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Erin Burnett Outfront

Protesters Gathering As Police Brace For Third Night Of Unrest in Brooklyn Center; Curfew In effect Tonight In Nearby Minneapolis; Police Chief And Officer Who Fatally Shot Daunte Wright Resign; Prosecutor "Hopes" To Have Charging Decision On Officer Tomorrow; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Is Interviewed About Honoring Fallen Officer And Police Reform; White House Scrambles To Reassure Public After J&J Vaccine Pause. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 13, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The President offered words of comfort to his family, including his two children. Praising the bravery of the 18- year veteran of the Capitol Police Force and empathizing with his family's grief. May Officer William Billy Evans rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the city on edge. Bracing for a third day of unrest as the officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright resigns and the prosecutor in the case says he could decide on charges as early as tomorrow.

Plus, the defense for Officer Derek Chauvin now making its case to the jury with George Floyd's character on trial. A Floyd family attorney is my guest.

And the White House scrambling to reassure Americans after urging states to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. Was it the right move to put a halt on that vaccine? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, a city on edge. Brooklyn Center bracing for a third night of protests following the death of Daunte Wright. The National Guard in place as people gather at this hour outside the Brooklyn Center Police headquarters. Many holding signs that read justice for Daunte Wright.

The City also just issuing now an 11 pm curfew as it is struggling to create some sense of calm. Mr. Wright was shot by an officer who yelled Taser, Taser, Taser at him and then instead discharged her gun. Screaming holy expletive, I just shot him.

Today that officer, Kim Potter resigned. The Police Chief who said Wright's death was an accident also resigned. And tonight we are learning that the prosecutor in the case as he hopes to have a charging decision regarding Officer Potter by tomorrow.

Well, this all comes as Wright's mother spoke about the call that she had with her son right after he was pulled over. So he was there pulled over trying to get insurance information from her as all of this was happening. The police say that it was because of an expired registration. Here's what she said happened.


KATIE WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: He called and said he just got pulled over by the police. And then he said that - I said, "Well, why did you get pulled over?" And he said, "Because I had air fresheners hanging in the rearview mirror." I said, "OK. Well, take them down."

He said also the police officers were asking about insurance and I said, "OK. When the police officer comes back to the window, put them on the phone and I can give them all of our insurance information." A second goes by and I hear the police officer come back up to the window and ask Daunte to get out of the car. Daunte asked for what. Police officers said, "I'll explain to you when you get out of the car." He said, "Am I in trouble?" He said, "We'll explain all that when you step out of the car."

Daunte - and then they asked them to put the phone down. Daunte put the phone down. I heard some scuffling. He got out of the car and I could hear the police officers and scuffling with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're with you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you (inaudible) ...

WRIGHT: Then, the police officer asked them to hang up the phone. They hung up the phone.


BURNETT: Wright's mother telling reporters she still has been given no explanation as to what happened and, of course, facing her great loss. Now, police say they pulled Wright for expired tags, not air fresheners. They said they then realized there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest when they ran his name and their system. Wright family deserves answers for this awful tragedy.

This is a sentiment echoed by the former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama who wrote, "The fact that this could happen even as the City of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and reliving the heart-wrenching murder of George Floyd indicates not just how important it is to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but also just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country."

Adrienne Broaddus is OUTFRONT live in Brooklyn Center. And Adrienne, what is the latest where you are right now?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mood has shifted, but this group of protesters behind me are still saying his name (inaudible) Wright. And despite that officer's resignation, many in this group say they want the officer who shot a 20-year-old father criminally fired. They say they cannot unsee what they've seen and they're talking about that graphic video we're about to share with you.


BROADDUS (voice over): The officer who police say accidentally shot and killed 20-year-old Dante Wright has resigned. Kim Potter, a 26- year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police force is seen on body cam footage firing her gun during a traffic stop Sunday.


KIM POTTER: Taser, Taser, Taser. Holy sh**. I just shot him.


BROADDUS (voice over): And her resignation letter Potter writes quote, "I believe that it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately."


The Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon has also resigned.


BROADDUS (off camera): How did these resignations come about? Did they catch you by surprise?

MAYOR MIKE ELLIOT, BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNEAPOLIS: Yes. Well, I cannot speak to that, either.


BROADDUS (voice over): Brooklyn Center's Mayor says the resignations are just the beginning and has asked the Governor for the State's Attorney General to prosecute the case.


