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Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) is Interviewed on Police Reform Legislation; Washington Man Beaten By Police; Reopenings Reignite the Pandemic. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 9, 2020 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: From some in the grassroots, the calls to defund and dismantle, he says the radical left Democrats have gone crazy.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Well, I think what the president is seizing on is the fact that he knows his poll numbers are dropping. And so he wants to attach a slogan from protesters around the country to the Democrats. I don't know whether they're Democrats or not. And so I think that he knows that he has completely mishandled the pandemic and he has no idea how to handle what's going on in the streets right across the street from the White House. That's why he's barricaded himself in with this big, huge fence.

BERMAN: Now, there are a number of things in here, which I've actually heard Republicans propose or discuss in the past. Not all of it, but some of it. Do you have any specific Republican buy-in yet and what have you heard specifically from the White House on this proposal?

BASS: Haven't heard anything from the White House. We introduced the bill just about 24 hours ago. So the work begins.

We did begin discussions though with Republicans a couple of weeks ago when we were at the conceptual stage and I think that there is interest. Now, we'll see. We have to do the work. We have our first hearing tomorrow. We'll vote on the bill in committee next week. So we have our work to do.

And I'm looking forward to doing it. I think this is a very positive bill. I think there are lots of things in the bill that my Republican colleagues can support.

But here's what's most important. Protests are taking place in 50 states around the country. Polling is overwhelmingly in support of the protesters and believe that they have valid concerns. I think our legislation is a major step forward to addressing those concerns.

BERMAN: Well, what would it say to you if the White House doesn't reach out to at least discuss some of these proposals?

BASS: Well, I don't know that I have the expectation that they would do that. But I think we need to move along with the process and I'm sure that they will be engaged at some point. And you know that we drafted the bill along with the Senate, so Senators Harris and Booker have introduced the exact same bill there.

BERMAN: Representative Karen Bass --

BASS: And we have over 200 co-sponsors in the House.

BERMAN: No doubt it is likely to pass the House of Representatives. What happens after that, that's the open question at this point.

Congresswoman, a pleasure to have you on this morning. Thank you for being with us. I know you'll be attending the George Floyd funeral later today. We appreciate your time.

BASS: Yes. Thank you.

BERMAN: So a Washington state man died while in police custody. He too said I can't breathe. His autopsy now rules his death a homicide. We're going to speak with his family, next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Eerie echoes of George Floyd's death have brought new attention to the case of Manuel Ellis, a suspect killed in police custody three months ago. Newly released video shows police in Tacoma, Washington, hitting Ellis. It's important to note that this new video does not show the entire incident. It does capture what officers are saying to Ellis while he's on the ground.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands behind your back. Hands behind your back.


CAMEROTA: Now an attorney for Ellis' family say that Ellis' voice can be heard in the background of this recording. This is a police radio call. And he says you can hear Ellis screaming, I can't breathe.


911 DISPATCHER: Unreadable.

CALLER: I can't breathe, I can't breathe.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Marcia Carter, that's Ellis' mother, Monet Mixon, his sister, as well as James Bible, the family's attorney.

Ladies, I know it can't be easy to see and listen to those videos again.

Monet, what have police told you about that night and why everything became so aggressive and violent?


CAMEROTA: What do you want --

MIXON: All my information --

CAMEROTA: Yes, yes, what do you understand about what happened that night? I mean have you just pieced it together from some of these videos?

MIXON: So we didn't get a video until Friday. I knew from the day that I was told that my brother was killed in police custody. I knew that day that they were lying and it was a cover-up. I --

CAMEROTA: How did you know that?

MIXON: Because I know my brother. I know my brother --

CAMEROTA: Meaning that he wouldn't have been combative with police?

MIXON: Exactly. He would not be combative with police. We weren't taught -- we were not disrespect, especially when it came to like authoritative figures. We've always been taught that you have to respect, especially law enforcement, because of what they could potentially do to you. So we have known this our whole lives. He would teach it to my kids. So it's just no way that that happened.

CAMEROTA: Miss Carter, this whole George Floyd aftermath, hearing him say he couldn't breathe, and then knowing you -- you heard the -- the audio of your son saying that. What has all of this -- these past weeks been like for you?

MARCIA CARTER, MOTHER OF MANUEL ELLIS, WHO DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY: It's been a lot of crying. A lot of crying. And unknown. Just not knowing what is going on.

So when my daughter began to reach out to certain people and the video came in -- well, I knew from the beginning that my son did not hit a police officer. He would never do that. He -- like Monet said, they were taught to be respectful to authoritative figures.

