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Breonna's Law Passes; Coronavirus Spikes. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 12, 2020 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:01]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And the company also promised to make a donation to Black Lives Matter.

Our special coverage continues now with Brooke Baldwin.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN on this Friday. Thank you for being with me.

With a little under five months until Election Day, as the nation deals with an uptick in COVID-19 cases and ongoing protests in pursuit of societal change, CNN has learned that President Trump is digging in on division in his bid to remain in the White House.

Sources familiar with his thinking tell us that Trump remains convinced that his path to victory this November runs through the racially tinged culture wars that he's stoked as both a candidate and as president, despite requests from advisers and others that he change his tone.

This is happening as the White House grapples with a potential resurgence in coronavirus cases. The CDC warns, there could be more infections as reopenings expand across the country.

I will show you a map here. And, overall, 19 states have reported an at least 10 percent increase in new cases over the course of the last two weeks, while new data shows the number of hospitalizations just since Memorial Day has climbed in at least a dozen states.

At least one infectious disease expert now says it is not the time to be complacent.

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DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, DEPARTMENT OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE CHAIRMAN, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: COVID is not taking a summer vacation. It's actually having new opportunities to spread.

This is a tricky matter. And if people are carefree, rather than careful, well, then you will see an increase in cases.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: We will talk COVID here in just a second.

But, first, as the White House and Congress debate the next steps on police reform at the federal level, states and cities are taking action right now

Today, for example, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed a package of bills into law, saying the changes, in his words, are long overdue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is systemic reform of police departments. This is sitting down and taking a look at exactly what they do and have been doing, and looking at it through a new lens of reform and reinvention, because this has been 40, 50 years in the making.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Forty or 50 years in the making.

Brynn Gingras is with me here in New York

And, Brynn, I know that some of these bills previously had stalled in the New York state legislature. Walk us through what's included here and just the lengths it took to get to this day.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you heard right there, Brooke, the governor say, this has been years in the making. And this is just another example that we are seeing, not only here, but across the country, of the tide turning ever since the killing of George Floyd.

Republicans and Democrats helping out in the state assembly, passing 10 bills in all. Four, though, have the governors signature right now. And we're waiting to see for the next six.

But let me tick through those four. The first one is named after Eric Garner, who, of course, died at the hands of a police choke hold back in 2014. And that not only bans a choke hold, like we have seen in police departments across this country, but now it criminalizes it.

So, essentially, if a police officer kills or injures someone with a choke hold, they could face a felony and 15 years in prison. The next one that has been signed is a reversal of that statute 50-a, which basically made police disciplinary records confidential.

So, now those are able to be public. It puts them, police officers, on the same playing field as other public workers, such as teachers, for example. Another one that criminalizes false race-based 911 calls. Now, this was swift action.

Of course, you might remember that incident in Central Park, where a white woman called 911 on a black man who was bird-watching because he asked her to put a leash on her dog, so, again, swift action with that signature. And then the fourth one that he signed has to do with a special investigator being appointed by -- in the attorney general's office to oversee any incident where someone is killed by a police officer. So, this gets rid of those local prosecutors taking over these cases.

It'll be done by the New York attorney general, according to the signature now by the governor. All these four bills now go into effect beginning April 1.

But I also want to mention that Governor Cuomo took another step forward on this. He signed an executive order essentially telling every police department in the state of the New York, about 500, including the largest in the country, NYPD, that they need to re- modernize all their reforms, all their -- everything that has to do with policing in race-based communities abroad.

And they need to not only have a plan, but the plan needs to be put into action by April 1 of 2021, or what, Brooke? They lose money, state funds -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Not just words, but action here.

Brynn Gingras, thank you for the update. And that's just New York.

Let's go to Louisville, Kentucky, now, the Metro Council voted unanimously to pass Breonna's Law. Breonna's Law is an ordinance that will ban no-knock search warrants. And, of course, it's named after Breonna Taylor, the 27-year-old black EMT who was shot eight times by police after they broke down her door and exchanged fire with her boyfriend during this attempted drug raid.

