tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 29, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
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testimony resumes tomorrow morning in the trial of derek chauvin, the exminneapolis police officer charged in the death of george floyd. prosecutors telling jurors that chauvin used excessive force when he knelt on floyd's neck for 9:29. the defense claiming chauvin did exactly what he was trained to do. while president biden announce that's 90% of adults will be eligible for the covid vaccine within the next three weeks, the head of the cdc warning of impending doom with a steady
spike this cases from a variant strain that is highly contagious and deadly. i want to go straight to the opening statements and the witness testimony in the trial of derek chauvin. sarah sighedner reports from minneapolis. >> may 25 of 2020, mr. derek chauvin betrayed his badge. when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of mr. george floyd. >> the prosecution's opening statement tells you everything you need to know about how they want the jury to see this case. >> 9:29. the 3 most important numbers in the case. >> 9:29. the skroosh niexcruciating amou. to help make point, the prosecutor played one of the videos for the jury.
>> what do you want? >> you can see, he does not let up or get up. you will learn that they can't even find a pulse. >> the first witness in 911 dispatcher, her may 25th dispatch was also played in court showing she was watching surveillance video of floyd being pinned down. >> you can call me a snix but we have the cameras up. >> my instincts were telling me something was wrong. >> jurors were told that they would be seen all the video from the cameras as well as hearing from minneapolis police officers, the chief of police, medical experts and witnesses on the scene. donald williams was up one of te witnesses. he was trained in mixed martial arts. what he saw on the street that day alarmed him. >> you get the choke tighter. you hit different shimmies.
i felt the officer was doing the final choke while he was on top to get the kill choke. >> for the defense' case? >> derek chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. the use of force is not attractive. but it is a necessary component of policing. >> chauvin's attorney made clear, this will also be a battle of experts. >> this will be another significant battle in this trial. what was mr. floyd's actual cause of death? >> he wants the jury to look at the whole scene and listen to the use of force and medical experts as well as read the medical reports. >> it reveals that mr. floyd had an exceptionally high level of carbon dioxide. dr. baker found none of what are referred to as the telltale signs of asphyxiation. there was no hemorrhaging. there was no evidence that mr.
floyd's air flow was restricted. >> instead, he suggested it was illicit drugs found in floyd's system that aggravated a medical condition that took floyd's life. >> hypertension, coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl flowing through his body all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart. >> there was one thing the defense and prosecution did agree on. >> there is no political or social cause in this courtroom. >> but in the streets and for floyd's family, chauvin is not the only one on trial. america's justice system is. >> to say that it should be a death sentence. america is watching. >> before the trial began, the floyd family and their lawyers knelt outside court for nearly ten minutes to illustrate just how long floyd begged for his life. >> we came for one thing and one thing only.
we came to get justice. somebody needs to be held accountable. >> sarah joins me now. here we go. back at the season of what we covered so much this past summer. thank you for joining us this evening. i spoke with ben crump and the brother. he made this point. >> my brother is not on trial. chauvin is on trial. america is on trial right now. minneapolis, minnesota, they will have to get this right. we're tired of people being killed and slaughtered. i'm not anti-police but there have been a lot of killings by police officers. not just in minneapolis. all across america. we will get justice. we have to get justice. if you can't get justice for this as a black man in america, what can you get justice for in america then? >> that was earlier evening. so give me your reaction, the country, the world, paying
attention? >> absolutely. you know, the world was watching when it happened. we saw what appeared to be and what many believe is one of the largest civil rights protests because of this video that they saw. not just here in america but across the world. from brazil to germany to london. you had people coming out in the streets after seeing this, watching what they felt like was seeing torture until a man died. and they just wouldn't stand for it. so did you see a huge reaction. now you're seeing people pay attention to some of what is going on in this trial. ultimately, everyone's eyes will shift to the end of the trial when the jury makes its final decision. but yes, people are paying attention to what is being said in court. some folks hanging on every word. i want to mention a couple. words we heard that i'm sure the jury will remember, that will stick in their minds.
