Rates; Eastern Seaboard of U.S. Experiences Adverse Weather and Cold Temperatures. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 29, 2021 - 10:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the Newsroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finally, I'm able to get this opportunity after a year. That's crazy.

PAUL: Coronavirus cases are down, vaccinations are up, and millions of people are on the move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of pent-up demand. They are staying longer, doing more things, and spending more money.

PAUL: What the travel boom says about the state of the virus and the U.S. economy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Getting to the bottom of the origin of this pandemic will help us understand how to prepare for the next pandemic.

PAUL: After President Biden orders U.S. intelligence agencies to redouble their efforts to uncover the origins of the coronavirus, new CNN reporting this morning on exactly what that renewed push entails.





PAUL: It became a rallying cry in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Why cities across the country are now refunding the police after initially slashing hair bunch their budgets. Newsroom starts right now.


PAUL (on camera): Good morning to you on this Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Boris Sanchez. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.

And we begin this hour cuing up the soundtrack to the unofficial start of summer. Americans on the road again, going places they haven't been in a while. And whether it's the beach or a barbecue, both sounding great, and the CDC says if you are fully vaccinated, you are fully protected.

PAUL: It's a good thing today is your Friday, Boris.


PAUL: Well, no it's not. We've got one more day to go.

SANCHEZ: We've got one more tomorrow.

PAUL: Yes. Memorial Day weekend is the first major holiday, though, since the CDC said fully vaccinated people can drop masks, stop social distancing. We know most states have since relaxed their restrictions. We're going to soon see what impact America's reopening will have on people who have not gotten their shots. But check out where we were a year ago. The summer surge that followed Memorial Day. This year the pace of vaccinations hopefully will prevent what was a tragedy there.

SANCHEZ: Yes, more than 133 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated right now. That's 40 percent of the total population. And it includes more than 50 percent of adults in this country.

PAUL: So millions of people are taking advantage, they are traveling in numbers that we haven't seen in a long time. We have our team tracking the holiday travel rush as well. We want to start with CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's at New York's LaGuardia Airport. And we understand that they are busy. It doesn't look too bad where you are, though. Help us understand what it has been like this morning, Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi, Boris. We think that a majority of those travelers were probably getting to their destinations yesterday. That's because at least here at LaGuardia terminal, it is relatively quiet, only about a five-minute wait will get you past security. So that also explains why some of these newest TSA numbers that were just released a few moments ago suggest that we have reached, at least broken another pandemic era record just yesterday with the TSA reporting just under 1.7 million people using airport security checkpoints yesterday. That is getting us closer to pre-pandemic numbers, possibly above 90 percent of those pre-pandemic numbers. So that certainly goes to that point that we've heard discussed on air repeatedly, that people are now anxious, ready to get back out there, ready to get on the road yet again. And when you see some of the AAA numbers, they certainly show that.

AAA estimating that we could see a huge spike in travel, up to 37 million people, that would be a 60 percent increase over 2020. Robert Sinclair of AAA says that people have been cooped up for well over a year now. They are more than anxious to stretch their travel legs and get back on the road.


ROBERT SINCLAIR, AAA: A lot of pent-up demand, people locked up at home for more than a year. We're seeing that people really want to get out and travel, the so-called revenge travel where people are able to save a lot of money because they weren't traveling to work last year. And so they are going to places, they are staying longer and doing more things and spending more money.


SANDOVAL: Yes, and more of that money is probably going to go towards airfare. AAA also estimating that we've seen about a 19 percent increase in airfare this past April compared to April of 2020. And it may not even be that much cheaper to actually drive to your destination since the average cost of a gallon of gas now about $3.

We did hear from the White House yesterday saying that that doesn't surprise them given that increase in demand. But look, at the end of the day, Christi and Boris, you hear from travelers, and no matter the price, they are willing to pay it if it means getting out.


But of course, the big hope is that those people who are leaving their bubbles and are taking to the roads are at least those who are fully vaccinated. You mentioned that key number a little while ago, about 40 percent of Americans now fully vaccinated. Now a quick reminder, if you are going to be adding to the masses today, don't leave the mask at home. Federal law still requires that people wear masks if they are going to be using public transportation. And that could possibly lead to some conflict, obviously. There are a lot of people who are not quite used to wearing that mask, especially if they haven't been traveling for the last year and a couple of months. Guys?

