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Nascar Investigates Noose found in Wallace's Garage; Roosevelt Statue to be Removed; Texas Sees Uptick in Coronavirus Cases; NYPD Officer Suspended over Chokehold; Women's Job Losses. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 22, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: From Nascar and all of the flags just disappear. I think we should all salute Bubba Wallace for taking on what he had to know was going to be a big institutional and cultural fight. And these things don't change overnight and they don't change without some ugliness. And we're starting to see some of the ugliness.

Now, hopefully this is as bad as it gets and people kind of realize that. What they actually love about Nascar is not connected to this symbol of hatred, that they can come and enjoy the sport, be with each other, do their tailgating, the music and everything else without having to sort of (INAUDIBLE). I mean, you know, if somebody says to you on some level, somebody who enjoys the sport as much as you do, hey, you know, you stepped on my foot, you know, you poured some beer, you know, on my lap, you say, I'm sorry, it won't happen again and you move on. You know, we only wish it could be that simple. People really cling to this particular symbol, there's been a lot of controversy, a lot of blood spilled around it. Hopefully it won't go much further than this, John.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: I think it's important, too, that we -- we put up what Bubba Wallace had to say in all of this. So he tweeted out, today's despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism. But he goes on to say, this will not break me. I will not give in, nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.

It's so important too to see that and to see the support that he's getting and, Angela, to talk about how he has forced this conversation upon a lot of people, and that's -- that's a lot of what needs to happen, too, as we continue moving forward to become anti-racist and to talk about, not just the painful history but the painful reality in this country on a daily basis.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I appreciate at least your word choice on two of the things that you mentioned. One is how we become anti-racist. And it is going to take a very deliberate effort because we know this country was built on a system of oppression and systemic racism, white supremacy. So in order to tear down all of that, you have to uproot a lot of what is this country's foundation. That is going to make a lot of people uncomfortable, the ways in which so many of us are uncomfortable every single day.

I say all the time, I refuse to be uncomfortable any longer so that you can be comfortable. What that probably means is that, as a collective, we have to work towards making each other uncomfortable, stretching each other out of our comfort zones so that the right thing can be done. The fact that a symbol of hatred can result in another symbol of hatred, put so close to his personal property, is damning and it's so clear that we have a lot of work to do to undo some of what you talked about as anti-racist.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look, it's dangerous also and threatening, period, full stop. It absolutely (ph) is.

RYE: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Errol, you're an icon in New York City. And this morning we woke up to the news that the mayor has agreed to -- the city has agreed to remove the statue of Theodore Roosevelt -- we're looking at it right now -- that's outside the Museum of Natural History here on the upper west side.

Now, just so people know the context here. They're not removing everything about Teddy Roosevelt from the museum. They're removing this statue, which has been under discussion actually for a few years, because there are people who find the statue itself offensive. You can see the depiction right there, it's Teddy Roosevelt up, exalted on a horse, with an African man and also a Native American sort of subjugated, guiding him through.

Talk to me about the significance of this move because some people are looking at this saying and saying, oh, they're going after Teddy Roosevelt now. It's proof they're going to far.

LOUIS: Yes, look, there's a lively debate going on all throughout New York City about different statues, what's there, what's not there, what should be there. There are very, very few, for example, of any women anywhere in New York City.

It's been a very fraught discussion. And this is going to be one more round in that discussion where, you know, I -- look, I've seen that statue. And, like most statues, you kind of have to be there to see it. But it's really, really big. And almost every public school kid at one point or another is taken to that Museum of Natural History. So it gets a lot of exposure, very wide exposure.

I never felt particularly oppressed or impressed by it, frankly. There's a lot of wonderful stuff inside the museum that I remember. The guy on the horse out front, it was kind of like, ah, whatever.

Now, there are some people who react very differently, and we are now having this discussion about which symbols stay, which symbols go. This one, I think, was probably destined to be one of the first ones because everybody knows it, everybody has seen it. Everybody knows -- it's pretty blunt. It's not really subtle as far as what's going on, what's being depicted there. And so I think it's probably going to go.

I don't know if they're planning to replace it.


That would be yet another fight. And it becomes unfortunate in a way that we subtract but we don't move forward. If we decide what we don't like but we can't figure out what we do like, it would be in some ways kind of a shame.

BERMAN: Errol Louis, Angela Rye, thanks for coming on this morning. Great talking to you both.

LOUIS: Thanks.

HILL: Coronavirus cases are surging in Texas. Now a face mask order in effect in the Houston area. A top health official from Houston joins us next.


HILL: New coronavirus cases in Texas exploding in that state. We've got a chart that I think we can show you on the screen. It's one of a number of states we're continuing to follow that opened early and is now seeing this spike in new cases. In Harris County, which includes Houston, of course, bars and restaurants back opening, but face masks are required now for employees and customers. If not, businesses are facing $1,000 fine.

