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tv   Craig Melvin Reports  MSNBC  April 27, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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we'll head live to churchill downs where up to 50,000 people are expected to attend in person. state officials there say they are confident they can pull it off safely. also this morning we're learning new details about what president biden will say when he addresses the joint session of congress tomorrow. it will be historic on multiple levels. for one thing, it will be the first time in history two women will be presiding over congress for a presidential address. we'll get to that in just a moment. but we start with that breaking news down in north carolina. any moment now attorneys for the family of andrew brown jr. will be holding a press conference to announce the results of an independent autopsy in his death. north carolina sheriff's deputies shot and killed brown last week while serving a warrant, but after seeing heavily redacted body camera footage of his death, brown's loved ones say it looked more
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like a, quote, execution. let's go to north carolina now, again, as we await the start of this news conference surrounding andrew brown jr.'s death. catie beck is waiting for that press conference to start as well on the ground in elizabeth city. we're also joined by msnbc's legal analyst, a former prosecutor, and the chair of the african-american studies department at princeton, also an msnbc contributor. catie, my apologies first if we have to cut you off if this starts. what do we expect to hear from attorneys, from members of the family once the news conference does begin? >> reporter: well, craig, we just saw family members and attorneys go ahead and make their way up to the podium. what we do expect to hear the results from that independent autopsy will likely reveal the manner in which brown was killed. the family made mention of the fact he was shot from behind. this autopsy will likely show if
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that fact is to be true. also, a toxicology report that is standard with autopsies to find out if there was anything else in brown's system at this time of his death. we expect those results to be announced momentarily. we heard a lot from attorneys yesterday about the 20-second clip they saw and the calls for transparency. craig? >> catie, any word yet from officials there as to why his family was not shown more than that 20-second redacted clip? >> well, in north carolina a 2016 law was passed about body camera release and it's very restrictive and very detailed and prevents law enforcement from unilaterally releasing this video. there are many steps in the process but ultimately the decision rests with a judge, a judge has now been petitioned. there will be a hearing tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. to determine if and how much of that video should be released,
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if any. we expect that tomorrow morning we'll have some more clear answers on a time line. but the family feels as well as the attorneys that footage was unfairly shown to them in the short snippet of 20 seconds that they say they watched upwards of 20 times to try and understand what happened. >> i'm attorney ben crump -- >> all right, catie beck, stand by. this news conference starting now, again, andrew brown's family members and attorneys for the family addressing the media, expected to reveal the findings of the independent autopsy results. >> in these tragic circumstances, we also have present with us today, all know miss gwen carr, is here. but we have miss tanika cox,
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whose son was killed by police in high point, north carolina, at a church. not only are they killing us for driving while black, shopping while black, having a cell phone while black, sleeping while black, being in our apartment while black, but her son was killed while at the church. and she did not think -- so like miss gwen carr, we thank her and we continue to pray for justice for your son as well. >> thank you. >> fred cox jr. >> amen. >> fred cox jr.
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>> now today as we informed you yesterday we have the results of our autopsy report that was performed by dr. brent hall, autopsy professional association. and you all will get copies of the autopsy report as well as the anatomical models at the end of the press conference and, for those of you not present here with us in elizabeth city, north carolina, if you go to they will send it to you electronically. we're going to hear from our legal team in this order, and then we're going to hear from the family members that are
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present. you're going to hear from attorney wayne camden, and he's going to go through some of the details of the autopsy. then you're going to hear from my other great co-counsel, attorney daniels. and then you're going to hear from the brilliant commentator attorney sellers and then you will hear from khalil, the son of andrew brown jr., and, finally, from our legal team, you will hear from chantel lassiter, who not only is a member of our legal team but
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personally knew andrew very well. and this is going to be most emotional for his son and his family, but also for chantel who became like family and is working with this family. i want to thank mr. dareus horton. he's really helped the family a lot. he will be holding the service, the funeral services, on monday at 12:00, noon. he also made sure whatever the family needed, making sure they worked with the medical examiner, that he accommodated them. we can never say thank you enough, mr. horton. >> thank you. thank you, mr. horton. >> now you all know from the death certificate that it was a
