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Colorado Police-Chokehold-Death Gets Renewed Scrutiny; Violent Crime Spikes in Places with Protests to Defund Police; Three Northeast States in the U.S. Require Travelers to Self-Quarantine. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 25, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00]

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: All right, that's hard to watch. CNN's Omar Jimenez with the latest on this story. Omar, again, another story more than a year in the making.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. This happened back on August 24th, 2019. You saw some of those initial moments play out, but this happened in Aurora, Colorado, outside of Denver. And police basically were responding for what they were told was a suspicious or a 9-1-1 call of suspicious behavior by someone in a ski mask.

So, you saw those initial moments of those officers making that approach and body camera. Then next thing you know, there's physical entanglement, they're grabbing Elijah McClain, Elijah McClain seems to be just confused about what's going on. You hear him at one point saying, I'm an introvert, please respect my boundaries, saying, he's just going home.

Well, then things escalated from there and he eventually ended up in a choke-hold by police where he briefly lost consciousness according to the initial police report. Then when he regained it, they said the struggle continued. Later on, paramedics were called after that brief loss of consciousness, and according to the report, ketamine was administered, which was basically to sedate McClain.

Well, he had a heart attack on the way to the ambulance and was declared dead three days later. Now all these ten months later, we have seen more than 2 million people sign a petition to reopen and re- examine this investigation. And here's how the family attorney is reacting to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARI NEWMAN, MCCLAIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: It shouldn't take millions of people signing a petition, and it shouldn't take international media attention for elected officials to do their jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ: And the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polish released a statement saying, "public confidence in our law enforcement process is incredibly important now more than ever. A fair and objective process free from real or perceived bias for investigating officer-involved killings is critical. I'm hearing from many Coloradans who have expressed concerns with the investigation of Elijah McClain's death.

As a result, I've instructed my legal counsel to examine what the state can do, and we are assessing next steps". Now, on top of the state investigation, the city of Aurora also says they plan to launch an independent investigation. And this is among the many cases that have now received new scrutiny in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.

Again, the fuel to many of the protests that we have seen nationwide for about a month now. Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Omar Jimenez, thank you very much for that report. And violent crime is spiking across the country amid the pandemic and protests. In fact, crime is increasing in many of the same cities where protesters want to defund the police. CNN's Brynn Gingras is live in New York with more. So what do we know about this, Brynn?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, listen, in talking to researchers, criminologists, members of law enforcement, you can't really pinpoint one reason why we're seeing crime spike up coast-to- coast, rather, it's a perfect storm of reasons going on right now, from communities to the police to the criminal justice system. And the crime trend is expected to continue to go up as police morale is said to be at an extreme low.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS (voice-over): In many major cities across the country, gun violence is on the rise. In the Chicago suburb, a 13-year-old girl hit by bullets while watching TV. The gunfire outside her window among more than 100 shootings in the Windy City last weekend. In Minneapolis --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw people just shooting 30, 40, 50 shots.

GINGRAS: Officials say more than a hundred people have been shot in the last month since the death of George Floyd. And in New York City, NYPD crime data shows the number of shooting victims is up, 414 percent last week compared to the same time period last year. Chief of Department Terence Monahan calls it troubling.

TERENCE MONAHAN, CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: It goes back to 1996 that we haven't seen this level of violence.

GINGRAS: Researchers with the Council on Criminal Justice looked at homicide rates across 64 cities this year, compared to the previous three years.

THOMAS ABT, CO-AUTHOR, CORONAVIRUS & HOMICIDE STUDY: If you see significant sudden changes in crime trends across the country, you need to look at some type of national shock to the system. Sort of broader, underlying structural trends are not going to explain it.

GINGRAS: As part of their study released this morning, the authors cite two major trends. The coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath of Floyd's death. Historically, incidents like the police-involved killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Freddie Gray in Baltimore have led to a period of more gun violence. Now, many cities are seeing more violent crime as protesters call to defund police departments and police reforms across the country are put into place. In Atlanta, a taskforce is working to rethink training policies for the city's officers.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: There is a fierce urgency of now in our communities.

DERMOT SHEA, COMMISSIONER, NYPD: It will be felt immediately in the communities that we protect.

