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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Derek Chauvin Awaits Sentencing As Policing Story Broadens; More Body Camera Video Released Tied To Fatal Police Shooting Of Black Teen Who Appears To Be Lunging At Others With A Knife; Fate Of Federal Police Reform Bill Unclear, As States Push Anti-Riot Bills; Teen With "A Cell Phone And Sheer Guts" Is Credited For Derek Chauvin's Murder Conviction; Biden: U.S. Hits 200 Million Vaccine Doses In His First 100 Days. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 21, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. We begin tonight with a picture that too many will look like justice. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's booking photo released today wearing prison orange, not police blue. He is being held separated for his own safety from the general population at a maximum security facility where he awaits sentencing.
Yet, for all that photo represents it's neither the final word in his story, and/or certainly in the larger one. There'll be sentencing in June for him, the trial with three other officers in August, and now this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, I am announcing that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing.
Most of our nation's law enforcement officers do their difficult jobs honorably and lawfully. I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that so-called pattern and practice investigation will look at some of the same statistics that we reviewed today. A CNN analysis showing that police in Minneapolis use force against black people at a highly disproportionate rate.
In addition to everything that connected to the George Floyd killing, there's the investigation into the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright just outside the city. His funeral is tomorrow.
Right now, tension is rising in the wake of the fatal police shooting in Columbus, Ohio of a teenage girl, it happened within minutes of the Chauvin verdict and we should be clear upfront, every incident is unique and not every use of deadly force by police is as clear cut or as clearly wrong as it was in the murder of George Floyd.
That said, whatever the final determination on it is, it is clearly a family tragedy. And it is for the moment being drawn into the larger sweep of events. That sweep includes negotiations now underway over Federal police reform legislation. We will speak with a lawmaker about that.
In addition, there's backlash building primarily in red states with state legislatures passing laws, cracking down on protesters, and in one state, even absolving drivers who hit them. So there's a lot to cover tonight.
Just ahead, we will also speak with filmmaker, Spike Lee, on this moment where it sits with what Dr. King called the long arc of the moral universe. Right now, in her first interview since Derek Chauvin was convicted, George Floyd's sister, Bridgett.
Bridgett, thank you for being with us. It has been a little more than 24 hours now since the verdict was read. How are you? How are your family doing?
BRIDGETT FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S SISTER: Thank you for having me. I'm holding up a little better than I was. A little peace and just a little bit of joy.
We had -- we had a guilty verdict, but the thought that is in the back of my mind is really how much time will they give this officer?
COOPER: You're concerned about that? Obviously, prosecutors have asked for aggravated or have argued that there are aggravating circumstances which would add more time to the mandatory or even the minimum sentence that Chauvin could receive by the verdict. For you, what would justice be?
B. FLOYD: Justice will be for Derek to get the max sentence of each charge. That's justice for me.
COOPER: You know, as you and your family know better than anyone, guilty verdicts against police officers are very rare. Did you, yesterday morning think that he would be found guilty on all three counts?
B. FLOYD: You know, I believe in the man of above very, very strongly. And I gave it to Him and I tried to let it go. The reason why I say that is because I still worry a little bit about what would happen because this is very, very rare. This has not happened in a long time or close to not at all.
And so I was just on the edge of my seat yesterday.
COOPER: Do you believe this is a -- the beginning of further change in this country?
B. FLOYD: Yes, I do believe that. My brother has made an impact on the world going forward. Yes. COOPER: And there are a lot of families who have experienced this kind
of grief tragically who will experience it in the future no matter what happens in the days and the months and the years ahead.
You know, sometimes people talk about closure and I always think that's a word that kind of is just made it like a TV word. It doesn't really -- for somebody who is lost somebody, that pain never goes away, it never closes up. It may -- a scar may, you know, scar over -- a wound may scar over, but it never fully, fully heals. What would your message be to other people going through or scared about their loved one, meeting the fate that George Floyd did?
B. FLOYD: To the families that have been through this, that are going through this. Keep the faith. Keep the faith and hold on and pray because prayer changes things. And I want to also let the families know that did not get justice for their loved one.
George Floyd, my brother sacrificed his life that day and we not only got justice yesterday for him, but we got justice for all families, all families that did not get justice for their loved ones and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
COOPER: Bridgett Floyd, I appreciate you speaking with us. Thank you.
B. FLOYD: Thank you.
COOPER: Let's get some more perspective -- legal perspective now from our CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor Laura Coates; also CNN political commentator, former Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez, who is significantly for us tonight, the former head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and former Assistant Attorney General.
Laura, so the case -- the Chauvin case is still far from over, sentencing is in eight weeks. What do you expect the prosecution and the defense to do to prepare for that? What legal tools do they have at their disposal?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the next step is those aggravating factors you spoke about just now, Anderson. The idea of the -- really, three things: the power dynamic of having it be an officer to a civilian, it happened in front of children, George Floyd being particularly vulnerable at the time this actually happened as well.