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penetrating gunshot wound to the head. but, attorney sellers, what they did not know was that it was a kill shot to the back of the head. and so we're going to have attorney wayne kendall go through the autopsy report for you in detail. and then we're going to have other members of the legal team talk about the relevance of how we put this puzzle together because they won't release the video. so painstakingly we have to keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together. attorney wayne kendall. >> thank you, ben. my name is wayne kendall. i want to first thank the brown family for giving me the opportunity to be here, to be a part of the legal team
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representing them in this investigation and the legal part of representing them, if necessary, in court. >> just hold them. >> we commissioned a private individual autopsy report postmortem report, because we don't have access to anything that's official. and what our preliminary autopsy report shows is there were five penetrating bullet wounds to the body of andrew brown jr. now consistent with what you have probably already heard is that the first initial shots were through the front windshield of the vehicle that he was located in at the time that -- >> hold on one second. they're trying to do some --
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>> what you probably heard already, and you heard yesterday when miss lassiter gave her recitation of what she saw on the video yesterday was that mr. brown had his arms up on the steering wheel of the vehicle he was in, located in. there were four bullet wounds to his right arm. these bullet wounds according to the autopsy were more or less glancing shots. they were not fatal shots. so he was able to back up -- as they were coming into the vehicle, he was able to back up, turn the vehicle around and spin off across a vacant lot and at that point he was hit in the back of the head here, the fatal bullet wound that was described in the death certificate as a
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penetrating bullet wound to the skull. and that was the cause of death, that was the manner of death by gunshot. we now know, because we have not been able to get any official documentation concerning this shooting that this, in fact, was a fatal wound to the back of mr. brown's head as he was leaving the site trying to avoid being shot at by these particular enlaw enforcement officers who we believe did nothing but a straight-out execution by shooting him in the back of his head as he was trying to get away in a moving vehicle which, no doubt, is also against police practice to shoot into a moving vehicle to a person who posed no threat whatsoever to the officers then and there on the
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scene. so in summary his death was caused by these officers with a bullet wound to the back of his head that caused him to lose control of that vehicle and crash into a tree. and i think once the video actually comes out, we're going to also find out there were shots into that vehicle after it crashed in the tree and after he had been hit in the head. the certificate also says the time of death was within minutes -- within minutes -- after this particular gunshot wound to the back of the head. thank you. >> thank you, attorney kendall. as attorney harry daniels comes before you, it's important to note that the gunshot wound to the head, the entrance was the back of the head, range intermediate, projectiles
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sequentially perforated and penetrated his skull and his brain. it's important to note that the projectile was recovered in his brain. it never exited, and the trajectory was left to right, back to front. so it went into the base of the neck, in the bottom of the skull, and got lodged in his brain. >> oh, lord! >> and that was the cause of death. attorney harry daniels will put this in greater context. >> exactly. an execution. execution.
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[ inaudible ] >> give us a minute. wait a minute. [ inaudible ] >> you'd better remember that. >> an execution, that's what took place. that's what attorney wayne kendall has described. he went over the medical points of it, but that's exactly the way that's described -- overkill execution. the law enforcement in this country cannot be judge, jury, and executioner. andrew did note get his due process. he was innocent. i don't care what the warrant -- what the search warrant -- he was innocent. he maintained the presumptions of innocence. so far as i'm concerned an innocent man was killed by law enforcement, overkill, unjustified shooting. shot this man while he was -- had his hands on the steering wheel. he wasn't fleeing. he wasn't fleeing.
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let's get that word gone. he wasn't fleeing. he was trying to run because he was scared for his life. he was scared for his life. and anybody here, if you get shot at -- hold on, brother. hold on, brother. -- if you get shot at, you're going to run. that's the bottom line. second nature. fight or flight, you're going to run. he left trying to save his life. and they continued to shoot and put a bullet in the back of his head. in the back of his head. a black man unarmed, a bullet in the back of his head, for no reason whatsoever. it was an innocent man. you can put out whatever you want to put out. you can try to assassinate his character. but you need to talk about the assassination of him and who committed the assassination. >> that's right. >> i'm going to pass it over to mr. sellers. >> attorney sellers.