ELLIOT: We understand that the sensitivities revolving around this case. This case requires that the Attorney General steps in and prosecutes this case.


BROADDUS (voice over): Speaking emotionally today, Daunte Wright's mother explains what she heard when she was talking to her son in the last moments of his life.


WRIGHT: The day that I got the phone call from my son, two days ago at 1:47, was the worst day of my life. She pointed the phone towards the driver's seat and my son was laying there unresponsive. That was the last time that I've seen my son. That's the last time I heard from my son and I have had no explanation since then.


BROADDUS (voice over): Joined in a bond of pain and sorrow, the families of Wright and George Floyd met for the first time outside of the Hennepin County District Court, shaking hands and expressing condolences. The Wrights family attorney, Jeff Storms, said they are not prepared to say this was an accident.


JEFF STORMS, WRIGHT FAMILY ATTORNEY: It's not an accident to take your gun out of the holster. It's not an accident to point your gun. It's not an accident to ignore the fact that what you're holding doesn't weigh the same amount as the Taser that you've used in training hundreds of times.


BROADDUS (voice over): Protests continued for a second straight night outside the police department, leading to about 40 arrest after demonstrators defied a curfew. Police saying some threw bottles, fireworks and bricks at officers.


BROADDUS (on camera): Meanwhile, Erin, when I spoke one-on-one with the (inaudible) I asked him if he is (inaudible) especially right now when the entire world is watching. And he said leadership isn't an individual situation, but it requires a team and the community. Meanwhile, people in this community say they want to see changes, especially after learning (inaudible) here in Brooklyn Center live in the city they serve, Erin.

BURNETT: Incredible thing. All right. Thank you very much, Adrienne.

I want to go now to Isaiah McKinnon, the former Police Chief for a Detroit, also former Deputy Mayor of Detroit, Stephanie Rawlings- Blake, the former Mayor of Baltimore during the Freddie Gray case and a former Defense Attorney, and John Burris, criminal defense and civil rights lawyer who represented Rodney King.

And also, I want everyone understand, John, you also represented the mother of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old black man who was shot and killed in the back by an officer at the Fruitvale BART Station in California in 2009. That officer's attorney said he meant to fire his Taser.

So John, let me start with you. The county prosecutor tells CNN he hopes to have a charging decision on Kim Potter by tomorrow. What do you think the charges will be?

JOHN BURRIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE & CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, first off, I think that the general public population would prefer that it's murder charges, first degree, secondary degree or even third degree murder. However, the prosecutor has to look and see what the intent of the police officer was and it would not surprise me if he concludes that as an involuntary manslaughter type charge mainly because of her shouting out Taser, Taser, Taser, indicating that was her intent and therefore it was an accident or a negligent act on her part, so that could happen.

But on the other hand, the fact that she had the gun out, she pointed the gun, she fired three times. The gun is clearly heavier than the Taser that can be arguments made that it should be murder, second or third degree.

But if you listen to what she had to say that clearly she was indicating that it was a Taser then one might argue that it's an involuntary manslaughter. It's a tough call for the prosecuting attorney because there's a public (inaudible) much more heavier than involuntary manslaughter.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, we hear the Wright family attorney saying, well, she had to - holding a gun, pointing a gun, but clearly from what we heard, Taser and then the expletive and I shot him, she seemed distressed and shocked. That is true.

BURRIS: Right.

BURNETT: But Mayor Rawlings-Blake, but let me ask you because Brooklyn Center - the mayor is asking the Governor for the State's Attorney General to prosecute the case. There's kind of an argument on whether this will stay with the county prosecutor or not. What's the right thing to do here?


STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the right thing to do is to not lose sight of what's really going to bring change in that community. Whether or not the State's attorney does it or the Governor steps in, the community really has to come together and work for police reform.

There's no reason why. It doesn't matter what the circumstances were that the level of force was used, whether it was an air freshener or an expired tag, even if there was a warrant. If there's a warrant, you have identified the person, you've identified their address, you have their car, even if he had gotten away. They knew who they were looking for and they would know where to get him.

We have to have a patient in this country about when is it appropriate to use deadly force and it was clearly not necessary in this case.

BURNETT: So Chief McKinnon, will the resignation of the Officer and the Police Chief who - they, of course, put out this video very quickly because they wanted people to understand that they say this was accidental. But when the Police Chief who said it was accidental as well now also has resigned, clearly under pressure. Does this do anything to help? What do you read into that?