Joining me now, Dr. Umair Shah, who's the executive director of Harris County Public Health.

Doctor, good to have you with us.

You know, we talk so much about masks. We're waiting on this updated guidance we're told is coming from the CDC about masks.


How significant is the move in Harris County?


First of all, thanks for having me this morning.

And, you know, I do think that the move that Judge Lena Hidalgo (ph), our county executive, put into place on Friday, which, actually, as you mentioned, goes into effect today, actually midnight last night, that really requires masks to be worn in businesses. And I think the key message is, we do not have a lot of tools at our disposal, right? Vaccines are far away. We do not have therapeutics that work. And, you know, from a prevention standpoint, it's all about when somebody gets sick. So we have very few tools for -- at our disposal. And prevention works. We know it works. It's about social distancing, about hand hygiene, disinfection and, obviously, it's also about wearing masks. And that's why we think that this is so important.

HILL: There's a lot of concern about the numbers that we're seeing, not just in Texas, around the country, obviously. But when we look at Houston, the largest daily increase in cases was reported on Friday, Galveston County. These numbers really struck me, actually, that the average age for testing positive is 30. But the average age of a person getting a test is 47.

How much are young people a factor in the number increase that we're seeing in Houston?

SHAH: Well, they're definitely a factor. You know, our community has done a fantastic job in fighting this virus. And the numbers show that. For months we -- we did great. The issue is that, you know, as far as I'm concerned, we've seen now inconsistent messaging from that federal, state, local level. We do not have a lot of those powers or those authorities at the local level. It's at the state level. And so when community members, individuals are thinking through and listening to inconsistent messaging, it's giving complacency, confusion. People are saying, hey, I don't want to wear the mask. Hey, I'm not going to physically distance. I'm not going to stay home. And that's what's driving these numbers up.

And as you mentioned, the younger population, that's really what concerns us as well. It doesn't mean that anybody is off the hook. This is a pandemic. All of us are in this together. But, obviously, that concerns us significantly.

HILL: The mayor of Austin weighed in and he was asked specifically if he thought Governor Abbott reopened too soon. Take a listen to his response.


MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TEXAS: I wish he had done it more slowly so that we could have seen the numbers with each one of the phases before we moved on to the next phase. We've now moved into three different phases and we're seeing the numbers really from the first phase and they're -- and they're shocking. The numbers are going up so rapidly. So, yes, I wish we had done this more slowly so we could have seen the data along the way.


HILL: Do you agree with Mayor Adler, that taking the time to see the data from each phase may have been a better path forward?

SHAH: You know, from a public health standpoint, obviously we know that reopening, and this layering effect of, you know, restaurants at 25 percent, then 50 percent, then 75 percent. You had nail salons and bars and all those other activities in addition to Mother's Day and, you know, Memorial Day weekend, the marches that happened. Obviously we now just had Father's Day and Fourth of July is coming up. That all layers on top of things. And so, absolutely, from our standpoint, is whenever you add those

activities, and if you do them too close together, guess what, that's when you start to have increases.

Now, can we say this is what caused that? We can't say no, not at all, but we know that there was absolutely an impact.

Here's the issue for us, that we are where we are now. We have an opportunity still to do things in our community and in our state to be able to fight this pandemic. And we want to have every tool available to us.

HILL: Do you think there's the appetite to use all those tools?

SHAH: Well, that's a -- well, that's the -- you know, that's the issue. I mean this has been the struggle with public health across the country. And, you know, I'm the former president of (INAUDIBLE), the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Public health officials across the country have been pressured. There have been marginalizations happening. As you know, some have been fired, some have resigned, some have retired. This is why this is such a big issue for us.

What I keep saying, this is a public health crisis with secondary impact in the health care system. The challenges that we've had is that this has become politicized. Health should not be political. This is about saving lives. And there should not be politics that we're playing with this.

HILL: That's an excellent point. The virus, as we know, cannot vote.

Always good to speak with you. Really appreciate your time, Dr. Shah. Thank you.

SHAH: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: So this morning, a New York City police officer is suspended without pay after an apparent chokehold incident. It was captured on body camera video. The struggle unfolds as officers confronted an allegedly disorderly group over the weekend.

Watch this.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course you didn't.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're on camera, too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, stop choking him, bro!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, stop chocking him! Yo, he's chocking him! Let him go, bro!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, look, look --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up. Back up.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, stop chocking him! (INAUDIBLE).


BERMAN: Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with much more on this.

Shimon, what's the latest on the investigation here?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you see there, John, the NYPD, the police commissioner, releasing this video within hours of this incident, also suspending the officer without pay.