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>> you know, one of the things that i wanted to mention today is that we have the privilege of -- you know, my brothers, this is a message for everyone watching. [ inaudible ] hey, hey, you don't to like us, but please have respect for the family. so what we're trying to say is you don't have to care for ben or bakari or harry, you don't have to be democrat or republican, you don't have to be white or black to realize that what this family has not gotten is justice. we have an execution here in elizabeth city. we have an execution here in elizabeth city, and what i want people to understand we demand justice from the sheriff's
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department, from this district attorney, we demand justice not just for anybody standing up here but for andrew brown and his family. >> amen. >> andrew brown and his children. so you don't have to care or like benjamin crump. you don't have to like bakari sellers. you don't have to like harry daniels. you don't have to be a democrat or a republican to feel like justice needs to be done. you just have to have a beating heart, a moral conscience to understand that injustice was done. so we will deal with people who may not like us. we will deal with people who may not vote like us. at the end of the day i do not care what you look like, who you pray to, where you walk or where you vote. but what i do care about is the fact that an injustice was done. you got me carried away. i know people say i switch accents -- but my daddy said you
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never argue with a fool because they can't tell the difference. >> bless your heart, bakari. >> we're on the same side and we want justice. we had a conversation, we have khalil, we have his brother on face time right here, khalil's mama right here, the mother of the family, we have five kids, and i don't care how you vote. i don't care if you're black or white. i don't care if you don't like me. but have a moral conscience for the injustice that's going on. the media has to gain control and say we demand some transparency and some action from this body. we don't know what the video is going to show because they haven't shown us nothing. and we also have bad laws in the state of north carolina. in columbus, ohio -- in columbus, ohio -- in columbus,
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ohio, the video came out in a few hours. and you hear that pain. you hear the pain of the young lady in the back? that pain is all throughout the community. [ inaudible ] and so the last point i want to make is one of the worst questions we always get asked, my last point is this, one of the worst questions we get asked is can the family tell everybody to be calm and peaceful? and people always come up to the family and put that onus on them. you know, they always say, can the family have a message to people. we appreciate the people who are protesting peacefully. we appreciate that but if we want calm, if we want justice, then that onus is not on this family. it is on the people who are hiding the information we need to get answers. and so i know that we want to yell. i know we want to scream.
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i just ask you take a moment to breathe and pray for khalil. khalil is going to come up. and khalil is the only one in this audience, i believe, who to witness his father be executed. so, again, i don't care what you look like, who you vote for or who you like or don't like up here. i understand that. but let's lift this young brother up because he's witnessed something and is now a part of a fraternity none of us want to be a part of. >> amen. >> khalil. >> for one, it's too much violence going on. that's not the key. that's just going to make everything worse. it's too much going on already. us black folks doing it to each other. that's not right at all. we need to focus on that, if that's the case. you know what i'm saying. so violence is not the key.
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but to my pops, man, yesterday i said he was executed. the autopsy report showed me that was correct. those three gunshots to the arm, that weren't enough? that weren't enough? it's obvious he was trying to get away. it's obvious. and they're going to shoot him in the back of the head. that's not right. that's not right at all, man. >> not right. it's not right. >> man, stuff got to change. it really got to change, for real. >> there were actually four gunshots to the arm and they kept shooting. now we're going to hear from attorney chantel lassiter. >> i want you all to hear the pain in this community, the pain in the yelling i hear, the agony
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here. this is pain. and a lot of times pain is interpreted as rebellion or whatever people want to call it as. call it what it is, it's painful. painful for this family, painful for this community. we came up here yesterday, as khalil said, and we told you telephones an execution. people were questioning, well, what about this or what about that? it was an execution. an assassination of this unarmed black man, and that is painful. and we are tired. mothers are tired, sisters are tired -- >> that's right. >> -- fathers are tired, communities are tired, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, people who call your family are tired. you have to feel that pain. don't tune it out. people are yelling and it's not traditional or not conforming to the norm. it is pain. you have to hear that. and justice will be served. >> justice will be served. >> amen.
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>> thank you. >> miss gwen carr, miss cox, two members of a fraternity that nobody wants to be a part of, some say it's one of the quickest growing fraternities in the black community. >> no doubt, no doubt. >> having the police killed our loved ones unjustly. and so as attorney lassiter talked about pain, you see the pain in real life with these mothers who will have a hole in their hearts forever because their sons didn't bury them. they buried their sons. we will start with miss gwen carr who is one of the original mothers of the movement from new york city. her son is eric garner.
