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World Health Organization Reports Most Coronavirus Cases in a Single Day; Florida Reports More than 10K New Cases, Dozens of Deaths; CDC Projects More than 157K U.S. Deaths by August; Hospitals Adjusting How They Care for Critically Ill Patients; U.S. flags Lowered to Half-Staff Honoring Rep. John Lewis; U.S. Approves Process to Speed Up Testing; Teachers, Parents Worry about Reopening Schools Too Soon; Man's Death Sparks Police Use-of-Force Protests in France; Camouflaged Federal Agents Arresting Protesters in Portland. Aired 12- 1a ET
Aired July 19, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Another day, another incredible surge in coronavirus cases across the United States. A report from the new epicenter coming up.
Also we're learning more about the president's rush to reopen. Find out when the White House knew they'd made a terrible mistake.
And this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA CLARK, TEACHER: We know that if we go back into the buildings full time and at full or mostly full capacity, some of us are going to die.
HOLMES (voice-over): Back to school fears from one of the hardest hit states. Hear from the people who know classrooms best: the teachers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.
The coronavirus picking up its pace as it continues its relentless spread. The World Health Organization reporting more than a quarter of a million new infections globally in the last 24 hours, the most in a single day.
The total number of cases now beyond 14 million, according to Johns Hopkins, with more than 600,000 people dead. The U.S. still far and away the worst hit country, the virus on the rise in more than 30 states and falling in only one. It's been skyrocketing in Florida. One mayor there says the pandemic
is out of control and needs a coordinated response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-FL), MIAMI BEACH: Right now we do not have a handle on this at all. It has a handle on us, really. When we talk about opening things, the governor and the president are all for it. They sent us mandates about opening up schools.
But when it comes to closing things, which is the tough medicine we're asking people to follow, and making sacrifices by wearing masks, it's like their voices are nonexistent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: CNN's Paul Vercammen is at a COVID testing site in California. First, though, let's go to Rosa Flores in Florida where cases are surging and hospitals bursting at the seams.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The state of Florida reporting more than 10,000 new cases on Saturday. Here in Miami-Dade County, where I am, this is the epicenter of the crisis here in this state, accounting for about 24 percent of the now nearly 340,000 cases.
ICU capacity right now in Miami-Dade County is at about 122 percent. This is according to county data. The goal is not to exceed 70 percent. For the past few days, the county has exceeded 100 percent.
Here are the numbers for Saturday. There are 484 COVID-19 patients and 396 beds. Now the good news is that the county says they have more than 400 beds that they can convert into ICU beds.
When it comes to ventilator use in the past two weeks, it has increased by 64 percent. Now I wish I could give you a full report on the positivity rate in this county. But today when we went to go look for the data, it was not presented by the county.
FLORES: We asked the county about this and they sent us this statement, saying, "County officials are meeting with state DOH Department of Health -- "statisticians on Monday to go over discrepancies in the way the state and county collect and report testing data.
"Once all agree on the appropriate parameters, Miami-Dade County will be updating the daily dashboard to ensure as much of an accurate measure as is statistically possible."
Now the state of Florida has had some issues with transparency and now apparently also with the quality of the data that is being presented here. What I can tell you about the positivity rate here in Miami-Dade
County is that yesterday it was at 27 percent and the goal for the county is not to exceed 10 percent. For the past 14 days it had been exceeding 22 percent.
With all that said, governor Ron DeSantis had a press conference on Saturday. And if you would have listened to the entire press conference, you would have walked away thinking that Florida has it all under control -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Los Angeles city leaders say a way to stop the tide of bad COVID-19 numbers is through testing and then contact tracing and finding out just who does or doesn't have COVID- 19.
Testing here at the Crenshaw Christian Center in this neighborhood, predominantly black and Latino, the council president here, Herb Wesson, said he would be in favor of even more shutdowns in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County to get after this rising problem.
He also said that he wants to see more leadership out of the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERB WESSON, LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL: Now this is not a time when government shrinks. This is when government rises. This is when government does what the people hired us to do, take care of them, make sure they're safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: Wesson is also critical of California's governor. He said part of the problem now is he believes governor Newsom reopened California way too soon -- reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.
HOLMES: And the U.S. president, he has started to hold tele-rallies instead of appearing in person. Mr. Trump speaking by phone to an audience in Wisconsin on Friday.
