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George Floyd's Private Funeral Today; Black Man Dies in Texas Arrest, Crying Out for Air; "Defund the Police" Movement Meets Political Pushback; W.H.O.: Asymptomatic Patients Unlikely to Pass on COVID-19. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 9, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: George Floyd's family says a final good- bye today. Now, another video emerges of a black man pleading for air during a deadly arrest in Texas.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don't support defunding the police.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There won't be defunding. There won't be dismantling of our police.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A push to defund police met with resistance on both sides of the aisle. What's next for the effort for real police reform?

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Tuesday, June 9th. Twenty-one weeks to the election and it's 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

A final farewell to George Floyd later today. His private funeral will be held in Houston.

A day after the public had a last chance to say good-bye at a public viewing, thousands lined up to pay their respects in that blistering Texas heat. The viewing was supposed to last six hours, but it was extended late into the day to accommodate the huge number of mourners. Those at the service and far beyond hope George Floyd's legacy extends past today's private burial. He'll be taken in horse drawn carriage to his grave site next to his mother's grave. The protests in Floyd's name are now at two weeks and still going strong.


PHILONES FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: My brother was a huge role model for a lot of people. He was the first person who everybody looked up to in our neighborhood because he was the first one to get a scholarship to go play basketball, football, what he wanted to do. A lot of people didn't have the money, and he was one of the ones that say, hey, you can do it. He will help you do a lot of things.

And I'll tell you what, if he was told -- told he would have to sacrifice his life to bring the world together, and knowing him, I know he would have did it. I mean, again, love is love, and we all are hurting as a family.


ROMANS: Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden visited Floyd's grieving family for more than an hour and spoke for a time with his six-year-old daughter Gianna.

JARRETT: The attorney for one of the fired police officers charged in George Floyd's death is trying to pin the blame on everyone but his client. Thomas Lane, you'll remember was the one holding George Floyd's feet while fellow officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck. That's all on video. But Lane's attorney is trying to cast doubt on that and more.




GRAY: No matter what -- well, that's questionable, by the way.

CUOMO: How? His knee is on his neck in the video.

GRAY: It's questionable because look at the autopsy. There's not injury to this man's hyoid bone or larynx. He didn't suffer a strangulation or an asphyxiation. But let me finish this --

CUOMO: But also, just to be clear, that's not what the autopsy of the family did -- showed.

GRAY: The public is watching this. My client's feet. He doesn't have a good view of Mr. Chauvin -- excuse me, Mr. Floyd, of what Chauvin's doing. But if all of these people say why didn't my client intercede -- well, if the public is there and they are so in an uproar about this, they didn't intercede. He said, I can't breathe when they are trying to get him into the squad car. He used that at that time, too. So, should the police believe it? I don't know.


JARRETT: Lane's attorney also claims body camera footage which has not been released to the public shows Floyd resisting as he's being put into a police cruiser. Chauvin's bail was set at $1.25 million in court yesterday.

ROMANS: George Floyd's death exposing several other cases where black men have pleaded for air in their encounters with police. Officials in Austin, Texas, have released disturbing body camera footage of a black man's arrests that led to his death. The local prosecutor now is pursuing charges.

More from CNN's Ed Lavandera in Texas for us.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On March 28th, 2019, Williamson County sheriff's deputies are pursuing 40-year-old Javier Ambler just after 1:00 in the morning. According to a sheriff's department incident report, Ambler failed to dim his car's headlights as he drove past the deputy. The report says Ambler tried to plea, leaving officers on a 22-minute pursuit that ended up in the city of Austin.


The incident report says Ambler crashed his car five times during the pursuit, and that's where the officers' body camera footage captures how the arrest turned deadly.

According to the documents obtained by CNN, Ambler exited his car with his hands up. He was not intoxicated and unarmed. Officers tried to handcuff Ambler but say he resisted and pushed back on the officers as he refused to follow the verbal commands.

But the body camera shows Ambler in distress.

JAVIER AMBLER, 40-YEAR-OLD: Sir, I can't breathe.

OFFICER: Flat on your stomach.

