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New Day

Fate Of Minneapolis Police Department Vote; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) Is Interviewed About The FDNY Sickout; Rittenhouse Trial Jury Selected; Jury Trouble in Arbery Trial. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 02, 2021 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The fate of the Minneapolis Police Department may be decided today in the city's first electoral test since the murder of George Floyd. A ballot question is asking residents whether they want to replace the police department with a new department of public safety.

CNN's Omar Jimenez, who has covered this story from the very beginning, joins us live in Minneapolis with the latest on this.

This is a big decision.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, it really is. And to be clear, this wouldn't get rid, all of a sudden, of police officers. It would reorganize them into a public safety department that could give them the flexibility in the future to decrease the number of officers if they so chose, but also would allow them to add in more support services to the public safety mix. And we've seen enthusiasm at the polls so far, more people voted early in this election than in any election we've seen here in Minneapolis, at the municipal level, in the past 45 years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You voting this season?

JIMENEZ (voice over): Leading up to election day, canvassers are making a final push to encourage people to vote yes on ballot question number two in Minneapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what this new department of public safety is about.

JIMENEZ: Which reads, in part, shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the police department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety?

CASEY CARL, CITY CLERK, MINNEAPOLIS: It's really setting the table, if you will, for policymakers in the future to come forward and say, what should be in the public safety department? JIMENEZ (on camera): It's not abolishing the police department, it's

not getting rid of police officers?

CARL: There are certain functions in our city that can only be done by licensed police officers. That doesn't change whether this amendment number two question passes or not.

JIMENEZ (voice over): In the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, there were calls to defund and even dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ending the Minneapolis Police Department.

JIMENEZ: A year and a half and over 20,000 petition signatures later, those controversial ideas aren't quite on the ballot, but organizers say needed reform is.

JANAE BATES, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, YES4MINNEAPOLIS: Slogans get really popular. We also know that slogans are not policies. It does not abolish the police department, it does not even really dismantle the police department. What it does is it makes it possible to expand it so that it becomes the Department of Public Safety so you can add other qualified professionals to it.


JIMENEZ: They hope the new department will include things like mental health professionals and violence prevention counselors, but the ballot question doesn't include specifics that could only be hammered out if it passes and after the newly elected mayor and city council are sworn in.

TETO WILSON, OWNER, WILSON'S IMAGE BARBERS AND STYLISTS: There's too much at stake to just, you know, say, we'll vote for this, and vote for what?

JIMENEZ: Teto Wilson owns a Minneapolis barbershop and says he witnessed the police killing of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man, in 2015.

JIMENEZ (on camera): Even after witnessing a police killing, after living here in Minneapolis through all that happened around the murder of George Floyd, you still feel the right way to go is vote no.

WILSON: It feels like and it sounds like an experiment. They have not been able to flush out, from top to bottom, what this Department of Public Safety is going to look like. To just say, hey, you know, just trust us, we're going to put this together, we're going to make you safe, it's reckless.

JIMENEZ (voice over): The chief of police also has concerns.

CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: And, again, I was not expecting some sort of robust detailed word for word plan, but at this point, quite frankly, I would take a drawing on a napkin, and I have not seen either. JIMENEZ: But advocates say it will create the opportunity to make

policing easier.

BATES: They will no longer have to be deployed in every single circumstance that we use 911 for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to have somebody call you.

JIMENEZ: Back on the canvassing route, the needs are plain.

MOOLAH, MINNEAPOLIS RESIDENT: If it's not going to be officers that can relate to what we go through out here --


MOOLAH: Prejudice, racism, whatever we're up against, they got to be able to directly relate to that.

BATES: This armed police only response that we have isn't working.

WILSON: I understand, but there need -- it needs to be pragmatic.


JIMENEZ: Now all that's left is to vote. If this passes, the current set of elected officials will have 30 days to name an interim department of what would be the new department of -- or interim commissioner, excuse me, of what would be the new Department of Public Safety. And then when the mayor and city council elected today are sworn in, in January, they will have the task of filling this Department of Public Safety with some of those programs and services.


BERMAN: I'll tell you, these are just some of the results we'll be watching very closely tonight as the numbers start coming in.

Omar, thank you very much for that report.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: A big question, which provides stronger immunity against COVID-19, a prior infection or the vaccine? I'm just going to tell people. I know I'm supposed to them. It's the vaccine. And we're going to explain why there's this new CDC report about this ahead.

BERMAN: Yes, come back and watch even though Brianna just gave it away.

KEILAR: Sorry.

BERMAN: Also, the tiger queen herself, Carole Baskin, back in the legal lion's den. See what we did there? Why she's now suing Netflix.

KEILAR: Carole Baskin.


