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California Continues Experiencing Severe Storms with Heavy Rain and Flooding; Nearly 700 Residents in Santa Cruz County Stranded After Only Road in Neighborhood Washed Away; U.S. Economy Adds 311,000 Jobs and Maintains Low Unemployment Rate in February. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 11, 2023 - 10:00   ET



MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Look, at the end of my opening commentary, I said something about which I think we should all be able to agree, which is it's time to wrap up those investigations because we don't want them butting right up against the 2024 election. Thank you for watching.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the newsroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was that asleep, and then he came in, and he was like wake up, wake up, man. Your house is flooded.

SANCHEZ: California under a state of emergency as intense storms hammer the golden state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't live like this. How do you live like this?

SANCHEZ: Atmospheric rivers washing out roads and bridges leaving people trapped in their homes. We're joined live by the emergency management director from one of the hardest hit counties.

The economy still red hot, notching another strong jobs report. We'll tell you where the job gains are and why this complicates the fight to tame inflation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the money is in the bank. I don't know what we're going to do our payroll. I don't know what we're going to now.

SANCHEZ: Plus, a capital crisis, a stunning 48-hour freefall leading to the second largest collapse of a financial institution in U.S. history. Could there be a domino effect? And what does this mean for those with accounts at SVB?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was an overreaction to the destruction of property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you throw Molotov cocktails, large rocks, your only intent is to harm. SANCHEZ: And police and protesters clashing over a controversial

police training facility near Atlanta. How things turned violent and why tensions remain high this weekend.


SANCHEZ (on camera): Can you feel that? It is the weekend. And we are grateful to have you with us. Good morning, Saturday, March 11th. I'm Boris Sanchez.

PAULA REID, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Paula Reid in for Amara Walker. Boris, it's great to be with you.

SANCHEZ: Great to be with you, Paula. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.

And we begin with this nightmare severe weather on the west coast. The excessive rainfall threat impacting millions of people across northern and central California. And even more rain is going to fall today. It's not expected to be anything like the torrential rain, fortunately, that battered parts of the Golden State yesterday. Over a foot of rain fell in some parts, sending rushing rivers into homes and forcing some residents to flee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never, ever seen it, this much water here in Kernville.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary. If that brick bridge washes out, we're going to be in a lot of trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do I have my kids here? How do I have my elderly mother live here where I carry her out of her house.


REID: This is what the Pajaro River looked like Friday afternoon in Monterey County. And as rain continued to fall, it kept rising until it reached a breaking point. Now officials calling it a worst-case scenario. Overnight, the river breached its levee, sending even more flood waters into the nearby towns. First responders had to go door to door to get residents out. At least two people have died as a result of the storms. President Biden, though, has approved emergency assistance for California in response to the flooding and landslides.

SANCHEZ: Let's get you right to the CNN Weather Center and CNN's Britley Ritz. Britley, this is just the latest atmospheric river that is causing headaches.

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, exactly, Boris. We are seeing this just river of water come in right off the Pacific and slide in. Thankfully, it's starting to taper back a bit. You're noticing yellows, that's a slight risk for excessive rainfall, that flooding risk. While this A.R. has started to dive back, we are waiting for the next, we are still dealing with more of a westerly wind. So we still bring in that potential of more flooding. Another one to three inches of rain expected just within the weekend.

And you noticing the darker purples through the Sierra. That is where we can expect 36 plus inches of snow. Not only that, from the same the system all that moisture tracks eastward, we wind up with blizzard conditions to the north and severe weather to the south. Blizzard warnings still in effect for parts of the Dakotas back into the upper Midwest, holding on to very little visibility, heavy snow still falling this morning. So travel not advised that direction, but the severe weather threat across the south treks eastward throughout the day Saturday.

Noticing the darker reds, hail being one of the bigger concerns. That of course, slides through the southeast. Heavy rain, a flooding threat here, too, not only with the hail, but isolated tornadoes and strong damaging winds one of bigger concerns as this moves on towards the Florida panhandle rolling into your Sunday. So Boris and Paula, we are expecting this to roll up your direction in the form of an area of low pressure with rain and snow. Are you ready?


REID: I don't know. Britley Ritz, thank you so much for the warning. We'll get ready.