The Trump campaign says they are not ruling out in-person rallies but the decision to go remote comes weeks after that rally in Oklahoma, you might remember, brought out disappointing crowds and experts say led to a surge in virus cases.
And we are learning more about how the White House's early steps in this pandemic led to an even deeper crisis. Jeremy Diamond with that.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, amid this rise in coronavirus cases across the United States, we're learning more about some of the decisions made right here at the White House that led to where we are today.
And that is specifically the decision in mid-April for the White House to begin focusing on reopening the economy and shifting responsibility for the future of this pandemic over to the states.
And what we're learning, and according to this new "The New York Times" report that goes really in-depth into some of this decision- making, is that Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's Coronavirus Task Force coordinator was actually central to some of those decisions being made, in particular because it appears she was overly optimistic about some of these models that was showing the United States was getting the coronavirus pandemic under control back in mid-April.
Of course the reality proved to be that the United States was not like Italy, for example, as Dr. Birx thought the United States might be, meaning a peak, a surge of coronavirus cases and then bringing those cases down.
Instead, the United States remains at a pretty high plateau. And then now we are seeing this resurgence once again. Now it was in June when White House officials, according to "The New York Times" report, actually became aware that their predictions were wrong, that the coronavirus wasn't working as effectively, that they had underestimated the extent to which President Trump's comments about reopening, focusing on that rather than focusing on the mitigation efforts, the extent to which that really undid a lot of the progress that was already happening across the United States.
But one thing that we have not seen is President Trump shifting his rhetoric. In fact, in recent weeks, as recently as this past week, we have still heard the president continue to downplay the threat of coronavirus and continue to be at odds with the science.
On Saturday, the president was talking in an interview with FOX News about the fact that he disagrees with what the CDC director is saying about mask wearing. That still, as we're seeing these surging coronavirus cases in more than half the states across the country -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.
HOLMES: Dr. Saju Mathew joins me now from here in Atlanta.
Good to see you, Doctor, again. I mean, let's start with this.
HOLMES: The CDC projecting more than 157,000 deaths by the first week in August in the U.S. We have been through one lockdown.
Are we going to have to do it again in some places at least or just accept these ongoing fatalities? DR. SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good day to you, Michael. Always great to be on your show.
Michael, listen, we did not do this correct the first time. I call what we did back in March a soft lockdown. Only 50 (sic) states did the lockdown. The measures were not aggressive enough. We opened too soon.
And guess what?
We now have to pay the price. This is resulting in more hospitalizations and more deaths. And I think we need to go into a hard lockdown, especially in those red states that we see on our map at CNN. Those states, absolutely, must go into a lockdown.
HOLMES: Yes, trying to curve it somehow. I mean, "The New York Times" is reporting tonight that the Trump administration, its decision to shift the coronavirus strategy to the states, rather than have a, you know, a coordinated, national, federally-led effort, that handing responsibility to the states has led to much of what we're seeing unfold now, because states took the decision to reopen early and so on.
How much of a blunder was it to not have that national coordination on everything, from PPE to reopening?
MATHEW: I hate to sound like I'm being so critical, Michael, but sometimes, I feel like I'm on top of this hill and just screaming into a vacuum.
We made a lot of mistakes. We did. And we have to accept that and we have to learn that.
This is one big virus. We need to treat this as one huge federal problem and not 50 or 60 different issues. Remember, it's not just states that are doing things differently; it's mayors of different cities and counties of different cities. We have one big problem, and that's this COVID-19 virus. And we should have one voice and one plan.
HOLMES: Masks, of course, still a big issue. And we're seeing private companies, a lot of them, like Walmart and so on, instituting mask rules as opposed to government mandates.
I mean, the crazy thing here in Georgia, where you and I are, is the governor is suing the mayor over her order for masks to be worn.
What sort of message does that send, not just not requiring masks but ordering local authorities not to?
MATHEW: It sends a very confusing message, Michael. Ultimately, we need to always look at the science. If you wear a mask and other people wear a mask and if we do it all together, we're going to cut down the transmission of the virus by, get this, Michael, fivefold or maybe even higher.
We know for sure the science behind the mask. It protects me. It protects you. And by really sending out a confusing message and fighting the mayor, who is trying to do the right thing, and mayors of other cities in Georgia, we're confusing people as to exactly what needs to happen to save lives and keep businesses open.