SANCHEZ: And we've already seen too much of that, so hopefully it will be a peaceful travel weekend. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

Let's pivot from New York to one travel hot spot that I know pretty well, Miami Beach, where the Mayor Dan Gelber says he is worried that too many people might be heading it that way. CNN's Natasha Chen is there. Natasha, I hear that there is a lot of traffic both on the street and on the sidewalk.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's insane, Boris. And you are from here. You know what it's like to have visitors just descend on Miami Beach during a holiday weekend. So to have the mayor of Miami Beach say that the volume of people coming here is unprecedented, you know that's a big deal. Last night we were trying to drive just a few blocks on Collins, one street over from us, and it took us about an hour to do that. Of course, all the partygoers who were creating that traffic last night are probably still asleep right now.

There is some concern. Because of that, the mayor says that the virus is still here. And there is some chaos that ensues with crowds like that. The local residents have been concerned about that as well. But businesses are probably happy to see those dollars coming in. According to the county Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotel occupancy for the first time this year is actually now at the same level of the hotel occupancy during the same week in 2019. So that is a big deal. Dining activity is actually more than a third higher than at this point in 2019, also according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau using open table data.

Another industry that is putting a lot of hopes on this Memorial Day weekend is the movie theater industry. Those have been closed for so many months during the past year, and yesterday I met a few people who were walking in to see a movie for the first time since the pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming in and smelling popcorn, seeing these behind us, seeing all the pictures of the new movies coming out, it feels pretty good to be back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just ready to do something relaxing. It is hot outside. Movie theaters seemed like a good place to start.


CHEN: And the movie theaters, the box office sales last year really flatlined between March and August when all of them were closed. And it is historically such a big deal for box office sales Memorial Day weekend, so they are trying to see if this weekend is an indicator of normal summer business to come. That applies here to the beach businesses as well. The Air and Sea Show is back in Miami Beach.

So while the locals and the mayor are telling everyone to be safe in how they enjoy their time here, of course the businesses are also very happy to see those dollars come back. Boris and Christi?

PAUL: All right, Natasha Chen, enjoy Miami Beach even when you're working. I know, at least you've got some sun there. Thank you so much.

So Tom Kloza is with us. He's publisher of the Oil Price Information Service. Tom, it's good to see you. I know that people are going to be getting in their cars. They're going to see that price at the gas station. Will you put this into perspective for us, though? We have not been traveling by car a whole lot in the last year. So what does this look like in perspective to other years past?

TOM KLOZA, PUBLISHER, OIL PRICE INFORMATION SERVICE (OPIS): Well, if you go back to 2011 to 2014, Memorial Day weekend, we had gas prices between $3.50 and about $3.90. So we've been here before. And $3 might seem apocalyptic, and it is if you live in California where you are about $4.20. But we've had this kind of inflation. It is not like what we're seeing in housing or what we're seeing in grains or lumber or whatever. So that is not the problem.

I think the problem, and I think this is a little bit of a weekend dress rehearsal for it, is the supply chain. That last mile or 200 miles of the supply chain for gasoline has been strained, and we've lost a lot of the drivers that drive those big transport trucks on the road, down the turnpike, or whatever, so that when we get high demand -- and I'm not so worried about this weekend, but maybe in July and August -- we could see some outages. We could see some places where there's bad pumps. And we kind of had a dress rehearsal for bad behavior a couple of weeks ago with the Colonial pipeline down. And we saw that the crowd can get apoplectic very, very quickly.


PAUL: Yes, there is definitely a panic that sets in if you have got to get gas and you are going station after station and you can't get any. But you mentioned the prices in California. Is out west more vulnerable to those higher prices than other parts of the country?

KLOZA: Yes. California, and to a certain extent Oregon and Washington, have already acted to try to deemphasize carbon. There is a lot of charges there that are baked into the price of gasoline that are related to carbon suppression. So that is why you pay so much more in California than you do in the rest of the country. It is kind of the laboratory, perhaps, for what we may see in the northeast because there is a lot of states that are also looking to come up what they call the low carbon fuel standard. And it's not a free lunch. You have to pay for that.