REID: And in Santa Cruz County, nearly 700 residents are stranded after the only road in and out of one neighborhood was completely washed away. Crews are working to get a temporary road built, but that could take several days.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unimaginable. I just could not believe it. If you told me this was going to occur, never.


REID: Joining me now is David Reid, no relation. He is the director of Santa Cruz County's Office of Response, Recovery, and Resilience. David, thank you for joining us. Can you give us an update on the progress to get that temporary road built?

DAVID REID, SANTA CRUZ COUNTY DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF RESPONSE, RECOVERY, AND RESILIENCE: Yes, it's pretty remarkable. Our road crews and construction partners worked through the night, and I just received pictures moments ago that we've reestablished a temporary single-lane access for that community to be able to get in and out for their good supplies and well-being. So really amazing work by our road crew teams to reestablish that connection for those folks who were trapped.

PAULA REID: As you know, when the road washed out, it also cut off water to several of the homes in that neighborhood. Do you know when water could be restored to the homes?

DAVID REID: Yes, our water district in that area, Soquel Creek Water District, was able to establish a temporary water connection. So we were able to get folks back on water late yesterday afternoon. And that's a temporary fix for right until we can get a more permanent solution. So right now, they are still under a boil water order.

PAULA REID: Have you been in touch with wit of the residents? Do you know how they are doing?

DAVID REID: I have thot personally. I know many staff have. I have some friends, close friends whose parents live up there. And I know that they are a hardy bunch. And the city manager of the city of Santa Cruz lives up that way. And so they were grateful for the effort, and we kept them informed throughout the day as to what was going on.

PAULA REID: And earlier in the show, we mentioned the Pajaro River levee. What's the status of that levee right now? What's going on?

DAVID REID: Yes, so that's been the biggest change. We were all watching the Pajaro River yesterday as it continued to rise. Unfortunately, we did experience a breach on the Monterey County side of the levee around midnight this morning. And so water is pouring into the agricultural fields and down towards the community of Pajaro. So Monterey County was going door to door to evacuate them, and then we are working in close collaboration and partnership with Monterey County and we are sheltering many of those residents at a shelter in Santa Cruz County. So right now, we're just working to support folks getting out safely.

PAULA REID: And what about other parts of the county? What over kinds of flooding are you seeing this morning?

DAVID REID: We still have some lingering flooding in the unincorporated part of our county around some of the tributaries of the Pajaro River. And then we did sustain other damage from landslides and other issues with the storm around the county. But the main flooding that we're experiencing right now is the Pajaro, it's the smaller tributaries around it.

PAULA REID: And this has now been round after round of intense storms. What kind of toll is this taking not only on our resources, but also on the residents in the state?

DAVID REID: I mean, yes, it's hard. Folks have been evacuated three, four, five times their homes. Some people's homes have been flooded two or three times this winter. So there's a fatigue for sure. We have been grateful for the federal government support of the first FEMA disaster declaration, and obviously we'll be hoping to get another disaster declaration with this latest round to support our community.

PAULA REID: David Reid, thank you.

DAVID REID: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: U.S. markets ended the week lower after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank yesterday sent investors on wall street scrambling. And the banking fallout upstaged what was set is to be the biggest news of the day, at least economic news, the February jobs report.

CNN's Christine Romans has more on how the U.S. economy beat expectations last month but a complicated picture over inflation remains.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Paula, another strong month of hiring in American offices, malls, restaurants, hotels, and construction sites. Despite headlines of layoffs in tech and finance, employers added workers at a brisk pace, cooling from January's huge half-a-million jobs, but still historically strong.

The tight jobs market bringing bigger paychecks, average hourly earnings up 4.6 on an annual basis. Economists and Fed officials anxious to see wage growth cool because it feeds into inflation. The jobless rate ticked up to 3.6 percent, still near the lowest levels in more than 50 years.


Leisure and hospitality led payroll gains adding 105,000 jobs. Every report another piece of evidence for investors and the Fed in its quest to slow down the economy and bring down inflation. The consumer price index for February, retail sales, the producer price index, and consumer sentiment all on tap this week. Boris, Paula?

SANCHEZ: Christine Romans, thank you so much for that.

I just want to point out, we are going to be talking to an expert who is putting out a warning about the SVB collapse saying that it could create a contagion that is going to hit other banks. So stay tuned for that later this hour. We should note, though, President Biden is touting these latest jobs numbers, saying that the economy continues to move in the right direction.