And as you said, this all started as a disorderly call. The video goes on for about 35 minutes. And you see some of the people in this group taunting the officers, threatening the officers. And then finally that one officer moves in to make the arrest. And it is during that arrest that we see this apparent chokehold that the police commissioner has called disturbing.

What's also interesting, as you see, as you look on this video, one of the officers is actually tapping the back of that officer who is -- who has that man in this apparent chokehold, trying to back him off. And that is when the officer, it seems, releases the man from the chokehold.

What's really important here, obviously, is that now there's a criminal investigation by the Queens district attorney. And, of course, just how swiftly the police department has moved here.

Also, chokeholds are banned. The NYPD has banned chokeholds for years. We also have the governor here recently signing legislation that makes a chokehold -- a police officer using a chokehold illegal. It could potentially land this officer with some -- with some criminal charges. So we'll see. We expect to hear more from the police commissioner today and, obviously, the Queen's DA's office there is investigating this, John.

BERMAN: Yes, the mayor actually -- just actually praised the officer who pulled the one officer off the man right there.


BERMAN: All right, Shimon, thanks very much for being with us.

Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:00 a.m. ET, U.S. Supreme Court issues opinion.

3:00 p.m. ET, Public viewing for Rayshard Brooks.

3:00 p.m. ET, Nascar's Geico 500 at Talladega.


BERMAN: All right, the recession we're in now is affecting women the worst. Christine Romans explains why, next.



HILL: The coronavirus recession is impacting women the hardest. And that is not good for economic recovery.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now.

Romans, good morning.

This is not good news, that's for sure.


And, you know, the recession after the 2008 financial crisis was nicknamed a man-session because so many men were laid off from construction and manufacturing jobs. This time it's more of a she- session. In April and May, the jobless rate for women was higher than it was for men. A staggering rise in unemployment from earlier this year and even worse for women of color and Hispanic women. It's because women tend to work in the sectors more vulnerable in the early stages of the lockdown, restaurants and hair salons and health care.

Now, even as businesses start to reopen, many female-dominated sectors may not rehire or replace all of those jobs lost from this pandemic. Analysis from economists at Citigroup shows, as women fall out of the workforce, it means a $1 trillion decline in global growth. That could hurt the recovery. Meanwhile, the lay-offs continue. Thousands of them last week, Erica.

Twenty-four Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy and closed more than 100 gyms. AT&T, which owns CNN, is cutting 3,400 technicians and clerical staff. That's according to one of its unions. Hilton laying off roughly 22 percent of its corporate staff as the virus holds back leisure and corporate travel, Erica.

HILL: So when we look at all of those job losses, does that mean then -- of course we know there's going to be a ripple effect. I know in mortgages particularly we're seeing some numbers about.

ROMANS: Yes, brand new numbers from Blacknight (ph) show mortgage delinquencies rose 20 percent in May. That is the highest since 2011. You've got 4.3 million homeowners now either 30 days past due or they are in active foreclosure. I think what it shows you is the pandemic, honestly, shows how much stress is on, you know, personal budgets, quite frankly. So a lot of people are in these programs where they're not paying their mortgage, millions of them not paying their mortgage until we get to the other side of the pandemic.

HILL: Oh, not easy.

Christine, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: All right, time now for "The Good Stuff."

A Texas woman rescued from her home seconds before it collapsed during a storm. High winds were ripping Ebonea Elmore's home apart. You can see it right there. She dialed 911 while hiding behind a dresser. Dash cam video shows officers arriving and runny inside. Moments later, as he carries her out on his back, the roof gets ripped right off. No one was hurt, thankfully. Ebonea says she is thankful for the officer's bravery.


EBONEA ELMORE, RESCUED FROM HOME: I'm so thankful for him because if it was not for him, I would have been dead. And he went in there, brave, no fear at all, only worried about saving a life. And for that I am extremely thankful.


BERMAN: So, after the storm, Ebonea went back to sift through the rubble and found her cat unharmed. I love the cat epilogue to this story.

HILL: Right.

BERMAN: Not only a moment of heroism there, a moment of fear, a moment of heroism and then there's a cat.

HILL: And then the cat was OK.

BERMAN: At the end. Which is always nice to have that.

HILL: It is. I know how much you love cats, John Berman.



HILL: It is nice. And I like -- I like ending on a little bit of "The Good Stuff." It's a nice way to start your week on a Monday morning.

BERMAN: Great having you here this morning. Thanks so much for being here.

HILL: Always a pleasure.

And CNN's coverage continues next.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


The country is moving forward with reopening, but the numbers show a major setback in the country's fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly half of U.S. states are reporting increases in new cases, some of them record-setting numbers. And officials are warning more young people across the south are testing positive.


And, listen to this, Dr. Anthony Fauci telling us that these 13 states in particular are the ones to watch because, quote --