All of those things contribute to the prosecution, asking the judge to go above what's called the presumptive sentence of about 12 and a half years on that highest charge. Sentencing guidelines essentially say, look, we have a range of possibilities even when you have a maximum of 40 or 25 or 10 years, the Judge has a lot of discretion in there.
And people who do not have a criminal history or a background, which you would assume from a now former police officer are going to fall on a range that is going to be much lower than that, but the judge can move it up. So you're going to have an interview by somebody who will conduct kind
of an investigation or an interview with Derek Chauvin, will have a chance to talk about whether he is remorseful, whether he has other factors that may take into consideration for a holistic rehabilitation while he is in prison, and then they're going to come back and actually have the actual sentence.
So we're about eight weeks away, and mind you, within 60 days, they can also appeal.
COOPER: Secretary Perez, as I mentioned, you used to be head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. Can you walk us through what you expect this Federal investigation into Minneapolis policing to look like in terms of resources, timeline, its potential to actually, you know, achieve change?
TOM PEREZ, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, absolutely. I participated in supervised dozens of these investigations and I think they are really important in changing culture.
Criminal prosecutions, Anderson, are a necessary, but insufficient condition of justice. In a pattern and practice investigation, a team of lawyers and experts, former Police Chiefs, use of force experts, accountability experts will come in. They will interview everybody. They will conduct a soup to nuts investigation of their hiring practices, use of force policies, training policies, are there early warning systems?
One question that jumps off the page at me is how could Derek Chauvin, if he had over two dozen uses of force, why wasn't there an early warning system in place to say, is there something wrong with this officer?
These are the types of things that they will look at, and they will talk to the community. The community will have a seat at the table. It's a critically important seat at the table.
They will interview over a hundred different stakeholders. I guarantee you because I did New Orleans, I did Seattle. I did big cases. And that's how you do it.
They will leave no stone unturned and then they will produce what's called a letter of findings, which will address all of the issues that we are looking at: use of force, hiring, training, accountability, and that document will be made public and the community will have an opportunity to take a look at it.
And I think at the end of the day here, what will end up taking place is you will have what's called a Consent Decree. It will be an agreement, a court enforceable agreement that will contain the blueprint for reform and that -- this is not going to happen overnight. This is going to take a while, but I have seen reform happen.
[20:10:14] PEREZ: I saw it in LA. I prosecuted an LAPD officer, Anderson, pre-
Rodney King. That place was a cesspool when I was involved, and because of this pattern and practice authority, a decade later, there were a lot of reforms undertaken that helped to improve dramatically the LAPD. It can be done, it won't be easy. There's a lot of skepticism, but it can be done.
COOPER: Laura, I mean, the Minneapolis Police Chief got credit from legal observers for testifying against Derek Chauvin. How do you square that with Attorney General Garland looking into whether there may be -- and I am quoting -- "unconstitutional or unlawful policing" in the department in a systemic way? Where does the buck stop in that kind of a situation?
COATES: Well, remember, these Consent Decrees and discussions are considered voluntary and they are often negotiated, and the jurisdictions that have this sort of investigation imposed upon them really have the choice of either being obstinate or cooperative and actually being able to move the needle to have that trust gap narrow between itself and the community.
Chief Arredondo spoke about this, essentially, when he was testifying and in other instances about the symbiotic relationship of police officers and the community. If there is no trust, it exponentially increases the difficulty of the officer's job, and of course, the community does not feel safe, does not have an ally and has nowhere to turn.
And so there is a vested interest in these sort of amicable proceedings you're talking about. Although it is court enforced later by a Federal Court, every step that is taken, the discussions, the ability to be transparent, will be on full display in order for them to negotiate a way to have measurable change and remember, it is an independent monitor that will actually oversee all of these things.
You do have both transparency and approach to accountability and you have an independent stakeholder who is able to oversee it all.
So you can square the two in the sense that Chief Arredondo and other officers and other police communities, remember, Derek Chauvin in this instance, they made a point in the testimony to show this was not one of us, this was a 10-foot pole distancing of somebody, not a part of us, the prosecution called a noble profession. So you can square both.
COOPER: And --
PEREZ: Anderson, I prosecuted a lot of police misconduct cases. I never had a Police Chief testify in my case. So the fact that Chief Arredondo testified, I thought was a significant part of that case and the fact that he is cooperating is a good sign and it gives me hope that they can square this and move forward in a collaborative way.
COOPER: Interesting, Tom, in terms of what the Federal government can actually -- know, what sort of changes we're actually talking about. I mean, in the past, what is it -- changes in the hiring practices, training of officers? PEREZ: It is the whole nine yards. It is hiring practices. If you have
defective hiring practices, so you're bringing on the wrong people, then you're setting it up for failure from the outset.
I mentioned early warning systems. When we investigated the Seattle Police Department, we found that an overwhelming percentage of uses of force, something like 85 or 90 percent involved something like 15 or 20 officers, a very small percentage of the police department, but they weren't tracking that. So one of the remedies in this case is going to be the establishment.