that came mostly from donald williams. he was there. he was yelling at some point at police because he was so disturbed about what he was seeing. he also knows a lot about chokeholds because he learned to do them as someone who was in a mixed martial arts, a professional who has done mixed martial arts most of his life. he used words like kill choke and blood choke. those are words that are hard to forget. >> we saw protesters tonight in minneapolis. can you describe the feeling on the ground? what is security like in the area? >> security is as tight as you can imagine it. there are not just barbed wire but razor wire and rolls of it. not just around the court but a huge complex around the administrative and court buildings. you are seeing fencing and concrete barricades. you are seeing what looked like
armored vehicles that are posted. as far as the protests go, they have not been huge. they have been absolutely peaceful. they have been very noisy, as is normal. with people expressing their opinions and using their first amendment rights. you have really seen people come out and express the worry about what is going to be the outcome of this trial and many people do believe, although that is not what is being said in court by the attorneys, they do believe that the outcome of this case will be a referendum on the american justice system. they are watching it extremely closely. especially here in minneapolis. >> sarah, we will be watching you, your coverage over the coming weeks. thank you. i want to bring in now laura coats, neil franklin as well, a former police officer. i've been glued to your analysis all day. great job. thank you for joining us this evening. i know it's been a long day for
you. we saw the entire video today. the prosecution encouraging to us believe our own eyes. we heard if three key witnesses, a 911 dispatcher, a gas station attendee who reported multiple video clips. a man with mixed martial arts background who understands chokeholds. it was a dramatic day. how do you think the jury left after day one? >> i think they were riveted. for one reason, many. jurors said they hadn't even seen the full video, or if they saw it, they saw it one time and they did not see anything beyond the 8:46 we all as a globe thought this was confined to. come to find out, there was 9:29 of what took place. so the idea that this was happening, having the vantage point of by stand here's called police to say, stop what you're doing, who implored the actual officers on the season to at least check the pulse. the idea of a 911 dispatcher
saying, something is wrong here. my gut, something is off here. then you have the defense trying to make this case more about the victim, george floyd, than about the officer, the former officer who is standing trial. why this is fascinating, have been, this is what you expect to have happen. what could you possibly say to justify this as a reasonable amount of force? the only thing they can claim legally is that somehow, some way, he did not substantially cause the death of george floyd. but in minnesota, everyone has to keep in mind they need not prove it was a singular or sole cause. only that it was a substantial causal factor. and here that nine minutes plus video, it behooves you to think of any other alternative. >> neil franklin, we heard chilling testimony from donald williams who said the move chauvin was using on george floyd looked like a blood choke. and he describe chauvin as
trying to shimmy to make the hold tighter. here it is and then we'll talk about it. >> if you can just explain what you're seeing here. did you believe this was a shimmy type move? >> so explain that. >> correct. >> okay, cool. so the gestures, the movement is from the shoulders. he's doing it, it is not an actual choke with the hands. he put the same pressure as you would with the neck. every time his shoulder is moving, he's pushing that pressure down on his neck. >> let me just say this before i get your response. the video is tough to watch and even, you saw the picture. it is just tough. just look at this man with his knee on the neck of george floyd even in the still photographs. i know, folks at home it is difficult to watch. we're in the middle of a trial and that's what is key here. that's what is at stake. give me what you're hearing. what you think you're hearing
from chauvin's defense attorney. specially, he said that chauvin did what he was trained to do. what do you think of that? >> so you know i've led training for the maryland state police. i led training for the baltimore police department, the two largest police departments in the state of maryland. very familiar with national standards. there are a couple such as the use of force continuum, arrest and control tactics and techniques. nothing like this has ever been trained anywhere in the country that i know of. specially when we talk about major cities. now, this witness, he pointed out something that you can clearly see in the video. the chauvin was really focusing that pressure on george floyd's neck. if you really pay attention, you can see that chauvin's weight was primarily on his left leg. he even had his left leg positioned on his thigh so he could apply more pressure to the neck area of george floyd.