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>> good morning, everyone. here i stand with this family who has joined a fraternity, a club no one wants to be a part of. but when you do become a part of it, you don't nope the pain. you don't know the strength that the family has to have in order to endure. and to -- for khalil to watch his father being executed, can you just imagine? put yourself -- don't only have sympathy, have empathy. put yourself in that position. >> tell them, gwen. >> what would you do if you saw your child, your mother, your father, whomever, being executed? an unarmed person being executed. they came here for that purpose. they never intended, in my opinion, they never intended to take him alive.
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>> that's right. >> tell them, gwen. >> they came with the intention -- they had their own agenda when they came to that car. and that's not right. this is what they do in the black and brown communities. they come to us, they brutalize, they terrorize, they kill, and then it's swept under the rug. >> that's right. >> but we have to come together as communities to stop this. we can't keep going through this. my son died almost seven years ago, and i had to watch his execution over and over again. i never watched the tape in its entirety because i couldn't, and i know it will be just like a lot of these family members. they're not going to be able to see that. it's horrible what they do to us. >> it's horrible. >> and it has to stop. it has to stop. all black and brown men are not terrorists. they're not all guilty. >> that's right. >> you tell them, gwen.
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>> they talk about police not being all bad. so all black people are not bad. >> you tell them, gwen. >> there's bad in every community and every race and creed. we have bad people. just watch scary people. you all watch that on tv. and it's not all us. but, you know, i just want you all to embrace this family. i want you all to give this family justice. i want the media to record this for what it is because it is what it is, an execution. >> here you go, sweetheart. this is the mother of fred cox jr. many of you don't know her story, but it needs to be known.
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her son matters. >> we're from high point, north carolina. my son was murdered, executed,a church on november 8th by a plain clothed detective. the pain is unbearable, indescribable, and my heart goes out to khalil. i can't imagine his pain seeing his father slaughtered like a pig. they killed him. he is a murderer. they're trying to make it common to kill -- for the cops to kill -- people. they have to be held accountable with killing us. it's not normal. and we need to start right now by putting them behind bars because had it been the other way around and his daddy killed
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them, he would never walk these streets again. >> amen. >> so we have to hold them at the same level as we hold our black and brown boys. >> amen. >> they need to be locked up right now -- yesterday, last week, november 8th he should have been locked up. but i still don't know who this man is that murdered my son in a church. justice for your daddy, baby. i'm standing with you 100%. >> say his name, fred cox. >> fred cox. >> say his name, andrew brown. >> andrew brown. >> we have been watching and listening to a news conference. this is the family and those are the attorneys for the family of mr. brown there in elizabeth city, north carolina. andrew brown jr. catie beck is on the ground there for us. a former federal prosecutor, and
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chair of the african-american studies department of princeton and msnbc contributor. catie, i will start with you there on the ground. important to note we just saw the visuals there. this is from an independent autopsy that was commissioned by the family and attorneys for mr. brown. so that's what they were talking about. it would seem to me, catie beck, that this glaring silence from the law enforcement agency that's in charge of the case to a certain extent, that seems to be making all of this a bit worse. >> reporter: yes, craig, absolutely. in terms of outrage, you can certainly feel that growing now over the course of several days. i started reporting the story last thursday when the case was sort of in its beginning stages. now days later with no real
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release of this body cam footage and really no substantial answers from police about what transpired before that shooting, the only way for the temperature to go is up and that is certainly being seen here today at this press conference. just now the family and attorneys releasing the fact andrew brown suffered five gunshot wounds, one fatal gunshot wound to the back of the head, and four others to his right arm. that is really the headline that came out of this press conference is that for them the manner and cause of death was a gunshot wound to the back of his head that is what family said they witnessed when they viewed that video and they feel confirmed by this independent autopsy report. obviously a lot still stirring here in terms of calls for transparency and calls to see that entire video. we know tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. a judge will have a hearing. there has been a petition made by the media and the shsheriff'
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department to release the video. the judge will be the ultimate decider. here in north carolina there is a restrictive body cam law in place that lays out in detail a very strict process that has to be maintained in order for that video to be released, and it does rest in the hands of a judge. hopefully we'll get some of those answers tomorrow morning. craig? >> catie, really quickly here, to be clear the seven officers who were involved, i assume they're still on leave and also, to be clear, they're not claiming that andrew brown jr. was driving toward any of these officers, are they? >> reporter: we have not heard that claim yet, and we have not heard, again, what the circumstances were when they encountered him. i mean, really there is a huge amount of information that is yet to be seen here in the case, and i think that is part of what is the growing outrage is the sheriff's department has simply not released that information. they say they are conducting an