So I don't think that this is going to be a tremendous pricing event that we see where people can't go somewhere because they can't afford it. Last year, we saw people driving about as much as they drove during the Kennedy administration on Easter weekend. So we're going to see demand be very, very lumpy. But the problem comes in July and August if we get problems with supply in the form of hurricanes. So I think that we're OK. We've been at $3.04 nationally for about a week or so. That is not too painful. I think we probably drop a little bit in June, and then July and August is anybody's guess.

PAUL: So you mentioned the disruption in production and supply. And you also -- I know you just mentioned hurricanes, but you also talked about the truck drivers, and the fact that a lot of them lost their jobs or they were sick with COVID. So how intense is the lack of drivers right now to transport the fuel?

KLOZA: It is pretty intense in some places. Here in New Jersey, it's not a big deal because you are never more than about 50 or 70 miles from a products terminal. But if you think of places like the Florida Keys, where it has to be loaded in the everglades, your reporter was in Miami, and then it has to go what is maybe a 10 hour round trip, it can be a real problem. It can be a problem for the national parks, for the places that are very distant from the petroleum infrastructure.

I don't think that it will be this weekend. And it's not so much that it is going to be a problem, but if people see a few station outages, they start to panic. And we have the propensity -- or we have the capability if everyone panics and tops off their tanks, we use about 4 billion gallons of fuel at that point. Typical demand, about 400 billion. So no supply system can handle a panic like what we saw a few weeks ago when the Colonial pipeline shut down.

PAUL: No doubt. Tom Kloza, we appreciate your expertise on this. Thank you for giving us a good lesson this morning. We appreciate it.

KLOZA: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Absolutely. Take care.

SANCHEZ: Ahead, an optimistic message for the holiday weekend. Hear what President Biden had to say about the progress we've made in the battle to eradicate COVID-19.

PAUL: And just because COVID cases are falling, that doesn't necessarily mean that we can suddenly let our guard down, right? Or is the travel going to be setting us up for another surge, is what a lot of people are asking. We'll talk about it.



SANCHEZ: As coronavirus cases drop and travel booms, President Biden is celebrating. This weekend he is hitting the road himself to tout the progress that the United States has made against COVID since he took office.

PAUL: Jasmine Wright is live in Wilmington, Delaware, where the president is spending Memorial Day weekend. We know that the president, Jasmine, made this big speech yesterday as he tries to turn the corner from the pandemic. Talk to us about the takeaways.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was a message grounded in hope and optimism. And it's not something that lot of Americans would have thought that they would have heard this time last year. Frankly, I wouldn't have thought we would have heard it last time this year. But it just show how much the country has grown since then. And so President Biden yesterday on Friday in north Virginia really celebrated the decline in COVID cases and the rise and increase in vaccination rates. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Four months after I took office, we're further along in this fight than anyone thought possible. Let's remember where we were 129 days ago. When I took office, we were averaging 184,000 cases per day nationwide. And so many joys of life large and small had been halted by a long dark winter. And today we've gone from 184 cases per day nationwide to fewer than 22 cases -- 22,000 cases per day. Deaths have dropped by over 85 percent. Tens of thousands of moms and dads, grandpops and grandma, brothers, sisters, neighbors, friend, are still with us today who would otherwise have been lost.


WRIGHT: So President Biden also used that time to encourage more Americans to get their vaccines if they haven't already, get those shots in their arms. The White House announced a significant milestone this week. They said that more than 50 percent of American adults in this country had been vaccinated. Now, of course officials want that number to continue to rise. They identified 160 million adults fully vaccinated by July 4th as their target.


But something that official have to keep their eye on as more Americans start to return to normal, as they start to hit the road, are those rising gas prices, high gas prices. And we know that that is something that can be tricky for any administration. So looking to get ahead of it, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement really trying to put a positive spin on what Americans are paying at the pump. And she said that the administration's success in beating the pandemic and getting our economy back on track has led to increased demand for gas as the country reopens.