BERMAN: Time now for the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Election Day in America, with the focus on two high stake races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey. Both Democratic candidates trying to tie their Republican opponents to Donald Trump in what may turn out to be a preview of the 2022 midterms and beyond.

KEILAR: And the CDC has found that vaccines offer stronger immunity to coronavirus than natural immunity from infection. The agency says that while both infection induced and vaccine induced immunity lasts for at least six months, unvaccinated adults with previous infection were five times more likely to be reinfected, five, than vaccinated adults with no previous infection.

BERMAN: The Supreme Court might be open to letting challengers take on the new Texas abortion law. Anti-abortion law, I should say. Two conservative justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, appear willing to hear arguments from abortion providers that want to challenge the law in federal court.

KEILAR: A Taliban official tells CNN at least 15 people are dead and 30 injured after two explosions at a Kabul military hospital. Unclear here who might be responsible. The hospital has been attacked before by ISIS in 2017 and the Taliban in 2011.

BERMAN: So, Joe Exotic's rival, Carole Baskin, is suing Netflix for using footage of her time -- of her in the upcoming "Tiger King 2" series. Baskin is accusing Netflix of breach of contract by continuing to use footage of her and her husband since they only signed release forms for the first documentary. "Tiger King 2" is set to premiere on November 17th.

KEILAR: And that's "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

You can have more on these stories all day at CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Just go to and you can also find that wherever you get your podcasts.

BERMAN: So new fallout this morning from the NFL email leak. Could a lawsuit from former Raiders Coach Jon Gruden expose even more damaging messages.

KEILAR: Plus, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to join us live on his standoff with some police officers and firefighters over the city's vaccine mandate.



BERMAN: More than 2,000 New York City firefighters calling in sick as a COVID vaccine mandate for city employees went into effect yesterday. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joins me now. Mr. Mayor, we had a fire department union chief on a short time ago

who said these firefighters have to get doctor's signoff on this. So this was no organized labor sick-out.

What do you say to that?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: It seems awfully convenient, John. You see so many more people calling in sick than normal. I don't like what I'm seeing. Our fire commissioner doesn't like what he's seeing. And it's not right. If you're not sick, get to work, protect your fellow New Yorkers, be there for your fellow firefighters, stop playing this game.

Look, here's the news as of this morning, John, 92 percent of the city workforce is now vaccinated as a result of this mandate. The vast majority of our city employees and the vast majority of our firefighters are doing the right thing. But the ones who are playing a game, they're going to have to suffer some consequences because this is unacceptable.

BERMAN: What's the current rate of firefighters who are not vaccinated?

DE BLASIO: Right now we're at about 77 percent with firefighters vaccinated. We also have a number of firefighters that have requested a medical or religious exemption. They'll continue to work while that's being looked at. And then when a decision is made, either you get an exemption or you got to get vaccinated.

Once you're at that mandate point, it's get vaccinated or lose your paycheck. It's very straightforward.

And, again, 92 percent of the workforce has done the right thing.


And this is a real example, John, and I say this to every mayor in America, every governor, every CEO of a company in America, please, put mandates in place, put vaccine mandates into effect. It works. People respond to them, people respond to the deadline and this is what's going to make us safe. You've got to do it so that we can actually end the COVID era.

BERMAN: This union chief, Jim McCarthy (ph), told us, you only gave firefighters eight days. Why only eight days from the announcement when corrections officers have until the end of the year?

DE BLASIO: You know, John, about ten months ago we were fighting with the state of New York, I was leading the charge, freedom to vaccinate, because firefighters wanted to get vaccinated and the state wasn't letting them. It's been ten months that the vaccines have been available. We tried voluntary approaches. We tried incentives. It wasn't moving enough.

Since we put this mandate into place, October 20, 24,000 more city employees have gotten vaccinated. Just about 10 days. So there's the proof in the pudding. The vaccine mandates work. If people weren't moving, we had to move though this tool. We had to use a tool that would actually get people vaccinated. There's plenty of time for folks to do it on their own.

But, look, the people in New York City, let me give you an amazing figure, 86 percent of adults in New York City have had at least one dose of the vaccine. The people have spoken. They believe in these mandates. They want to see the folks they pay the bills for, the folks that they pay the paycheck of, they want to see them get vaccinated so we can all be safe.

BERMAN: It's Election Day in New York City where your successor will be elected today, which leads me to my next question, which is, what about you and your future? What's next for you? Have you filed papers to run for governor of New York state?

DE BLASIO: John, I have filed papers for a state committee. It's not a gubernatorial committee at this point. It's a committee, New Yorkers for a Fair Future. I'm going to focus on the issues of this state and this city and where we need to go, going forward.

You know what's happened in New York state the last few years. Unfortunately, a lot of corruption, a lot of scandal. A governor who resigned in disgrace. There's a lot that needs to be fixed in the state of New York.