REID: And CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright is with the president in Wilmington, Delaware, this morning. Jasmine, what else is the president saying?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the president seemed almost excited to tout the 311,000 jobs that the U.S. economy added last month. The president said it was another sign that the economy was resilient and durable and that the economic recovery plan that he put in place more than two years ago is working. President Biden views these better-than-expected jobs number to compare his and Democrats economic plan with that of Republicans, especially as we know that they are entering this moment of tension when it comes to the economy based on the president's priorities and also the national debt, two things that he talked about yesterday when talking about the jobs numbers at the White House. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are threatening to default on our national debt, in fact, planning to default, as some Republicans seem to be doing puts us very much at risk. I believe we should build on our progress, not go backwards. So I urge our extreme MAGA Republican friends in the Congress to put their threats aside. Join me in continuing the progress we built. We have got a lot more to do. So let's finish the job.


WRIGHT: So the president will be using the better than expected numbers as a data point, really trying to argue that he and his party are on the right side about the economy. Now one thing when you talk to White House officials is that they recognize that these better than expected numbers are potentially a case to make when it comes to whether or not the economy is too hot and when it comes to whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. Now, White House officials are very cognizant not to talk about that, but it is very clear that they are excited and happy about where the U.S. economy remains. Boris, Paula?

REID: Jasmine Wright, thank you.

And a source tells CNN that former President Trump is meeting with his legal team this weekend.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the former president apparently considering his options after he was invited this week to appear next week before a Manhattan grand jury. That panel is investigating Trump's alleged role in a hush money payment scheme involving the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Let's bring in CNN's Zach Cohen who has been tracking all these latest details for us. Zach, that invitation clearly a sign that a decision about a potential Trump indictment is probably soon coming.

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Good morning, Paula and Boris. You're absolutely right. This is the clearest sign yet after years of this investigation going on that a decision on whether or not to pursue criminal charge against Trump in Manhattan is coming down the pipe. Now, we know, as you mentioned, that Trump is huddling with his legal team at Mar-a-Lago this weekend and gaming out options about whether or not he will appear before the grand jury, and potential other next steps as well.

I don't think anybody really expects the former president to appear before the grand jury and take the district attorney up on his invitation, but the possibility of an indictment really does raise some interesting questions and would put us in some unchartered waters. We've never had a former president be indicted before. And what's more than that, we would have for the first time a former president, who is the leading candidate for president and has vowed to run again in 2024, under indictment should that play out that way. So really some interesting possible scenarios here. But the case itself is interesting. And obviously, an indictment is a lot different than a conviction. And so there's questions for the Manhattan D.A. about his ability to bring charges and get a conviction if he chooses to go that route.

REID: Zach Cohen, thank you.

And still ahead, a stunning collapse. A California bank folds, leaving some small business owners wondering how they will pay their workers. The story behind a chaotic 48 hours for Silicon Valley Bank.

SANCHEZ: Plus, it is the third time, the third time, a Norfolk Southern train has derailed in just over a month. This time it happened at the same time that the company's CEO was testifying before Congress. We'll have the very latest on the story, straight ahead.



REID: On Wall Street, U.S. markets ended the week down after the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank Friday. It's the second largest failure of a financial institution in American history.

SANCHEZ: Yes, federal regulators, the FDIC, has stepped in, and they say that account holders are going to get their money back no later than Monday morning up to the $250,000 insurance limit. But SVB held more than $200 billion in assets and interest rates remain high. So investors are still worried about a potential ripple effect into other markets. CNN's Matt Egan has more.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: This happened so fast it is stunning. Silicon Valley Bank may not be a household name, but it held $200 billion plus in assets. That makes this the second big biggest collapse of a bank in U.S. history behind only the 2008 implosion of Washington Mutual.


Now the FDIC has seized control of this bank. The FDIC says that depositors will get access to their cash by Monday morning, up to the $250,000 insurance limit. But we know that some startups and individuals and small businesses, they hold more than $250,000 at this bank. And it's not really clear what's going to happen and whether or not they are going to get all of their money back.