[07:35:00]

GINGRAS: Last week, the NYPD disbanded its anti-crime unit, plainclothes officers who combated violent crime, but those aggressive tactics were often met with controversy. Monahan says constant police changes are causing confusion among the rank-and-file.

MONAHAN: How do the communities want us to police? Quality of life policing in New York was one of the things that got us to where we were. The cops are questioning, what do communities want us to do, and there are people out there that are taking advantage of it.

GINGRAS: And then there's the pandemic.

ABT: Public resources, police, hospitals, service providers, community-based providers means there's less resources to fight violent crime. And the pandemic has placed people under great financial, mental and emotional strain. And so all of those things can trigger more violence.

GINGRAS: The council's research had already found killings in major cities were on the rise this year, starting in January and February. Now a dramatic increase in numbers, as cities reopen after shutting down in the Spring. A nationwide trend many believe will continue.

ABT: We are deeply concerned that in the months ahead, we may see more violence in the future.

GINGRAS: Researchers and members of law enforcement say the burden to bring crime down can't solely rest on the soldiers of police.

MONAHAN: We need to hear from the communities that are living through this gunfire, that have to see it each and every day. What exactly do they want us to do? This is a monumental period in policing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS: And Monahan along with other NYPD brass say at least here in New York, they need prosecutors to really take on cases. They need there to be real consequences when there's gun violence. And that they need the community to really be conscience of what's happening in their areas, along with lawmakers making reforms that not only help the communities, but also allow police officers to do their jobs. But Alisyn, the collective thinking here is that it needs to be everybody's effort in order to reverse course.

CAMEROTA: Brynn, thank you for explaining just how many variables there are, how complicated it is. There's no one easy fix. Thank you very much. So three northern states are now ordering travelers from hot spots to self-quarantine. How's that going to work? Connecticut's governor joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:40:00]

BERMAN: So three states in the northeast are telling travelers from states where coronavirus is surging that they must quarantine for 14 days. The governors made the joint announcement and said it was key to keeping the numbers down in the region, which is showing a stunning turnaround from the high case counts and deaths seen in the Spring.

Joining us now, one of the governors, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, governor, thanks so much for being with us. So how will this be enforced? What happens to travelers from, say, Florida, when they arrive at Bradley Airport in Hartford?

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): Yes, good morning, John. You know, back-track 90 days ago, the virus was arriving from China and from Italy, you know, comes by plane, comes into the Kennedy Airport, comes into Newark or Bradley Airport here in Connecticut, then it spreads out. Now 90 days later, we have a very low infection rate in our state and throughout the region.

Again, it could fly in from Arizona or Texas or Florida. So what we're doing is where we're going to the travel agents, putting out the notice loud and clear, if you come to Connecticut from one of these states, you must quarantine for 14 days. We're working with a hotel so they can notice people who we're thinking about coming in and staying at that hotel, you must quarantine for 14 days.

BERMAN: How does it work, though, without any kind of penalty?

LAMONT: I think -- or you can get a test. If you can get a test 48 hours in advance and show that you didn't test positive, that's good as well. So far, look, I don't have any penalties for people wearing masks here in the state. I don't have any penalties to speak up for people not taking the protocols seriously at the restaurant. We are self-enforcing though pretty well.

And if you find somebody who is not following the protocols, we have a hotline, people call and public health goes out and reminds them of such.

BERMAN: So you want to -- if you see something, say something. If you see or know of somebody who's come into Connecticut from Texas or Arizona or Florida, you want them to call the public health hotline?

LAMONT: No, when they're coming in and if they're not following the protocol, somebody finds out that they're being very casual about this and not quarantining, then, you know, Connecticut can call 2-1-1 and let us know it. But maybe, look, it's the travel agents, it's signage at the Bradley Airport in Kennedy and LaGuardia, big signs, you must self-quarantine if you've not gotten tested. So we're being very clear about what the rules are.

BERMAN: I want to put up a chart which I think is extraordinary. Which shows the number of new cases in Connecticut, your state, in a number of new cases that we're seeing in states like Florida, Texas and California. You're the green line and the green line is going down. And these other states are just shooting up. So, my question to you, governor, is if you saw numbers or trends like we're seeing in those states, if you saw the curve sharply increase in Connecticut, what measures would you take?