ISAIAH MCKINNON, FORMER DETROIT POLICE CHIEF: No. I don't think it does anything for the city. But I think we have to go back to what the former President Obama and his wife said. We have to reimagine what's going on in law enforcement.

And let's look at this. I'm sure that I, and the Mayor and others have viewed that shooting on countless times, there was a called Taser, Taser, Taser. But if you look at the video, again, you will see that the gun, her gun, is out in front of her. So she could identify that was not the Taser. The Taser is a yellow gun thing and her gun is the dark gun, which is what I carry throughout my years.

And so much has to do who we get into this - the law enforcement, reimagining law enforcement, what kind of people, what's in their mind. And as the Mayor said here, they had the idea, they knew who he was, they had his ID, so it's a misdemeanor that he was going to be arrested for. But it worth it to take somebody's life?

BURNETT: Right. That they could have chased him down or have got him another time is the point as opposed to this escalating at the time.

So John, let me just ask you because what the Chief's raising is this issue of as she's yelling Taser and the gun is in front of her, let me just ask you about this, she's a 26-year veteran of the force. And again, I just want to have everyone remember, you have been involved in a case like this with Oscar Grant and whether there was a mistake in Taser in that case, OK.

Kim Potter is a 26-year veteran of the force. She's been involved in training. From that tape, it sounds really clear that she is shocked and upset by what she does. But it is also true what the chief just said that you combine all of that training and experience with holding it in front of her and it's not the right color, and it's clearly not a Taser, how could a mistake like this happen?

BURRIS: Easily, she could have been entirely focused on apprehending this person or lost sight and focus of the weapon that she had chosen. She clearly thought that she was using a Taser but, obviously, she didn't focus enough on the weapon she had in her hands that was being used, even though it's clearly a different item.

And so from that sense, officers have a mind - they have a mind that's determined to get what she's trying to get. That was to apprehend him or to take him down and did not focus clearly on the fact whether it was the right thing to do, whether it was the right weapon and as a consequence of that, she easily can be charged with a criminal offense. I've said it's either negligent or is murder.

And those who want to say it's clearly murder because she had an opportunity to pull that weapon, look at that weapon and fire it a bunch of times.

BURRIS: So Mayor Rawlings-Blake, you dealt with unrest in your city during the Freddie Gray case and it escalated and it was night after night it was unrelenting in Brooklyn Center last night. We saw that again, of course, as the night gets later, there was looting again and the aftermath businesses with destruction, protesters ignoring curfews, things were thrown at police, police then doing flash bangs.

So today, the Mayor said the city manager was fired because of his response to the protests. But what needs to be done to de escalate it?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think you really have to lean hard on your community, your civic leaders, your faith leaders, the community has to have confidence that you are going to do what's necessary to investigate immediately, that you're going to work on those police reforms. That's why in Baltimore, after we had the looting, it was a horrible, horrible - two very horrible evenings of looting.


And then the community came together and we were able quell the looting and the violence by really saying, listen, not in Freddie Gray's name do we want our city destroyed, do we want our neighborhoods destroyed and that's what people lose sight of. It's not just (inaudible) with insurance. These are neighborhoods. These are homes that are being impacted and resources that people depend on that aren't going to be there because of this looting.

BURNETT: So Chief, one thing that that I know, you know I live in New York, but I mean certainly this is true in many other major cities across this country, that there's been a huge effort made for the police force to reflect the communities. OK. And the police force live in the communities that they police and yet we find out today, the Mayor of Brooklyn Center says we have very few people of color in our department and specifically black.

So they don't have people of color and then we're also, if you heard Adrienne's reporting, finding out that there isn't a single officer who actually lives in Brooklyn Center who's policing there. So how could that still be the case?

MCKINNON: There are no residency rules in most police departments across the country. For instance, here in Detroit, I mean, we had that and then the Supreme Court here dropped that there's no residency rules. They said that you can't force someone to live within a certain community.

But part of what we're talking about if you get someone who has some thoughts and want to care about his or her community, they'll live within that community. I think that's so important to what we have to do in terms of the recruitment, the retention of officers who are working in certain areas within this country.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Chief, Mayor and John. I appreciate all of you. Thank you.

BURRIS: Thank you.