But while prices increase from the lows last year, as demand drastically dipped, prices at about $3 per gallon are still well in line with what we've seen in recent decades. Now, this weekend, President Biden will hit the road despite some of this dreary weather. We will see him tomorrow making remarks at a Memorial Day celebration on Sunday. On Monday, we will see him back in Arlington, Virginia, where he will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of an unknown soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery. Christi, Boris?

PAUL: All right, Jasmine Wright, thank you so much. Always good to see you.

SANCHEZ: Joining us now to discuss more about COVID is CNN medical analyst Dr. Celine Gounder. Dr. Gounder is an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist who served on the Biden-Harris transition COVID-19 advisory board. Good morning, Dr. Gounder, thanks so much for taking time to chat with us this weekend. Some 37 million Americans are going to will be traveling over the holiday, and they're going to be celebrating the first holiday in this country where more than half of Americans are vaccinated. Huge difference from a year ago when we saw cases skyrocket after the holiday weekend. Are you concerned at all, do you have any concerns about this weekend?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Boris, I think the key message here is if you have been vaccinated, you are protected. If you have not been vaccinated, you are not protected. And unfortunately -- or perhaps fortunately -- people who have been vaccinated tend to cluster together. People who have not been vaccinated tend to cluster together. So I certainly anticipate that among people who remain unvaccinated, who are traveling and seeing friends and family, that we may well see transmission within that subgroup.

SANCHEZ: There are areas, there are pockets of the country that are still struggling with COVID. A new CNN analysis found that poorer counties in the United States are lagging in COVID-19 vaccination rates. And they share a pattern. There are lower education rate, lower median incomes, a lack of Internet access and computers. What more needs to be done to address that inequality?

GOUNDER: Yes, I think this is a really important point. This is a similar pattern we have seen with other infectious diseases, say, for example, HIV, where in the beginning it might affect the population broadly but then becomes more and more concentrated in poorer communities, more vulnerable communities, communities of color. And so we really do need to be creative about how we're going to reach them.

I think one really key one that folks have brought up when they talk about why they can't get vaccinated is paid time off. Paid time off to go get vaccinated and also paid time off if they have side effects a day or two after that vaccination. And so I think that this is something that the business community really needs to step up and help us with and provide their employees, their workers with that paid time off.

SANCHEZ: So looking globally now, I want to actually share a quote with you from "New York Times" opinion writer Nick Kristof. He writes, quote, "So far the United States and other group of seven leading country haven't actually shown leadership in fighting the pandemic globally. American vaccine nationalism means that we are hoarding both vaccines and the raw materials to make them in ways that lead to unnecessary deaths abroad and also undermine our own recovery." How concerned are you, Doctor, that the United States isn't doing more around the world, and that that approach could lead to new variants?

GOUNDER: Boris, I am really concerned. You cannot find scarcity with scarcity. We need to be ramping up production of vaccines massively. And for some countries, it has been estimated, it could take over a decade in many parts of Africa, Latin America, Asia, it could take over a decade to vaccinate their populations. As so we might feel like, well, we're here in the U.S., we're vaccinated, we're fine. That's not really true, because as you alluded to, the more the virus transmits, even if it is not here, the more it mutates, the more variants emerge which could get around our vaccines, and it has a very real impact on the world economy, the ability for folks to purchase our goods, and it has an impact on stability.


So from a national security perspective, when you have people getting infected, dying, when you look at the images from India, what's happening there right now, that is massively destabilizing politically and economically. So this is very much a threat to us even if it's not happening within the U.S.

SANCHEZ: I want to ask you about a new Kaiser Family Foundation study. They found that most adults who want a COVID-19 vaccine have at least started vaccination. The percentage of American adults now fully vaccinated above 50 percent, but it's also barely moving up. I don't think that's the right graphic. But generally speaking, when we talk about the numbers, are you discouraged that the vaccination rate isn't climbing up quicker? Have we reached the vast majority of people that we're going to reach?

GOUNDER: I think that we've reached the vast majority of people who were really excited about getting vaccinated. You have a lot of people who are still sitting on the fence who have said, look, I want to wait six months, a year, more just to see how things go with the vaccine. I think it is going to be a bit challenging to convince some of those people. We have seen vaccination rates boosted by the fact that 12 to 15-year-olds are now eligible. So that has been helpful. But to get to those adults who are still reluctant to get vaccinated, that is certainly going to be a challenge.