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investigation. they say that the state bureau of investigations is reviewing those tapes. but there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle that are yet to be understood. >> glenn, again, to catie's point, there is still so much we do not know, but no one appears to be disputing the fact that he was shot, and according to his family, he was shot in the back of his head. what do you make of that fact that the independent autopsy shows he was shot in the back of the head, glenn? >> well, first of all, craig, i don't think there's a police department policy or procedure in the country that says if a motorist, if a person is driving away from police, they are authorized to shoot them in the back of the head unless there is an imminent danger to the life of other citizens, for example, as you raised a moment ago, the motorist is about to mow down
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some folk. i couldn't help but notice we have the family of a decedent being transparent. they sat down and they watched 20 seconds of the video, which was apparently all they were permitted to watch, and they came out and they said what we saw was our loved one's hands on the wheel not reaching for anything, not endangering any police officer and he is shot in the back of the head. you then have today attorney crump and the other lawyers saying we're happy to release the autopsy report which will confirm what we saw on the tape and what we're saying. and yet you have the sheriff's department not willing to release the video, not willing to share any information. i understand there are laws, but, craig, when i wanted something released and had to get court authority to do it,
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you file an emergency motion and there is not a judge who will not release something in the public's interests. i don't buy this excuse that they have to go through all of these legal gymnastics to get a video released. and let me finish with what we heard yesterday from the sheriff, i believe his name is sheriff wooten. in response to what the family laid out what they saw on the videotape what did sheriff wooten say? well, the incident happened quickly and it's under investigation. that is hardly a rallying cry for his officers doing the right thing. so this videotape is not going to get better with age, and i think public safety and decency and morality and transparency demands that the police begin to be forthcoming. >> glenn, i want to play -- i
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want to play part of what we heard from the aforementioned sheriff, sheriff wooten. this is the news conference that he held yesterday. take a listen. >> this tragic incident was quick and over in less than 30 seconds, and body cameras are shaky and sometimes hard to decipher. they only tell part of the story. >> eddie, again, i'm not sure what sort of public information officer or adviser approved that statement because to glenn's point didn't see a whole heck of a lot there. i mean, what do you make of what we know so far about this? >> to be honest with you, craig, i'm trying to gather my emotions. the statement fred cox's mother said to andrew brown jr.'s son
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khalil, justice for your father, baby. we're constantly having to navigate scenes of black death, the spectacle of black death and grief. and what sheriff wooten said and how he represented it carried a tinge of disregard for the life lost. it's enraging, craig. how many times do we have to deal with this? it's the spectacle of it all. the spectacle of black grief, of black death, and the fact these laws exist precisely because their aim is to protect a certain form of policing that faces our communities in danger. so i'm trying to get my emotions together because i am enraged, and my heart is broken that another mother, another father,
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another son have lost a loved one to the hands of the police. >> again, eddie, i do have to point out there are things that we don't know because, quite frankly, the law enforcement there hadn't put it out, but we tell our kids, you get pulled over by the cops, yes, sir, no, sir, you put your hands on the steering wheel. it sounds like at this point based on what we know, it sounds like that's what he did, and he still gets shot in the back of the head. one of the things that strikes me, eddie, this happens after we learn about the chauvin verdict. there had been this thinking that this will change law enforcement behavior. people will see that an officer can be convicted of murder and sent away to prison for years.
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after the verdict this happens in elizabeth city, north carolina. it is unfathomable on so many levels. >> yeah. you know, i still think about dave henderson's comment on this network where he talked about you can't win. if you beg for mercy, george floyd, you die. if you say that you're afraid, you're humiliated. if you comply, castille, you die. there is a rot at the heart of policing in this country that we have to uproot and it's not just simply bad apples, it's systemic the way in which our communities are policed, there's a preset position, craig, of generalized disregard that our lives simply don't matter as much as others. and let me be clear, we tell our children what they're supposed to do when police approach them.