that was compelling testimony. and you know, don, this is going to be a trial of experts. medical experts, use of force experts from the law enforcement community. i'm really eager and waiting to see a law enforcement expert in the use of force come in and try to explain to all of us, to the jury, that this was training. this was not police training. not even close. >> yeah. and then you know, if this is training, it will be a shock to a whole heck of a lot of people. it will be a couple weeks until we figure out, we think this trial will go on and we'll have you both back. thank you. appreciate it. the trial. derek chauvin and the death of george floyd coming as voting rights are under assault are. we in the middle of a reckoning on race? >> we got two justice systems in america.
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ten months after the death of george floyd and police custody sparked the largest effort for justice in decades. what it will mean to the millions of americans watching it unfold? let's discuss now. this is a contributing writer for the atlantic. good to see you. thank you so much for joining. here we go again with something that we are all too familiar with in our society now. george floyd's death set off massive demonstrations. now the trial is here and this is a critical trial for the black community. for the country. >> yeah, it does feel like a moment. and i guess we will find in the coming weeks or months exactly what kind of moment this will be in this country. we were in a moment last year where the outrage, even the unity, that was surrounding george floyd's death that occurred with the protest and
everybody seemingly on the same page about what racial justice should look like in this country. but now here we are back where there is a trial and a jury and there's just a certain amount of understandable unease that black people in this country have. we've been through this before. many times. i mean, we all saw the video of what happened george floyd. we all saw the video of what happened with rodney king. we saw the video with what happened with eric garner. we saw what happened to sandra bland. i mean, this is going to touch off a lot of triggering feelings for a lot of black people in this country and it is hard to rationalize why it shouldn't. i think we have such little faith that the justice system will actually prevail in our favor that -- >> --! i think we lost her. we'll continue on.
maybe we can get her back. this whole thing will center around the key piece of evidence for the prosecution, obviously, will be that tape now which has gone from 8:46 to 9:29. that certainly was a shocker in the opening statements today and then continued on with the witnesses that were called throughout the afternoon. we'll move on. we'll try to get her back. if we can't get her this time, we'll have her back another time. so a stark warning from the cdc director as cases increase across the country.
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dr. deborah birx calling them two self-promoters to cover history for their faulty recommendations which i fortunately almost always overturned. so joining me now, medical analyst dr. jonathan reiner. that's kind of the problem. that is why he got into the country that did he and the country got into trouble. that's how i feel. he says he's almost overturned the recommendations from dr. fauci and dr. birx. nearly 550,000 people have died. so is he basically admitting responsibility? >> oh, yeah. so one of the really remarkable passages in sanjay gupta's really great piece with the former administration docs was when deborah birx basically admitted that the vast majority
of deaths were not preordained. she said that the first 100,000 in the first surge, maybe we could not have done anything about those. but everything that followed could have been potentially mitigated or prevented. so what the president, former president is saying is that he counter manneded, he overturned us, em, the advice of dr. anthony fauci, probably the world's most renowned infectious disease expert. dr. deborah birx, again, really renowned virologist for decades. he counter manned, he overturned their recommendations and that's where we are. what more do you need to hear? >> right. after declining for weeks, cases are now rising. more than 10% in 27 states. listen to this. this is a dire warning from the
cdc director. >> i'm going to pause here. i'm going to lose the script and i'm going to reflect on the feeling i have of impending doom. we have so much to look forward to. so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. but right now i'm scared. we have come such a long way. three historic scientific breakthrough vaccines and we are rolling them out so very fast. so i'm speaking today not as your cdc director, not only as your cdc director, but as a wife, a mother, a daughter, to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer. >> we have been talking for weeks about how we're in a race against the variants. is the virus winning this race? >> no. i don't think the virus is winning. i think in the united states, vaccines are winning.
