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President Trump's Latest Conspiracy Theory; Interview With Saint Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter; Interview With Charles Barkley; Remembering George Floyd; Body Of George Floyd Arrives At Final Resting Place; Black Man Who Says, 'I Can't Breathe' During Fatal 2019 Arrest Captured On Police Body Cam In Austin, Texas; World Health Organization Tries To Clear Up Confusing Comments About Asymptomatic Spread Of The Virus. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 9, 2020 - 18:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're following breaking news on the final farewell to George Floyd, as he is being laid to rest in Houston tonight, after a funeral procession, and a very moving memorial service, family, friends and officials making new appeals for racial justice and police reform some 15 days after Floyd took his last breaths in Minneapolis with an officer's knee on his neck.

The outrage and hope for change playing out in the streets once again tonight, with New York protests -- new protests, I should say, in New York City. You can see those going on right now, this as more videos are emerging of police confrontations with African-American men, including a fatal arrest in Austin, Texas, last year, the man in custody crying out, "I can't breathe," just as Floyd it.

Also tonight, many top Republicans are simply dodging questions, as President Trump is pushing a wild conspiracy theory about a 75-year- old protester who was shoved by police in Buffalo, New York, Mr. Trump suggesting -- without any evidence at all -- that the man was part of a setup.

First, let's go to CNN's Omar Jimenez in Houston for us.

Omar, we have been watching a very, very moving final farewell to George Floyd.


We have gone from Minnesota to North Carolina and now here to Houston, Texas, the final goodbye in what has been a series of goodbyes playing out in what was a very emotional funeral service here.

Of course, George Floyd is now on his way to be buried in his final resting place next to his mother, the very same mother he cried out for in his final moments a little over two weeks ago today.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): A plea for humanity in Houston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more hate crimes, please.

JIMENEZ: As the family of George Floyd laid their loved one to rest...


JIMENEZ: ... but not their cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will fight. I will fight, because I have been fighting for him, and I will keep on fighting for him.

JIMENEZ: Floyd, who died after calling out for his mother from under a policeman's knee...


JIMENEZ: ... has now been buried next to her.

LATONYA FLOYD, SIBLING OF GEORGE FLOYD: He was calling for all of us mothers, all of us!

JIMENEZ: The families of Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery and Michael Brown in Houston to show their support, and former Vice President Joe Biden sent a video message.

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism. It stings at our very soul.

JIMENEZ: This as the attorney for one of the fired officers charged in Floyd's death says the bystanders heard shouting at the officers to get off Floyd should have intervened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If all of these people say, why didn't my client intercede, well, if the public is there, and they're so in an uproar about this, they didn't intercede either.

JIMENEZ: After 15 days of some of the largest national protests in recent history, more troubling police encounters are under scrutiny.

In Austin, Texas, disturbing video just released of 40-year-old Javier Ambler pleading for his life during his arrest last year. He told officers multiple times couldn't breathe during his fatal arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to see them go to jail. They used their position to try to overcome people, and it's not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eventually, the truth has got to come out. And that way, we can have some closure.

JIMENEZ: The county district attorney now calling for an investigation, after the responding Williamson County Sheriff's Office determined its deputies were acting with reasonable force, the sheriff rejecting calls for him to resign.

Also, New Jersey's attorney general now releasing video of a May encounter with a state trooper that left a black man dead after a struggle during a traffic stop. According to the officer, the man reached for his gun. The governor now saying this case will be presented to a grand jury.

Amid calls for police change, some signs of a cultural shift as well. In the Deep South, this Confederate statue hauled away in Jacksonville, Florida, but in the former capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, this 12-ton statue of General Robert E. Lee is proving harder to move.

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): When it's the biggest thing around, it sends a clear message: This is what we value the most. But that's just not true anymore.

JIMENEZ: A judge has blocked the governor's request for removal, at least temporarily.



JIMENEZ: And over the course of the past two weeks, the family has operated at an intersection of being at the forefront of movement, but also pain over the loss of a loved one.

And it's maybe summed up best in the words of Stephen Jackson, a friend of George Floyd and former NBA player, who says, now moving forward, as they work toward trying to get convictions for these officers, not just charges, George Floyd is going to be the name of change. They are going to make sure of it -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Omar, thank you very much.

