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New Day Saturday
New Videos Document Ronald Greene's Brutal Death in Police Custody; Matt Gaetz's Ex-Girlfriend and Joel Greenberg to Cooperate in Sex Trafficking Probe; Senate GOP Poised to Block Bipartisan January 6 Commission; Two Dead, Eight Wounded in Downtown Minneapolis Shooting; Israel And Hamas Ceasefire Agreement Enters Second Day; U.N. Sending $22.5 Million in Humanitarian Aid to Gaza. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired May 22, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez. Two years after Ronald Greene died while in police custody, Louisiana state police finally releasing the body camera and dashcam video. We're going to show you everything that happened and break it all down.
PAUL: Also, there is new help for federal authorities investigating Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz as an ex-girlfriend is now expected to cooperate.
SANCHEZ: Plus, how long can a cease fire between Israel and Hamas last? Israeli troops using stun grenades and rubber bullets outside a mosque in Jerusalem.
PAUL: Yes. And new signs, too, of progress in the fight against coronavirus for you.
Welcome to your Saturday morning. I hope the weekend is going all right for you so far. 6:00 a.m. It's early. I know, Boris.
SANCHEZ: You know well. We are so grateful that you're with us. Always a pleasure to see you, Christi.
PAUL: You too, Boris. All righty. So, let's get started here because for the first time, we are seeing all of the videos Louisiana state police say that they have and it shows some pretty horrific final moments of Ronald Greene's life two years after his death in their custody.
SANCHEZ: And we should warn you, the videos are incredibly disturbing and difficult to watch, but they are our clearest look yet at how troopers tased, kicked and dragged Greene even as he's heard apologizing, saying that he's scared and calling out to Jesus at different points of the brutal encounter. We also, for the first time, have heard radio transmissions from the preceding police chase. Here's one clip from the final moments of that chase. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 46, we got to do something. He's going to kill somebody. He's intentionally driving on the wrong side of the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: At no point in any of the videos released do we see images of Greene's car as he was fleeing from police and all nine body and dashcams were released last night and that's only after clips started to leak to the news media, beginning with the "Associated Press"
PAUL: Now, Greene's family says there was an attempt to cover up what happened and now they want consequences, calling what they witnessed in those videos "torture."
SANCHEZ: CNN's Randi Kaye has a deeper look at what the videos and then autopsy also obtained by CNN reveal, but, again, we should warn you the video and images in this story are very graphic.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
RONALD GREENE, DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY: Lord, Jesus.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new video obtained by CNN is 30 minutes long and offers a different view from a Louisiana state trooper's body camera than the video obtained earlier by the "A.P." It shows Ronald Greene following a high speed chase near Monroe, Louisiana on the ground, facedown and struggling to turn over.
TROOPER: Don't you turn over.
GREENE: All right.
TROOPER: Don't you turn over. You lay down -- lay on your belly. Lay on your belly.
GREENE: Yes, sir. OK. OK, sir.
TROOPER: You're going to lay on your F***ing belly like I told you to. You understand?
GREENE: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
KAYE (voice-over): Greene apologizes and politely calls the officer "sir" even as they continue to berate him. The video shows Greene's legs shackled and his hands cuffed behind his back. When he cries out in pain, even calling on the Lord Jesus, the officers continue to restrain him.
TROOPER: Yes. Yes. That shit hurts, doesn't it?
GREENE: OK. All right, Lord Jesus. Oh, Lord. OK.
KAYE (voice-over): Louisiana state police kept this video under wraps for two years. Greene's arrest and subsequent death occurred back in May 2019. This is what the family says Louisiana state police initially told them happened.
DINELLE HARDIN, RONALD GREENE'S SISTER: That he was in a car accident and that he hit his head on the steering wheel and that's how he died.
KAYE (voice-over): The family says police initially made no mention to them of the arrest or use of force now revealed on the body camera videos. Another police report said Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers and that he died on the way to the hospital. His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
HARDIN: This has been a cover-up from day one. They were out to kill him. He had no chance of living.
KAYE (voice-over): In the video, it's not clear if Greene is offered medical attention as he lay on the ground moaning and gurgling.
TROOPER: I was going to sit him up, but I didn't want him spitting blood all over us.
KAYE (voice-over): At one point on the new video, a medical technician arrives, and he's clearly concerned.
PARAMEDIC: He's not getting enough air.