BURNETT: And we are learning a lot more tonight about that 26-year force veteran who discharged her gun, Officer Kim Potter. She could face charges as early as tomorrow in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright. Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELLIOT: We did not ask her to resign. That was a decision she made.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Kimberly Potter, the police officer who shot Daunte Wright stepping down from the Brooklyn Center Police Department today.


ELLIOT: I'm hoping that this will help bring some calm to the community. Although I think ultimately people want justice.


SERFATY (voice over): Potter saying in her short two-sentence resignation letter, she is resigning in the interest of the community. I have loved every minute of being a police officer in serving this community to the best of my ability.

Body cam video which is disturbing to watch showing Potter shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright during the fetal traffic stop on Sunday.


POTTER: I'll Tase you. Taser, Taser, Taser. Holy (inaudible). I just shot him.


SERFATY (voice over): Forty-eight-year-old Kimberly Potter had been a police officer for more than half her life. First joining the department in 1995 26 years ago. She had served in 2019 as the police union's president, according to The Star Tribune, had been on the police force's negotiation team and worked as a field-training officer.

The Head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association tells The Star Tribune that on the day of the shooting, Potter had been training a new rookie officer. This is not her first time dealing with the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting.

According to a county attorney's report, Potter arrived at the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting of a man in 2019. The man had been threatening his grandfather with a knife and hammer. The use of deadly force by the police was ruled as lawful.

Potter giving the instructions to the two officers involved in the shooting to get into different police cars, turn off their body cameras and to not speak to each other. Actions that appear to be consistent with the Police Department's policies. She was not present at the time of the shooting and was not accused of any wrongdoing.

Potter is married to a former police officer The Star Tribune reports and is the mother of two adult sons.


BURNETT: So Sunlen, I mean, it's just amazing to hear the story, 26- year veteran. The Brooklyn Center Mayor says he has not accepted Potter's resignation. He point out the letter was very short, just two sentences. Tell me about where this stands now.

SERFATY (on camera): That's right, Erin. The Mayor multiple times at that press conference today he made a point specifically to emphasize that he has not accepted her resignation. He would not comment, of course, about what that means yet for things like pension and her benefits that she would potentially still be entitled to. He says they are going to let their internal process play out.

Now, Potter meantime she has retained an attorney and they did not get back today to CNN with a comment, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sunlen, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT next, former Officer Derek Chauvin's defense calling its first witnesses, including one who claims George Floyd's arrest was by the book.


BARRY BRODD, USE-OF-FORCE EXPERT: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified.



BURNETT: Plus, President Biden honors a fallen Capitol Police Officer today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your son, your husband, your brother, your dad was a hero.




BURNETT: Tonight, the defense for Derek Chauvin wrapping its first day of testimony. The use of force expert taking the stand saying Chauvin's actions were 'justified'. His testimony contradicting the parade of witnesses from Chauvin's own police department who have said he did not follow policy as he pinned George Floyd to the ground for nine minutes 29 seconds.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT live from Brooklyn Center where, of course, Daunte Wright was shot and killed, just 10 miles from where this trial that you have been covering in its entirety, Sara, is taking place. And I can see the protests growing behind you as these two stories are so awfully colliding in the same place.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They are colliding and both the family members from George Floyd and Daunte Wright met for the first time today. I was there to see that.

But this is all happening as the trial for the officer accused of killing George Floyd is on trial, former Officer Derek Chauvin. We're finally seeing how the defense is going about its case with six witnesses today.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, the State of Minnesota rest.


SIDNER (voice over): The prosecution rested its case after 11 days of testimony and 38 witnesses. Tuesday was the first real look at Derek Chauvin's defense as his attorney called a use of force expert to testify. The former officers said Chauvin's actions against Floyd were by the book.


BRODD: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.


SIDNER (voice over): Under cross-examination, the prosecution pointed out that Floyd had stopped resisting and question whether continuing the use of force was acceptable.


STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: If someone is not resisting and they're compliant, the use of something - control, as you put it - that could produce pain is just not justified, is it?


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your Honor, the defense call Scott Creighton.


SIDNER (voice over): The defense started its case by questioning an officer who arrested Floyd in 2019.


SCOTT CREIGHTON, OFFICER INVOLVED IN 2019 FLOYD ARREST: I'm not going to shoot you put your hands on the dash.

NELSON: Did you subsequently identify the passenger?

CREIGHTON: Yes, I did.

