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Demands Grow For Body Cam Footage In Andrew Brown Jr. Shooting; Those Who Spread The "Big Lie" Are Now Denying Realities Of Racism; Tensions High Over U.S. Policing After Chauvin Verdict & Fatal Shootings; U.S. To Resume Use Of J&J Vaccine With Safety Warning; Average Number Of Daily Vaccinations Falls Below Three Million; California Sports Teams Debut Fully Vaccinated Fan Sections; Tesla's Autopilot Feature Raises Safety Concerns. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired April 24, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: The three-time Grammy nominee died on April 9th at the age of 50 after suffering a heart attack in his New York home.


ACOSTA: And you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

People in a frustrated North Carolina city today are demanding more than their sheriff's department is giving them.


PROTESTERS: No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!


ACOSTA: This is Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where residents are not only mourning the death of Andrew Brown Jr., they also want to see video footage of the moment he was shot by sheriff's deputies. So far, no bodycam footage has been released from Brown's fatal altercation with law enforcement on Wednesday but the audio of first responders' radio traffic that morning gives a small glimpse into what may have happened.


CALL TO DISPATCH: Central, advise EMS has got one male, 42 years of age, gun shot to the back.


ACOSTA: A gunshot to the back. That's part of what is driving people to demand answers that they are so far not getting.

And CNN's Natasha Chen is in Elizabeth City right now. Natasha, you were there today when the mayor gave an update just a

short while ago. And now, the family of Andrew Brown Jr. is speaking out. What are they saying?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jim, this press conference just wrapped up, including representatives of Andrew Brown's family. Most notably, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP is calling for the resignation of the Pasquotank Sheriff Tommy Wooten.

And Wooten had told the media yesterday that as far as releasing body camera footage, he's reminding folks that in North Carolina, it requires a court order to do so and trying to protect the integrity of the investigation, referring to the district attorney's office.

But, of course, as you mentioned, the family and public are really asking for that footage to be released in an effort of transparency there because folks besides the 911 audio that you just played don't have any details of what happened.

And earlier, city officials at their press conference told us that they are also very much in the dark on those details as well. They were not involved. It was not their law enforcement's jurisdiction. And so, they're equally befuddled on Wednesday morning.

Just now, a few moments ago, we did hear from one of Andrew Brown's children. His 25-year-old son talking about the emotional difficulty of this week.


KHALIL FEREBEE, ANDREW BROWN JR.'S SON: With all these killings going on, I never expected this to happen so close to home. Like, he left a close and tight family, with each other every day talking to each other every day. And we, my brothers, my sisters, we drove him as a person. We is what made him better and now I got to live every day, my newborn without getting a chance to meet him at all. That's going to hurt me every day. I just want justice.


CHEN: And the Reverend Barber spoke here saying that an arrest warrant is not a license for police to kill someone and so they were making reference to that and the comparison of this situation and Columbus, Ohio, where the body camera footage was released much more quickly. So, a lot of discussion about how things work within the North Carolina legal system here.

And keep in mind that seven sheriff's deputies are now on administrative leave after having been involved in the Wednesday event. Two more deputies have resigned and a third one has retired at this point, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Natasha Chen, thank you very much for that.

And has obtained new video showing the moments leading up to the moment of shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. Warning, the video you're about to see from a neighbor security camera is disturbing to watch.

And officials saying Bryant lunged at another female with a knife, a police officer shot and killed Bryant. This happening about 30 minutes before Tuesday's guilty verdict was delivered in the Derek Chauvin murder trial in Minneapolis.

And joining me now is CNN national correspondent Athena Jones in Columbus, Ohio.

Athena, what's the status of the investigation into the shooting? People want to get to the bottom of this.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. They most certainly do. And this investigation is in the hands of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. It's part of the Ohio State Attorney General's Office. They have first dibs on investigations like this is entirely independent of the police department. And so, they began to investigate almost immediately after the shooting talking to witnesses, looking at the footage.

We know of course that this is all happening as Ma'Khia Bryant's family is struggling with their loss and many people in the community are mourning a life that ended too soon.



JONES (voice-over): A new view of what led to the shooting of 16-year- old Ma'Khia Bryant. This angle from a neighbor's security camera across the street showing Columbus, Ohio, Police Officer Nicholas Reardon arriving on the scene, emerging from the vehicle and shooting Bryant in black as she appeared to lunge at another young woman wearing pink, with a knife in her hand.