KAYE (voice-over): And when it was over, in previously released video obtained by the "AP," one trooper can be heard on his body camera audio boasting about beating Greene.
TROOPER: No, I beat the ever-living f*** out of him, choked him and everything else trying to get him under control. He was spitting blood everywhere ...
TROOPER: ... and then all the sudden, he just went limp.
TROOPER: Yeah. I thought he was dead.
KAYE (voice-over): CNN has also obtained the autopsy report. It lists Greene's cause of death as cocaine-induced agitated delirium complicated by motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury and restraint. According to the autopsy, injuries included a fracture of the sternum or breastbone and a torn aorta, the body's main artery. The autopsy notes that Greene had alcohol and a significant level of cocaine in his system.
These postmortem photos of Greene released on the NAACP Baton Rouge Facebook page show the extent of his injuries and the autopsy notes lacerations of the head inconsistent with motor vehicle collision injury, instead finding these injuries are most consistent with multiple impacts sights from a blunt object. Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SANCHEZ: Thanks to Randi Kaye for her reporting. For Ronald Greene's mother, the release of the body cam footage has forced her to relive the pain of losing her son and it's a pain that's only intensified by witnessing just how awful Ronald Greene's final moments were. She spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper last night and she had harsh words for the troopers who pulled her son over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONA HARDIN, RONALD GREENE'S MOTHER: They were planning to kill Ronnie way before the car was stopped. That was -- that was their goal and they succeeded. They made sure he didn't live to tell anything. Everything we have shown that. What we have, what we see, the videos that are shown and they took pleasure in torturing my son, they took pleasure in hurting him, beating and killing him and letting him stay on the ground, pulling him in shackles.
What kind of a human? These are -- these are state troopers. This is the behavior that the state of Louisiana, they endorse because these troopers, for two years, have not been dealt with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: A quick note. You will want to stay with us through 8:00 A.M. today. We're going to be hearing more from Ronald Greene's family, his brother-in-law as well as the family's attorney.
PAUL: CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson with us now as well as CNN senior law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey. He once led the Philadelphia and Metro Washington D.C. police departments as well. So, gentlemen, we appreciate you both being with us. Charles, Commissioner, I want -- I want to hear from you first. What's your reaction to what we just saw?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, it is horrible. There's no justification for the use of force in this case. There was a pursuit, driving on the wrong side of the road, but none of that justifies what the actions of the troopers once he was -- once he was stopped. There was multiple deployments of the tasing -- of the taser rather, there was a beating, kicking, punching.
They left them in a prone position on his stomach for an extended period of time which obviously inhibits breathing and then there's one clip where he's seen being dragged by his ankles backwards. None of that -- none of that was necessary and, you know, my heart goes out to the Hardin family and the Greene family because this is an example of something that never should have happened and on top of all that, the reports are not consistent with the actual video that you've been able to watch. So this case is very, very problematic.
PAUL: You bring up one of the points I think we've all been talking about and questioning is how can the incidents that we're seeing even jive in any way with the reports that were first initiated here from the police who were involved in that incident? So, Joey, when you see the discrepancy between those two, how do you -- how do you argue that in court? What is the most profound element here for you to argue for the family?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There's so many, Christi. Good morning to you. Good morning to the Chief. Listen, at the end of the day, we get and understand and know the narrative of the department with respect to driving on the wrong side of the road, a chase, there could be people being killed, but you always need to be guided, when your law enforcement, by what is strategically appropriate and what is lawful.
And it comes down to, at the end of the day, if you're going to engage in conduct as a law enforcement official where you're using force, were you in immediate fear of death or serious bodily injury, number one, was the force that you used proportionate to any threat posed, number two, and did you act reasonably, number three? On all of those counts, all those elements, you see a disconnect between what was happening and what ultimately led to his death. Why did this have to happen?
Specifically, to your point then, you look at how they attempted to justify that and it goes even further than the reporting which does not match what we see. It goes to the extent to which they tried to cover this up, Christi. They actually brought him into -- right? When he was already dead, into the hospital and indicated to the attending physician that he died in a car crash. No indication of any resisting, no indication of anything that they had to do to bring them under control, but really blamed it upon that.
The attending physician in the notes indicated that it doesn't add up. That's a quote from the report there and then you have the digging into this and then you have a reissuance of an admission that there was some resisting and so it's very difficult, when you have a video displaying and indicating exactly what occurred, Christi, to now write a narrative that tries to match that when you have the release of the video, which, by the way, they blocked for 15 months.