NELSON: And who is that?



SIDNER (voice over): On cross-examination, the prosecution's point was clear.


ERIN ELDRIDGE, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: And Mr. Floyd didn't drop dead while you were interacting with him, correct?



SIDNER (voice over): Then, former Hennepin County EMS worker, Michelle Moseng, who took Floyd's vitals during the 2019 arrest took the stand to testify about Floyd's drug use during that incident.


NELSON: He informed you he had taken some sort of an opioid every 20 minutes or something like that, correct.

MICHELLE MOSENG, FORMER HENNEPIN COUNTY EMS WORKER: And then another one as the officer came up.


SIDNER (voice over): The defense also called Shawanda Hill who was in the car with Floyd when he was arrested in 2020. All of it to highlight Floyd's drug use.


SHAWANDA HILL: When I tried to wake him up, he woke up the second time. I said, "Floyd, the police is here. It's about the $20 bill. Wasn't real." I kept saying, "Baby, get up. The police was out." So he looked and we looked to the right and he had the police, he tapped on the window with a flashlight.


SIDNER (voice over): Then, the jury saw new body camera video from the fifth officer who arrived at the scene after Floyd was detained. Officer Peter Chang testified he was told to simply watch Floyd's vehicle, but began pacing when he noticed the crowd.


PETER CHANG, MINNEAPOLIS PARK POLICE OFFICER: It was concern for the officers' safety because of the crowd. So I just wanted to make sure that the officers were OK.


SIDNER (voice over): The defense also brought back the Medical Support Coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department who had previously testified for the prosecution.


NELSON: Can you define what an officer should do if they encounter a suspect they suspect is suffering from anxiety and delirium?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely get more resources started because you might need more resources than you would think.

NELSON: And obviously you attempt to control the subject.


NELSON: Through physical restraint.




SIDNER (on camera): And there was plenty on cross examination when it came to the defense witness, the use of force witness, the former officers there, the prosecution going after him sort of asking him questions about the several minutes then Officer Chauvin was on George Floyd's neck after George Floyd completely stopped moving. And so we saw quite a bit of pushback from the prosecution. We have also seen a lot of testimony, 38 witnesses from the prosecution.

Now out here in Brooklyn Center, you've got two very strong sentiments combining. Those folks who are here protesting what happened to George Floyd. They are also now protesting what happened to Daunte Wright in his shooting and killing. And we are standing actually right outside the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara.

And I want to go now to Justin Miller, one of the attorneys for the Floyd family. So Justin, you just heard Sara's piece, the defense's use of force expert testifying Chauvin's actions were 'justified'. Obviously, in this case you just need one juror or to have doubt. You have had an overwhelming number of witnesses who have said the opposite, but you had someone come in today and say it was justified. Are you worried that this could raise doubt for just one juror?

JUSTIN MILLER, CO-LEAD COUNSEL FOR GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: Yes. The short answer is yes. I'm from Atlanta and once upon a time we were up 28 to three on the New England Patriots and the world saw how that ended in that Super Bowl. Being a black American, it's kind of like being an Atlanta Falcons fan. You could be up 28 to three and the outcome will probably and usually is not what you think it's going to be.

BURNETT: So in that sobering sense, the defense began its case today by playing body cam footage, not from what we've all seen of Derek Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck but Floyd's arrest in May of 2019, the year before his death.

A paramedic who responded that day testified that Floyd told her he had been taking multiple Percocet pills every 20 minutes and that he took one right when officers walked up to the car in that instance.


Obviously, they're playing up the drug use, what is your reaction to the picture of Floyd the defense painted today?

MILLER: Well, we knew it was going to happen. I mean, this is character assassination, and it happened every single time in a case like this. Everybody and everybody who's seen this case -- from the people who were there that day, to the professionals, to other crops in the Minneapolis police department, to all the paramedics who responded.

Everyone sees this and they know that Derek Chauvin is guilty. So, the only thing they have is the character assassination. So, we expect them to do it.

BURNETT: So the jury was very attentive today during the testimony of Shawanda Hill. She was with George Floyd the day he died, of course. She said Floyd was happy and normal when she saw him inside the Cup Food store, and that he suddenly fell asleep when they got into his car.

Let me just play part of the change for you.


PROSECUTOR: When you got back to the car, at some point, he nodded off.


PROSECUTOR: But you are able to wake him, correct?

HILL: Yes.