LAMONT: Well, first of all, you move that line down. You do it with a really strict protocols in keeping up your guard. And I think maybe in some other states, they've gotten a little more casual or perhaps they weren't hit as hard by COVID as we were here in Connecticut. So everybody does know somebody that ended up in an ICU. And you'll remember that. Look, if we can't keep those lines down, if we start having a hits to our ICU capacity, you're right, we would have to throttle back a little bit in terms of what we're doing.

[07:45:00]

For example, we just opened up indoor dining. We just opened up some of the personal services like nail salons. Then we'd have to take a second look at that. But I don't want to go back, I hope we can go forward, but we go forward cautiously.

BERMAN: It is interesting that you are imposing the self-quarantine requests and that Florida is one of the states that you're now asking people to self-quarantine from, given what the governor of Florida said and did earlier. Let's listen to what he said. He was talking about residents from New York City and the New York City area, which does include large parts of Connecticut. So listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I quarantined them in March and everyone in New York media was blowing a gasket. How could you do this? That was the right decision. That was the number one landing pad. Had we not done the quarantine, you would have had way more cases, hospitalizations, the whole nine yards. I have no doubt that, that quarantine saved lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So was he right then, just as you think you're right now?

LAMONT: He may have been right then, and I know that we're right now. That she was on the other foot. And I don't wish ill of anybody. I hope Florida gets a hold of this COVID, I hope they start taking the distancing seriously so we can lift this quarantine as soon as possible.

BERMAN: It may be a lesson to everyone, and I think people are taking this seriously. Declaring victory is not the way to go here. I mean, we don't know when we've won here. It's clear that this thing is here to stay, yes?

LAMONT: Yes, John. I think there was a little bit of a happy talk a few weeks ago. Even in Connecticut, a lot fewer people were willing to go get tested, even though it was free, even though we had the capacity. And I think some people were taking their eye off the ball. And this is no time to do it. We realize, A, how incredibly highly infectious COVID is, and B, there's a very little room for error, so we've got to keep getting it right.

BERMAN: Governor Ned Lamont, we appreciate you being with us. Stay safe, be well.

LAMONT: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: John, we want to remember now some of the nearly 122,000 Americans lost to coronavirus. David Duminez's(ph) daughter says he loved nothing more than being a grandpa. A Frankfurt New York man cheered from the sidelines of his grandson's games and volunteered at the concession stand. She says her dad who died at age 73 was a man of deep faith, who loved nature walks and reading his Bible.

Eighty three-year-old Sue Tang(ph) was a perfectionist. Her granddaughter say she put immense care into her work as a seamstress and into these special Malaysian dishes she made for her family. Her family says she went beyond Chinese cultural norms, happy to give you a hug and tell you she loved you. Everyone called Mervyn Alfredo Maxwell(ph) Kennedy Sr. by his nickname, Gato or cat. He was born in Costa Rica 78 years ago and he died in New York City.

His big extended family says he was a happy guy whose favorite thing to say was pura vida, pure life. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:50:00]

BERMAN: All right. New data suggests that younger people are getting coronavirus in greater numbers, especially in the most populated states. And this has really important implications. Joining me now is CNN contributor Erin Bromage; he's a professor of biology at UMass Dartmouth, and recently wrote about this for cnn.com. Professor, great to have you on with us.

And you say that younger people and by younger people, we mean younger than 50, that they're the ones fueling this pandemic now. What does that mean? What are the implications? ERIN BROMAGE, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS

DARTMOUTH: Well, they may have been involved right at the start of this, but we didn't have any focus on them because we were looking at the people that were old and had comorbidities and were having really severe disease and requiring hospitalization. Well, now that we've got that a little bit more under control, now that we actually have that particular population isolated, we're now seeing what is really happening, which is those 18 to 44-year-olds are being affected at a really high rate.

This social networks, their employment is allowing them to mix at a higher rate, and we're seeing the infection rate, especially in Texas, Florida and Arizona, just skyrocket in that demographic.

BERMAN: Yes, you refer to them and you could tell by your asking you have some extra piece in this -- expertise, and there's also a sort of embers in the Australian brushfires.

BROMAGE: Yes, so I got to watch my home, Australia, burn this past Spring and Summer with these days of relative calm and just smoldering fires going on, and then it would hit this tinder dry old growth forest and just erupt into this inferno of flames. And that's what I see happening in the United States. We're seeing these young people being infected.