And we're showing our viewers live pictures of this horse-drawn carriage taking George Floyd to his final resting place at the Houston Memorial Gardens in Pearland, Texas.

Meantime, let's move on to President Trump right now responding to the outrage over George Floyd's death by attempting to smear an elderly protester.

Let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

Jim, we haven't seen the president today, but we have seen his latest tweets.


And we should point out top White House officials, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and son-in-law Jared Kushner, they were just up on Capitol Hill meeting with Republican lawmakers about police reform proposals now brewing in Congress.

President Trump, though, as you said, he is still in hiding and avoiding the press, while tweeting out cruel comments about the 75- year-old man who was hospitalized after he was shoved by police in Buffalo. That sent a lot of Republicans running for cover up on Capitol Hill, as the president continues to inflame tensions after the death of George Floyd.

As one Trump campaign surrogate told me earlier today, the president is -- quote -- "just not genuinely compassionate."


ACOSTA (voice-over): With police brutality under the microscope on the same day relatives gathered in Texas for George Floyd's funeral, President Trump is lobbing grenades from his social media bunker.

The president is promoting a baseless conspiracy theory about 75-year- old Martin Gugino, who as pushed to the ground by officers during a protest in Buffalo, tweeting: "Buffalo protesters shoved by police could be Antifa provocateur. I watched. He fell harder than was pushed. Could be a setup?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The protester pushed by Buffalo police was appearing to use common Antifa tactics.

ACOSTA: The president cited this thinly sourced segment on the pro- Trump TV network OANN.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the Antifa allegation, fabricated.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I mean, if there was ever a reprehensible, dumb comment, and from the president of the United States, at this moment of anguish and anger. What does he do? Pours gasoline on the fire.

ACOSTA: Asked about the latest Trump outrage, a few Senate Republicans took issue with the tweet.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Yes, I saw the tweet. It was a shocking thing to see. And I won't dignify it with any further comment.

ACOSTA: While others were doing all they could to avoid our cameras.

QUESTION: This Buffalo protester.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS): I haven't read the damn thing. I don't want to...


ACOSTA: GOP Senator Marco Rubio told CNN: "I didn't see it. You're telling me about it. I don't read Twitter. I only write on it."

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn said: "You know, a lot of this stuff just goes over my head."

And South Dakota GOP Senator John Thune added: "Most of us up here would rather not be political commentators on the president's tweets."

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, this is a great thing that's happening for our country.

ACOSTA: The president has done little to ease tensions across the U.S., laying low behind his fortress-like fencing, ever since his administration brutalized protesters for a photo-op.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden appeared in a video at Floyd's funeral, calling for an end to police misconduct.

BIDEN: We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism. It stings at our very soul.

ACOSTA: Even Mr. Trump's own advisers have questioned his actions, with one surrogate telling CNN, the president should avoid giving an address to the nation the subject of race, saying -- quote -- "A speech lacking genuine compassion at any point would not help. He's just not genuinely compassionate."

The president has instead seized on the wishes of some protesters to defund the police, an effort aimed at diverting money away from law enforcement agencies. But Democrats working on police reform say, that's not even in their bill.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Well, because I don't think that that's the appropriate thing to do. I think what the president is seizing on is the fact that he knows his poll numbers are dropping.

ACOSTA: The president is also being contradicted by Attorney General William Barr over why Mr. Trump ended up in the White House bunker during the demonstrations.

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker.

ACOSTA: That's not what the president told FOX.

TRUMP: I was there for a tiny, little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection. There was no problem during the day.


ACOSTA: Now, Republican senators met behind closed doors to work on their own proposals for police reform.

But those GOP senators, led by South Carolina's Tim Scott, came out of that meeting noting they haven't come up with anything yet that is concrete in terms those proposals.

[18:10:00] And as for the president's tweet about Martin Gugino, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was just asked about it. He also declined to comment.

And as for those protests that we have seen over the last couple of weeks, our colleagues at the Pentagon are reporting tonight that members of the D.C. National Guard are testing positive for the coronavirus after being deployed to work with police officers during those demonstrations.