My son talked to me that night for 15 minutes. His mind was on the Lord and making his life and his path in a straight and narrow way. So I think my son was just picked out personally. That's what I feel.


CAMEROTA: Well, there are definitely discrepancy in the story, Mr. Bible. There was a witness, a young woman, in a car behind this whole incident. And she was so upset by what she was seeing that she took out her cell phone and started videotaping this confrontation between police and Manuel. She also was so upset that, I don't know if you can hear it, but she starts yelling, stop hitting him, stop it. She's yelling -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, that looks so scary (ph).


CAMEROTA: That's her. She's yelling at police to stop --




CAMEROTA: She's -- she's yelling, just arrest him. Please, stop hitting him.

So that's her -- what she saw is police becoming aggressive with him.

What police have said is that he became aggressive with them. Their story, Mr. Bible, is that he somehow approached a police officer and picked up a police officer and threw him to the ground.

I know that you have said that there may be more evidence coming out. Can you tell us anything about what else we can see to figure out the truth here?

JAMES BIBLE, ATTORNEY FOR THE ELLIS FAMILY: What I can tell you is that the police department's narrative is ever shifting and ever changing based on additional information that we have been forwarded. I think it's critical to note that this independent witness actually was in a place where she saw the initial interaction and she says that Manuel Ellis wasn't doing anything wrong. He hadn't assaulted an officer, hadn't harmed an officer, hadn't hit anyone, hadn't done anything like that. And he, for whatever reason, got first smashed by a police officer door, thrown to the ground and beaten. Thus far, we've been able to get the medical examiner's report, get that independent witness out to the public, be in a space where we got the video from her, listened to radio scanners that tell us a great deal about what Manny Ellis' last words were, which were I can't breathe. (INAUDIBLE) repeated theme throughout this country from New York to Minnesota to Texas and now Washington.

We are actively investigating this matter and we're also asking for a fully independent investigation to be led by the state. What is deeply disappointing at this moment is the Pierce County's Sheriff's Office is in a place where they are actually investigating this case and they're too linked to the Tacoma Police Department and their spokesperson has repeatedly said, there's nothing to see here, everything is fine and they first say he charged them, then he -- they say, well, no, he body slammed one. And then as we present more evidence, they change their story. And, ultimately, where we are now is something that totally undoes what they've initially said and what they continue to say.

CAMEROTA: Monet, what do you want to see happen next? Two of those police officers have been put on administrative leave, but they're not charged, they're not fired. What do you want to see happen next?

MIXON: Well, they've -- they've already were put on administrative leave, then they got let go -- or they were allowed to go back to work. And now they're on leave again because of the video.

But they need to go to jail. They need to be charged to the fullest extent of the law. Me, personally, I would like them to receive the death penalty because they carelessly took my brother's life. They took my brother from me. And so, for that, they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

CAMEROTA: Monet, Marcia, James Bible, we really appreciate you bringing this story to us. Obviously, we will continue to cover it. Thank you very much.

BIBLE: Thank you.

MIXON: Thank you.

CARTER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We'll be right back.



BERMAN: New this morning, it's been a little bit more than a month since states began opening up again, a return to normalish for some people, but a point of concern for many others.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with more.

And, Sanjay, we are starting to see some things move now.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we are, John, and it's been a question, you know, after Memorial Day weekend, states reopening, these protests that we have seen over the last couple of weeks, what has been the impact of all that on this epidemic, this pandemic here in the United States? We took a little bit of a closer look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the Lake of Ozarks. Look at these folks.

GUPTA (voice over): That was Memorial Day weekend in Osage Beach, Missouri, after the federal government first implemented their guidelines to slow the spread.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're announcing new guidelines for every American to follow.

GUPTA: Now, when that decision was made, fewer than 80 people had died in this country and less than 5,000 were infected from coronavirus. The study published in the journal "Nature" estimates that 60 million infections were avoided in the United States because of those stay at home orders.

But as the United States approached more than 50,000 deaths and 900,000 infections, some states started to reopen. And if you just look at Georgia, cases have now more than doubled since Governor Kemp made this announcement on April 20th. They're now at more than 52,000 cases.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Today, we are announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen.

GUPTA: Today, all 50 states are in some phase of reopening.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the photo from last week's SpaceX launch. People gathered on the bridge. Would you put yourself in these types of situations?

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD: I think the really important thing of all of this, that you pointed out, is that not just to the individuals but to the risk that they're putting the individuals they go home to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's what's happening.