Now we know why and so to your question, it's very, very difficult and going to be to justify what you said and what we see and I just don't think, at the end of the day, we see that and I think, at the end of the day, you have this wrongful death suit that's going to be successful and I think it's going to end with a state prosecution as well as a federal prosecution.
PAUL: You answered my next question, which was about that wrongful death lawsuit. So, thank for that, Joey. Commissioner, I wanted to ask you about the autopsy from Union County Parish coroner's office.
They said that in their -- in the coroner's opinion, the lacerations to Greene's head were, quote, "Inconsistent with motor vehicle collision injury and most consistent with multiple impacts from a blunt object." No written incident report was provided despite requests. No detailed information regarding the motor vehicle collision was provided. No emergency services, medical records were provided to the coroner's office.
If you were to see a report like that, would you order an investigation and how and is there a protocol, should there be, to look at video after a report and somebody dies? I mean, how does -- how does that work?
RAMSEY: Well, there's no question. The leadership of that department looked at the video. There's no way they did not look at that video. In fact, early reports said that some of the officers were given minor discipline. Well, you can't do that if you haven't seen the video. They knew what was on the video, they knew how bad it was and they were literally trying to cover things up.
Would you launch an investigation? Absolutely. Not only internally, but you would also turn it over to the district attorney for review to see whether or not and the -- and the -- as the prosecutor reviews it whether or not he felt it was necessary to press criminal charges against the officers. I mean, you've got video evidence, you've got injuries that are inconsistent with the original claim of a car crash. I mean, he's got lacerations on top of his head. I mean, you know, that didn't happen during a car crash.
So, you know, all those things combined would have led to an investigation, would have led to the removal of those officers from the street. I don't know if they have a union contract or what have you, but there would have been some action taken against those officers and everything would have been turned over to the district attorney or the appropriate prosecuting authority.
PAUL: Joey Jackson, Charles Ramsey, we so are grateful and value your perspectives on this. Thank you for being with us this morning.
RAMSEY: Thank you.
JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.
PAUL: Of course. We have more discussions on race as well. Sign up for CNN's new "Race Deconstructed" newsletter. Every week, you'll get the latest on current events and American history through conversations on the role of race in culture, politics and more. You can go to CNN.com/racenewsletter to sign up.
Well, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend apparently is ready to talk. Details on her willingness to cooperate with federal authorities and what it means for Gaetz's sex trafficking investigation.
SANCHEZ: Plus, grasping for any chance at bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, several top priorities, including infrastructure, are stalling. Some on the left urging President Biden to go bold and go it alone. We'll hear from Errol Louis next.
SANCHEZ: We're just about 18 minutes past the hour. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, at a rally last night, showing no signs of the legal pressure building against him. Sources say Gaetz's ex-girlfriend is going to cooperate with federal investigators in their sex trafficking probe.
PAUL: And just this week as part of that investigation, a former close friend of Gaetz got a plea deal. CNN's Paula Reid helped break the story and she has the details on the allegations and Gaetz's response now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned that a former girlfriend of Congressman Matt Gaetz has agreed to cooperate with investigators. Now, this woman, a former Capitol Hill staffer who did not work for the Congressman, she worked for another lawmaker, she is really critical to this investigation because she was linked to the Congressman in the summer of 2017 and that time period is really essential to determining whether he had sex with an underage girl.
Now, the fact that she has signalled she is willing to cooperate is also notable because we know investigators have hundreds and hundreds of records of transactions that they're sifting through.
And they hope that this woman may be able to help them make sense of some of these transactions, including some that allegedly show payments for sex. Now, the Congressman has not been charged and he has repeatedly denied paying for sex or ever having sex with a minor as an adult.
Now, it's not clear if this woman has a formal cooperation agreement, but she has signaled to investigators she is willing to talk to them. An attorney for the ex-girlfriend and the Justice Department declined to comment, but there's more. We are also learning that the Congressman's former close friend, Joel Greenberg, has also told investigators that the Congressman had sexual contact with a 17-year- old girl.
Now, earlier this week Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal counts, including sex trafficking of a minor. Now he's cooperating as part of a plea agreement and in exchange, dozens of other counts against him have been dropped. Now, in this plea agreement, Greenberg admits that he had sex with a minor at least seven times and that he then introduced her to other adult men who engaged in commercial sex acts with her. But the plea agreement, it doesn't name who those other men are.