They won't say over at the Pentagon or at the National Guard as to how many, Wolf. They're saying that has to be kept secret, but some of those National Guard members are being tested positive for the coronavirus -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, that's very worrisome, indeed.

All right, Jim Acosta at the White House, thank you very much.

Joining us now, the NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. He's an analyst with our sister network TNT, always outspoken on many issues, including racial issues in America.

Charles, thanks so much for joining us.

As you know, George Floyd was honored today with a final memorial service.

What is your message to his family and, indeed, to all who are mourning him, as he's now about to be laid to rest?

CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Well, not just as family, just the American public, to see a man killed on national television, it's a disgrace.

I mean, this is not -- and everybody want to make it about black and white. This is not black or white. This is just about humanity, to see a grown man die before our eyes. If you're not upset by that if you're white, Jewish, Chinese, anything, there is something wrong with you.

BLITZER: You're absolutely right.

Floyd's killing, as you know, has sparked a huge outcry here in the United States, indeed, around the world. And we have seen two weeks now of protests, coupled with widespread calls for reform.

When you look at this moment, Charles, are you hopeful that this potentially is a significant turning point?

BARKLEY: No, I'm not hopeful.

What Mr. Acosta just said, you think about it, the Democrats and Republicans can't even talk about police reform. I mean, it's something we have been talking about ever since Kaepernick kneeled, and these clowns in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, they said -- that's the number one thing they should do before they do anything else.

We need the cops. Most of the cop do a fantastic job. But instead of defunding and all this other stuff, let's just do police reform. Everybody should be on board for that, whether you're a Democrat, Republican, conservative or liberal.

BLITZER: Because police reform is critical right now. You're right. Everybody agrees. They disagree on what is needed.

In his eulogy for Floyd, the Reverend Al Sharpton weighed in on the controversy surrounding the NFL, saying: "Don't apologize. Give Colin Kaepernick his job back."

Sharpton also pointed out that Commissioner Goodell's apology came, in the Reverend Sharpton's words, four years later, when the whole world is watching.

First of all, where do you stand on this?

BARKLEY: Well, listen, Colin Kaepernick, what he did was honorable, courageous. He lost his job.

If he wants to come back and play, I would all be all for that. Listen, the NFL dropped the ball. They were 100 percent wrong. But, you know, Wolf, you got to understand, two weeks ago, they were bribing teams to hire black coaches.

So, a lot has happened in two weeks. They won't admit they're wrong now because America is on fire. But think about it. Two weeks ago, they were bribing NFL teams just to hire black coaches. So, they got a long way to go to get back in our good graces.

BLITZER: That's an important point as well, Charles.

President Trump, meanwhile, is retweeting calls to stop supporting the NFL as long as players are protesting. What do you say about that?

BARKLEY: I am -- I don't talk bad about the president. I'm not a fan. I think the way -- he's just such a divider.

He could have -- he's not even came out and said, you know what, what they did to Mr. Floyd was wrong. That's all he had to do. He goes off on these tangents about Antifa and the protesters and the rioters.

He's never come out with human decency and said, hey, we can't have a man killed on national television right before our eyes. That would be the right thing for the president of the United States. He's not the president for white America or rich America. He's the president of the United States.

And you got to have some compassion. Like I say, people can say what they want to, but to see a man get kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 44 seconds and die right before our eyes, if that did not upset you, there's just something wrong with your human decency.

BLITZER: Let me ask you this, Charles. When the NFL returns, the NBA returns, Major League Baseball returns

-- and we all hope they will return sooner, rather than later -- do you anticipate more players will take a knee in solidarity?

BARKLEY: Well, let me say this, Wolf.

There's been a lot of protesting. There's been a lot of noise. It's time for us, as players and the public, to start doing some stuff.


Hey, and you can kneel all you want to. I support any guy who wants to kneel.

But we got to stop kneeling, and we're worried about kneeling, because kneeling has become the big story, instead of police brutality. I just want all of us, as players, we got a lot of money. We got a lot of influence. It's time for us to stop worrying about what President Trump thinks and start helping our own communities.

That's what we got to do. And quit worrying about kneeling and things like that.

BLITZER: Charles Barkley, always great to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks so much for joining us. Good luck.

BARKLEY: Thank you.

BLITZER: And be safe out there as well.