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Now, a police affidavit for the search warrant alleges that a man was shipping drugs to that apartment and using it as his home address. Police also say they announced who they were before forcibly entering the home.

But in a lawsuit, Taylor's family says officers did not identify themselves and that a suspect was already in custody at the time of the raid. And, by the way, no drugs were found in Breonna Taylor's home.

The three police officers involved in the shooting, who have still not been arrested, are now on an administrative reassignment. Taylor's mother spoke about what her daughter would think about this new law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAMIKA PALMER, MOTHER OF BREONNA TAYLOR: Breonna, that's all she wanted to do was save lives. So, with this law, she will get to continue to do that. So we're grateful for that. She would be so -- she's -- she would be so happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's go straight to Louisville, to Metro Council member Jessica Green. She co-wrote Breonna's Law.

So, Councilwoman, welcome.

JESSICA GREEN, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, METRO COUNCIL MEMBER: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

And you heard Breonna's mom say that her daughter, who was an EMT, just wanted to save lives, and this law will help that happen. Tell me, just what are your feelings after this unanimous vote? And what do you think the impact of this will be?

GREEN: Yes, my feelings, I'm still a little bit overwhelmed. The entire country had its eye on Louisville. And so we had the opportunity to either be on the right side of justice or on the wrong side of justice.

And so, thankfully, all of my colleagues joined together and we passed this in a bipartisan way. And it's something that I am extremely proud of.

And when I listen to Tamika Palmer, Breonna's mother, my heart just breaks, because, before anything else, I'm a mother. And so the idea that she would have had to -- she had to bury her daughter in this manner, and the fact that she was -- attempted to be erased by the city of Louisville is something that just disgusts me.

BALDWIN: One thing that sets this case apart from George Floyd and several others is, there's no video.

But, as you well know, as you -- you talk about being overwhelmed by just everything that's happened. That has not diminished the outcry for justice for Breonna. That's the hashtag that so many people have been using across social media, along with say her name.

Tell me if that -- Jessica, if that outcry -- how helpful that kind of outcry was in terms of pushing this legislation through. And what does it say for all of the cases where there is not a camera rolling?

GREEN: So, the outcry was very helpful.

What we know nationally is that, even in cases of officer-involved killings, black women tend to be historically left out of the discussion. And so women like Sandra Bland, women like Atatiana Jefferson, women like Breonna Taylor, we tend to amplify the position and when black men are killed in law enforcement.

And so it was helpful to Breonna's case that everything started moving surrounding Ahmaud Arbery and around George Floyd, because, for months, just she -- her mother and her sister were really the only folks that were trying to keep her -- to try to keep her memory alive.

And so it's disappointing, especially in a city like Louisville, when we have tried to lead on issues like -- and understand the importance of our department having body cameras, the fact that there were over 100 offices at this scene, and we don't have one video.

Make that make sense to me.

BALDWIN: I wanted to ask you about that, because I think that's part of the story that we need to talk about, right?

The police say not a single one of those officers had body cameras. And the law, we should also point out, will change that, as well as the amount of time officers need to actually flip their body cameras on. Explain to us how.

GREEN: Right.

So our policy at LMPD right now, most of our officers are equipped with body cameras. Some of the special units, like the unit that was on the scene at Breonna's house that night, they don't wear body cameras sometimes.

And so Breonna's Law that was passed yesterday, there is a requirement that any officer from LMPD that executes a warrant of any type, that they are required to have that body camera rolling five minutes before the execution of the warrant and five minutes after.

There are so many questions that so many of us have questions about that we will never be able to get the answers for. The allegations that they actually announced themselves, well, it sure would have been helpful to be able to know that, if they had had that their body cameras on.

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Questions about who actually issued the fatal shots. What exactly happened there that night? And, again, the fact that there were 100 -- over 100 officers there, and we don't have one piece of videographic evidence, it's just actually pathetic.

And combining that with the incident report that was released yesterday that indicated that her injuries were none, it is absolutely baffling to me.