Now, Gaetz and his representatives have attacked Greenberg's credibility in the past few days. They have correctly pointed out the fact that in this same plea agreement, Greenberg admits to falsely accusing a political rival of having sex with a minor now. Now, Greenberg is required to cooperate with investigators as part of this plea deal in any ongoing federal investigations, including of course this ongoing investigation into his former close friend.
Now, a decision about whether to charge the Congressman, that likely won't come for some time. It will fall to prosecutors and the public integrity section of the Justice Department. They are still gathering evidence and then they will have to assess whether they believe they have enough to proceed with an indictment. Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Paula Reid, thanks so much for that. Let's discuss Gaetz and more with CNN political commentator Errol Louis. He's also a political anchor for "Spectrum News" and host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, always a pleasure to see you bright and early on Saturday mornings. Let's start with Matt Gaetz and his potential legal trouble. It seems to be mounting. Yesterday, though, he was out in Arizona for a Trump-style rally with Marjorie Taylor Greene. He seems awfully confident. What do you make of the disconnect?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, good morning, Boris. The confidence is not only part of his political brand, but it's part of his survival strategy legally and politically speaking, Boris. He's got to get out there and make sure that for the slice of the electorate that likes his politics and likes his style, he's prominently in a position to build his fundraising list, to ask for money, to ask for money that might eventually end up in a -- in a legal defense fund.
That's really all he's got at this point. He's almost persona non grata on Capitol Hill. It's not like he has a lot of political allies. It's not like he, in the minority party, is going to do much legislating and so he's tried to sort of save his neck. He's in a world of trouble.
And let's understand that if he is innocent, even if he is innocent, it's going to cost a lot of money. It's going to take a lot of time for him to get out of this because Joel Greenberg, who is now sort of cooperating with the federal Justice Department, was a very, very close ally. Again, hundreds of transactions, lots of dates to go through, lots of people that we know Congressman Gaetz has been involved with that he's going to have to really sort of steer his way through this.
It's going to be very expensive, very time consuming. That's why he's on the other side of the country acting as if he doesn't have a care in the world. He's got nothing but trouble waiting for him in Washington.
SANCHEZ: Now, Errol, I want to ask you about the failed effort to create a commission investigating the attempted insurrection on January 6th. Here's a list of Republicans that, back in January, cosponsored a nearly identical bill to create a commission looking at the attack on the Capitol. These 16 Republicans voted down the bill that was passed by the House this week, almost identical to what they cosponsored back in January.
Errol, and for our viewers, we invited every single Republican on your screen to come on NEW DAY this weekend and explain why. Maybe not surprisingly, they all turned us down. This bill now expected to be dead on arrival in the Senate. Errol, why?
LOUIS: The violent attempt to overturn the election of President Biden was done at the behest of Donald Trump who is now in complete fingertip (ph) control of the Republican Party. They do what they are told to do and it's important to understand this. What they're told to do flies not only in the face of commonsense and patriotism and everything that a good public servant should stand for, but it's important that it do so.
You know, the essence of Trumpism is not just doing whatever advances the interests of Donald Trump, it also means severing and sundering and turning your back on your prior commitments, ethical commitments, legal commitments, political commitments and that's what they are doing. That is what it means to be a follower of Donald Trump.
It means you take commonsense. You take your past actions and statements. You take your past oaths to the Constitution and everything else and you throw it all in the garbage and you do as you're told.
That's what the Republican party is doing now and so we had a violent insurrection, lives were lost, democracy was threatened and they're now saying they're going to do everything they can to make sure the public knows as little as possible about what happened. Does that benefit any of them? Of course not. It only benefits one person and that's Donald Trump.
SANCHEZ: Errol, I very quickly want to ask you about Joe Biden's agenda. A number of items have stalled. I believe we have a graphic listing them. This January 6th commission, infrastructure, voting rights, the George Floyd Act, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. How soon before his closest advisers in the White House tell him point blank, we've seen this movie before, the Republicans are going to block everything, we have to do this on our own?
LOUIS: I think it's just the opposite, Boris. I think he's telling them. These are the people he worked with for decades in the U.S. Senate and then as vice president. He understands exactly what he's up against. He knows he's not going to get any cooperation. He knows that he's going to have to do what he did with the recovery bills. He's going to have to pass it with Democrats alone.
