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Uvalde Families Demand Change To Police And School Personnel; 33,000 Doses Of Monkeypox Vaccine Headed To New York; Lawyers For Elon Musk And Twitter Square Off In Court. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 19, 2022 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Were joined by community members at a very raw and emotional school board meeting last night, these families showing up with several specific demands. CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Texas for us at this hour. Rosa, what are these families want?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, they are completely shattered. Imagine the most painful event or moment in your life and multiply that times 1000 where your heart is in a million pieces on the ground. And these families are picking up those pieces every single day to go before the school board, to go before Texas House commissioners, and asking and demanding accountability.

They want people to be held accountable. The individuals who were in that school who did nothing to save their children, the law enforcement, they want to hold them accountable. And then they also want accountability at the school district level, because they were able to look at that Texas House investigative report and they were able to read for themselves some of the failures by the school district, which included that the school district administration and the school police knew of unsafe practices at the school and that nothing was done about it.

Simple things like locking doors, making sure that the doors are locked and making sure that those locks work, the fencing, and some of the procedures to get in and out of schools. And so they are upset, they are outraged, and they want to make sure that before the school year starts again, that their children can learn safely. Take a listen.


VINCENT SALAZAR, GRANDFATHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM LAYLA SALAZAR: I've lost a loved one right here, my only granddaughter. I can hold myself together now because I've done my crying. Now, it's time to do my fighting. And you have seen me in the papers and you will see me in the papers a lot more because this isn't the end. This is just the beginning of a war that you guys created for our children.


FLORES: And you know, Kate, one of the other things that one of the other community members mentioned was race. These individuals, they're thinking about the color of the skin of all these children, one of the -- one of the parents said, do these police officers not go in to save these children because their skin was brown just like her skin? And so the raising all of these questions before the school board so they realize the pain, the hurt, and the anger that is driving the call for answers and accountability.



BOLDUAN: Rosa -- thanks for being there, Rosa. Thank you so much.

Joining me now for more on this is Christopher Vanghele. He led the first team of responding officers to the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown. He's now the police chief of Plainville, Connecticut. Chief, thank you for being here.


BOLDUAN: You heard some of what we played of what we -- of what the family said last night. And Rosa lays it out perfectly because what these families are looking -- are looking for is two things broadly, when they went before the school board. They want accountability. They went Pete Arredondo fired. And they want to know also that the school is going to be safer or safe enough for their children to now return to learn.

The school year is about to start back up. You heard some of the same concerns from families after the Newtown shooting. Everyone is different, though, of course. What did you think when you saw this anger and frustration in the school board meeting?

VANGHELE: Well, thank you for having me, Kate. You know, I read the complete report and it was tough -- it was a tough read for me because it brought me right back to that -- to that day at Sandy Hook and knowing you know what those officers were going through as they were going through that scene. In our particular case, there really wasn't any question of whether our officers did the right thing. We went in there as soon as we could. We didn't let anything stop us.

And, you know, for us, our particular shooter had committed suicide just after he had, you know, shot the last person. So we did not have to deal with, you know, a true active shooter where we had to actually engage him and take him out. So the Uvalde situation was a little bit different than what we had. So the parents in Sandy Hook weren't really focused on our mistakes or what we did, but what they did want his answers.


VANGHELE: You know, if you have a child that dies like that, you're going to want answers right away. This particular report that was put out, obviously, was an initial report. It's going to take months if not years to get a full reporting with a timeline to really see what had occurred. But just based on, you know, the initial findings, it's quite clear to me that Chief Arredondo as well as some of the other officers that were there definitely should resign their position as law enforcement officers.

BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly.

VANGHELE: We make an oath -- go ahead.


BOLDUAN: No, go -- I was going to say go ahead, Chief. And I also want to say that definitely, I'm not equating the police response in Sandy Hook to the police response that we've seen in Uvalde and the report that we've seen of the failures there.

VANGHELE: Right. You're right.

BOLDUAN: But what do you think though, it is going to take them to make these families feel safe again if anything?

VANGHELE: I really find it hard to believe that they're going to be able to go back into that same school. If I could draw parallels again to Sandy Hook, it was at the end of the school year, there was a break for the winter, and they were put into another facility. And the decision was made to tear down Sandy Hook school and build a new school. I think something along the lines of that is probably going to happen here in Uvalde, they'll either you know completely demolish that part of the building and build brand new or they'll build a different school.