SANCHEZ: And I did want to ask you about booster shots. Obviously, a big question on everybody's mind is when might we need them. The "New York Times" this week quoted scientists who say that there is new evidence that bone marrow has shown to have some immunity that could last for years. How exactly are scientists trying to figure this out? If you could explain to me like I'm five.

GOUNDER: Sure, Boris. So there are cells in your bone marrow that make those antibodies. They remember the infection, they make the antibodies. So even if your antibody levels go down, those cells still remember the vaccine, the vaccination, or perhaps even the natural infection. And so when you encounter the virus again, those cells kick into action and they start making the antibodies again. So this is good. It means that just because antibody levels may drop over time after vaccination, you still have that memory in your body, in your bone marrow, that is ready to get into action when necessary.

SANCHEZ: Dr. Gounder, always appreciate the perspective and time. Thanks again.

PAUL: So President Biden is bringing in the big guns here to track down the origin of COVID-19. Up next, CNN's new reporting on the resources the White House plans to use to sift through the massive amounts of data and intelligence.



SANCHEZ: We're getting new details this morning on why President Biden ordered a 90-day investigation in it the origins of COVID-19. Sources tell CNN the renewed push for answers is designed, at least in part, to elevate the role of scientific analysis in the process.

PAUL: The shift in intelligence gathering comes amid a "New York Times" report that there is a treasure trove of data evidence that still needs to be reviewed by U.S. officials. CNN intelligence reporter Katie Bo Williams is with us now. Katie Bo, good to see you. Talk to us about what we know that they have in front of them.

KATIE BO WILLIAMS, CNN INTELLIGENCE REPORTER: Yes, so the Biden administration, or President Biden himself, has ordered this kind of redoubling down of the effort to find the answer of how this virus came into being, in part because of ongoing frustration with the continuing refusal by Beijing to allow further investigation by the WHO into this matter, but in part because the intelligence community just still doesn't know. What we've learned this week is they are actually split in between two main theories of how this virus came into being. One of them is that it developed naturally in the wild, jumped from animals to people. The other one is that it was the subject of research in this lab in Wuhan and it escaped into the population through some kind of lab leak or lab accident. And they can't definitively prove either one of these right now.

SANCHEZ: So Katie Bo, what is going to be different about this push versus what the intelligence community was already doing?

WILLIAMS: Yes, so up until now, the effort to kind of sort out the origin story here has been using really traditional intelligence tools, primarily what the intelligence community call signals intelligence, which is intercepted communications in between, for example, members of the Chinese Communist Party, members of the Chinese government, to try to glean what they are talking about and what they know.

What Biden is doing now is bringing in the National Labs, which is this collection of 17 elite research facilities that kind of lives under the Department of Energy, in part, a White House official tells us, because of their ability to crunch massive amounts of data. Right now, we don't know exactly what this big treasure trove of data is. We don't know if it is epidemiological information or if it is simply a giant trove of intercepted signals intelligence that they needed the computing power to process.

PAUL: So what is the expectation then that they would have 90 days in?

WILLIAMS: Yes, it is possible not much. We've already been told by a White House official that it is possible that the 90-day deadline will get pushed, and we do know from our sources that this big trove of data probably isn't anything new.


It's likely that it's something that the intelligence community didn't acquire recently. They've sort of had this big backlog of information. But what I hear from many of my sources is that if there is an answer to be found here, it's likely not going to come from traditional intelligence. It's likely going to come from scientists, some of whom do work for the intelligence community, who are searching through the structure, who are studying the structure of this virus to look for clues as to where it began or how it originated. But what they're going to find in the next 90 days that they haven't been able to uncover or discover in the last year and a half, kind of a big ask.

SANCHEZ: Yes, especially with China continuously preventing the United States from, or the World Health Organization, I should say, from getting investigators the actual data they need. Katie Bo Williams, thanks so much for the time.

Some police departments are seeing the negative impacts of calls to defund the police. The police chief in Oakland, California, joins me next to talk about the fallout his department has seen, and what he plans to do about it.