And I'm proud of what I've done in New York City. You know, pre-k for all our kids, lots more affordable housing, a lot of police reform and now a tough stance on COVID that helped us become one of the safest places in this country in terms of fighting COVID. I want to keep serving the people of this city and this state.

BERMAN: It sounds like you're running.

DE BLASIO: Draw your own conclusions, John.

BERMAN: You're not, not running.

DE BLASIO: That's -- that's a -- I like that. Use the double negative. That always works.

But there's a lot to do. There's a lot to do. You know, this state, we've been through a lot with COVID. But also it's a state that needs a lot of work.

New York state was the leader of this country in so many ways in the past. There's some areas we've fallen behind. There's some real work to be done. But look at this vaccine mandate. New York City's leading the way. We're showing it can be done.

BERMAN: Mayor Bill de Blasio, appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

DE BLASIO: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Now here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: Soon, Biden speaks on climate.

10:00 a.m. ET, SCOTUS oral arguments.

3:30 p.m. ET, Biden news conference.


KEILAR: Hear why potential jurors in the Ahmaud Arbery trial are simply not showing up.

BERMAN: Plus, the assistant director under scrutiny in the "Rust" movie set shooting breaking his silence.



KEILAR: Happening this morning, opening statements are set to begin already in the case of Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse. At yesterday's selection process, jurors were asked about their views on AR-15 rifles, if any of them had armed themselves during the unrest, or if any of them had donated to the Rittenhouse defense or bail funds.

And joining us now to discuss is Laura Coates, our CNN senior legal analyst and she's also a former federal prosecutor.

So here you have the jury already selected here. What are you watching for?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, that was a very quick jury selection. Remember, they had to whittle down from a lot of people. It tells you that this judge, he did not use a jury questionnaire. He wanted everyone to be questioned. That in and of itself is a little odd to have those cases.

But we know now that the jury is ready to go for opening statements. And this is going to come down to self-defense. That's the reason the judge would not allow the statements or the word "victim" to be used to describe the three people that were shot, two of whom lost their lives, because it's going to come down to the argument of whether Rittenhouse was entitled to use deadly force because he thought that lethal force was going to be used against him.

Now, we've seen this case already in the sense of this being a little bit incredulous, the notion of why he may have been there, but that's why this case will come down to the AR-15 discussions, who also armed themselves, and also why the judge allowed those three men to be described as arsonists, looters, rioters, because he's setting up the possibility of having an objective jury be able to evaluate that particular defense.

BERMAN: So a different jury, or lack of a jury at this point, is in the news. And this is in the trial of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. They're having a hard time getting people to show up for jury duty. Like half the people aren't showing up. And if you listen to the statements for some of the people being called, they're afraid, Laura, and that's concerning for a whole range of reasons.

COATES: Of course it is. I mean this case comes down to, first of all, vigilante justice. If that's even a thing. It's really an oxymoron, frankly.

BERMAN: In this case, right? I mean what did Ahmaud Arbery do? Yes.

COATES: In this case you're talking about, he was running. In this case should continue to haunt people. He was just running down the street. And he was chased down by three men who thought they had some real reason to stop him and then to use deadly force.

The jurors in this case, first of all, you're not allowed to, unlike what Steve Bannon and the like believe, you're not allowed to just sort of thumb your nose at a subpoena. This is a jury summons and they're -- it is a crime to not show up for court. However, it's part of that larger issue as you speak of, John, the idea of people knowing this is a very high profile, highly publicized case that is going to be fraught with questions about race in America, about law enforcement, even though that's -- there's no cops who are actually on trial for this, but they're afraid about what the ramifications may be.

But, you know, it is a civic duty of people to be on juries. And this is somebody who lost their life. And he has every right to have a jury on behalf of his family and the prosecution, to be able to have a jury of people who will decide this case.

KEILAR: The defense is saying -- they're pointing to this and they're saying they're not getting a fair cross section. It basically sounds like they're saying they're not getting enough white people, you know. They're talking about having the accused being able to look at the jury pool and see some -- see themselves in the jury. What do you say to that?

COATES: Well, first of all, the phrase "jury of your peers" does not mean that you get to have somebody with your exact identity, demographics, your age, your race, your religion, your gender. It means a jury of people from the community, a cross section of the community, of people who have every right to serve and should serve on a jury. So there's no requirement you get a certain race, but that's part of why this case is so troubling because the notion -- and we know there is statistics to talk about if it's a different race defendant and a victim, people have preconceived notions and oftentimes are less likely to convict depending upon the race of the defendant and the race of the victim.


And so this is a concerning issue the Supreme Court has dealt with time and time again about having jurors who are representative of the community.