GUPTA: Social justice protesters have also filled the streets, shoulder to shoulder, all across the country for the past 10 days.

CROWD: Enough is enough! Enough is enough!

GUPTA: All of it fueling even more concern about the continued spread of the pandemic. One person who visited the Lake of the Ozarks did test positive for Covid-19. The question being, did that person set off a chain reaction? By tracking anonymous cell phone data from one of the most popular party spots that weekend, the data analysis company Tectonics was able to track those same cell phones and potentially the virus to St. Louis, Kansas City, and Omaha.

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 12 cases have been traced back to a single person who spent time at the Jersey Shore over the past two weeks.

And as players are coming back to train, school testing is finding positive cases. Three football players from the Auburn University team in Alabama tested positive. While they are now isolated, the question is, were they caught in time before spreading it to anyone else?

In another case, an Oklahoma State football player posted on Twitter, quote, after attending a protest in Tulsa, and being well protective of myself, I have tested positive for Covid-19.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mass group settings like that are extremely difficult to potentially contact trace with because you don't necessarily know the people that you have been around. GUPTA: States like Illinois, Connecticut, and New York, have been able

to keep case counts headed down. Others, like Utah, North Carolina, Arizona, they are trending upward according to Johns Hopkins University. The governor of Arizona says it's to be expected.

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): The more we test, the more cases that we're going to have.

GUPTA: But keep in mind, it's not just the new infections that are rising. So are hospitalizations. In six of the states with the largest increase in cases, hospitalizations have also climbed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So many different events were happening all around the same time. And teasing that out is very, very challenging. So it's hard to make sense of the data completely. What we can easily say is that the virus is still out there.

GUPTA: As a country, the picture is still concerning. Overall, the number of coronavirus cases are still doubling every two months and the case count is approaching close to 2 million. And over 110,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University. We may have reopened, but we still need to act like each of us could be carrying the virus.


BERMAN: All right, sandal, I'm excited to speak with you every morning, but this morning I think we need your wisdom more than most because of this statement made by the scientists at the WHO who now says that asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is very rare. That's just different than what we have been told the last few months. So what's going on here?

GUPTA: Yes, it's different. It's confusing. And I think the World Health Organization, frankly, they're going to have to clarify these statements because I think it's just left a lot of people confused.

A couple points. First of all, asymptomatic, meaning you -- you don't have symptoms, you never develop symptoms. That's an unusual situation because we know that people may not have classic symptoms. They may have Covid toes, they may have loss of smell, those are still symptoms or they may have mild symptoms, you know, mild cold-like symptoms. So a true asymptomatic person who has the virus is a rare situation.

But I think, more importantly, John, what we've learned, and I think this remains true, is that people who have not yet developed the symptoms, pre-symptomatic, so they don't think they have any symptoms, they feel fine, but they're about to develop symptoms, we know, and the data has been pretty clear on this, that they not only can be contagious, they can be more contagious at that time before they actually develop symptoms.

So, you know, I think, you know, the basic guidance remains the same as a result, John. We all have to behave like we have the virus because you may not have any symptoms and not only be contagious, but actually be your most contagious during that pre-symptomatic period. We do need to get clarification, to your question, John, on asymptomatic. That does fly in the face from what we've heard from the CDC and other public health organizations. So what exactly did they mean? We're going to dig on that. But I think for people watching, the advice, the guidance does not change.

BERMAN: Yes, if it's a vocabulary dispute, Sanjay, it would be really unfortunate because I do think it is confusing a lot of people.



BERMAN: And in terms of pre-symptomatic versus asymptomatic, look, there's a huge difference in terms of the spread, but there -- there is a significant difference in how contact tracing would be involved here, yes?

GUPTA: Yes. Absolutely because, you know, you -- think about it, in your own life, if you've -- if you find that you now have the virus or you start to develop symptoms, when you don't -- when you're asymptomatic, you're probably not thinking really clearly about all the people that you've come in contact with. If you have symptoms, you should, obviously, be at home. But if you -- if it's harder to remember because you weren't experiencing any symptoms, it really does change everything, which is why, again, the guidances, you know, people should wear a mask, they should maintain distance, they should behave as if they have the virus because it may be difficult to go back and find all your contacts.

BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much for being with us this morning, giving us really the state of play in terms of this pandemic.

GUPTA: You got it. Yes.

BERMAN: So, we do have some breaking news. The president just made a shocking statement about the man in Buffalo injured by police. The 75- year-old man injured by police.

CNN's coverage continues, next.