Just ahead, the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, standing by to join us live. We will talk about George Floyd's funeral, the continuing fallout from his death in police custody.

Plus, the family of an African-American man talks to CNN about the very, very disturbing body cam video of their loved one telling police multiple times that he couldn't breathe before he fell unconscious and died.



BLITZER: We're looking -- following the breaking news out of Pearland, Texas, right now, where George Floyd is being laid to rest tonight after a moving and very powerful funeral service earlier in the day.

Looking at these aerial shots coming in.

Family and friends demanding that the death -- that his death in police custody in Minneapolis lead to real change in this country.

We're joined now by the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, Melvin Carter.

Mayor, thank you so much for joining us. As you well know, in the wake of George Floyd's killing at the hands of police in Minneapolis -- Minneapolis now, the City Council there, beginning to take some serious steps to try to dismantle its police force.

You're the son of a police officer. Do you support calls to defund and dismantle police departments, whether in Minneapolis-St. Paul or elsewhere?

MAYOR MELVIN CARTER (D), SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA: Well, thanks for having me on again, Wolf.

I, like many other folks around the country, am watching closely to see how those calls, how that -- how those efforts play out in Minneapolis.

What I can tell you is this. I think it's really clear -- and this is, I think, the voice that we're hearing play out around the country. I think it's really clear that the logic that police, prosecutors and prisons are all it takes to create safe neighborhoods has really failed us.

And so I hear people saying across our country right now, we need more than that to push our country beyond a law enforcement philosophy, beyond a public safety framework, that just says, we're going to respond to crime as quick as we can after it happens, to say, we're going to invest in the people, we're going to invest in the places, we're going to invest in the housing, the type of economic supports, mental health and chemical health supports that we know that it takes, sort of universally, to create safe, stable neighborhoods.

And I hear a frustration that, while we spent over $100 million on policing -- or $100 billion on policing and $80 billion prisons across the country to imprison more people than any country on the planet, the fact that we still feel unsafe means we need an entirely and fundamentally different toolkit.

And I think the folks who are saying that have a good point.

BLITZER: We're showing our viewers, by the way, Mayor, some live pictures from New York City where the protests are continuing on this, the 15th day after George Floyd's death.

So, what do you see, Mayor, as the best path forward right now for the Twin Cities in terms of policing? When all is said done with all the reforms that you're putting forward and others are putting forward, should there still be a police department, a police force?

CARTER: Well, I will tell you what. You mentioned that my father's a retired St. Paul police officer. And you're right.

So, I grew up praying for the safety of our officers. I grew up seeing him put on his badge and his uniform every day. And I grew up seeing him, who was patrolling in a neighborhood that he grew up in, that he raised his children in, that he went grocery shopping in and lived in every moment of every day, I got a chance to see him solve problems in a way that he just wouldn't have been able to, in a way that you might not have even know that a problem existed if you didn't know the neighborhood as well as he did.

So our goal, in the words of our chief, our police chief here, is to constantly make deposits into what he calls our bank of trust. Our goal is to ensure that, when our police officers act, they do so in a way that is three things, as our chief always says, reasonable, necessary and respectful.

And our goal is to partner our officers with those types of community- based supports right here in St. Paul. We are placing social workers in police cars to co-respond to individuals in crisis with our police officers.

We have created a restorative justice process to divert low-level nonviolent offenders away from criminal prosecution. And we have completely revised, two years ago, all of our use of force policies.

So, our goal is to have a close partnership between those law enforcement officers, while we build those types of neighborhood- based, community-level investments that we know will help us to reduce crime before it ever happens in the first place.

BLITZER: Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Mayor Carter, you're always welcome here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks so much for joining us.

CARTER: Thanks for having me on.

BLITZER: Just ahead, we will talk about the latest video that has emerged of a black man pleading with police that he can't breathe. The Mayor of Austin, Texas, standing by to join us live.

And many top Republicans are simply refusing to speak out tonight, as President Trump tries to smear a 75-year-old protester who was shoved and severely injured by police in Buffalo, New York.



BLITZER: We're following the breaking news.

George Floyd has arrived at his final resting place in Texas. We will watch what's going on. I think the funeral, though, final -- the final moments of the funeral are going to be private.