Reardon who's been taken off street duty while an independent investigation is under way firing four shots at Bryant within seconds. The police department and the police union president arguing the use of force was necessary to protect the young woman in pink.

KEITH FERRELL, PRESIDENT, CAPITAL CITY LODGE 9, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: I would ask you if that's your family member up against the car that had a puppy in their hand, what would you want that officer to do in that split second moment if they had a chance to stop harm to others? We have a duty to protect the public and ourselves. Certainly. The public.

JONES: A view echoed by other law enforcement experts.

DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NYPD LIEUTENANT: Immediately upon exiting the vehicle, Officer Reardon observes an assault taking place. He sees one person that's in possession of a knife and then he sees a victim that's or potential victim next to the auto. Officer Reardon believed that deadly physical force was necessary in this encounter because the potential victim could have possibly lost their life.

JONES: Explain why the officer took these actions and why he did so, so quickly.

PORCHER: This was an incident that went from zero to the 100 immediately. The officer's actions were justified under the purview of the use of force doctrine.

JONES: Mayor Andrew Ginther saying the city is grieving a tragic loss and stressing the importance of transparency.

MAYOR ANDREW GINTHER (D), COLUMBUS, OHIO: Our African-American community in particular here is grieving not just at this particular tragic event but so many deadly encounters with law enforcement they're seeing around the country and even here in this community.

And so, it's incumbent upon all of us to make sure that we are supporting, you know, folks in the community right now that are grieving but also calling for and demanding for change, reform and justice. And transparency is such an important part of that.

JONES: Police released dash cam footage Thursday from shortly after the shooting. Part of that effort at transparency.

Meanwhile, Bryant's mother grappling with the pain of losing her daughter.

PAULA BRYANT, MOTHER OF MA'KHIA BRYANT: My heart is really broken right now because I miss my baby.


JONES (on camera): Now, funeral arrangements from Ma'Khia Bryant are still being finalized. Meanwhile we heard again from Mayor Ginther this morning in a tweet in which he asked people in the community to show some grace. Remember each other's humanity and to recognize the cumulate impact of death upon death upon death of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

Of course, it is this independent investigation now under way that will draw the final conclusions whether this was justified -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Such an awful story.

All right. Athena Jones, thanks so much.

And this just in. We learned the family of Andrew Brown Jr., the man allegedly in the back in North Carolina has hired Attorney Benjamin Crump.

And joining me now is Benjamin Crump. You know him as the attorney for the family of George Floyd and so many other families who have been in this situation.

But, Ben, what can you tell us about this body cam footage in North Carolina? Why is the sheriff's department not turning it over? Seems like we get the bodycam footage in all these other cases. What's going on with this delay here? BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILIES OF GEORGE FLOYD & DAUNTE WRIGHT:

Well, Jim, I'm honored to be working with Attorney Harry Daniels (ph) and Attorney Bakari Sellers who as you know is a CNN contributor representing the family of Andrew Brown.

And it's clear to us there's something bad on that body cam video that they don't want the public to see. And what we believe is transparency is essential, it is essential, Jim.

Why did the taxpayers pay all this money to retrofit these officers with bodycam video, you know, when we needed it most, when it mattered most, they would not let the public see what has transpired? We know he was shot from the back. We already know that.

You might as well just own up to it and be transparent with the community so we can have accountability and we can try to get to some trust, because that is why the African-American community is so distrustful of law enforcement. They believe they conspire to try to cover up illegal killings and excessive use of force on a regular and systematic basis.


ACOSTA: And I want to ask you about these initial reports that he was shot in the back. Given your history in dealing with these kinds of cases, I mean, that is a very disturbing sign it seems.

CRUMP: Yeah, Jim. When you think about it, you have so many African- Americans who get shot in the back. In my book "Open Season: The Legalized Genocide of Colored People", we talk about the police don't shoot white men in the back but them shooting black men in the back is almost like a cliche.

Whether you look at Terence Crutcher with the hands up walking slowly in Oklahoma, you look at Anthony McClain who ran out of his shoes a couple months ago and the police still shot him twice in the back, and, obviously, we all remember Jacob Blake Jr. in Kenosha, Wisconsin, when he was shot in the back.