But definitely, they're going to have to address some of those security features, those physical features, such as, you know, bullet resistant windows, doors that lock, access control, gated a larger gate, and protocols and procedures in place, and obviously, you know, be taken over by a police force that can handle it, you know, a little bit more professionally than what happened, obviously.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Well, Chief, I'm sorry that you have such expertise in this area of being able to speak to having to respond to something like this, but thank you for coming on. I really appreciate it.

VANGHELE: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, New York City, making a big change to its vaccine strategy to combat the monkeypox outbreak. The city's health commissioner is our guest.



BOLDUAN: New York's governor says 33,000 doses of monkeypox vaccines are headed to her state this week amid the growing demand, especially in New York City. The CDC is reporting that more than one in four cases in the United States, are in New York. Despite promises, residents are still facing long lines to get the monkeypox vaccines.

Joining me now for an update on this is New York City's health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan. Thank you so much for being here, Commissioner.


BOLDUAN: Do you think the case -- of course. Do you think the case numbers as they're reported now in New York City is the full picture of how bad this outbreak is here?

VASAN: No, I think we can say definitively, it's not and that's because only now are we seeing clinical testing starting to ramp up. We're very encouraged now that the federal government has partnered with five commercial laboratories to ensure that doctors like me working in clinics can you know order monkeypox tests quickly for their patients and get a result quickly. So I think we're going to see cases rise all across this country over the coming weeks as clinical testing increases.

BOLDUAN: You've all -- you've apologized to New Yorkers for a faulty and challenging rollout of vaccines to fight this virus. Is -- do you -- are you confident that the infrastructure and the systems are in place now for people to get the help that they need?

VASAN: You know, this has certainly been a challenging rollout. Some of those are issues on us in terms of those technical glitches, but the really root issue here has been accessed to vaccine supply. And that's a national issue and I know our federal partners in the Biden- Harris administration are working hard on getting us more.

But as you said in the lead-in, we have more than a quarter, nearly 30 percent of the cases in the country, and we haven't yet started to get vaccines commensurate with that impact as us as the epicenter of this outbreak in the country. So we need to start seeing much more vaccines and the rest of these things will smooth out as people can get access to the preventative therapies that they want.

BOLDUAN: I was going to ask you about the access to more vaccines because Dr. Anthony Fauci and other federal officials have said they have been promising for weeks now that more vaccines are on the way. Are you seeing that yet or our case -- but are you just still seeing just cases are still outpacing the vaccine supply?

VASAN: Well, Demit, remember, we're vaccinating people who are at risk of getting or transmitting monkeypox or people who are at risk of having a severe outcome if they do get monkeypox. And so we're not vaccinating known cases.


VASAN: We're vaccinating people who are exposed. And so, you know, we're seeing demand for that mostly being really outstripping our supply. You know, we had 9200 appointments go online last Friday, and they were snapped up in seven minutes. And so we really need much more vaccines. I know that our partners are working hard in Washington and elsewhere but you know, we need that as soon as possible.

BOLDUAN: You mean that now you don't need that in a couple of weeks. So, the New York Times, Commissioner, is reporting this morning that there is a debate that has gone on within your health department over what the public health message should be on this. Should the messaging be specifically targeted towards gay men to change their sexual behavior during this outbreak or will that message stigmatize people and then backfire? Your job is to keep New Yorkers safe, so what do you do with this?


VASAN: Yes, this is a really challenging clinical and epidemiologic question that's under debate, not only here at the health department, but nationally, at professional societies, and internationally. And so what was characterized in the article is the fact that we actually have some scientific debate going on. We need to have some humility in the fact that while this is a known virus that's been around for decades, we've known about it for decades, it's in a new population, and it's behaving in new ways that we're learning about. And so the questions posed in that article are open questions.

Now, I will say very clearly, though, that, you know, gay men, men who have sex with men, and the LGBTQ community writ large, have had their sexual practices and behaviors dissected and prescribed and permitted, mostly by heterosexual people and policymakers who are heterosexual for decades. And that we have found is, you know, over the years, especially coming out of the HIV movement, really, really, you know, damaging and stigmatizing and discriminatory as well. I will say that abstinence as a message doesn't really work.

We know this. It's not a good public health tool because it's really about giving people the information to make safe choices. But understanding we need to meet them where they are with those choices and give them the information to tell them how monkeypox is transmitted.