And so we are high past the time where we continue to allow the same old, same old excuses to be made. We're not going to take it anymore. And we are very hopeful and encouraged that Breonna's Law will prevent some of the sloppy police work that has happened in the past from occurring in the future.

BALDWIN: What about -- Jessica, what about the officers? I know that they're on administrative leave. They haven't been arrested. They haven't been charged.

What do you think should happen?

GREEN: Well, what I -- the facts are that, if these people were anybody else besides police officers, and they had busted into our houses in the middle of the night, and had killed one of us, we would be calling them murderers. We would be moving with urgency. We would be demanding answers and expecting justice to move swiftly.

The fact that we are at a point, three months later, and our attorney general has a portion of the file, but that our Louisville Metro administration, under the directorship of our mayor, has failed to provide a complete file, it leaves so many questions open.

What was the value of Breonna Taylor's life? And so many people in the city are requesting and demanding that the mayor fire those three officers. I think that we are well past the time for that to have occurred.

And I believe that not just firing is appropriate -- would be appropriate. Firing, arresting, indicting and convicting are things that I believe would -- are extremely important, and that will be very appropriate in the situation.

BALDWIN: Let's keep this conversation going. You co-wrote Breonna's Law.

Look what you were able to, you and your other members of Metro Council, be able to pull off unanimously. We will keep talking, because this matters.

Jessica, thank you very much, Jessica Green in Louisville.

GREEN: Thank you. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

With cities and states across the country looking at new police reforms, today, President Trump weighed in during an interview with FOX News. And while he says he generally supports a ban on choke holds, there may be room for exceptions. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As somebody that -- you grow up, and you wrestle, and you fight, and you -- this -- or you see what happens, sometimes, if you're alone, and you fighting somebody, it's tough.

What are you going to do now? Let go and say, oh, let's start all over again, I'm not allowed to have you in a choke hold?

If a police officer is in a bad scuffle, and he's got somebody...

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS FAULKNER, FOX NEWS: Well, if it's a one-on-one fight for the life. That's what you're saying.

TRUMP: Yes. And that does happen. And that does happen too. So, you have to be careful.

FAULKNER: But in terms of...

TRUMP: With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: More than a dozen cities now have bans on choke holds in place.

A new warning from the CDC that coronavirus cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks, and it comes as a White House official claims that there is no second spike.

Plus: how to stay safe as cases rise, what to do when you want to hit the pool or go on vacation this summer.

And Starbucks backtracks after initially banning employees from wearing Black Lives Matter gear at work -- what the company is saying now.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

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BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

The CDC warning this afternoon that the U.S. will likely see an increase in coronavirus cases, as states continue to reopen and public gatherings become more and more widespread.

I will show you this map. And you can see the 19 states, including big ones, like California, Texas, Florida, are reporting spikes in infections over the last week. Hospitalizations are also up in several states.

So, let's just get a check on what's going on around the country with our CNN correspondents, starting with Rosa Flores.

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ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Lake County, Florida.

According to Governor Ron DeSantis, there has been an uptick in coronavirus cases, and it's due to outbreaks in agricultural communities, like in Palm Beach County. Now, despite the uptick, Governor Ron DeSantis is recommending that schools reopen in the fall.

A reporter asked him -- asked him about this yesterday , and the governor said that he could do this reopening safely. And he listed a few things, including hospitalizations are flat in the state, the majority of fatalities have happened in nursing homes, and that the risk to children is low.

As for hospital beds, 25 percent of hospital beds are available in the state.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Natasha Chen in Greenville, South Carolina.

Now, this is the county the state has determined to be a hot spot. The state epidemiologist has seen the statewide increase in new cases and increase in new deaths. And she says she's the most concerned she has been since this pandemic began.

State officials are, therefore, telling people, reminding them to socially distance, wash their hands frequently, and wear their masks in public, which is why I'm wearing mine on this public sidewalk, where a lot of people are passing us.

Now, on the coastal side of the state, those beach communities are also telling me they're seeing similar increases in case numbers. In fact, some of those towns have canceled their July 4 festivities to prevent large crowds from gathering on Independence Day.