but you know, we're in a little bit of a ten wiuous position no. the rental we don't see even more cases, we've been finally so spectacularly success envelop vaccinating americans. almost 3 million a people a day now. and that is why we're keeping the surge relatively down. it is extraordinarily high in michigan, and it is surging in new jersey. it is down in parts of the southwest and out in california which is why the national numbers aren't rising so quickly. but i was really proud of the cdc director today. i think she really found her footing today. and i heard her speaking to the country as a doctor, as your doctor. and telling you right from the heart what we need to do to get through this patch. she was optimistic. super optimistic. but very realist bik what to do now telling the country to hold.
on i was really proud of dr. welinski today. >> and the president saying the war against covid is far from won urging state leaders to stop rolling back mask mandates. here it is. >> i'm reiterating my call for every leader the maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. please. this is not politics. reinstate mandate if you let it down. >> how can we get people to hang in there longer and keep protecting themselves? >> well, we need this consistent message from the federal government. we didn't have that in the last administration. you know, we had a group of docs telling to you mask up and we had the president doing something else and holding mass rallies. now we have the entire teams singing from the same song book. and it is very important. look, it won't get to everyone. but hopefully, some of the
governors will understand that the stakes are very high right now. governors, like the governor of west virginia who did open up bars and restaurants, but would not remove the mask mandate. in a very, very red state. up like the governors of texas and alabama, mississippi. so we are in a race against time. we need to get shots in arms. every person that gets vaccinated now is a person who will not die. that's what it means. i can't say it any more plainly other than that. i think basically everyone who wears a mask is not going to die. >> we always appreciate having you on. thank you, sir. >> thank you, don. trump and his allies trying the rewrite what happened at the capitol on january 6th. try telling that to the officers who were beaten. his mother joins me next.
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a second big lie from the former president. he incited the insurrection at the capitol by repeating baseless claims that the election was stolen. now trump and his allies are trying to could not convenience us that nothing really happened on january 6th. he is trying to gas light us that we can't believe what we saw with our own eyes that day. he claims rioters posed zero threat and were hug and kissing police. this video tells the truthful this it's officer michael who is being beaten and dragged by a mob of rioters.
he was tasered several times in the backs of the neck, injured on the ground, surrendered by rioters. here is officer describing what happened next. >> i was trying to fight as best i could. i remember, guys were stripping me of my gear. these were rioters pulling my badge off my chest. they rimmed my radio off my vest. started pulling like ammunition magazines from their holder on my belt. and then some guy started getting ahold of my gun and they were screaming out, you know, kill him with his own gun. i remember yelling out that i have kids and it seemed to work. some people in the crowd started to encircle me and try to offer me some level of protection. a lot of people have asked me my thoughts on the individuals in the crowd that, you know, that
helped me, or tried to offer some assistance, and i think kind of the conclusion i've come to, thank you but bleem you for being there. >> that doesn't sound like hugging and kissing. does it? he suffered a heart attack and concussion that day. now he's dealing with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. joining me now, his mother, terry fanone. thank you for joining me. i really appreciate it. >> you're so welcome. i am so happy to have an opportunity to speak for a different perspective on what happened that day. >> yeah. >> we're glad you're here. in full transparency, i've been talking on your son for the past few months. we've become friends. i've learned a lot about his story. he's really a true hero. how are you and your family holding up right now? >> you know, that clip which i hadn't heard in a while. that doesn't even begin to tell
the story. it doesn't even begin to tell the story of what our family went through. and what he went through that day. >> i can't even imagine. but he's so lucky to have you and your family supporting him. but i want you to listen to the former president claiming that the rioters who attacked your son are being persecuted. here it is. >> they go after people that i guess you would call them lean toward the right. they wave american flags in many cases. they're waving the american flag and they love our country. it was zero threat right from the start. it was zero threat. look. they went in. they shouldn't have done it. some of them went in and they're hugging and kissing the police and the guards. they had great relationships. a lot of the people were waived in. they walked in and they walked
out. >> he said they were hugging and kissing the officers. but listen. he's saying that the rioters were waving flags. but this body camera footage shows them using the flag poles to beat your son. so what goes through your mind when you hear the former president trying to rewrite history on january 6 saying there was zero threat? >> you know, it was, i respect, that's his opinion. his perspective. his perspective was from, he was not there. what goes through my mind is really outrage. that not only the 850 mpd officers that were there but officers from different jurisdictions, as well as capitol hill police. it is diminishing, it is devaluing. the thing that is so profound, after he made those statements,