And it boggles the mind why the police feel threatened by a black man running away from them, not presenting a threat, not presenting any violence. We are trying to get away from them yet they shoot us in the back.

And to Athena's point, Jim, it's -- we had this historic victory, this historic victory where this precedent-setting verdict holding Derek Chauvin responsible for killing George Floyd, we thought that police would be more sensitive to this issue. But we see death after death after death at the hands of law enforcement.

Can we get through just one week without the police killing a black person in America?

ACOSTA: Well, I want to ask you about that and talk about the Chauvin verdict. The judge says the former Minneapolis police officer will be sentenced on June 16th. After a jury convicted him in the death of George Floyd, the most serious charge against him, second-degree murder, carries a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Is there a number of years the Floyd family wants to see?

CRUMP: Certainly, Jim. The family of George Floyd would want to see Derek Chauvin stay in prison as long as George Floyd would have stayed in prison if the roles were reversed.

We can't have the two justice systems, one for white America and one for black America. It has to be about equal justice for every citizen in a United States of America, especially when we are transparent and we all see what happens. And that's all we're trying to do.

We pray that the Chauvin verdict is a precedent that will allow for when we say liberty and justice for all, that it will ring true and not ring hollow to black communities.

ACOSTA: And you also represent the family of Daunte Wright. We can't forget about that case. He was shot after a police officer confused her gun with her Taser. On Friday the mother of Wright's child read a letter to him.

And let's listen to that.


CHYNA WHITAKER, MOTHER OF DAUNTE WRIGHT'S CHILD: Daunte, where did you go? Why did you leave? My heart breaks for our son. He's only a year old and without his dad.

What am I supposed to tell our son when he grows up and asks about you? When I look at his face it makes me want to cry. He's so amazing. And the fact that somebody took you from him it leaves me speechless.

This feels like a nightmare. Only thing is it's not a bad dream. It's reality.


ACOSTA: Ben, we are now hearing reports there are family members getting death threats. What can you tell us about that?

CRUMP: Certainly. There has been a reaction since the Chauvin verdict was handed down that for whatever reason, those enemies of equality feel that they can lash out at family members and some of Daunte Wright's family members got threats that we reported to the authorities because we don't take those threats for granted and we don't take them lightly.

But it is something very serious that when black people achieve just a little justice, then you have people who are enemies of equality feel like their rights are being trampled on, that somehow their constitutional rights have been marginalized.

We are better than that, America. We have a country of high ideas that says we love our children just like you love your children.


And we want the see our children come home to us just like you want to see your children come home to you.

So when you take our children from this Earth far too soon, you take Daunte Jr.'s father, there should be accountability. That's what we call America. We want to be able to be the beacon of hope and justice for the rest of the world to marvel so we object and we refute these enemies of inequality who have issues with us have equal justice.

ACOSTA: All right. Benjamin Crump, we know you're on the case. Once again, I'm going to get back to you on this case unfolding in North Carolina as well. Thank you so much for joining us.

CRUMP: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Coming up, the guest who is on the receiving end of this meltdown from Tucker Carlson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was excessive and -- what I'd like to do --

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Looks like he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. So, I'm kind of more worried about the rest of the country, which thanks to police in action, in case if you haven't noticed, is like boarded up. So, that's more my concern.




ACOSTA: There is a new big lie making the rounds. One that is so toxic we need to take a moment to call it out.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: A-ha. That's the big lie, systemic racism. The left, it is always committed to use this case in any instance of white cops having bad interactions with black Americans to reinforce the same big lie.

Mainly, that America's a systemically racist place. It's a country where black people are targeted and in constant danger. They can never get ahead. So that lie, what does it do? It drives us apart.


ACOSTA: Laura Ingraham, her only expertise is that she tells so many of them.

But let's be real, we understand what's going on in America. As the prosecutor said in the Derek Chauvin case, believe your eyes. And listen to what the families of George Floyd and Daunte Wright have been going through. We know they're not alone.


NAISHA WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S AUNT: We want to make sure that other families don't have to go through this. You know? I mean, come on. Why do we have to keep going through burying our babies?