I want to bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and our senior legal analyst, the former federal prosecutor Laura Coates.


You know, Gloria, the White House, we're told, is considering some sort of national presidential address on unity and race by the president, maybe an Oval Office address, something along those lines. You're working your sources. What are you learning?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I spoke with a former White House official today who said to me this, think about it. Terrible bitter division inside the White House over a unity speech, a farce.

So I think what this source was saying to me is that they can't decide obviously inside the White House and I think there's a balance that there's disagreement over whether it can be struck, which is, how do you appeal for unity and how do you talk about race at the same time that you are appealing to your base on law and order and tweeting the outrageous tweets that you were tweeting as the president of the United States. And I think there's some concern that this is a president who just isn't up to it.

And I think that's what's going on in there right now. And that's why it's been quiet today about it. He may decide by the end of the week that he's going to do it but it isn't going to be an easy speech for him to give.

BLITZER: You're absolutely right.

Laura, as George Floyd is remembered with a final service, the president was simply tweeting wild conspiracy theory, with no evidence, About that 75-year-old man who was hospitalized after he was pushed by police in Buffalo, New York.

The president writing in part, Buffalo protester shoved by police could be an Antifa provocateur. I watched. He fell harder than was pushed. Could be a set up. No evidence to any of that.

Is the president tone deaf, because it's potentially very dangerous what he is suggesting out there?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In fact, it is. It's very ironic that this president would refer to this individual as a provocateur with that quite provocative, and according to many sources, absolutely false statement that was made in the accusations.

And remember here, Wolf, you're talking about an attempt at distraction, I think, an attempt, I think, to wrestle with the issues that Gloria is talking about. Because you have a president who now is confronted with lawsuits from the ACLU, from protesters, naming him and Bill Barr with official capacity for what they did just last week to peaceful protesters, using tear gas, using them, and in some way, by force to try to make a photo op.

Well, now, he has to make some sort of suggestion, I believe, to counter the argument that he was violating First Amendment rights. And either protesters were, in fact, much more provocative and unruly than we would like to believe, that we saw it with our own eyes, or that those who are saying the officers are violent or there is systemic issues that somehow that is contrived.

And I think, either way, he's trying to balance what his position will be appealing to those who are rejecting the notion, including his own attorney general and security advisers about this being a systemic issue about abuse of power.

BLITZER: As you know, Gloria, Republican lawmakers, they simply refuse, by and large, to denounce the president's inflammatory comments, his wild conspiracy theories. What are we hearing basically from the leadership of the GOP?

BORGER: Silence, nothing, nada. Mitch McConnell wouldn't talk about it today. The only Republican you heard from to condemn the president was Mitt Romney, and that was it.

And I think their silence in the Senate is almost as indecent as the president's tweet itself. They've been silent for the last few years while the president tweets outrageous things and they have run away from it, and they did it today.

But today is different. Today is very different. You have tens of thousands of people in the streets, and I'm probably underestimating here, tens of thousands of people saying, you have to talk about this.

And the president tweets something as indecent as what he did this morning, equating this senior citizen with being a member of Antifa, and they're not going to comment on that, I'm wondering how that's going to play back home.

BLITZER: Yes. And Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old man in Buffalo, he still remains in the hospital right now in serious condition.

All right, Gloria and Laura, guys, thank you very much.

Just ahead, an investigation is now under way in Austin, Texas into a fatal arrest by police caught on video with another black man simply crying out, I can't breathe. I'll speak to the mayor of Austin when we come back.



BLITZER: As George Floyd is being laid to rest tonight, we want to take a closer look at some newly revealed video, an incident in which another African-American man cried out to police, I can't breathe. It happened in Texas.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is joining us from Austin, Texas right now.

And the body camera video of this man's fatal arrest has now been released. You have spoken to his family. What have you learned?

ED LAVANDERA, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we warn you that the video you're about to see is extremely disturbing. But today, we sat down with the parents of 40-year-old Javier Ambler, who is say, more than 15 months after their son died, they are still waiting for the most basic of answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAVANDERA: Body camera of a police officer captured the final moments of Javier Ambler's life and his parents can't bring themselves to watch.


It sounds too similar to the way George Floyd died.

So when you saw the George Floyd video, did you see your son?