And so it only becomes a question of how and when and how fast and whether he can get the Democratic conference to agree on Capitol Hill to move whatever can be moved over the next year or so, but I don't think the President is under any illusion that there's going to be bipartisan cooperation on any matter of any importance on Capitol Hill.
SANCHEZ: We'll keep an eye out for all of those items on that list and see if they move forward. Errol Louis, as always, thank you so much.
LOUIS: Thank you.
PAUL: There's a fragile ceasefire in the Middle East this morning and millions of dollars in humanitarian aid finally arriving now in Gaza for people affected by the fighting there. We're live in Jerusalem for you with the very latest next.
PAUL: Listen to me, I want to tell you about a mass shooting overnight in Minneapolis. We know that two people are dead. That's according to police, and a third is in critical condition at this hour.
SANCHEZ: Yes, investigators say that there are seven people that were wounded, they will likely survive their injuries, though. The gunfire started at around 3:30 a.m. local time. Minneapolis police wouldn't give any more information on possible suspects or a potential motive. But they did say that there's no longer an active threat. We're, of course, working to get more information on what happened and we're going to update you as we get it.
Turning to the Mideast now, there's a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas entering its second day, but tensions remain high. Israeli police and Palestinian protesters clashing just hours after that agreement was reached.
PAUL: Yes, 11 days of fighting has left more than 250 people dead in the region, that includes more than 60 children. And yesterday, Israel opened a key border crossing allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza. Now, the U.N. is sending food, medical supplies and COVID vaccines.
SANCHEZ: Let's get to CNN's Hadas Gold who is in Jerusalem for us. Hadas, are we expecting that the ceasefire is going to hold?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, that's far it has held for more than 24 hours since that 2:00 a.m. hour in the early hours of Friday morning. There has not been reports of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel, nor have there been reports of Israeli military action over Gaza. But just because there's a ceasefire between Israel and the militants in Gaza, that does not mean that things have necessarily completely cleared and calmed down. As we saw yesterday at the Al-Aqsa Compound, which is also known as the Noble sanctuary or the Temple Mount, a place very holy to both Muslims and Jews. There were clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.
We know that there were hundreds of Palestinians gathered there. They were protesting, they were chanting in support of Gaza, not only for the ceasefire, but the campaign that proceeded it. They were showing -- waving Palestinian flags as well as the full -- the green flags of Hamas and the flags of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And we know that at some point, the Israeli police entered the compound, they were firing stun grenades and rubber bullets and forcibly trying to clear out the plaza that surrounds the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the dome of the rocking, including forcibly trying to clear out journalists who were trying to record what was going on.
Now, police say that they were responding to a riot, they say that people were throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at them. The Palestinian Red Cross reporting that at least 20 people were injured in these clashes. Now, although things did seem to calm down as the day went on and we haven't seen any more reports of further clashes at the Al-Aqsa Compound, clashes such as what we saw at Al-Aqsa helped spark this latest round of conflict because before the rockets and the military action began, there were -- there were some very large clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Compound just outside of one of the entrances to the old city as well as in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem where several Palestinian families face eviction.
And the militants in Gaza specifically cited the tensions in Jerusalem as one of the reasons why they launched rockets towards Jerusalem which helped kick off the Israeli military campaign. Hamas trying to prove that it is the defender of Jerusalem for the Palestinian people.
And what we saw yesterday just goes to show you that despite the fact that there is a ceasefire, these tensions are still very much alive, very much a possible tinderbox that can just light a flame at any moment.
PAUL: Hadas Gold, we appreciate the update so much. Thank you. Now, the conflict between Israel and Hamas provided the biggest foreign policy test for President Biden's administration thus far.
SANCHEZ: Yes, the Middle East, though, not the only focus for Biden this week. He also welcomed South Korea's president to the White House, Moon Jae-in, just the second face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since taking office.
PAUL: CNN's Jasmine Wright is with us live from the White House right now. Jasmine, so good to see you this morning. So, does the administration view this week really as a success from a foreign policy standpoint.
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: They do, Christi, and no doubt this was a test for President Biden in testing his decades-long experience in foreign policy. Because let's be frank, President Biden wants to talk about jobs, he wants to talk about infrastructure, he wants to talk about COVID relief, all the things that this administration believe are going to make or break his presidency. But the escalating violence between Israeli and Palestinians really forced him and this White House off-message, and really had him defending their strategy of intensive and quiet diplomacy.