BOLDUAN: Last week, you said that you are now prioritizing getting more people a first shot versus getting a smaller group you assume kind of the full course of a second dose. That very same day, the CDC still says that two doses is still needed. What is the best for New York City?

VASAN: What's best for New York City is what we announced which is getting shots in arms as quickly as possible. That doesn't mean we don't agree that a two-shot dose is ideal but we are in an environment of increasing cases of extreme demand and extremely constrained supply. And in that environment, it's incumbent upon us to get shots in arms as quickly as possible because we do believe one shot does confer significant protection if not as much as two shots.

BOLDUAN: Commissioner, thanks for coming on. Really appreciate it.

VASAN: Of course. Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. Coming up for us. Twitter taking Elon Musk to court. Lawyers for both sides squaring off in a courtroom right now. Details in a live report but first, if you often feel forgetful, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some advice on how to boost your memory in today's CHASING LIFE.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's CHASING LIFE podcast. Ever feel like you're starting to forget too many things? Where do I put my car keys? Where do I park the car? What was I just thinking of? Well, the reason why this is happening may surprise you and it doesn't necessarily mean memory problems. Oftentimes when we're forgetful, it's because our memories didn't get encoded in our brains due to interruptions and distractions. In other words, it's not that you're forgetting. It's really that you never really remembered in the first place.

But there are ways to give your brain a little help in the form of a shield. S, Sleep. This gives your brain a chance to replay and consolidate the memories of the day so you can recall them in the future. H, Handle your stress. Breathing and mindfulness exercises can help you stay focused and process new information. I, interact socially. We are a social species and staying engaged with others primes our memory.

E, Exercise. Just a 10-minute walk a day can boost memory and retention. L, learn new things. Pick up a new hobby, learn a new language, and new skills, and build new connections in the brain. And D, Diet. You're what you eat and that includes your brain as well, so go big on the good stuff and limit the sugars and saturated fats. And you can hear more about how to optimize your health and CHASE LIFE wherever you get your podcast.



BOLDUAN: Happening right now. Twitter and Elon Musk have taken their very public battle to court now. Twitter's now suing Musk to force him to follow through on his $44 billion bid to buy the company. Among the many things they're disputing is when to even hold a trial.

CNN's Alexandra Field is joining us now. She has been tracking this. What is happening today?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, so this hearing has kicked off already and basically Twitter is arguing that they need an expedited trial, they want to see the trial happen as quickly as September, they say they need a quick decision on whether or not Musk will be forced to go through with the agreement to purchase the company because the delays and the drama surrounding the deal are creating uncertainty that will adversely affect their shareholders.

Now, they say that the richest man in the world has a case of buyer's remorse, that with the market downturn as he saw the stock value of Twitter declining, same for Tesla, whose shares he was using to finance the deal, that he wanted out and that he was using this issue of bots or fake users on the platforms to get out of the deal.

Musk, for his part, has said that the company hasn't provided adequate information on how many of the accounts are fake that's why he says he isn't going forward with this deal. His attorneys are now in court arguing that the trial shouldn't happen until February. That will give him time to investigate the issue. Now, Twitter will counter that by saying the issue of the number of bots isn't actually a part of the merger agreement so you don't need an extension here.


But it all comes down to a judge in Delaware who will issue a decision not likely today but it should happen soon because time is of the essence.


FIELD: And really, either way, the stakes are high here. A win for Musk --

BOLDUAN: To say the least, yes.

FIELD: A win for Musk will still cost him a billion-dollar breakup fee. A loss would mean the $44 billion dollar purchase.

BOLDUAN: It's really remarkable. And also unremarkable and unsurprising how this has gone out knowing --

FIELD: Why he shouldn't.

BOLDUAN: Couldn't help what people will see. Good to see you, Alex, thank you so much. This is also into CNN that we bring to you. A New York City bodega clerk who fatally stabbed a man during a confrontation earlier this month will not face murder charges. Now, moments ago, the Manhattan district attorney announced his office has moved to drop all charges against Jose Alba.

Surveillance video shows Austin Simon, the man there, going behind the counter of the bodega toward Alba and pushing him before Alba grabbed a knife and stabbed him. The 61-year-old clerk claims that he killed Simon and -- stabbed Simon and killed him in self-defense. The Manhattan DA has been under some pretty big pressure to dismiss these charges against Alba. Quite the thing.

Thank you so much for being here AT THIS HOUR, I'm Kate Bolduan. INSIDE POLITICS is up next. It starts after this break.