PROSECUTOR: And talk to him?

HILL: Yes. But he wasn't that coherent at times.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Obviously, she knew Floyd well. How does this play into the hands of the defense, right? Obviously trying to portray Floyd with his drug use.

MILLER: It is the exact same thing. He could have been doing drugs right as the officers pulled up, they would not make one difference to me. They still have all of them were on his back, Chauvin still had his knee in his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

The medical examiner still said that was the cause of his death. So anything else they say drug use and anything about his life, none of that has anything to do with what we're talking about and what the focus should be, and it's Derek Chauvin and his knee on George Floyd's neck.

BURNETT: So when this trial started, you know, you -- we talked about how difficult it was for you Justin, to explain Floyd's death to your two young children. You said this is quote, where change is going to start. Do you still believe that today?

MILLER: I believe that I can start there, it should. I mean, not just for my children, but this is for black children, white children, I mean, all races of children in the United States. We are one country, I think that the last few years and I mean a long few years, maybe 10 years or so, 15 or more I don't know. But we have been fractured.

And so, we have to come back together and this can be a start. If the right thing happens in Minnesota and everyone tells their kids why this happened and why it should never happen again then maybe this is a start. The stuff that happened with Daunte Wright the other night is really a setback to that, and it's really disturbing discussing.

But this can be a star for all of us and hopefully the people in that jury do the right thing, and we do get it started.

BURNETT: All right. Justin, appreciate your time. Thank you.

MILLER: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: And next, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib says no more policing, incarceration and militarization. Does Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who just met with the President Biden about police reform agree with that?

And breaking news, "The New York Times" reporting that close associates to Matt Gaetz has been giving the Justice Department about the Republican congressman since last year. What is he telling investigators?



BURNETT: Breaking news, "The New York Times" reporting that an associate of Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is cooperating with the Justice Department, as it investigates a series of allegations against Gaetz, including possible sex trafficking and whether he had sex with an underage girl.

"The Times" reporting that Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector, has been giving investigators information about Gaetz's activities since last year, including admitting that he and Gaetz had encounters with women who are given cash, gifts in exchange for sex. This after both Greenberg's lawyer and prosecutor said Greenberg was likely to strike a deal to cooperate.

Moments ago, Gaetz himself briefly returned to Capitol Hill for votes in the House, before getting into a car that was waiting for him.

OUTFRONT now, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Elie Honig.

So, Honig, let me just ask you, all right, the key headline here from New York Times is that Greenberg has been cooperating with the Justice Department since last year, has met with investigators several times to prove his trustworthiness, right? I mean, this is a guy who's going to go to jail for 12 years or prison, I'm sorry, or more. Had to prove that everything he says is true.

How worried should Matt Gaetz be?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Erin, this is really about the worst news Matt Gaetz could get at this point of an investigation that Joel Greenberg, his one-time friend, colleague, confidant is cooperating against him, because here's the way cooperation works in the federal system, I've cooperated a lot of people. You tell the person, you have to admit every single thing you've ever done, every single thing you've ever done with anybody else that might be criminal.

And so, that these investigators will do, apparently now have been doing with Joel Greenberg is saying, bring us to the first time you ever met matt gates and we'll take it from there. Every crime, every wrongdoing, anything you've ever done with Matt Gaetz, he's an open book.

BURNETT: OK, so we know that Matt Gaetz, that Bill Barr, right, was a running the Justice Department investigation to Matt Gaetz, was opened, OK? And we know that Bill Barr was briefed multiple times about it, and we know that that began last summer.

So what do I read into that, now knowing that Joel Greenberg has been cooperating, because as a lay person I hear that and think, okay, well, on one hand, they're getting more and more and more, and it merited continuing and continuing, and continuing. So, that's really very bad for Matt Gaetz.

And then on the other, I say, Elie, tell me why it's been so long and Matt Gaetz hasn't been charged? Make sense of that for me?

HONIG: Yeah. So, tells me a couple of things. First of, Matt Gaetz is not going to be able to claim this is some kind of witch hunt, although he's already started down that road. Second of all, what happens when you debrief, when you interviewed cooperators, you say, where can I find evidence to back you up? I'm not going to take a Joel Greenberg at his word.

So, if he tells me there was a financial transaction, where?


How? Where's the documents? Where's the record? If there's emails, texts, that kind of thing, I'm going to go out and get them.