the silence that followed and where was the outrage from other people who were there from congressmen, who were there? and the silence to me implies indifference. i could be wrong. but indifference or complicity. just completely, or are people just so, they're so used to hearing this rhetoric, they don't even listen anymore. so for us, for our family, and for each and every police officer that i know that michael is in touch with, constantly, it is outrageous. it is so dehumanizing. so devaluing. and it is outrageous. outrageous. >> if you could speak directly -- >> for each one of them. >> if you could speak to him and his supporters who are pushing the lies, what would you say to
them? >> where is your courage? where is your courage? because i know that there are people out there. i know what i know what i know what i know. and i know the people that have implied, and have stated to michael directly that there is so much more to the story. but so many people are afraid to come out and to speak and to speak the truth. the silence is so palpable. it is just outrageous. for me to say anything to trump, it wouldn't matter. he just can't hear. it is all the other people that are so complicit in this. that's who i would speak to, how dare you? how dare you, how dare you? take advantage of these people who were defending and fighting for their lives that day to save these people, preserve
democracy, civility, to restore the capitol to what it is supposed to be. where are you? with all of these officers stood with you, why don't you stand with them? >> the prosecutors have charged thomas in the brutal assault of your son. he is also accused of stealing mike's badge and raid yes which he finally admitted he buried in his own backyard. how does mike feel? he spoke to me and said he feels encouraging knowing that at this point these rioters will be held accountable, am i correct? >> yes. he does fell there will be some accountability. and, but you know, there are definitely going to be people who slim through the cracks and won't be found in any way, shape or form. so it is a matter of fact.
what have find these people, whatever jail sentence somebody might incur, it doesn't even begin. it doesn't begin to repair the damage that has been done to not only michael, but all these other people who really were the ones that were persecuted. >> i'm so grateful that you're here. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> the painting behind georgia's governor kemp's desk drawing a lot of attention after he signed into law a bill that restricts voting rights. my next guest says it shows the planation where her family worked for generations, going back to slavery. spacemen. jojo. uncle murray's medals. 17 antique keys. man with peach. the unofficial wedding photos. portrait of an artist. the top of kilimanjaro.
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a second lawsuit has been filed challenging georgia's restrictive new election law which was signed by the state's republican governor brian kemp last week. the suit filed by several civil rights and voting rights groups claims the law specifically targets black voters and other voters of color who turned out in record numbers last november. i want to bring in now kim brly wallace who has a personal and unique angle. thank you for joining us. i appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> so would you please walk me through this? you're watching the coverage of governor kemp signing the new elections bill and then you noticed the painting behind the governor was familiar to you. tell us about that. >> so i kept hearing people say, he had the audacity to sign this
bill in front of a picture of a planation. wow, that's messed up. and then i thought nothing of it. when i got home and saw the picture, that picture looks familiar. i googled it. when i saw it was the planation, i gasped. wow! that place has haunted me and >> both sides of your family. three generations worked at that plantation. how did it feel, to see a painting of it behind a group of white men, signing a bill making it harder, specifically for people of color, to vote? >> it just reminded me of the intimidation tactics that have been used, in the jim crow south, for so long. i remember, during the capitol insurrection. right before the people stormed the capitol, donald trump said that brian kemp was the dumbest governor. and i don't think that he is
dumb. i think he knows what he is doing. i think the optics were there. i think, the -- park cannon being brought out in handcuffs. it was all very deliberate, and it was sending a message to the people of georgia. >> you know, you have actually been to the callaway plantation. there's some photographs, right? you have been there a number of times. so talk to me about those experiences, visiting it. >> i've heard stories from my family about the red brick house, the red brick house. and it wasn't until 2017, my father actually brought me there, and showed me around the plantation. and told me, you know, i used to feed the animals here. and we used to do this there and that there. and i was like, my father did that. this is not some story about, you know, the 1800s. and -- and this was, like, in 1950 something. so, you know, jim-crow era sharecropping was still going on in georgia. i just want to salute my dad. today is vietnam veteran day. vietnam veteran memorial day. so i want to salute him. he is a vietnam-war veteran.