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but if a police officer has decided on that day they're going to treat our child as less than a human being, there's nothing we could tell them. there's nothing you and i could tell them that would save their lives. there's nothing we could do. and so part of what this is all about is getting at the heart of the contradiction that threatens to choke the life out of this democracy. it always has and it continues. -- to do so. >> glenn, obviously what adds to the suspicions here is that not only do they not put out the video, they show the family 20 seconds of a highly redacted video. that would seem to be on its face, again, looking at it objectively, that would seem to be offensive to the family.
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this judge, and i know you're not necessarily familiar with the laws there in north carolina, glenn, but the judge tomorrow morning as he or she considers whether to release this video to the public, what sort of considerations will be taken into account? >> well, ordinarily the main concern when videotapes are released in a pending investigation is you don't want to interfere with witnesses' accounts of what happened because if a witness watches a videotape then his or her account could be molded to what they see on the videotape but that doesn't come into play when you have a sheriff's department executing an arrest warrant in a drug case. because the witnesses primarily are going to be all of those sheriff deputies who were apparently unloading on andrew brown jr. but, i'll tell you, craig, it shouldn't be up to a grieving
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family to watch the videotape and tell us, tell the public, what's on it. it shouldn't be up to a grieving family to have to have their own autopsy performed and then have them give a press conference to tell us that their loved one was shot in the back of the head, how many perforating gunshot wounds there were. it shouldn't be up to the grieving family to do any of this. they didn't take an oath to protect and serve, but the sheriff's department did. those are the people, the sheriff's department, the d.a.'s office, who should be out front telling the public what happened if there's any hope of building trust between the police and the citizens, those responsibilities are on the police. >> glenn kirschner, we'll have to leave it there, eddie glaude, a big thanks to you, and catie beck, on the ground. do keep us posted. i know you're going to stay on top of it, but do let us know if we hear something back from the sheriff or law enforcement here in the next few minutes.
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thanks to all of you. we are going to stay on top of this story. andrew brown jr. in north carolina. we're also keeping an eye on the white house as well. president biden set to make a major announcement today. some new guidance on mask wearing outdoors. what it means for our country as we get back to some semblance of normalcy next. ♪ (ac/dc: back in black) ♪ ♪ ♪ the bowls are back. applebee's irresist-a-bowls all just $8.99. >> tech: every customer has their own safelite story. this couple loves camping adventures and their suv is always there with them. so when their windshield got a chip, they wanted it fixed fast. they drove to safelite autoglass for a guaranteed, same-day, in-shop repair. we repaired the chip before it could crack. and with their insurance, it was no cost to them. >> woman: really?
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just about two hours from now president biden set to announce a major update to this country's covid guidelines. with new recommendations expected on when you need to wear that mask outside. it all comes as more states are loosening their own covid restrictions. nbc's chief white house correspondent kristen welker is there at 1600 pennsylvania ahead of the major announcement. kyle perry has made his way to churchill downs in louisville,
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kentucky. kristen, let me start with you, what's the latest on what we can expect to hear from the president? >> reporter: well, we anticipate that president biden will announce what the cdc is going to announce in just a short while which is that people who are fully vaccinated and are outdoors no longer have to wear masks if they are gathering in small groups. craig, this does not apply to people who are gathering if large groups or if you're gathering if large groups inside. we'll look for the specifics of what the president has to say, but this was something that was signaled by dr. anthony fauci over the weekend when he said i think it's pretty common sense now that the outdoor risk is really, really quite low, particularly if you are a vaccinated person. so that was sort of the tell that this was coming. now we know that 26 states still have mask mandates in place, and we also know that cases of covid are on the rise in about a dozen states all across the country.