How long do these investigations take? Not weeks, but also not years. And so, if you do the math the reporting is that the cooperation started last year, I guess in 2020, is usually a matter of months. Investigators have to gather this stuff up, but we're talking months here.

BURNETT: So, we're talking months from where we are now, OK. So, then, let's get to the point about Greenberg and where he is, right? We know now that he's been giving over information, we know that they've corroborated in all separately. Right, these payments, and Matt Gaetz's role in these payments. But, we understand that his lawyer and federal prosecutor is going to likely plead guilty in the coming weeks, which would mean that there is some plea deal.

So, what is the significance of that, right? That they're at a point where they're ready to make a plea deal with Greenberg?

HONIG: That's the moment where the cooperation essentially becomes official. That means prosecutors are now willing to embrace him as a cooperating witness, and then the moment that you memorializes, you say, OK, we're going to go into court next week, you're going to plead guilty to everything you've ever done. We're going to have a written cooperation agreement, and that's it, we are locked together for better for worse.

So, it tells me that prosecutors have evaluated him and they're ready to roll with him.

BURNETT: All right. Which means they have corroborated him, and, of course, that gets to your point about how damning these may be.

HONIG: Sure.

BURNETT: All right, thank you so much, Elie, for making sense of this. Obviously, significant headline for the Matt Gaetz investigation.

And next, live pictures out of Brooklyn Center where protesters have now taking to the streets for a third night after the death of Daunte Wright.

Plus, U.S. health officials urging that states pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine. Was this the right move?



BURNETT: You are looking at live pictures out of Minnesota. Crowds gathering for the third straight night to protest the police involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man. This as President Biden attempts to delicate balance on calls for police reform and honoring law enforcement.

Earlier today, Biden paying tribute to William Evans, the Capitol police officer killed in the line of duty when a driver rammed a car into him and another officer, promising Evans's family that they will overcome a tragic loss.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are all going to know that you are going to make it by hold each other together, but most importantly, by holding Logan and Abigail as tightly as you can. Because as long as you have them, you've got Billy, your son, your husband, your brother, your dad was a hero and he's part of you, he's in your blood.


BURNETT: Just hours later, Biden also meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus amid calls for justice in Daunte Wright's death, a death that Vice President Harris says should never have happened.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He should be alive today. And to his family and loved ones, you must know that the president and I grieve with you as the nation grieves his loss. Our nation needs justice and healing, and law enforcement must be held to the highest standards of accountability.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. She was part of the meeting with President Biden and, of course, is a sponsor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

So, Congresswoman, I always appreciate talking to you.

So, what did President Biden say today? What did he tell you that he is committed to doing on police reform?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, Erin, it's good to be with you again. Let me first say that I was at the ceremony of Officer Evans. And we as a family here on the Hill mourn his passing and mourn for his family. We know what his commitment was in serving his nation.

I think it's important to realize that as African Americans, we are filled with officers and our community, in our families, and we are supportive of the idea of good policing. I think that's the same place that Vice President Harris is and President Biden is. They are for good policing.

And so, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the midst of this trial of a century deals with bad policing, police misconduct, and as well, it provides an opportunity for people to improve community police relationships by the whole structure of police accreditation and training in the right way.

If the officer that shot tragically Mr. Wright in Brooklyn, in Minneapolis, or near Minneapolis, had the right kind of training, the right kind of training, would that officer have grabbed the gun as opposed to the Taser? Will the policies be that you had the Taser on one side and the gun on the other side?


LEE: So, we don't want to be separated from our respect for law and order. But we also respect the pain of those who are now protesting against what happened.

BURNETT: And, look, you speak very, very graciously, right, because you talk about how there are families across this country, many of them black families who have law enforcement officers in their families. There are people who are so committed to public service and being in law enforcement, right? That is true.

You talk about reform. You talk about training, specifically, obviously, the case of Mr. Wright. One of your fellow Democrats in the House, though, Rashida Tlaib, said something totally different.

She tweeted of Mr. Wright's death: It wasn't an accident. Policing in our country is inherently and intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression and violence. I'm done with those who condone government funded murder.

No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It cannot be reformed.

LEE: Erin --

BURNETT: This is someone from your own party.


What do you say to that?

LEE: Erin, the Congress in America is a big tent, and so the congresswoman has a right to her opinion. And there are many who are frustrated because race is a large issue in the way African Americans are treated by law enforcement.