So how did we get here and how do we get here so fast? Shares of this bank's parent company collapsed 60 percent on Thursday after warning of a rapid need to raise cash. And that appeared to spark a run on the bank, with some companies racing to pull their money. This is also a symptom of the Federal Reserve's war on inflation, because we know that interest rate spikes like the one going on right now tends to break things somewhere in the financial market.

We also know that the Fed's rate hikes have hurt the value of tech companies, the same tech companies that Silicon Valley Bank caters to. It's also hurt the value of the bonds that banks like this one rely on for funding. Now U.S. financial regulators they held an unscheduled meeting on Friday to discuss this bank failure. And I spoke to Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo and asked him what he thinks about the situation. Listen to what he said.


WALLY ADEYEMO, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF THE U.S. TREASURY: The federal regulators are paying attention to this particular financial institution, and when we think about the broader financial system, we're very confident in the ability, in the resilience of the system and also the fact that we have the tools that are necessary to deal with incidents like what's happened to Silicon Valley Bank.


EGAN: Thankfully, experts I'm talking to, they are hopeful that this is more of an isolated incident than a systemic one. Most banks are not as exposed as this one to one single sector. Major banks they lend to not just tech companies, but retailers and factories and media companies. Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi, he told me that he doesn't think that this failure is a sign of broader trouble in banking, and that the system is as well capitalized as ever. Let's hope so, because the last thing we need is a series of bank failures. Back to you.

SANCHEZ: Let's hope. Matt Egan, thanks so much for that report.

Let's get some analysis now on the impact of the collapse from Dennis Kelleher. He's the president and CEO of Better Markets, a nonprofit that works to promote economic security for Americans. Dennis, thank you so much for sharing part of your Saturday with us. As Matt pointed out, most experts are saying that this is likely an isolated incident, that there will not be a contagion or a domino effect to the scale of 2008. You argue, though, that this failure will almost certainly lead to more bank failures. Why?

DENNIS KELLEHER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BETTER MARKETS: It has to be remembered -- and first, thanks for having me on and good morning. Matt did a very good setup here. But you have to remember that there were three key drivers of this bank failure. The first one was the mismanagement of the bank. The second one is the impact of the Fed's interest rate hikes, and the third one is the lack of regulation and supervision due to deregulation, which, by the way, the CEO of Silicon Valley Bank personally lobbied for back in 2015, 16, and 17.

And so some of the characteristics of Silicon Valley Bank are unique, but some are common to many other banks. The unique ones Matt talked about well. The common ones arise from the interest rate actions of the Fed. They are jacking up interest rates. They've jacked them up higher and at a faster pace than almost time in history. In about six months they went from zero interest rates to about 4.5 percent. When interest rates go up, asset values go down. That's actually one of the intended consequences. So it bursts bubbles like the tech bubble, the crypto bubble, and others.

But it also catches banks' balance sheets in a vice because their assets go down. This particular bank had a lot of interest rate sensitive assets. And so its assets went down a lot, which it what ultimately precipitated the run. But it was also its unique characteristics of its business mix and high risk business model.

But there are other banks out there that are struggling to be able to readjust their portfolios and balance sheet to take account of these significant interest rate increases. And some of those banks got the light touch lack of regulation and lack of supervision that Silicon Valley Bank got also. SANCHEZ: And so what's your estimate of the extent of the exposure?

How would you compare this to the 2008 financial crisis?


KELLEHER: What's interest, this is almost 15 years to the day that Bear Steans failed in March of 2008, which really was the starting gun for the 2008 crash. And back then, you'll recall all the regulators and elected officials all said don't worry. Everything is under control. We don't expect anything else to happen. And they all said that in good faith. And I bet most of them believed it. But they can't see the future back then any more than we can see the future now.

So the good news is, the regulators are all meeting and working today looking at all the other banks or a bunch of the banks that are of the same size, category four banks, which is what Silicon Valley Bank was, to see whether or not the lack of regulation and supervision over the last four or five years, particularly during the Trump administration, has caused unseen risks to increase where they don't know about them. And they are evaluating their balance sheets, their assets and liabilities, to see whether or not the similarities are anywhere near the extent of the Silicon Valley Bank.

Importantly here, as you mentioned, about 80 plus percent of the depositor here were uninsured. That's highly unusual. And so they're looking for that at other banks. And the probably here is if you don't end up paying for the uninsured depositors, uninsured depositors at other banks are going to look at their bank and they're not going to sit around and wait to see whether or not their bank has similar problems. So you create a run risk on other banks even if those banks do not have the same problems.