I sat up all night staring at the ceiling thinking, o my gosh, this is really happening. Why do we have to keep going through?

PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: It was a motion picture, the world seen his life being extinguished and I could do nothing but watch, especially in that courtroom over and over and over again as my brother was murdered. I'm going to put up a fight every day because I'm not just fighting for George anymore. I'm fighting for everybody around this world.


ACOSTA: But let's be real. How can you hear that and doubt what's going on? But it's not just Laura Ingraham. How about Tucker Carlson who in the wake of the Derek Chauvin verdict showed us all what's under the hood?


CARLSON: The jury in the Derek Chauvin trial came to a unanimous verdict this afternoon. Please don't hurt us. The jury spoke for many in this country. Everyone understood perfectly well the consequences of an acquittal in this case. After nearly a year of burning and looting and murder by BLM, that was never in doubt.


ACOSTA: But let's be real. Tucker Carlson's anger not about the actions of a police officer who murdered a man but about the verdict, or as Carlson, Fox's chief white power correspondent, described the decision, please don't hurt us.

Now you can call this an act or a shtick, but this big, race-baiting lies have been spreading like a cancer on the far right, they are dangerous and they have reached the halls of Congress.

Case in point, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia who tweeted Tuesday night after the verdict, D.C. is completely dead tonight, people stayed in and were scared to go out because of fear of riots. Police are everywhere and have riot gear. BLM is the strongest terrorist threat in the country.

That's a lie. Let's be real. People were not hiding in the homes that night. I went out. I had a burger. It was delicious.

But this member of Congress has a clear record of stoking racial tensions like her Anglo-Saxon America First caucus, apparently confirmed by her staff before she abandoned it. But let's be real about Greene's big lie. The reason why the nation's capital has resembled a war zone over the last few months is because a pro-Trump mob that included white supremacists attacked the Capitol.

Last month, Trump's handpicked FBI director warned about the rising number of cases of white supremacist violence.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: When it comes to racially motivated violent extremism, that number, again, number of investigations and number of arrests has grown significantly on my watch. And the number of arrests, for example, of racially motivated violent extremists who are what you would categorize as white supremacists last year was almost triple the number it was in my first year as director.


ACOSTA: No matter how hard they try, they can't hide from the big lie.

And it's important to keep calling it out. Trump did not win the election. He lost the election. His supporters stormed the Capitol. And then they tried to blame everybody but themselves.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respected law enforcement would never do anything to break a law and so I wasn't concerned. Now, had the tables been turned, Joe, this will get me in trouble, had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right from the start, it was zero threat. Look, they went in, and they shouldn't have done it. Some of them went in and they're hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people waved in and then they walked in and they walked out.


ACOSTA: Just try for a minute and offer some constructive ideas to reform police and the Tucker Carlsons of the world don't even want to hear it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was excessive and -- what I'd like to do --

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Looks like he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. So, I'm kind of more worried about the rest of the country, which thanks to police in action, in case if you haven't noticed, is like boarded up. So, that's more my concern. But I appreciate you coming on. Nope. Done.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: Done. But let's be real, these big liars are trying to distract you. If they claim to be more afraid of this --


PROTESTERS: Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!


ACOSTA: Than they are of this --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off my back!


ACOSTA: Or even this --


GEORGE FLOYD: I can't breathe.

WITNESS: Boy, you got him down, man. Let him breathe at least, man.

FLOYD: I can't breathe.

WITNESS: I'm trying to help out.


ACOSTA: Then it's pretty obvious where the big lies are coming from. They're coming from the big liars, who are guilty as charged.

Joining me now is Ed Gavin, New York City's former corrections department deputy warden. You recognize him from that bizarre Tucker Carlson clip that I just showed you when Carlson suddenly and maniacally laughed and cut off Gavin as he was trying to explain the dangers of excessive force.

Ed, I want to give you a chance to finish your thought. When I saw that interview, I thought, well, he was just getting to the point he wanted to talk about. What were you trying to say?

ED GAVIN, RETIRED DEPUTY WARDEN, NYC DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Well, he actually let me speak for two minutes before he interrupted me. So, to be fair, he really let me make a lot of my points with regard to positional asphyxia and the Justice Department paper regarding positional asphyxia and sudden death.