We were not shy in making that point. Race is always an element, but as we recognize race and racism and white supremacy, as we recognize that America is not where we would like her to be, but she is a country that has the ability to continue to form a more perfect union, we've got to work to get these problems solved.

And so, right now, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has hundreds of organizations, civil rights organizations, progressive organizations that are pushing this legislation. I believe when you deal with ending and no-knock warrants and no chokeholds and when you have a real regiment of training to these 18,000 police departments and accreditation, it won't be overnight, but it will be something that can make a difference.

And when you begin to end voter suppression and pass the John Lewis voter election bill, as well as parts of HR-1, this one will be HR-4, and when you mark up tomorrow HR-4 and the commission that study the bill preparation proposals, you are beginning to answer the pain of African Americans, and frankly, you are beginning to educate Americans who are welcoming of trying to understand how we can do better.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I --

LEE: So opinions are welcome, and we must continue to try and improve America as she has the ability to do.

BURNETT: Well, I appreciate your time, Congresswoman, as always, thank you.

LEE: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: And next, states across the country pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine. So, how could this affect people who are already hesitant to get a shot?



BURNETT: Tonight, Johnson & Johnson vaccine paused. The CDC and the FDA recommending the U.S. pause its use of the J&J vaccine after six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.

OUTFRONT now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush.

So, Dr. Reiner, 6.8 million J&J doses have been administered in the U.S. So, the math there means the blood clots have appeared in fewer than one in 1 million people, and yet they're going to pause this vaccine. I just want everyone to understand something to compare it to.

The FDA allows birth control, which has a blood clot issue in women, 3 out of 9 women in every 10, 000, but they allow people to do that.

Now, the vaccine is different. We're trying to push it on the whole population and essentially make it not a choice not to get vaccinated, even though it is obviously a choice. So, it is a bit different. Is that why this is paused? Do we think this is the right thing to do?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I absolutely think it's the right thing to do. Look, these are new therapeutics. And the FDA and the CDC want to make sure we understand the safety envelope that surrounds them. So, you're right. This particular kind of blood clot was incredibly

rare. One out of a million people administered with the J&J vaccine had this particular blood clot. You will never see this kind of side effect in a clinical trial that enrolls, you know, 40,000 or 50,000 people. It's just too rare.


REINER: So, it makes sense to pause, get a sense for whether this is a real phenomenon, associated with the vaccine, and who in particular might be at highest risk. In the J&J experience, it seems to be mostly women, or entirely women, and relatively young women. This might give the CDC, the FDA, some information about who really should be getting this vaccine.

Maybe they will change the guidance and the vaccine will be only recommended only for people over the age of 50. We'll have to see.

BURNETT: Right, that's an interesting point. And, of course, in all ages, 18 to 49, you have a 1,810 greater chance of dying from COVID out of 1 million cases than you do from the vaccine. I understand the point you are making.

And I guess the reason this is important is I understand pausing this should have people realizing we will get this right, you're going to know everything about it, right? You feel better about it.

It can make people feel like, this stuff is new and now, you're telling me there's blood clots and you're going to pause it, and you know what, I wasn't so sure about a vaccine and now I'm definitely not going to get the vaccine. That's the challenge, right? I mean, what's the concern you have about vaccine hesitancy in light of this?

REINER: Well, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled Americans last month and found about 37 percent of the population were either not going to get the vaccine right away or not at all. A large proportion of people wanted to wait and see.

So, I'm concerned that the people who want to wait and see now will be more motivated to wait and see. But the way I want people to look at it is this, these vaccines are incredibly effective, right?

You are much more likely to die of the coronavirus than you are to have a significant complication from these vaccines. The incidents of death is one in 1,600, right, as opposed to one in 1 million with complications from the vaccine.

The prior administration I think really did the country a disservice when they branded this as Operation Warp Speed, which really I think gave the false impression to the country that what we cared about was just speed, just churning the vaccines out, when in reality, what they should have called it is either, you know, safe shot, or big shot. The former president probably would have liked big shot, which really, you know, it's stresses that this is an important vaccine, but not so much the speed. The FDA clearly stated they would not license the vaccine before it

was shown to be safe. I want the public to understand that this pause is really prudent and gives me reassurance that everything we give people will be safe.

BURNETT: All right. Dr. Reiner, thank you. And thanks to all of you.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: Anderson starts now.