SANCHEZ: I'm wondering what happens to those depositors. I believe some 97 percent of SVB's depositors were over that $250,000 threshold that the FDIC ensures. What happens to that money?

KELLEHER: Well, unfortunately, that money is not going to be paid to them very quickly, it looks like. They are going to get what's called an advanced dividend by the FDIC within a week, they said, of unknown amount. And they are going to otherwise get what are called receivership certificates so that as the FDIC liquidates the bank and raises cash from sales, that some of those sale proceeds will be paid to be uninsured depositors. Although, keep in mind, there are other creditors circling the bank, and they're going to want money too.

An underlying problem here, however, Boris, is that all these big companies, frankly, should have known better putting all their money into Silicon Valley Bank. Everybody in that community virtually was putting their money into Silicon Valley Bank in the millions and tens and millions of dollars, including their payroll, their cash management, their receivables management. And frankly, those people should have been more responsible when they were deciding where they are going to put their money. There was hyper-concentration risk here. Those depositors -- we're talking about business here. We're not talking about main street Americans. They don't have $250,000 bucks to put in a bank. Main street Americans are going to be fine because they don't have $250,000. They are below the threshold. They will get paid. They're insured. The FDIC is going to cover them.

But the businesses and the big dogs who have got lots of money and put millions of dollars in Silicon Valley Bank, frankly, should have known better. They should have done their due diligence. They should have paid attention to Silicon Valley Bank's disclosures, which some people have said and said since January was a screaming red flag that there were problems coming at Silicon Valley Bank.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And as you noted, with interest rates, the Fed has been telegraphing that they will continue raising rates along with inflation mostly staying where it's been hovering over six percent the last few job reports. Dennis Kelleher, we have got to leave the conversation there. Thanks so much for the time.

KELLEHER: Thank you.

REID: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testified on Capitol Hill Friday, warning lawmakers of economic and financial catastrophe if a debt limit agreement isn't reached. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he's ready to sit down with the president to reach a deal, but the conservative House Freedom Caucus has released a new list of demands in exchange for limiting the debt ceiling. Here with me now is CNN political reporter Alayna Treene. All right, what are the Freedom Caucus's new demands?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, Paula. The House Freedom Caucus laid out a series of these demands yesterday in exchange for their support for a potential debt limit deal. They include cutting federal spending by 25 percent across the board for everything other than defense, and also putting an end to multiple programs, including the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness plan.


President Biden pushed back against those House Freedom Caucus demands yesterday and said he doesn't think there's a lot to negotiate on right now. But he's prepared to sit is down again with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy once Republicans have a counterproposal for his budget. McCarthy, however, said he's ready to negotiate right now. Here's what he had to say.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: I want to sit down with the president, be responsible, be sensible of what we do. But we've to change our spending to put us in a path to balance.


TREENE: Paula, there's still considerable uncertainty as to when the Treasury Department's extraordinary measures to keep paying its bills will be exhausted. Estimates say that that could come as soon as this summer. Still, lawmakers will need to reach a deal long before the deadline in order to avoid rattling markets and threatening the United States credit rating. REID: Alayna, thank you.

And still ahead, it's the third, the third Norfolk Southern train to derail in just over a month. And this time it happened on the same day the company's CEO testified before Congress. We'll have the latest, next.



SANCHEZ: Checking in on this morning's top stories, senior adviser say that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is eager to be discharged from the hospital after his recent fall. Doctors are treating the 81- year-old for a concussion. Remember, he fell and hit his head during a fundraising dinner on Wednesday at D.C. hotel, and he had to be taken to the hospital. His advisers say the Senate's top Republican is acting normally and working from his hospital room.

REID: And Paul Flores, the man convicted of killing Kristin Smart in 1996, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison without parole. Smart vanished in May, 1996. Prosecutors argued Flores raped or attempted to rape Smart and then killed her in his dorm. Her body was never found and she was declared legally dead in 2002. In 2021, new evidence led authorities to arrest Flores and his father, though his father was eventually acquitted.

SANCHEZ: The SpaceX Dragon Endurance is on its way back to earth after more than five months in space. The spacecraft and its crew undocked from the International Space Station very early this morning carrying a crew of four personnel. Endurance is expected to splash down off the coast of Florida later tonight.