The other point I wanted to make was that I would like to see police officers, and correction officers use leg irons when they're trying to bring someone under control or arrest them. Now, you ask what is a leg iron? A leg iron is basically two cuffs

connected to a maybe 15 to 17-inch chain that you would put above the ankles, and I think that's an effective way to combat, restrain and control people.

And as much as you -- by putting these leg irons on someone when you're arresting them, you're actually preventing them from using their feet, their legs and their knees as weapons. And also, you can prevent -- prevent a possible escape or a flight. So I think that's very important.

The reason I say that is I actually, in 1993, I was off duty. I was at a mall and I saw a man running. He was about 6'5", running, two police were chasing him, and a security guard were chasing him, and I went to a system, and we were trying to handcuff this man and it was very, very difficult.

And at the time, I just happened to have a pair of leg irons in the car. I popped the trunk, went out and I placed them on this guy's legs and we got instant compliance. And the guy said to me, like, you know, what type of expletive are you into, you know? But basically, we brought him under control and the guy was huge.

I just -- that's what I wanted to say. I think that the use of leg irons could be helpful. I don't say that the officer should carry them on their person because it would be cumbersome, but certainly, let's have them in the radio car so that when, you know, a police officer gets on the scene and in addition cuffing someone, handcuffs are small and it's only like a two-inch connection between each cuff.

So, there's not a lot of room to work. You have to sometimes fight the person or, you know, manipulate his arms or her arms to get them in those cuffs placed on the subject. Where the leg irons, they're a little bit easier to apply and what they do is they -- it's an additional safeguard to prevent the person from escaping or using his legs or her legs as a weapon.

But I also wanted to say that -- go ahead.

ACOSTA: No, sure. I don't want to cut you off. What was the point you were making?

GAVIN: Well, in addition, I mean, I think we have to really look at positional asphyxia as something that is really a -- something that can cause death, you know, and we have to train the police to be aware of it.

Now, here we had -- in the George Floyd incident, we had Mr. Chauvin, you know, with his knee on the person's neck. Meanwhile, the guy is in the prone position, his stomach is on the ground, he's rear cuffed, and then you have two other police officers, you know, applying some force to his body.

So, I mean, at the very most, I mean, you should maybe three minutes tops.


GAVIN: What you want to do is you want to turn the person on the side and sit the person up, get them in a sitting position.

Now in the last 10 years, there have been about 100 --


GAVIN: Go ahead.

ACOSTA: I did want to just jump in, real quick, and ask you about the other three Minneapolis police officers in this case.

From what you've seen on the video, and drawing on the decades in law enforcement experience, what do you think was their responsibility in that moment?

Do they share some of the responsibility for what happened to George Floyd?

GAVIN: Well, they have a duty to intervene obviously and I think they should have.

But I don't think from -- I don't think they knew exactly what Chauvin was doing to this guy. I don't think they could see his head on the cement like that, which is barbaric.

And I stand by on what I said. I said it was pure savagery. I don't think they were in a position to see that.

So I think Floyd -- I mean, Mr. Chauvin was really responsible.

But more so, the most important thing to realize is positional asphyxia here. We have got to train the officers in the academy and not to do this.

One thing you can do is basically, during training, have them rear cuffed and placed in that position so they know what it feels like.

Even a healthy person can have labored breathing or bring on a heart attack.

ACOSTA: Right.

GAVIN: In Mr. Floyd's case, you have a person who is -- we learned was on fentanyl. The shopkeeper said he was uncontrollable. So we knew he had some contributing factors that made him more susceptible to this positional asphyxia or death.

So moving forward, this really has to be the number-one thing.

And another thing, earlier in the Tucker piece, I was saying I'd like to see police officers become EMTs. We should pay them a premium to maintain certification. And also make them detectives after 18 months is they maintain their certification.

We have the specialized units, the Domestic Violence Unit, Special Victims Unit, Community Affairs Unit. How about a "save a life unit?"

How about training people in medical science and in emergency medical practices so that they can intervene and prevent their fellow officers from taking that step that wasn't required?

If you look at -- when they initially removed Mr. Floyd from the vehicle, they rear cuffed him, they placed him on the ground, he was sitting there and everything is fine.

That might have been a good point to start triaging him. Give the officers help to monitor him. Let them get his temperature, get his respirations, watch his chest.