MARITZA AMBLER, MOTHER: I saw my son. I saw it. I said that's exactly most likely what my son went through.

LAVANDERA: Maritza and Javier Ambler sat down with CNN for an extensive interview the day after the horrific video was released that showed the death of their son. The couple is angered that it's taken more than 15 months to learn the most basic details of how their son died.

They were stunned that it all happened because Javier Ambler allegedly failed to dim the headlights of his car.

JAVIER AMBLER, FATHER: It could have been prevented. It could have been avoided if the officers were to just use common judgment and don't look at my son as just a big black guy that his life doesn't matter.

LAVANDERA: It was just after 1:00 A.M. on March 28th of last year when according to a Williamson County Sheriff Department incident report, a deputy started pursuing Ambler for failing to dim his highlights as he approached oncoming traffic. For unknown reasons, that triggered a 22 minute pursuit that ended in the City of Austin when Ambler crashed his car.

The incident report says Ambler stepped out of his car with his hands up and unarmed. The report says Ambler failed to follow verbal commands of laying down on the ground. Within moments, several deputies were on top of Ambler who suffered from cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure. Officers tased him.

M. AMBLER: I just want some justice. I want these people to suffer exactly, go to jail, be responsible for what your actions. They use their badge. They use their gun. They use their position to try to overcome people, and it's not right.

LAVANDERA: Ambler's death was ruled a justifiable homicide. The Williamson County Sherriff's Office of Professional Standards determined the deputies acted properly and used reasonable force. Those deputies are still patrolling the streets, according to local prosecutors.

Riding alongside the lead sheriff's deputy that night was a film crew with the A&E Network show called Live P.D. Their cameras were rolling but prosecutors say they haven't been able to get their hands on it. Maritza Ambler believes the pursuit of her son was entertainment. She hasn't seen the video but has strong opinions about it. M. AMBLER: That's exactly what it was. He was just putting on a show to show that he has the power. And he didn't care who got hurt. He didn't care what was the consequence.

LAVANDERA: The sheriff's office is refusing to comment on the case and CNN has also reached out to A&E and the show's producers, but have not received a response.

After Javier Ambler lost consciousness, deputies administered CPR until medics arrived on the scene, but it was too late. Javier Ambler has two children. His mother carries her son's ashes in a locket around her neck. His father called him a gentle giant.

J. AMBLER: Previously, he is my (INAUDIBLE). I'm sorry I'm not as tough as his mom. Everything has changed since he was taken from us.


LAVANDERA: And, Wolf, county commissioner -- several county commissioners in Williamson County today called for the sheriff, Richard Chody, to resign. The sheriff firing back at them, saying he will not back down, saying any criticism like that is partisan and cynical in nature.

He also responded to allegations from prosecutors here in Austin that are investigating the death of Javier Ambler, who have been saying that the Williamson County Sheriff's Deputies has stymied this investigation by not providing crucial video evidence. They sheriff there in Williamson County says that is false and that they are ready and willing to participate in this investigation. Wolf?

BLITZER: Ed Lavandera reporting for us. Ed, thank you very much.

Let's talk a little bit more about this and other issues with the mayor of Austin, Texas, Steve Adler. Mayor, Adler, thank you so much for joining us.

And as you just heard and as you well know, because you've studied this very closely, the incident happened more than a year ago. The Williamson County Sheriff's Department did an internal review. They ruled it was justified homicide. But why did it take so long for this body camera video to be released?

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TX: I don't know the answer to that, Wolf. It wasn't something that happened in the start of the City of Austin, the City of Austin Police weren't the ones that were handling it. It was the Williamson County Sheriff's Department. And I have no idea why they're not releasing any of the videos that they might have.


But, you know, again, even though it was -- it was a neighboring jurisdiction, nobody should end up dead when apparently the alleged crime was that -- that he didn't dim his highlights.

BLITZER: Yes. ADLER: This has got to stop.

BLITZER: The only reason it ended in Austin, they were chasing him for about 20 minutes or so. They wound up in your city.

Give us your thoughts, Mayor, as you look at what's going on in the country right now over these past two weeks-plus now about police reform. What's happening in Austin?