AMBLER: I can't breathe.

OFFICER: Flat on your stomach.

LAVANDERA: Multiple times on the video, Ambler is heard saying he can't breathe and that he's not resisting.

AMBLER: I can't breathe.

OFFICER: Stop resisting.

AMBLER: Sir --

OFFICER: You need to comply.

AMBLER: I'm not resisting.

OFFICER: Stop resisting.

LAVANDERA: Several minutes into the arrest, officers realize Ambler is unresponsive.

OFFICER: Sit up, bud. Hey, wake up. LAVANDERA: You can no longer hear him talking on the video. Officers

then un-handcuffed Ambler and can be heard administering CPR compressions until medical units arrive on the scene.

(on camera): According to documents filed with the state's attorney general's office, Williamson County investigators ruled that Javier Ambler's death was a, quote, justifiable homicide and that the deputies acted in accordance and followed the guidelines of the department and used reasonable force the night they tried to arrest Javier Ambler.

We have reached out to the Williamson County's sheriff's department but have not heard back. The district attorney in Austin, Texas, says she hopes to present the case for possible criminal charges to a grand jury, but that might not happen until at least July or August.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston, Texas.


JARRETT: All right, Ed. Thanks so much for that.

The renewed movement we're seeing to defund police is now meeting some push back at the highest levels of government. Now, to be clear, this phrase doesn't actually mean the same thing to everyone. Some supporters want to shift some, but not all funds away from police to social services. Other supporters do want to strip all police funding and dissolve departments. But many Democratic leaders are lining up publicly against defunding, including the presumptive Democratic nominee who faces a balancing act on criminal justice reform.


BIDEN: No, I don't support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.


ROMANS: One of the prominent black lawmakers in the country is against the defund police idea. A source says House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told other Democrats police need to restructure, but he warned talking about defunding the police could hijack their efforts on real reform.

President Trump already proving that very point.


TRUMP: There won't be defunding. There won't be dismantling of police. There will not been any disbanding.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Meantime, congressional Democrats unveiled a new plan to overhaul policing, including a ban on chokeholds and a national police misconduct registry and limits on transferring military grade equipment to police.

JARRETT: Yes, Democrats may actually have a Republican ally in the bid to ban chokeholds. Attorney General Bill Barr is open to a ban except when necessary to meet lethal force. Several cities are now taking the first tangible steps on the issue as well.

In Minneapolis, a judge is ordered police to stop using all neck restraints and chokeholds. The plan was first approved by the mayor and city council last week. Officers also have to notify a supervisor immediately if they witness any inappropriate use of force.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the chief of police has issued an immediate moratorium on the training and use of carotid neck restraints. The Denver police department also announcing a ban on chokeholds and carotid compressions with no exceptions.

ROMANS: Attorney General Bill Barr directly contradicting the president's explanation about why he was taken to an underground bunker during protests outside the White House.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are reacting to three days of extremely violent demonstration right across from the White House, a lot of injuries to police officers, arson. Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker. We can't have that in our country.


ROMANS: Barr says the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker. That's very different from what the president claimed.


TRUMP: I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny, little short period of time. It was more for an infection. There was no problem during the day.



ROMANS: On Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told CNN he would be voting for Joe Biden in November in part because the president lies constantly and no one holds him accountable.

JARRETT: The University of Alabama is removing Confederate symbols from its campus. Three plaques commemorating students who served in the Confederate army will be removed. The school says plaques will be placed in a more appropriate historical setting. The school system's board of trustees has also appointed a group to review names of buildings on all of its campuses and recommend changes that might be necessary.

ROMANS: A Minnesota man has been charged in connection with that huge fire that virtually destroyed the Minneapolis police department's third precinct on May 28th. Federal officials say 23-year-old Brandon Wolf was arrested last week wearing items stolen from the precinct, including body armor and handcuffs. They say he admitted to being inside the building that night and pushing a wooden barrel into the fire.

JARRETT: Well, President Trump plans to give back on the campaign trail soon and his team thinks the protests we're seeing across the country actually have opened up a way to do this.