ACOSTA: So many --


ACOSTA: Yes. There were so many moments there, Ed, where they could have intervened to help them medically. That, to me, is the thing I can't really understand, at the end of the day, when it comes to this case and this trial.

They clearly had him under control. And they didn't do anything medically there to save him?

Ed, those were some great insights and great ideas. And I'm really glad you came in to help finish your thoughts and what you were trying to say earlier this week.

Ed Gavin, thank you so much for coming in. We appreciate it. We'll have you again real soon. Thanks again.

GAVIN: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, CDC advisers recommend lifting the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but that recommendation comes with a new warning.



ACOSTA: States are resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine after the CDC and FDA lifted their recommended pause of that vaccine on Friday.

The J&J vaccine now comes with a new safety warning telling women under 50 to be aware of the risk of a rare blood-clotting syndrome associated with the vaccine.

And with us is Dr. Leana Wen, the former city of Baltimore commissioner who is now a CNN medical analyst and a contributing columnist at "The Washington Post."

And great columns at "The Washington Post," Dr. Wen. Just so our viewers know, you are part of the Johnson & Johnson

vaccine trial. When you found out you had the placebo, you opted to get the J&J vaccine. Now, you're saying you wish you hadn't.

Explain that for us.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Right. Good to be with you, Jim.

I want to say that I'm glad that the FDA and CDC resumed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It is a very good vaccine. And certainly, if it were the only vaccine available, it's got extraordinary benefit compared to a very minimal risk.

But there's a subgroup, and that's women between 18 to 49, who are at much higher risk of having a very severe blood clotting disorder.

And the way that we counter vaccine hesitance is not to downplay the risks. Some people have been saying people get blood clots. This is a serious blood clot combined with low platelet count.

And what we really need to be doing is counseling women in this age group that there are other alternatives.

If I had known about the severe risk myself, I would have taken the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

ACOSTA: Right.

WEN: And that's what I will be counseling my patients.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And the number of vaccine doses, as you know, administered is starting to drop slightly. The seven-day average is below three million doses a day.

A modeler for IHME model says that the supply of COVID-19 vaccines will likely outstrip demand in two weeks.

If someone is watching right now who is still hesitant to get the vaccine, what is your pitch to them?

WEN: I would say that you have to think about the extraordinary benefit of these vaccines.

There are so many studies that show that your risk of getting infected of COVID-19, of experiencing these horrible long-haul symptoms, of being hospitalized and dying from COVID are substantially decreased after getting the vaccine.


And that vaccine really allows us to get back to pre-pandemic life.

And getting vaccinated is not only protecting you but others around you, including young children, who cannot yet be vaccinated.

And I think that we need to have a lot of tolerance for those who, for whatever reason, are vaccine hesitant. They're not a monolith. We have to address each concern one at a time.

And the way we address vaccine hesitancy is not to downplay the risks. We need to be honest about the risks, the benefits.

And also explain alternatives, including for this group of women 18 to 49 that there are alternatives to this one vaccine with a specific risk.

You can get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which have been given to over 100 million people with no adverse side effects.

ACOSTA: Dr. Wen, that is great advice. And I think you are right on the money about talking to people who are vaccine hesitant. Let's bring them along and have that conversation. I think that's so important.

Dr. Leana Wen, great to talk to you as always. Thanks so much.

The pandemic is sure to be top of mind when President Biden gives his first address to a joint session of Congress. Join my colleagues, Jake Tapper and Abby Phillip and Dana Bash, for CNN's special live coverage, starting Wednesday night at 8:00.



ACOSTA: When the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres tonight at Dodger Stadium, fully-vaccinated fans will get a taste of pre-pandemic life.

They'll have a section all to themselves, which means no social distancing, no masks. However, those must be worn.

The city's Major League Soccer team is trying the same thing. They're even hosting an on-site pre-game vaccine clinic.

And CNN's Paul Vercammen has more.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it is a momentous day in Los Angeles because both the LAFC Football -- Soccer -- Club and the Los Angeles Dodger are opening up two vaccinated fan sections. And there's just this great sense of euphoria.

Don't forget that California's vaccine rate is slightly above 1 percent.