They said it over and over again, talking behind the scenes to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, really trying to negotiate a de- escalation as the civilian deaths mounted, instead of publicly criticizing him as things continued to get worse. Now, President Biden was on the defensive and he really spoke to that issue yesterday. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the reasons why we're able to get to ceasefire in 11 days, we didn't do what other people have done. I don't talk about what I tell people in private.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now, that stance was criticized by progressives in his own party who want to see President Biden do more. But he gave that speech yesterday at the White House, standing alongside South Korea President Moon Jae-in, where that was very much a situation that the president wanted to happen. The White House pre-planned it, that was his second foreign visitor in the White House, really highlighting this administration's focus on the Indo-Pacific region, trying to talk about their new strategy with North Korea, trying to focus on the competition with China. So, these are two things, one planned and one not planned, that the president had to deal with this week. And so, yes, this administration feels like they did a good job and consider it a win, Christi, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Jasmine Wright, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Jasmine. So COVID vaccination rates across the country are declining. Polo Sandoval is with us live with details on some creative incentives for people to roll up their sleeves and get that shot.
SANCHEZ: As COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to decline across the United States, unfortunately, vaccination rates are slowing as well.
PAUL: Yes, over the past week, less than 2 million vaccine doses were administered each day, that's a 46 percent drop from its peak back in mid-April.
SANCHEZ: Health experts though are warning the pandemic is not over as many Americans remain unvaccinated. Roughly, 48 percent of the country has received at least one vaccine dose and only 38 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. That means we are still a long way from herd immunity.
PAUL: CNN's Polo Sandoval is with us with the very latest. Polo, good to see you this morning. What are you hearing?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you, guys. You know, the big concern here is obviously, as it gets warmer, then many people are going to head indoors particularly in the southeast, and what concerns officials right now is that there are roughly 62 percent of the country that is still not fully vaccinated will head indoors. And the question is, what will happen then, and that is really underscoring the priority for officials to try to, have those vaccination rates, those COVID-19 vaccination rates get a much-needed boost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, ready?
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Another dose of progress this weekend. By now 1 out of every 12 people in the U.S., ages 12 to 15, have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose according to the CDC, and efforts to get shots into younger arms are less than two weeks in. The U.S. also averaging fewer than 30,000 new COVID cases a day.
ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION: The last time the seven-day average of cases per day was this low was June 18th, 2020.
SANDOVAL: Along with dropping case counts, the country is seeing less COVID hospitalizations. None at one of the bay area's biggest hospital for the first time in 14 months.
MONICA GANDHI, SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL HOSPITAL: It feels like a milestone. There are zero admissions at San Francisco General.
SANDOVAL: Encouraging statistics mean more reopenings. Ahead of the weekend, Delaware lifted its mask and social distancing mandate as well as capacity limits. California drops all capacity restrictions when the state fully reopens June 15th. And Michigan, which struggled with a severe COVID surge just a few weeks ago announced it's returning to full capacity for outdoor events on June, the 1st. Michigan's governor aiming to do the same indoors come July.
JESSICA SHEPHERD, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, VERYWELL HEALTH: Now, it comes to how do we live in communities and with each other, between those that are vaccinated and unvaccinated? These are things that time will tell. But also taking into account continuing that message of the importance of vaccination.
SANDOVAL: Some state officials credit improved vaccination rates for restoring more normalcy for the residents. Nationally, though, the Biden administration is concerned. The average daily pace of coronavirus vaccinations is down, almost 50 percent from its peak last month. States like Oregon, adding a shot at a jackpot in exchange for a shot in the arm.
GOV. KATE BROWN (D-OR): If you've been waiting to get a vaccine or you just haven't gotten around to it yet, we're going to give you an extra incentive. How about a chance to win a million dollars?
SANDOVAL: A similar incentive seems to have helped in the Buckeye State. Ohio health officials reporting a 28 percent increase in vaccinations for people 60 and older, following the announcement of a million-dollar lottery for the vaccinated and full rights scholarships for vaccine recipients under 18.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SANDOVAL: There's also a little more incentive when you look at some
of the latest numbers coming out of the CDC here, now showing that as of early May, only roughly about 1,300 so-called breakthrough cases have been reported, these are the infections of people that have been fully vaccinated, but that is out of about 127 million people that are now fully vaccinated. So the CDC maintains here, Christi and Boris, that not only is it a tiny percentage, but officials have also not noticed any kind of unexpected pattern in those cases, so it's clear the vaccine is working.