CNN's Ryan Nobles explains.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, the Trump campaign signaling they are ready for the campaign to ramp back up again. In fact, campaign manager Brad Parscale telling us that within two weeks time, President Trump is set to get back out and hold the big in-person rallies that were the signature of his 2016 campaign and something that he's been robbed of during the coronavirus pandemic.

And what we're learning from Trump aides is that the president is itching to get back out on the campaign trail, and that he sees all these protests going on across the country, he sees all these protesters shoulder to shoulder and he's starting to ask why can't he do the same thing with his supporters. And so, that's part of the reason that they decided to speed up this timeline. There was some thought that they wouldn't get back to this in person rallies until July.

Now, this comes at a time where the president is falling behind in many public polls. Almost every national poll shows the president trailing and he's also falling behind in some key battleground states, states that he won comfortably in 2016 like Ohio and Arizona. So, this is an attempt for the Trump campaign to change the conversation up a little bit. It's not just this in-person rallies that they're also starting back up, the president is going to have his first in-person fund-raiser later this week. In fact, he will have two over the course of the weekend and then his campaign, the field team, are back out as well doing the door-to-door canvassing and in-person training as well.

There's five months still to go in this campaign, but right now, the Trump campaign is certainly a bit behind where they expected to be. They're hoping that the next couple weeks and the starting back up of the economy and along with it his campaign that that will change the conversation some -- Christine and Laura.


ROMANS: All right. Ryan, thank you.

It is official. The coronavirus pandemic recession began in February. The National Bureau of Economic Research is the official arbiter of America's booms and bust. It usually takes a year or longer for this group to make the call. Not this time. This was the fastest in history.

Normally economists define a recession as a consecutive quarters of negative growth. This shows you how catastrophic this shutdown was. GDP shrank 5 percent in the first quarter, and economists predict even worse for the second, and it is a recession like none other. Millions of workers sidelined, major companies filed for bankruptcy. And it all happened so quickly, the economy fell off a cliff.

But there is hope the recession could be relatively brief with unprecedented support from the Federal Reserve and Congress. That's why the stock market is booming. The S&P has erased all of its losses for the year and the Nasdaq powered by tech stocks hit a record high Monday.

Even as stocks reopened, there is a long road to recovery ahead for workers and for Main Street and the chance of a second wave of infections is still the biggest risk to that recovery.

But I think a lot of people are surprised, Laura, to look at their 401k and realize you could be right back at flat or even higher for the year now.

JARRETT: It's pretty incredible, Christine.

Well, coming up, the push for social distancing was based largely on fear of people without symptoms spreading coronavirus. But now, the WHO says that's not happening as much as first feared.



ROMANS: New data from the World Health Organization is raising questions about one of the core reasons for social distancing. Officials now say asymptomatic patients are not a new driver of new infections. Contrary to early evidence that appears young or healthy people who never experienced symptoms are unlikely to spread COVID to more vulnerable people.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Laura, according to the World Health Organization, this idea of asymptomatic spread, now someone who's having no symptoms at all still spreading the virus, they say it's possible but rare. Now, keep in mind, this is a topic that we've discussed quite a bit. It is why we all behave like we have the virus. You may not have symptoms, but you could still have a virus in your system and spread it. But again, it's that point that World Health Organization is saying it is rare.

Now, it's important to define the terms here a bit. Asymptomatic means someone who doesn't have symptoms and doesn't develop symptoms. That's different than pre-symptomatic, someone who doesn't have symptoms, but is about to develop symptoms. They may not know it yet or just minimally symptomatic.

The point is this, that it sounds like from the World Health Organization that if you truly have no symptoms at all, but still carry the virus, the likelihood that you then spread that to someone else is very low. But do you have mild symptoms and not know it, are you about to develop symptoms?


In those cases, we know that people who are pre-symptomatic, not only can they spread it, sometimes they are more contagious before they actually develop the symptoms.

Now, this is all important, Christine and Laura, because it gives contact tracers a better sense of who focus on, to make sure people -- the right people are getting isolated and the right contacts are also getting quarantined -- Christine, Laura.