SANCHEZ: One year after protestors called for defunding the police, some cities are seeing a dramatic rise in crime. Some departments cut from their budgets while others created new programs and invested in changing to policing. But in many of those cities across the country, rising crime rates have put the brakes on further reforms.

Joining us now to discuss, the police chief of one of those cities, Chief LeRonne Armstrong of Oakland, California. Chief Armstrong, we appreciate you being with us. It is an important conversation. You started the job in February, and you're in a difficult situation, one with many layers. So let's start with the spike in violent crime. After eight years of declines in Oakland, you had more than 100 homicides last year. And this year as of mid-May, you've already seen more than 50. Simultaneously the city made some dramatic cuts, roughly $30 million taken from police funding last year. Part of that has to do with the movement to defund police. You've told "The East Bay Times" that you believe that messaging over defunding police has been a factor in rising crime rates. What evidence do you have to support that link?

CHIEF LERONNE ARMSTRONG, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, POLICE: Well, we know from our interactions with those that are involved in violence that they hear the calls for less police. We know that is causing violence to spike in the city of Oakland where we currently sit at 57 homicides. So it's important that we prioritize safety, the sanctity of life, and that we all agree that the violence is far too high, in particular gun violence. And we also know that this is causing a tremendous amount of trauma in our community. So really it's a call to say let's work in a collaborative form, not just police but also community collaborating on a response to violent crime. And less resources will not make our cities safer. And this moment is an opportunity for all of us to be a part of the solution to solving violent crime in the city of Oakland.

SANCHEZ: How was it that you had to then reshuffle your department in light of having fewer resources? I imagine there were less patrols, less overtime. What form did that take?

ARMSTRONG: Yes, the cuts required us to reduce some of our specialized units. Our cease fire team, which is our violence prevention team, they had a smaller footprint. And their focus is gun violence. And so not having those resources had a tremendous impact, not having access to overtime while we see crime spikes happening across the city, the inability to deploy officers citywide. We had an increase in sideshow activity, which is exhibition of vehicles in our community causing problems in our residential areas. And so there were several incidents that we were unable to respond to because we just didn't have the resources.

SANCHEZ: So what do you say to people who then argue that those resources are better spent in new programs that would prevent violent incidents between police and members of the community where maybe police don't necessarily need to be involved, like incidents with people that have mental illness or homeless folks, et cetera?

ARMSTRONG: I've been very clear that I'm in support of programs that are alternative response to law enforcement, particularly when we're talking about those that suffer from mental illness. In Oakland, we have taken on a program called Macro that will be a non law enforcement response, and I hope that that program is tremendously effective. I don't know if law enforcement is the best response to respond to those suffering from mental illness. And so this alternative resource will be tremendously helpful for the department as we continue to focus in on the actual violent crime we see in our community.

SANCHEZ: Chief Armstrong, there is a unique element in Oakland that I have to ask you about. For our viewers who don't know, there was an explosive case two decades ago involving some Oakland police officers that led to unprecedented federal oversight over your department. And it has directly led to several of your predecessors either having to resign or being fired. There are a lot of law enforcement leaders around the country who have been hesitant to see police reform at the federal level because they feel that it would lead to more federal oversight over local police. What do you say to those leaders who point to Oakland as a reason to argue against reform and more federal oversight?

ARMSTRONG: I think in Oakland we have a unique situation where we feel strongly that we are a better department than we were 20 years ago. And today our department is one of the most progressive police departments in the country. I think that the data that has recently come out through they can't wait demonstrates this the kept has had the lowest number of officer-involved shootings per arrest for any city in America.


It also shows that the department has reduced racial disparity in who we stop more than any department in the America. And that is the signal of all the work that we have been doing to get into compliance with our negotiated settlement agreement. And so we believe that compliance, full compliance with that agreement will happen soon. But I say to all the departments, this is a call for reform across the country, whether you have to go under some federal oversight or not, I think it's clear that the community would like to see a more transparent police department, a more open police department, a more fair and just law enforcement department. And so I think that this is a call for change that all of us as law enforcement leaders have to recognize, that people want to see something different.