HOLMES: Testing, still a major issue of course. People waiting hours to be tested then waiting, you know, 8-10-12 days for results, which most experts say makes the test almost pointless. I think there were 700,000 or so tests a day, when there needs to be, according to the experts, more than 2 million.
I mean, this is made to be the world's richest nation and so on and so on.
How is it, it cannot do testing right?
MATHEW: You know, Michael, if you look at the rest of the world, excluding China, they have tested 110 million. We have tested between 30 million and 40 million. And we have over 330 million people, living in the U.S.
We did not aggressively test from the beginning and now we're falling behind. Listen. If you don't get a test back in three days, you miss that entire window to do contact tracing.
Remember, contact tracing is not only isolating the person that's infected. It's contacting the people that that person has infected. If you -- if you're walking around with an infection and you don't get a test back for 10 or 12 days, like in Atlanta, you could infect, easily, 59,000 people.
One person can, eventually, infect that many people, in a short amount of time.
HOLMES: Frightening there, how it extrapolates like that.
I mean, you know, what good news do you see out there?
I mean, there are vaccine trials underway.
What do you -- heartens you?
Are there signs of immunity?
What are you hearing about that?
MATHEW: Yes, there are some good, you know, news when you look at the way we're treating patients right now, Michael. You know, we are now turning patients over into a prone position. They're not laying on their back.
MATHEW: We've found that that definitely helps with lung infections.
Secondly, we are using dexamethasone, which is a steroid, and remdesivir, which is really cutting down the number of days that patients are in the ICU.
And I definitely also think, Michael, that the reason we are not seeing as high of a death rate -- I mean, we are going to see many more deaths, 1,000 are dying every day in the U.S. But I definitely think we have cut down on the deaths because of these antiviral steroids. And the vaccines are definitely showing some promise as well.
HOLMES: All right. Dr. Saju Matthew, always a pleasure. Great to have you on.
MATHEW: Thank you, Michael.
HOLMES: Now many people continue to mourn the loss of a civil rights legend. John Lewis died Friday following his battle with pancreatic cancer but his remarkable life's work leaves a lasting impression. We will discuss that after the break.
HOLMES: At the White House and across America on Saturday, U.S. flags lowered to half-staff to honor the life and the legacy of Congressman John Lewis. He died Friday after battling pancreatic cancer.
HOLMES: He was 80 years old.
Now for much of his life Lewis worked to make sure that every American enjoyed the rights and freedoms promised in the Constitution. CNN's Wolf Blitzer spoke with Senator Cory Booker about Lewis' impact on the nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Since he was a teenager, he was on the front lines of the fight for justice in America. The youngest person to speak on the March on Washington, leading a major protest from freedom rights to pivotal marches like the fall on Bloody Sunday on the pediment Edmund Pettus Bridge.
But even in his senior years, he was there at the center of the well of the House of Representatives, fighting for just about every major issue from immigration reform to the rights of LGBTQ Americans.
He's got an extraordinary career and he did it in a way and a society that can often being too materialistic, too much about possessions and position.
He showed you that in this country, you have true power which comes from your capacity to love, your dignity, your grace, and your unrelenting commitment to make true the virtues of this country put down on our founding documents, but yet to be achieved in a reality for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And joining me now to talk more about the impact of Representative Lewis is CNN political commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones.
Good to have you on. Sad reason for it but good to have your thoughts.
And what are your thoughts about the life and legacy of John Lewis, the public figure, the activist but also the character of the man?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He was the conscience of a nation. He would stand up for any underdog, anybody who's being mistreated in this country. He would go to the well of the House. He would go on the picket line and he would bring out the best in both parties.
He had universal respect in an age where you have a lot of division. He was as close to universally respected as exists in American life.
I'll never forget the 50th anniversary of the march over that bridge, where he was beaten within an inch of his life, which, really, you know, took the whole struggle for voting rights to a different level.
He went back there 50 years later with Barack Obama as the President of the United States and I saw something I've never seen before and I don't think I'll ever see again.
Ordinarily in a procession, when you're filling up the speaker stage, the last person to walk up onto that stage is the President of the United States. I'm standing there covering this for CNN.