They're not as prone to severe disease as the elderly. And so, it's just that smoldering fire, but as more of them get infected, the chance of them interacting with the vulnerable population increases, and hits that vulnerable population and then the inferno just begins. That's when we end up with lots of sickness and lots of disease.

BERMAN: Yes, to be clear, when more and more younger people get sick, eventually, what it means is it will put those older at-risk populations in serious trouble, and that's a problem. And you actually looked at some studies. I know there's a study out of Japan which shows what can happen or how this can spread with younger people.

BROMAGE: Yes, so there was a fantastic Japanese tracing study that just looked at how -- or how many of these clusters, these outbreaks where at least five people were infected. How they started and who they started with and the vast majority -- over half of them started with people that were under the age of 40.

[07:55:00]

And most of those infections, 81 percent of those infections, the person was not showing any symptoms of illness at all. It took a few more days before they started to have a sore throat or cough or get a fever. But the actual infection time was before the symptoms came out. So they go out to a bar and they have a drink with friends and it just goes through their friend population.

They attend a concert, one of them was attending a concert and a performer, stage crew and people in the audience all became sick. So we're seeing this pattern repeat over and over again. You can see it in Florida with the Orlando Pride soccer team. Then you have the other group of girls that went out to a bar in Florida, 15 I think of the 16 were infected. So, it's moving through that population, almost unnoticed but it seems to be expanding very rapidly in certain parts of the country.

BERMAN: And there's no question that younger people don't get as sick in general as older people or people with comorbidities, but it doesn't mean that young people can't get dangerously sick.

BROMAGE: Yes, they don't get a free pass on this. They certainly have an easier ride than people over the age of 50 and certainly over the age of 65. So if we look at the Arizona numbers, there's been 280,000 people under the age of 44 tested, 28,000 of those are infected and a thousand of those are now in hospital. So they don't get a free ride. I mean, if you're in hospital, you're having trouble breathing, you're needing advanced health care, so it's not a free pass for an 18 to 44- year-old.

BERMAN: It's also not a free pass for society either. If you're sick enough to be in the hospital, it means you are eating up resources and you are taxing those resources which of course is one of the biggest problems in the pandemic in Houston right now, they're running out of ICU beds. Professor, I do want to ask you about the protests because the timing on what we're seeing right now with more younger people who are getting sick or at least getting the virus does raise questions about whether with so many people, predominantly younger people on the streets close to each other, some not wearing masks three weeks ago that, that might have contributed to this.

BROMAGE: Yes, there's little doubt that there was transmission of the virus at the protests. The interesting part of the bit that we wanted to work out was how much? And so it would be easy in this case with, you know, Florida, Texas, Arizona to say that this was part of the cause. But we would expect to see the same type of bounce in New York City, in Boston, where they also had very large rallies.

And if you look at Massachusetts, we are now ranked as the best rates -- best state in the country in regards to the lowest level of virus transmission. So we didn't see that bounce. And then I think it was just yesterday, Governor Baker re-allowed anybody that went to a rally to get tested and a lot of people did go over to a protest got tested, and they came in, they got tested, and it ended up finding only 2.3 percent of them had an active infection, which is exactly the same rate as what we're seeing in the general population.

So we're not seeing a big bounce for that. So it would be unusual for this just to be affecting four or five states and not those states where we had the really large rallies as well.

BERMAN: Interesting comparison there to be sure. Professor, always a pleasure to have you on. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

BROMAGE: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot continue to do what we have done over the last number of weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: California shattered daily highs, adding more than 7,000 new cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to get a grip on this virus because right now it has a grip on Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to do something to the whole community transmission right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we can get people to wear masks, we can not only save lives, we can also save the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been through hell and we don't want to go through hell again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world, this is NEW DAY. After months of isolation and sacrifice, millions of Americans are now facing what one expert calls a public health train wreck in slow motion. The three most populous states, California, Texas and Florida are all recording record increases in coronavirus cases this week.

Houston's mayor says the city's ICU beds are almost at capacity. Disney is delaying the reopening of its California parks because of the spike in cases. While thousands of workers at Disney World in Florida are now petitioning to postpone their reopening.

BERMAN: So somehow in the middle of all this, people are fighting about wearing masks.

END