REID: And this morning, cleanup efforts are underway in Calhoun County, Alabama, after another Norfolk Southern train derailment, the third one in just a matter of weeks. About 30 cars went off the tracks. So far, there are no reports of dangerous chemical leaks.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the crash comes as railroad officials believe nearly 700 rail cars nationwide could be defective with loose wheels. CNN's Polo Sandoval has been following the details for us. And Polo, what is Norfolk Southern saying about this latest derailment.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris and Paula, here we are again, right, another derailment, and with it another challenge for Norfolk Southern, the owner of this train, to try to calm any concerns among the public about whether or not their systems are safe, particularly some of these rail systems, because when you look at this massive mess in Calhoun County, Alabama, you can see that the cleanup is certainly going to take a while.

Good news to report, though, no injuries. Also, according to the company, no hazardous materials that were on board. A couple of those train cars apparently at one point were carrying hazardous fluid, but at the time of this incident were actually empty. So this is really just going to be not only the headache of the cleanup, but most importantly, the questions that still have to be answered. At this point this is still early in the investigation, Norfolk Southern saying that they cannot say definitively what caused this latest derailment.

But you consider it in general, they have been on the decline in terms of derailments according to the Federal Railroad Association, declining significantly over the last 20 years. And I know that is really hard to believe given the latest incidents that we have seen here, but, for example, we do have the toxic tragedy in East Palestine that happened about a month and a few weeks ago, certainly, have the situation that took place in Springfield, Ohio, about a month and a day after that incident. And then also a derailment that took place this week in West Virginia as well. The company CSX Freight reporting an incident there as well.

So this is all certainly leading to some really important questions that continue to be asked, and still not entirely answered, in terms of the safety of these rail systems throughout the country. Of course, you can imagine Paula and Boris, people certainly want to know whether or not those rails that go through their communities are safe for these trains that are carrying freight, in many cases carrying hazardous materials.

SANCHEZ: And this bolsters the argument from some lawmakers who want to pass regulation to try to make railways safer now instead of waiting for the NTSB report to come back from East Palestine. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much for the reporting.

Still ahead this morning in the Newsroom, clashes over a police training facility in Atlanta activists are calling "Cop City." They have led to dozens of arrests and a protester's death. So how exactly did things deteriorate to this point? That story, next.



SANCHEZ: We have been tracking this story for several weeks, especially when there have been spats of violence and tensions remain high in Atlanta around a proposed police training facility that's been called "Cop City."

REID: Protesters took to the streets in downtown Atlanta for a peaceful demonstration Thursday night. Additional events as part of the week of action are scheduled for this weekend. CNN's Isabel Rosales joins us now. Isabel, I understand there has been a major development from the family of an activist shot and killed by law enforcement while protesting against the construction of this planned facility.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Paula, Boris, good morning to you. The attorneys for the family of Manuel Teran claim that an independent autopsy shows that Teran's hands were up when he was shot by law enforcement officers. The attorneys for the family had this to say in a media statement, quote, "Both Manuel's left and right hands show exit wounds in both palms." The autopsy further reveals that Manuel was most probably in a seated position, cross legged when killed."

Now, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Teran, he failed to comply with verbal commands from law enforcement officers, and he was the one who shot first at law enforcement officers from inside of a tent, and then they returned fire. A handgun, the agency says, recovered from Teran's possession matched the wound from the state trooper that he injured. GBI is responding as well, saying that "GBI cannot and will not attempt to sway public opinion in this case, but will continue to be led by the facts and the truth.


We understand the extreme emotion that this has caused Teran's family and will continue to investigate as comprehensively as possible."

Listen, this training facility has really garnered controversy and scrutiny since its inception. We have a breakdown of the so-called Cop City from 2021 to present day. Watch.


ROSALES: A nearly 400 acre woodland in southeast Atlanta thrust into the national spotlight. A "violent clash between activists and police ended with 23 people facing domestic terrorism charges last weekend."

KAMAU FRANKLIN, ACTIVIST: I think it was an overreaction to the destruction of property. The question is property over people, I choose people over property.

ROSALES: Police claim violent agitators conducted a coordinated attack on officers and construction equipment.