ADLER: Well, our city council today unanimously offered some resolutions we're going to pass on Thursday to re-imagine policing. I'm real excited at the opportunity to have that kind of real fundamental systemic change in policing. The kinds of things that we have been seeing here and around the country just shouldn't be happening. We're -- quite frankly, we shouldn't be using our police as our -- as our interaction with poverty in our country, with people experiencing homelessness.

They shouldn't be asked to be our mental health, first responders or -- these functions that really should not be police functions. We're taking actions on Thursday to limit the kind of force that the police can use. But most importantly, we're talking about taking dollars away from -- from the police because there are lot lots of situations.

We don't need somebody who is sworn officer and a gun in order to be able to accomplish what the community needs done.

BLITZER: But there are cases where you do need someone who is a sworn officer with a gun, right?

ADLER: Absolutely. You know, there are those functions that the police need to do, but I think that over time, what we ask the police to do and where they intervene have gone beyond what it is that police officers should be doing. If we have a mental health issue, we really want a mental health professional that's dealing with that.

We have a homelessness challenge. We shouldn't be having our police moving people around that are experiencing homelessness. As a community, we should -- we should we should be finding those folks homes and better places to be so they can turn around their lives. It's a -- it's a much better use of the resource. It's better for those people. It's better for the community.

BLITZER: You make absolutely important points, Mayor Adler. Thanks so much for joining us. Good luck in Austin, Texas.

ADLER: Thanks.

BLITZER: You got a great city over there. Appreciate it very much.

ADLER: Thank you.

BLITZER: All right. Just ahead, the World Health Organization is now walking back those stunning comments that they made about how the coronavirus spreads. We have new information. We'll share it with you when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BLITZER: Tonight, the death toll here in the United States from coronavirus now at more than 111,000.

CNN's Nick Watt has the latest.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York City is coming back to life, but the mayor is cautious.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I don't want people to have undue expectations. We're trying to do something so difficult in these next few weeks, bring back hundreds of thousands of workers.

WATT: And months into this pandemic, there is still a lot of confusion around how it spreads. Yesterday, a WHO official said this.

DR. MARIA VAN KERKHOVE, TECHNICAL LEAD ON COVID-19, W.H.O.: It still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual actually transmits onward.

WATT: Raised some eyebrows. Today, she clarified.

VAN KERKHOVE: What I was referring to yesterday in the press conference were a very few studies. We do know that some people who are asymptomatic or some people who don't have symptoms can transmit the virus on.

WATT: There's even more we still don't know.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What about people who recover? What are they going to be like six months from now? We don't know that.

WATT: And nationwide, we are still averaging over 20,000 new cases every day. And that could be an undercount. Despite CDC guidelines, more than half of states, including California, New York, and Texas aren't counting probable cases and deaths, only those that are confirmed. In 24 states, the new daily case counts are going down but climbing in 19.

In Vermont, bars and restaurants reopened Monday while officials investigate 62 cases possibly tied to one social network of families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an outbreak.

WATT: In Florida, cases also climbing. Still Miami-Dade will reopen beaches tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm concerned that there's such a lack of respect in regards to social distancing. WATT: Now, U.S. officials first learned of the virus spreading in

virus in January, but it might have started spreading as early as last August, according to researcher who say satellite images of Wuhan show a sharp increase in the number of cars in hospital parking lots, as well as an uptick in online searches of symptoms.

Human trials just began in China of one possible antibody therapy, the hope such drugs might prevent infection and treat the disease.

And the vaccine?

FAUCI: There's going to be more than one, I'll guarantee it. There's going to be more than one winner in the vaccine field because we're going to need vaccines for the entire world, billions and billions of doses.



WATT: Now, Wolf, still unclear if those protests sparked by George Floyd's death have really spread this virus across the country. But today, the National Guard in Washington, D.C. confirmed a number of its members have now tested positive -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's worrisome. All right, Nick Watt in California. Thanks very much. We'll have more news just ahead.


BLITZER: Finally, tonight, we join with people across the nation and indeed around the world in remembering George Floyd as he's now laid to rest in Texas. His death has unleashed a groundswell of support for racial justice and police reform. We'll, of course, continue to cover this movement and see if George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter is proven right, that her daddy changed the world.

May he rest in peace, and may his memory be a blessing.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.