>> dad, thank you for your service. and thank you for doing that. you have every right to do it. and it's interesting. when you talk about these plantations because having traced my roots, twice. you learn about the plantations in your past. there was one in louisiana and there is another one in the woods plantation. and each come with different stories about our families. and, you know, it's -- there are horrific things that happened but we accept them as part of our past. but i think people should learn more about the true history of the country. and then, they won't operate on -- out of a lie. and maybe, there won't be an insurrection. they'll be operating from the truth because they'll know the contribution contributions of people of color in this country. >> absolutely. and i want people of color to do their research, and get their family history. so that they can be, you know, as patriotic as everyone else. you know? my father fought in vietnam. my grandfather fought in the war. my brother fought in the first gulf war. we have just as much of a right to be as patriotic as everyone
else, and be fueled by that to vote and get involved in politics. so, barry fleming is the city attorney, he wrote that bill. so, he -- he is very familiar with wilks county. it's still, very much, segregated. so i took that very personally whether i saw that picture. >> i want to bring -- get this in because i think it's important. on thursday, when the governor signed this bill into law, you mentioned it just moments ago. he was behind closed doors, right? and then, you have this. >> are you serious? >> no, you are not. >> she's not under arrest. >> for what? >> so, that's state representative park cannon, as you mentioned, knocking on that door. and then, was arrested. what do you think -- what'd you think, when you saw that, kimberly? >> i was disgusted. i was totally disgusted because, like i said, you think about that as compared to the insurrection at the capitol. and it's like she was just knocking on the door.
and she's now been charged with the same crimes, that some of the people that stormed the capitol were charged with. and that's just absolutely ridiculous. but it's very telling, how they've made this woman, park cannon, and stacey abrams and black women of georgia the enemy because we are the ones that came out and voted in huge, huge numbers. and they're sending a message, and i'm just here to let them know it's not going to work. because now, we have been fueled by, like i said before, we're fueled by our ancestors. and we're totally invested in this. and we are not going to lose. >> so, what are you going to do? because you have been -- you have been politically active in the past. you said you were active in the warnock/ossoff campaigns. how are you planning to fight against this new law? >> we just have to get people fueled up, like i said. listen. my great grandmother. she helped build the bricks that built that red house. we are all -- everyone should do their research, and know what their family contributed to this
country. we built this country, for little to nothing. so, i think, we should all be involved. so i'm just going to encourage everyone, right now, do some research on your family. and get involved in your local politics. vote. and hold these people accountable once they're in office. >> i can't tell you the -- the sense of empowerment and the autonomy, you feel, when you learn about the history of your family. on this continent, and then beyond. kimberly, thank you so much. i appreciate you joining us. >> thank you for having me. have a good night. >> thank you. you, be well. thanks. thank you for watching, everyone. our coverage continues.
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i am chris cuomo and welcome to prime time. this is the season of rebirth and renewal. christians enter easter, right? christ, death, and resurrection. jews celebrate the angel of death passing over the homes of true believers. the message could not be more resonant. because, look. no matter what you choose it to be, we must all believe in something bigger than ourselves. for the religious, you know, like the ones i mentioned, it's god. but for all of us, religious, secular, whatever. there is, still, a call to something bigger. it is the pledge of allegiance to the collective. one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice, for all. that pledge needs to be reaffirmed, right now. we are in a bad spot. we are mired in a time of a plague-like pandemic. and we are mired