And seeing these fans going into the vaccinated section, they're going through the metal detector. They all have proof they've been vaccinated and they're two weeks beyond that.

If you're 2- to 15-years-old, you have to show that you had a negative COVID test. That's both at the LAFC and the Dodgers.

Let's talk to these fans.

It's been a while since you have been to a game here. And now you can stand right next to your compatriots. Keep your mask on unless you're eating?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. Exactly. Keeping it safe. We're doing what we have to do. But, yes, we're finally shoulder to shoulder again.

VERCAMMEN: How does it feel to be part of the fan section?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we will try to bring the noise for all of use that can't be here and all of us who never get to be here again. Sadly, this year has taken many brethren from us. So today is all for them. It's being loud for everyone who can't be here.

VERCAMMEN: And 200 fans allowed.

And you have a rep investigation for singing along and doing this. What will it be like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a way, very emotional, because we did lose people close to us. But at the same time, we get to scream for them and do everything for them and support the team. Again, one little bit of normalcy to get back.

VERCAMMEN: Well said. One little bit of normalcy to get back.

There you have it, Jim. You have the sense for this feeling in Los Angeles as California begins this grand experiment with vaccinated fan sections.

Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen.

Back to you, Jim.


ACOSTA: All right, fascinating stuff.

And coming up, a deadly crash in Texas involving a Tesla that had no one behind the wheel. Questions now being asked about the futuristic cars, next.



ACOSTA: And a deadly crash in Texas is raising safety concerns about Tesla's autopilot feature.

Here's Pete Muntean.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Autopilot is the futuristic Tesla feature that drivers love. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this. We're on autopilot.

MUNTEAN: Tesla says the system is designed to reduce the workload of attentive drivers.

But it's facing new scrutiny after this crash in a Texas neighborhood last week. Police say this 2019 Tesla Model S slammed into a tree with nobody in the driver's seat. Both men on board died.

ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA: This is Tesla'[s design studio.

MUNTEAN: Tesla CEO Elon Musk says car data logs recovered so far show autopilot was not enabled.

Even still, the crash prompted two federal investigations and a demonstration by "Consumer Reports."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one should operate their car like this on a road.

MUNTEAN: On a closed course, test drivers say they were easily to trick autopilot into operating without somebody behind the wheel.

The driver sets the system speed to zero and climbs into the passenger seat while the driver side seatbelt remains buckled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was able to increase the set speed by turning the wheel on the steering wheel. And at this point, I was completely driving on autopilot with no one in the driver's seat.

WILLIAM WALLACE, CHIEF SAFETY POLICY ADVISER, "CONSUMER REPORTS": I was horrified when I saw what was possible.

MUNTEAN: William Wallace, the head safety policy adviser for "Consumer Reports."

WALLACE: Effectively, "Consumer Reports" tricked the system. And we only did it to demonstrate just how much more is needed from Tesla when it comes to safety.

MUNTEAN: In a new letter, a pair of Senate Democrats are demanding a swift investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency has 24 open investigations in the Tesla incident.

In the letter, Senator Richard Blumenthal says he's worried Tesla safety concerns are becoming a pattern.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): There needs to be immediate investigation and intervention by the federal agencies. But Tesla itself bears a moral and likely legal responsibility to do more and do better to protect its drivers.

MUNTEAN (on camera): Tesla has not responded to our request for comment.

In its instructions to drivers, it says they should be ready to take over for autopilot at a moment's notice.

"Consumer Reports" says other car companies ensure that through eye tracking technology, something, it says, is notably absent on Teslas.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.


ACOSTA: And the International Space Station welcomed four new residents today. A SpaceX rocket carrying four astronauts from the U.S., Japan and France, docked there early this morning.

The mission is SpaceX's third-ever flight with a crew on board and the first to make use of a previously flown, privately owned rocket booster and spacecraft.

The four newcomers have joined another seven astronauts already at the ISS and were met with smiles and zero gravity hugs.


It looks like they're having a good time there. A little crowded but it looks like they're doing OK. They're expected to stay in space for six months.

And up next, Georgia's secretary of state was one of the only Republicans to stand up to Donald Trump after he lost the election. He fiercely defended his state's results.

But Brad Raffensperger is now supporting a controversial new voting law that was passed in response to the election. We'll ask him about this. He joins us live, next.