SANCHEZ: No question about that, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Polo. So, what medical questions do you have about the coronavirus vaccine and the push to reopen here? Dr. Rob Davidson is joining us tomorrow morning and he will answer a few. So, just tweet them to us @Christi_Paul and @Boris_Sanchez.
SANCHEZ: Look forward to those questions.
PAUL: Absolutely --
SANCHEZ: As golf's best battle it out for the PGA Championship this weekend, we look at how the sport is trying to promote opportunity and inclusion that is hoping will drive the next generation of greats.
SANCHEZ: Steph Curry and the Warriors still stunned by that LeBron game-winner the other night. Now, knocked out of the playoffs before they even start it.
PAUL: Yes, Coy Wire is here. How do you outshine Steph Curry?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: How do I -- how do I not get the pink memo? You two look great and here I am --
Wearing the wrong color. Hey, Steph Curry is a two-time lead MVP playing arguably the best ball of his career. He carried his team to the cusp of the playoffs, but now he and his Warriors are headed home, all because of Grizzlies young gun Ja Morant, the reigning rookie of the year upstaging the greatest 3-point shooter of all time. He hit a career high five-three pointers of his own last night, and here is the final seconds of overtime, Morant sealing it 35 points in 117-112 win in his first trip to the playoffs. The playoff brackets are set, Memphis playing Utah in one of the three games tomorrow on a sister network "TNT".
Fifty-year-old Phil Mickelson finding the fountain of youth, that's 3 under par in the second round yesterday at Kiawah Island Ocean course, gave him a share of those lead at 5 under and during the weekend. He's the first 50-plus player to lead at a majors since Freddie Couples at the Masters in 2012. Phil looking for a new sixth major and first since 2013. He tees off at 2:40 Eastern. All right, the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship is bigger than the tournament. It promotes greater diversity and inclusion across the sport. Scooter Clark knows that first hand. He played in the inaugural event 34 years ago.
Today, he runs it and loves seeing the next generation get their shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOOTER CLARK, DIRECTOR, PGA WORKS COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Golf is genuinely who I am. People say it shouldn't define you, but it does define me. So this championship is my platform to be able to impact others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And on the tee from Nebraska, Noor Ahmed!
NOOR AHMED, GOLFER: We all know that golf has had a discriminatory past, so we need events like this to help offset the damage that was done earlier when golf was first founded.
CLARK: I myself have had this dream or this vision for a championship for a number of years.
AHMED: You never know who you'll get to meet or how your career will change because of golf. I've got -- and I mean, a former president, CEOs of companies because of golf.
CLARK: At that point, they have that aha moment of, you know, I can take 10 to 15 years of playing golf at high level. And you need to find out at some point that you're not able to make it and to play at that level, but there are definitely opportunity for you to work in this industry for a life time.
AHMED: There is a lot of room for women in the golf industry. For individuals of color in the golf industry. And that they're needed and valued.
CLARK: It really helps us, you know, curate some of this into talent for the golf industry workforce.
AHMED: We have to not just hire women and people of color early on in the golf industry, but they need to start becoming the faces of golf. I hope that some of the student athletes that are competing are some of those faces that are going to change the golf industry in sports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: This event isn't just about the future. It's about the now, Christi, some of the top finishers get exemptions to play in some top- level professional tournaments. Great stuff from the PGA.
PAUL: Absolutely. Coy, it's always good to see you and you look great --
WIRE: You too --
PAUL: No matter what you wear -- SANCHEZ: Love the stripes --
PAUL: Just so you know --
SANCHEZ: Very nice.
PAUL: Yes, exactly.
Hey, stay with us, we'll be right back.
PAUL: Well, I don't know what your plans are tomorrow night, but the story of late night airs then here on CNN. And we have a look at the retirement of the king of late night Johnny Carson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY CARSON, LATE TELEVISION HOST: Here's Bette Midler.
BETTE MIDLER, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I can't believe it! The last -- the last guest.
Quarter is great, there's no one in a place except you and me --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was Johnny Carson. This is what America knew for 30 years. There was that intimacy.
MIDLER: And John I know you're getting anxious to close --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Johnny's got a look on his face when she says "John, I know you're getting anxious to go", that I felt, wow, that made me tear up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was the voice for America, we all wanted to give him a serenade. How cool is that?