And I'm watching first lady Michelle Obama and President Obama come onto the stage. And then after they're there, John Lewis walked onto the stage. I've never seen that happen. The protocols in our country, that's almost unheard of, that anybody would step onto a stage after the President of the United States.
And yet that was the level of respect that President Obama and the whole country had for John Lewis, that it would have been inconceivable for even the President of United States to follow him, that he should be the last person to come onto that stage.
HOLMES: A remarkable moment. He fought, of course, for the right to vote.
What did he think of efforts to disenfranchise voters in recent years, making it more difficult for people of color to vote, suppression, if you like?
Having seen the Voting Rights Act come into play in the '60s but then seeing it gutted in recent years, how troubling must that have been for him?
JONES: It was quite troubling and he was outspoken about it, especially in Georgia, his blood state, where he was representing the people there. In that last big fight where Stacey Abrams was trying to become the governor, the first African American female governor in the deep South.
He was very, very passionate about the right to vote in that state and was very concerned the outcome may not have been entirely fair.
But the most important thing I can say about John Lewis, look at Instagram.
How many thousands and thousands of people have personal photos with a living legend?
You know, it's unbelievable how many ordinary people are posting up photographs of themselves with him because he was that accessible. He was that present. He would talk to anybody.
I mean, it's unbelievable to watch this guy and he's a civil rights legend icon. And any human being who walked up to him and talked to him was going to get a full hearing.
JONES: -- people with personal photographs of a living legend.
HOLMES: That is so true. I was scrolling through Instagram today and it was remarkable. The same thing occurred to me, just how universal this was.
HOLMES: But in speaking of like lots of photos with young people as well, what would he make of the movement as it is now and, quite frankly, the challenges it faces?
And are young people following his lead?
JONES: You know, some are and some aren't but he had just a tremendous optimism about the capacity of young people to make a change. Don't forget the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, was just a bunch of ragtag students pulled together by Ella Jo Baker, who had been an NAACP organizer, a labor organizer.
When the students started to demonstrate, she pulled them together and he became a leader in that movement. Again, he was the youngest person, as Cory pointed out, the youngest person on stage at the March on Washington.
And he just never lost that faith in young people and their ability to change the country for the better. So, listen, youth movements are always messy. They're chaotic. People go in this direction, that direction. But they are essential to progress. And even though he was one of the
elder statesmen of American life of politics, you always saw him with young people and encouraging them.
HOLMES: I did want to finish up, though, by asking you, because John Lewis obviously, the icon, the man with a massive legacy. But on the same day he died C.T. Vivian passed away and his legacy shouldn't be forgotten, either.
And I know that you knew him.
JONES: Yes. C.T. Vivian was actually a little bit older than John Lewis and helped to train a bunch of those young people. And he was an extraordinary -- he changed my life.
In 1990, February 1st, 1990, in celebration of the anniversary of the lunch counter protest, he came to Nashville, Tennessee. I was a student. And he gave a speech -- I could almost give you word for word the speech.
He said you got to fight for what -- if you don't fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. He said, stay nonviolent. He said, anything your opponent does to you to destroy you will only develop you as long as you stay nonviolent.
I can give you his whole speech. It was -- this is 30 years after, you know, this lunch counter protest. This guy, C.T. Vivian, was one of the great unsung heroes and titans. To lose both C.T. Vivian and John Lewis on the same day, Heaven is trying to get our attention about the need for us to step up and do the things that they did.
HOLMES: Really well put. Thank you, Van, Van Jones there, appreciate your time. Thanks.
HOLMES: Well, Florida is considered the new epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S. and the start of the school year, well, that's looming, isn't it?
Find out how parents and teachers feel about back to school plans when we come back.
And also sumo back in Japan. So, too, the fans despite rising coronavirus numbers. We'll go live to Tokyo. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
There may be a positive development in the battle against coronavirus. For the first time, U.S. regulators are giving the green light to pool testing. Samples from four people, for instance, could be tested at one time. That speeds up the process.
Meanwhile the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is issuing new guidance for those who have tested positive. People without symptoms will only have to isolate for 10 days or fewer if back-to-back tests taken more than 24 hours apart come up negative.
People with symptoms can also come out of isolation in 10 days if they have two negative tests or if they haven't had a fever in 24 hours.