CHIEF DARIN SCHIERBAUM, ATLANTA POLICE: When you throw Molotov cocktails, large rocks, a number of items at officers, you're only intent is to harm.

ROSALES: Protestors rebuke the claims and say police indiscriminately arrested people in a park separate from this violence. It's the latest flash point in a years-long saga against what activists are calling Cop City.

The summer of 2021, the city announces plans to turn 85 acres of forest into a state of the art public safety training center to help boost morale and recruitment efforts.

But activists fiercely pushed back, and the Stop Cop City movement is born. Among their worries, environmental harm to one of the largest remaining green spaces in the area. Opponents view the project as a response to the 2020 protests against police killings of black Americans, saying they say the facility will militarize police and further contribute to incidents of police brutality. Despite the public outcry, Atlanta city council green lights the project in September of 2021.

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, FORMER MAYOR OF ATLANTA: There's still going to be an urban forest there. This is the beginning of a very long conversation.

ROSALES: Several people are arrested after security cameras capture an apparent Molotov cocktail style incendiary thrown toward officers in May of 2022. Several months later, five more demonstrators are arrested and charged with domestic terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We used to call that a sit-in protest. Now it's terrorism.

ROSALES: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation claims activists threw rocks at police cars and first responders.

In January, tensions reach a new level after law enforcement officers fatally shoot Manuel Tera, a 26-year-old activist, while carrying out a clearing operation of encampments near the future facility. A state trooper was also shot and wounded in the incident. But Teran's mother says her son was a pacifist.

BELKIS TERAN, MOTHER OF ACTIVIST KILLED IN POLICE CONFRONTATION: All Manuel wanted to do was to protect the forest. They have no malice and no intention of committing illegal acts.

ROSALES: The police killing leads to protests in downtown Atlanta. Police say they become destructive with some in the crowd breaking windows and attacking police vehicles.

MICHAEL REGISTER, DIRECTOR, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Let me reiterate, there's a difference between protests and what's happening there. And what you just read was being tweeted out I think validates that we're dealing not with protesters, but with criminals.

ROSALES: Neither side appears to be budging.

MATTHEW JOHNSON, ACTIVIST: It has been essentially a war of attrition by the city of Atlanta, yet still our numbers and support continue to grow.

ROSALES: As protesters mobilize in hopes of stopping Cop City, local and state leaders insist the training facility will be built.


ROSALES: And despite this controversy, Atlanta's Mayor Andre Dickens has recently announced that the city and DeKalb County where this site is going to have reached an agreement to move forward. Paula, Boris?

REID: Isabel Rosales, thank you.

And we'll be right back.



REID: The World Health Organization says countries are not doing enough to reduce how much salt people consume. SANCHEZ: The group says the world is not on track to achieve its goal

of reducing sodium intake 30 percent by the year 2025. CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard has the details.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Bottom line, Boris and Paula, the World Health Organization wants people to cut back on salt. And we know that eating too much salt is one of the top risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and death. And the World Health Organization says that only nine countries have what they're calling a comprehensive package of policies to reduce sodium intake. Those countries are Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Uruguay.

And examples of these policies are reformulating foods so they contain less salt or setting limits on foods high in salt being served at public places like hospitals or schools. And the WHO is now calling on all countries to implement sodium reduction policies. It says doing that could save an estimated 7 million lives globally by 2030. And it's considering extending its 30 percent target to 2030. And right now Dr. Francesco Branca with the WHO says people living in high income countries consume a good amount of salt in one snack.



FRANCESCO BRANCA, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Just to give you an example, if you take an average back of chips, 150 grams, only that bag of chips contains half of the salt we're supposed to consume every day.


HOWARD: And in the meantime, though, there are steps you can take personally to watch how much salt you eat. The WHO says to cut back on salty sauces and condiments, avoid snacks that are high in salt. And when using canned or dried products, choose varieties without added salt and sugars. It's recommended to limit your salt intake to less than five grams per day. That's just one teaspoon.

SANCHEZ: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much for that. I'm going to confess, Paula, I am not on track to hit my sodium goals for 2025.

REID: Not even close. I think I will bring up the average globally based on my consumption alone.


SANCHEZ: Thank you so much for being with us today. We'll see you again tomorrow. And thank you so much for watching.

REID: And there is much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.