JARRETT: All right. Thanks to Sanjay for laying out some important distinctions there.

At least 26 states are failing to report probable COVID-19 cases to the CDC. That's a direct violation of federal guidelines, although the guidelines are voluntary. Some of the states are among those with the largest populations -- California, New York, Florida and Texas.

ROMANS: So, by not reporting probable cases, states are likely undercounting the true number of COVID-19 infections. Nineteen states have reported an increase in new cases over the last week, 19. They include some that were the earliest to reopen like Florida and Texas. In six states with the largest spike in cases, hospitalizations have also climbed.

JARRETT: Federal health officials are reassessing thing path forward with dealing with coronavirus. One official points out that there has been a huge spike of people out since Memorial Day and many Americans are ready to move on, quote, at any cost approaching the virus as something we simply have to live with.

As a result, the official says the CDC must revise messaging, saying: We can tell people over and over again about the statistics of people getting COVID-19 or dying from it, but we realize people are starting to be over it.

ROMANS: Starting to be over it. Yet, if large scale shutdowns were not implemented after the pandemic reached the United States, there would be roughly 60 million more coronavirus infections across the country. That's the finding of a new modeling study published in the scientific journal "Nature".

Now, that study looked at policies from January through April, and also found that without action, there would be 285 million more total infections in China, 38 million more in South Korea and 49 million more in Italy.

JARRETT: Well, movie theaters in California can begin reopening as early as this Friday with guidelines that include limiting capacity to 25 percent or no more than 100 moviegoers. Theaters will also have to remove or block off seats to ensure social distancing. Coronavirus cases in that state has been climbing steadily as the economy reopens.

California on average had the most new cases per day in the U.S. last week -- over 2,600. Now, the spike is due, in part, to more testing, but the percentage of positive tests in California has mostly stayed flat.

ROMANS: All right. So, Major League Baseball owners proposing a 76- game season. The plan was sent to the players union yesterday. It calls for 75 percent prorated salaries. Last week, MLB rejected a proposal from the union for a 114-game season. The players receiving their full pro-rated salaries.

JARRETT: All right. Still ahead, the Department of Justice, well, it still has some questions for Queen Elizabeth's son in the Jeffrey Epstein case. Will Prince Andrew and the U.K. cooperate?



ROMANS: Federal prosecutors in the U.S. reportedly requesting an interview with Britain's Prince Andrew concerning his connection to alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

CNN's Max Foster is live in the U.K. with the latest.

What do we know about this, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. This a row that's really been bubbling behind the scenes for some time and it's really breaking out in the open with these official statements from both sides now coming out. So, what you got is the U.S. attorney district office for the Southern District of New York consistently saying that Prince Andrew refused to cooperate. And now, they got to point where sources are telling us they are going to the U.K. government to get them to intervene.

Then, we have Prince Andrew's side coming out, saying they've offered to cooperate three times this year. This is more about publicity for the Department of Justice. And then we, again, have the Southern District coming back and saying Prince Andrew is actually faulty portraying the fact that he wants to cooperate. Then we have William Barr being dragged into this, the attorney general, of course, when he appeared on Fox News yesterday.


BARR: Oh, I don't think it's a question of handing him over. I think it's just a question of having him provide some evidence.


FOSTER: Now, this is a big problem obviously for Prince Andrew. The queen is in isolation in the castle behind me. Both she and Prince Andrew had hoped that he would be able to pick up his public duties ever since these allegations first surfaced, his link to Jeffrey Epstein. He's had to give up his public role. It's very difficult to see how he can make a comeback until all of these allegations are cleared up.

ROMANS: The Netflix documentary right now called "Filthy Rich" that everyone is again talking about the allegations and, of course, he is in that documentary.

All right. Thank you so much, Max Foster.

FOSTER: All right. Tensions are again rising on the Korean peninsula. North Korea is vowing to cut off al communication with South Korea. State media citing the South's treacherous and cunning behavior for failing to stop defector groups from floating leaflets across the border on balloons.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang did not answer South Korea's phone call over the military communication line, the first time since its reconnection in 2018.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: George Floyd's family says final good-bye today.