Now the virus has infected upwards of 14 million people worldwide, killed more than 600,000. The state of Florida becoming the new epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
I want you to just have a look at these numbers here. At least two Florida counties under curfew on Saturday night. That's a lot of red on that map there. This is all happening at the start of the school year that's looming now. Here's what the 2020 National Teacher of the Year had to say about the prospect of schools reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TABATHA ROSPROY, 2020 NATIONAL TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Right now, what we know about the virus, which is still very little, it is a young virus, I personally do not believe it is safe for us to go back to traditional schooling.
I think there's no way to social distance in our already crowded classrooms. There's not enough money to provide for the extra staff that we would need, and the extra PPE that we would need.
And there's some relief coming to us for those costs. But right now, I don't think that it's worth the risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: CNN's Martin Savidge has more now on the debate in the Sunshine State over whether students should be going back to classrooms.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Angry parents and anxious teachers protest with a motor march outside Duval County Public Schools Headquarters. Driving home the message, with coronavirus cases skyrocketing, it's no time to put kids back in the classroom.
LAURA HAMMOCK, DUVAL COUNTY TEACHER: I'm a teacher. I've been with Duval County for 23 years.
I have a mother at home that is sick. And if I'm to get the coronavirus, I don't want to bring it back to her. SAVIDGE (voice over): Duval County teachers are supposed to report to work August 3rd. Students are due back a week later.
ROLLINE SULLIVAN, PARENT: My daughter doesn't want to go back to school. She wants to keep the family safe.
SAVIDGE: When Duval County shut down classroom learning last March for its 129,000 students -- the county had just five cases of coronavirus. Now, as schools prepare to reopen, the county has nearly 14,000 and climbing.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you think it's a safe time to return?
MARLA BRIAN (ph), PARENT: No.
SAVIDGE (voice over): The only way Marla Brian's (ph) 15-year-old daughter is going back to school is online.
SAVIDGE (on camera): So you think it's politics?
BRIAN (ph): I absolutely 100 percent think it's politics.
SAVIDGE (voice over): Last week, Florida's education commissioner issued an executive order requiring districts to reopen brick-and- mortar schools five days a week starting in August.
On the same day, President Trump tweeted, "Schools must open in the fall."
Jacksonville and Duval County is also hosting the Republican National Convention.
And the state's Republican governor has echoed Trump's message, likening going back to school to reopening a store.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools.
SAVIDGE: Critics contend shopping is optional. Education isn't, especially for teachers.
Something made painfully clear by this teacher speaking to a virtual St. John's County, Florida, school board meeting.
CLARK: We know that if we go back into the buildings full-time and at full or mostly full capacity, some of us are going to die.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you believe that teachers will die?
TIM FORSON, SUPERINTENDENT, ST. JOHNS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Do I believe that teachers will die? I -- I don't -- my goodness, I -- I hope -- I hope not. I certainly would never take an action that I believe would cause teachers to die. SAVIDGE (voice over): The St. Johns County District is spending $1.6 million on personal protection equipment for its staff and 44,000 students, including everything from Plexiglas dividers, to hand sanitizer, to face shields for pre-K students.
FORSON: Sometimes I -- I will get that from a parent is, I want it to be 100 percent -- say, I want you to guarantee me there's not risk. I can't guarantee there's not risk.
SAVIDGE: But Superintendent Forson can guarantee he'll do everything possible to keep everyone as safe as possible, including his own five- year-old daughter who will also be walking into a classroom.
FORSON: I have confidence in the decisions that I've made for it to be the right place for her to be. And that that -- it's a safe environment. And the learning that's going to happen is going to -- is going to enrich her a great deal.
SAVIDGE (on camera): A little bit of trepidation?
FORSON: Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yes. I would be foolish not to say that there's not -- there's not a little bit of concern.
HOLMES: Martin Savidge reporting there for us.
Now two more U.S. military personnel in Okinawa, Japan, have tested positive for coronavirus. And that brings the total number of cases on U.S. military bases in Japan to 143. The Japanese defense minister asking the U.S. military to test all personnel arriving in the country.
Meanwhile the numbers in Japan have been rising including in the capital, Tokyo. That's where thousands of fans are going to be attending a sumo tournament over the next few weeks. Let's get more on all of this from journalist Kaori Enjoji, live for us in Tokyo.