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so i anticipate you're going to hear from president biden this is a fight far from finished. i am told he's going to use this speech, craig, to really try to make the case for people to get vaccinated. of course that comes against the backdrop of vaccine hesitancy which has taken root in some parts of the country. now, of course, candidate biden campaigned on a promise to turn the page in the fight against covid. and so i expect that he is going to try to make the case that they're starting to do that as he approaches his 100th day in office. if you talk to the president's allies inside and outside of the white house, they say he will be judged on this single issue, on the fight against covid, on his ability to turn the page on that and on his ability to address the economic crisis as well. and if you look at our latest round of polling it shows right now he's getting pretty high marks in that regard. so, craig, that's what we are anticipating as we await the
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president's big announcement just hours from now. >> all right. our chief white house correspondent kristen welker, thank you. every year, of course, the derby draws tens of thousands. usually more than 100,000 people in louisville. the governor just updated the rules for masks there. what are you hearing from folks on the ground ahead of the race on saturday? >> reporter: the mask thing is highly discussed around the nation, certainly true here in kentucky as well. you mentioned the governor there lessening the restrictions in small groups or outside. here at the track you will still need your mask and europe med almost immediately with the new covid restrictions as you come in. there's a very brief medical questionnaire if you've been with anyone having symptoms. they're trying to keep the capacity down. here at churchill downs we can see 170,000 fans in a normal year. this year more likely around 50,000.
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they're keeping capacity to 20% on the infield which, again, holds 60,000 people. it will be about 20% of that. and the grandstands this year, the price that is included in your ticket will get you concessions. they want less human interactions at the track. almost all the will get you concessions. as for masks, people have varying opinions. we have been talking to people all morning. take a listen. >> the mask mandate, are you good with that? >> at the present time it's to each their own. just like with the vaccine. >> if people feel better about it, it's fine. but i don't like it. i don't like it on my face. #. >> craig, i've beaten you to the punch with fantastic hats. it is the sign that part of the city is returning to normal. even though crowds will be
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smaller, people are quequeed up. doctor, let's start with this new mask guidance expected to come down shortly. how big of a deal is it and do you have any concerns about it? >> craig, look, i am going to quote dr. fauci. the risk of bio transmission outdoors is really minimal. if you are vaccinated and outdoors, it's less. i am fully vaccinated and get tested regularly because of my job. i am of it dense that my risk of transmitting to others is extremely low. when i go running outside, there is no one around me. i have my mask, but i lower it.
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we already know the risk of transmission occurs when you are in close contact over ten minutes without a mask. so i fully agree with low risk of transmission when you are far apart from people outdoors, craig. >> cdc says about 141 million americans so far have gotten at least their first dose. any concerns that these events like what we are seeing at churchilldowns this weekend, indy 500. any concern that these large events and looser restrictions plus the slowing pace of vaccines, that all of that could lead to an uptick in cases and hospitalizations and even death? >> yes, i am concerned.
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i understand the public' desire to get back to normal. where you and i are in new york, the weather is nice and we want to get outdoors. there is a proper way to do it. at the kentucky derby they have pretty good measures in place. asking about symptoms and hopefully they maintain masks. if you incorporate those measures, it reduces the risk of transmission. i heard a gentleman say i don't like a mask. my response as a physician who has seen multiple people get infected and get hospitalized and die, it's not what you like or want, it's about protecting those around you. masks save lives. frankly, it should be mandated. i thought masks should have been mandated months ago.
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>> quickly while i have you, i want to talk about the situation happening in india. 350,000 new infections every day. hospitalizations and deaths soaring. the united states is sending over oxygen and ppe and even some of our own vaccines. explain for listeners why it is in america's best interest to help india smooth their covid crisis beyond the moral imperative. >> thanks for bringing this up. this is a full blown crisis. india has 1.4 billion and is only a third of the land mass of the united states. imagine how densely populated this nation is. 350,000 new infections every day, i promise you that is a
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gross underestimate. they don't have the testing capacity to test that many people. there is widespread infection and several variants spreading across india. those same variants are in 20 other countries including the united states. as you know, craig, india helps the united states early on when the united states was going through its upon democratic. it is the right thing to do, for the united states to help. i commend the biden administration for helping. but india is the largest supplier and manufacturer of vaccines and the largest exporters of doctors. >> also the largest democracy. thank you for joining us, dr. roy. that's going to do it for me
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in washington where we expect michelle in a few moments to lift masks in most outdoor settings. the result of this is from a vaccine effort. more than 140 million americans have at least one dose. but a new challenge. a decrease across the nation in vaccination shots. down nearly 20% in the recent seven-day average. bringing up question whether the covid curse will ever completely about brought to an end at home. welcome to you both. kristen for weeks there have been medical experts it outing the safety of


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