In fact, in one case, Isle of Palms is redirecting their fireworks budget to pay city employees who have had to work on the front lines during the quarantine.

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BALDWIN: Natasha, Rosa, ladies, thank you very much.

And despite what you just heard from our correspondents there, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says there's no second -- there's no second spike in cases.

This is what he said about it all just this morning.

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LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I'm not the health expert. But on the so-called spike, I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They're saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's start right there.

With me now, Erin Bromage, biology professor and immunology specialist at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Professor, you have been this amazing voice just giving practical advice on how to safely protect ourselves from COVID. Why do you think we're seeing a spike in cases right now?

ERIN BROMAGE, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-DARTMOUTH: Well, a big part of it is the reopening of some of the states that just happened too soon.

We had a fairly clear guide of what we needed to achieve before we went into the reopening. And lots of states ignored that particular guideline and just jumped in.

The other part that we can't ignore is, we're also seeing a large uptick in the amount of testing that's happening in some states. So we're seeing -- when we test more, we see more. So the more testing we do, we expect to find more cases.

So it's a combination of the two right now, more testing, but also more movement in our communities.

BALDWIN: If the spikes continue, to your point about reopenings, if the spikes continue, there's been all this talk about a second wave. What would that look like and when?

And then as a result of that, do you think more cities and states should actually pause on their openings?

BROMAGE: Yes, so when we traditionally think about a second wave, it means the first wave came in, came all the way down to flatline, basically, we -- the virus disappeared for a while, and then a second wave came crashing back.

That's not what we're seeing. We're seeing the first wave come along and plateauing, and now the rise come back up. So we're really looking at a rebound right now, rather than a second wave. The second wave will look different to this, if we get one later in fall.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Hold on, hold on. If we get one. So that's not a guarantee. May or may not happen? Is that right?

BROMAGE: It's impossible to predict the future. I mean, everything is in place for it to be there. We have got most of the population still naive. We have got a virus that loves to use us for food and transportation, and we have got people moving around.

So everything is there. The trajectory, what happens with this virus is completely up to us and how we behave over the coming months. So, if we do the right thing, we don't get a second wave. If we go about business like it was in January, December, then we may have this huge spike that comes back for a second wave.

BALDWIN: OK.

So, given all of that, it's summertime. We want to go on vacation. I know the CDC just released new guidelines, as it warned about a likely increase in cases, and they include guidance for scenarios like hosting gatherings, going to the gym, nail salon, traveling overnight.

So, on that last point, it is summer. People are going to go on vacation, right? So they want to do it safely. So my question to you, Professor, is, just what advice would you give people who are going to stay in a hotel or an Airbnb or traveling on a plane?

BROMAGE: Yes, so everything now should be about risk reduction, hazard mitigation. It's not about do it or don't do it. Perfect, well, everyone's locked away for the virus not being able to

move around, but that's not reality. So if you're going to go on a vacation, you have just got to remember the real areas of risk, which is indoors with lots of people with poor ventilation, and then throw into that a community that doesn't have -- that has high degree of community spread.

If you can avoid those places, you can go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, rent a place out there, enjoy it on the beach, and do that very risk -- not risk-free, but low, low risk.

It's when you decide to go to a bar or go to a live venue or something like that where your risk increases. Do what you're doing, but do it safely. We now know from the data coming out this week that mask use has a really dramatic effect on lowering the transmission.

So, again, when you're in those high-risk situations with lots of people around where you can't social distance...

BALDWIN: Wear your mask.

BROMAGE: ... throw your mask on, yes.

BALDWIN: Wear your mask, words to live by in these coming months.

I hear you loud and clear. Professor Erin Bromage, thank you so much. Great to have you on.

BROMAGE: Thank you, Brooke. Glad to be here.

BALDWIN: The hard-hit restaurant industry is still grappling with how to reopen safely. So, let's talk about it with a New York City chef and restaurant owner.

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And a big reversal for Starbucks, after telling employees not to wear anything that says Black Lives Matter.

We have those new details next.

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BALDWIN: Well, some welcome news, finally, out of New York today on the coronavirus.