Kind of a surprise this is happening at all. Tell us about the atmosphere and what's going to happen.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, Michael, fans are excited to be here at the grand sumo tournament because it's the first time in more than six months they're allowed to watch a national sport like sumo.
But there's a lot of nervousness as well because there are a record number of cases in Tokyo over the last week or so. And the number of coronavirus cases is spreading. We talked to a couple of fans going into the stadium today to watch this bout. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If I'm going to watch, we need to be very careful. I do feel that it's worth taking a little risk. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Letting fans in is good for Japan and good for wrestlers so long as we take every precaution. I just think the timing is a little bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENJOJI: Michael, I can tell you that there are a lot of precautions here in place right now. The masks and the temperature checks, it's almost everywhere you go these days. So this is not unusual. But they're limiting the number of spectators to 25 percent capacity.
HOLMES: I think we have lost Kaori Enjoji's audio there in Tokyo. But we get the idea. It's going to be pretty interesting. There's a lot of rituals in sumo. Not sure how they're going to handle all of those.
Coronavirus numbers climbing higher in Brazil. More than 900 deaths reported there on Saturday. The president Jair Bolsonaro greeting supporters outside his residence for the first time since he tested positive for the virus last week.
He did wear a mask and kept his distance from the crowd, which was on the other side of a small canal that is there outside the palace. He called for the country's economy to reopen, saying unemployment, hunger and misery kills more than the virus does.
Crisis in Portland as the city's attorney general demands an investigation of videos, showing masked and camouflaged federal agents detaining protesters. We'll show you how it is all unfolding next. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
Cedric Chouviat's last words for the French -- were the French for, "I can't breathe." Well, now Melissa Bell reports that his death is forcing a national conversation in France about police use of force. This report does contain graphic images.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is no shortage of video of Cedric Chouviat's January 3rd encounter with the police. A simple police check near the Eiffel Tower that led to an argument and then to Chouviat being pinned down and allegedly held in a chokehold.
Footage captured by witnesses show the police trying to resuscitate the 42-year-old delivery man who went into cardiac arrest and died in hospital two days later. For months, his family and lawyers campaigned for justice. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are not in the United
States but we are getting more like the United States by the persistence of police brutality and by the denial that goes with them.
BELL (voice-over): But more than six months on, three of the four police officers involved have been placed under formal investigation after transcripts of audio recorded on Chouviat's phone during encounter were leaked to the press.
Those revealed that Chouviat had said seven times that he was suffocating. All four police officers denied any wrongdoing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Of course they didn't hear the words "I'm suffocating." They were spoken into a microphone that was up against his mouth. They were struggling to handcuff him. They did not hear that.
BELL (voice-over): The case has also led to calls in France for the chokehold technique allegedly used to be banned. But facing pressure from police, the interior minister is delayed plans to ban it, leaving Chouviat's father to appeal directly to President Macron.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Mr. Macron, you must stop the use of the chokehold because you are a murderer if you allow it to happen. The chokehold is murder.
BELL (voice-over): Chouviat's family say their only luck is that so much footage of the incident exists.
BELL (voice-over): But beyond the investigation itself, the question is how much it is likely to change things in France?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But see, the difference in terms of awareness in the United States with George Floyd, it is a game changer. In France, it is still not a game changer. So we still have a long way to do. But we're going to do it.
BELL (voice-over): Recent protests inspired by events overseas but focus on local cases suggest that here, too, an important conversation has at least begun -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
HOLMES: And shocking new details about the Breonna Taylor case. Taylor was shot eight times inside her home in Louisville, Kentucky, during a police raid back in March. A lawsuit now claims she was alive for 5-6 minutes after being shot.
That's on top of claims from Taylor's boyfriend, who said she was coughing after being shot and that police did not rush in to try to help her. The coroner is denying this, saying, quote, "Taylor likely died within a minute of being shot and could not have been saved."
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back. (MUSIC PLAYING)
HOLMES: There's been outrage in Portland, Oregon, after video of a controversial arrest was posted online.
Demonstrators have been protesting racial inequality and police brutality there for the last 50 nights, sometimes clashing with police. But there are claims that federal agents are unlawfully detaining and arresting some of those demonstrators and throwing them into the back of unmarked rental cars.
Now this video we're going to show you gives weight to that. Officers in generic camouflage gear who did not identify themselves, you can see on the uniforms just one sign, saying, police, nothing else. Nothing about the unit or where they're from.