SANCHEZ: Chief Armstrong, I want to pivot for a moment and quickly, if you'll allow me, chief, get a bit personal and ask you about your brother, Andre. Andre Gray was a sophomore, he was 16 years old, and he was walking in the halls of his high school when he was shot and killed. It happened in 1985. And just a few days ago, an hour down the road from where you are, in San Jose, California, a gunman killed nine people before taking his own life. As a law enforcement officer, as someone who has suffered personally from gun violence, what would you like to see happen on this issue?

ARMSTRONG: Our hearts go out to all of our community in San Jose and Santa Clara as they suffer through a really tragic event of losing nine lives. I think what was important for me is that in the moment where I was invited to the White House to be a part of President Biden's announcement about new initiatives to address gun violence, I think one of the most important things was trying to look at how we can limit access to assault weapons, high powered weapons, high powered magazines that could cause this type of damage. And so I think calls for gun control is clear. How many mass incidents do we have to see in America to say that lives matter in this country, that we don't want to see people unfortunately lose their lives in this way.

And so for me, it reminded me of my own personal loss, but it also reminded me that there has to be a call for change in this country because no family deserves to get a call saying that their family member went to work and no longer will come back home to his or her family. So tremendous tragedies, but these tragedies are happening far too frequently in America, and I hope at some point that we respond to it.

SANCHEZ: Chief LeRonne Armstrong, we appreciate your time and your service as well. Thank you so much.

Stay with NEW DAY. We'll be right back.

ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course.



SANCHEZ: Unfortunately, some of us are not going to have the sunny beach weather we were hoping for this Memorial Day weekend. Showers and thunderstorms expected across the northeast and mid-Atlantic.

PAUL: Meteorologist Allison Chinchar has a heads up for us here. That does not look good, Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, it's going to be a very soggy start to the weekend for many folks today, mainly on the eastern half of the country. Look at this, up and down the eastern seaboard, you have got some showers impacting places like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, stretching down even into the Carolinas where we've got a couple thunderstorms mixed in as well.

Overall, the heaviest rain will be along the coast, two to four inches is possible. But even farther inland, you could still pick up at least about an inch of rain total over the next couple of days.

If that wasn't enough, it is also really cold, especially for this time of year. You're looking at Boston, New York, Albany, Pittsburgh, all of those cities are about 20 degrees below where they normally would be this time of year. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We will start to get those temperatures back up closer to normal by Monday, but you just have to bear with it for a little bit.

More storms across portions of the southeast, the coastal Carolinas into northern Florida, also the potential for some strong to severe storms across areas of eastern Colorado, eastern New Mexico, portions of Texas, damaging winds, large hail the size of golf balls possible today, and even some isolated tornadoes. The timeline there is going to be later this afternoon and into the evening hours.

But what about the holiday itself? Monday, it's going to very hot out to the west. California, Oregon, Washington all looking at temperatures above normal. Then we focus on the northeast. Still some rain even on the day of itself Memorial Day, but at least those temperatures will finally start to rebound. Looking at some showers and thunderstorms as well, Boris and Christi, yet again in the central portion of the U.S., that is going to be three days in a row potentially for strong to severe thunderstorms.

PAUL: Good to know. Allison Chinchar, thank you.

The new CNN film "Dreamland, The Burning of Black Wall Street" takes a look at what really happened in Greenwood on that day a century ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine Harlem, Bourbon Street, and Chocolate City all in one place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From executive producers LeBron James and Maverick Carter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People called it the Black Wall Street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was nothing that you could not do. The sky was the limit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A strong black community destroyed by a white mob.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's lynch talks on the streets of Tulsa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White Tulsans murdered black folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 100 and 300 people, most of them black, were killed by white mobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today we'd call it a massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The crime was hidden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Victims were buried in unmarked graves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were trying to get rid of the bodies.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: White Tulsans took control of the narrative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a systemic coverup.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a responsibility and an obligation to find the truth.

Dreamland, The Burning of Black Wall Street.


SANCHEZ: A moment in American history that must not be forgotten. Be sure to tune in, the all-new CNN film "Dreamland, The Burning of Black Wall Street" premieres Monday at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: We are always so grateful to spend our mornings with you. We hope you make good memories today.

SANCHEZ: And there's still much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom after a quick break.