And they snatch up that protester. Oregon's attorney general now suing the Department of Homeland Security for allegedly violating protesters' civil rights. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agents had information that the person in the video was suspected of assault against federal agents or destruction of property.
The agency also claims the agents were wearing CBP markings. Now Alex Zielinski, a news editor the "Portland Mercury" joins me now live.
I'm glad you've been out on the streets throughout all of this, this image of men in camouflage driving around in rented minivans, grabbing people off the street without identifying themselves, critics are calling them snatch squads.
What's the level of concern about the precedent being set by this sort of thing?
ALEX ZIELINSKI, "PORTLAND MERCURY": There's a remarkable high level of concern, especially after this story came out. I know this happened on July 15th. But folks didn't really know the extent of it until this story came out from our local public radio station two days ago.
And last night, I was out covering these protests and it was a big local area of discussion for a lot of folks. People concerned about losing the group and being on their own on a side street and being picked up. A lot of people pointing out different vans and feeling afraid that they maybe contained federal officers. So the concern is there.
HOLMES: Yes, I can imagine. And in that video, the Customs and Border Patrol have said the target was suspected of either assaults against federal agents or destruction of federal property, quite apart from the question of, which is it? Because they're very different accusations. It was also claimed the man was snatched the way he was because of the proximity of a large and violent mob.
When we play the video -- and let's play it again -- when you watch it, in all directions, the streets are essentially deserted.
What do you make of that narrative?
ZIELINSKI: It's tricky. It's hard, because it's kind of a black box of information coming from the federal government right now. So actually having evidence to what they're basing this probable cause on for arrest is hard.
I mean, they're denying that this arrest even happened. But I do think -- and like the protesters themselves, kind of assumed just their involvement in these demonstrations has placed them -- treated -- made them a target.
The way that law enforcement and even public officials here have been talking about these protests is really in a sweeping, all-encompassing way, saying this whole crowd of people are committing a riot or committing a crime as opposed to a number of them.
So I think that's the same way that federal police are operating. They see anyone involved in these protests as someone who is (INAUDIBLE) a crime.
HOLMES: We've only got a minute literally. We're seeing action by the state, legal action.
Is there a sense that this is going to get anywhere?
How angry are state officials?
ZIELINSKI: It seems like the attorney general has very high concerns and is worried about the repercussions of federal officers plucking folks off the street without any probable cause.
So seeing the state attorney general getting involved, I think that is a sign that folks are taking it seriously. Certainly, local city officials don't have any control over the federal police. They do have control over their own police, which you could argue are still abusing and assaulting protesters in different ways.
But the accountability tools are very different.
HOLMES: Certainly a lot of concern among many people about seeing that sort of snatching people off the street going on. That "Portland Mercury" news editor, Alex Zielinski, appreciate you joining us. Thanks so much.
ZIELINSKI: Thanks for having me.
HOLMES: Thank you for spending this hour of CNN NEWSROOM with us. As we continue to remember the life and legacy of U.S. Representative John Lewis, we'll leave you now with some of the sentiments of some the people who knew and loved the civil rights legend.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-S.C.), MAJORITY WHIP: The country lost a hero last night.
CLYBURN: A movement lost an icon.
DOUG BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: He was the Gandhi of America. People have been calling him the conscience of Congress but he was much more than that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This man has been pivotal in bringing equality and justice for all.
REV. BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: His only motive was to stand up for what was right.
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): He was just that guy.
LEWIS: We will march through the South, through the streets of Jackson, through the streets of Danville, through the streets of Cambridge, through the streets of Birmingham.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): And continuously speaking out, even as he's dying.
LEWIS: I'm not tired. I'm not weary. I'm not prepared to sit down and give up. I am ready to fight and continue to fight.
BAKARI SELLERS (D), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: The essence of the American story is John Lewis.
LEWIS: I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and someway, God almighty helped me here.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind.
ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: He also had a very charming, slow sort of personality.
REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): John had an indomitable spirit. It was infectious.
REP. HANK JOHNSON (D-GA): He had so much love in his heart. He's just been such a powerful voice for what is right, what is just, what is truth.
LEWIS: My philosophy is very simple. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something. Do something. Get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.
YOUNG: And I don't think anybody has spend 80 more fruitful years on Earth than John Lewis.