I guarantee of viable early warning systems. If they had been in place, George Floyd might be alive today. They will put in place new accountability mechanisms, because clearly, people -- officers in Minneapolis who have done wrong have not been held accountable. And so you need new systems of accountability that will give the community a voice as well.
And I think those -- these are examples of remedies that will be court enforceable and I think really impactful.
COOPER: You know, Laura, the defense chose to have the sentence decided by the Judge instead of the jury. A, why do you think that is? And would you expect to hear from Derek Chauvin during sentencing?
COATES: Well, yes. We will hear from him, I believe, either through the report that will be written about him in response to his answers about remorse, about other factors or conditions that would help with them deciding what rehabilitative aspects are part of his actual punishment.
But also, he has an opportunity to speak in court and say, as his really last ditch effort for leniency for a judge to say, here is who I am, here is what I've done. Here's how I feel about it. He could make an overture to the victim's family as well. They may have an opportunity to make an impact statement where they can talk about the weight of this particular crime.
It will be his last chance to actually bend the ear of the Judge in a way that he wasn't -- he chose not to do when it came to an actual trial. This is an opportunity for him to do so.
But in terms of, you know, the idea of why you do this and why this is so impactful, and why you ask for a Judge to do as opposed to a jury. Listen, juries, although they were from the community, they have oftentimes a very skewed notion of what a heinous crime looks like.
We all know we saw the horrific nature of that crime, but judges have had, unfortunately, a larger volume of cases of those sorts of horrors, not the same analogy, but they have seen a very broad spectrum.
COATES: And so because of that, they may, according to the defendant have a different perspective, a more lenient perspective. They may have a scale in their minds of the most heinous crime they've seen, getting the maximum and figuring out on where this particular case, where it falls on the scale.
And so, they will look to the judge to offer that what the jury would not give.
COOPER: Laura Coates, Tom Perez, I appreciate it. Thank you.
PEREZ: My pleasure.
COOPER: Coming up next week, what filmmaker Spike Lee makes of this moment, where it fits into a history he has documented on screen.
Later, to Ohio, a new video released of an officer involved shooting there. What it shows and a conversation about whether the use of force was appropriate.
COOPER: "We had a guilty verdict, but ..." those were the words just a moment ago of George Floyd sister, Bridgett. They speak to a moment that's being held by many as significant in the struggle for racial justice in this country.
All the same, the murder conviction of Derek Chauvin is also being cited as a reminder, that the justice in the larger sense is never fully done. That's the way it's worked at virtually every point along the Civil Rights journey.
It is a road the filmmaker, Spike Lee has traveled in both his cinematic and documentary work. The fact that he has never softened his gaze along the way makes his perspective especially welcome tonight.
Spike, when you woke up yesterday morning, did you believe it would be guilty on all three counts?
SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: No. As you know, Anderson, I'm a great sports fan. And too many times, I've celebrated victories before the clock ran out or the ref blew the whistle. So I was hoping for the best, but at the same time, I was not doing the end zone dance.
COOPER: When you heard the verdict, what went through your mind?
LEE: I was happy, elated, happy for the Floyd family, but then, like flicking the switch, I heard that the Judge was going to be the one that handed out the sentencing.
So the jury got it right, but we don't know what this judge -- the judge is one person, not 12 people. So that's where people are going to be looking at that decision very carefully, and then Anderson, to find out late last night that a beautiful young black sister, 16 years old, Ma'Khia Bryant was killed, shot by the cops in Columbus, Ohio shortly before the verdict came down. And Anderson, I just don't understand how they train cops when to use
the Taser, and when to use your Glock.
COOPER: When you saw Derek Chauvin being handcuffed, being walked out and going to a correctional facility. That image, I mean, it was a very powerful image. I'm wondering what you thought of it.
LEE: Very powerful, but I didn't see the handcuffs being put on. I just saw him with his hands behind his head. I mean, hands behind his body. I said, why are they doing that? Then I saw the wide shot with the police officer behind him, and then I saw he said a little something to his attorney, but he did not spent last night at home. That's for sure.
COOPER: You know, throughout history obviously and even recent history, black people across this country have rarely seen consequences when police have committed crimes in their community. Derek Chauvin, yes, was convicted. There are so many others who came before him who were not.
When we talk about accountability and justice, what to you does that look like moving forward and how optimistic are you?
LEE: Well, brother Daunte was killed recently in Minneapolis. That's the thing that got me. How can anyone knowing that the trial is going on in Minneapolis for brother George Floyd and you kill somebody else?
Well I mean, it should have been in her mind like this has already happened here. And she is acting like with total disregard and said, I shot him, and a profanity, but officers, it is my understanding. You put your weapon on your, you know, whatever hand you are, and the Taser on the other side. And the Taser is lighter and a different shade, it is yellow, then your Glock or whatever, a firearm, but how can you get it mixed up?
COOPER: Today, the Attorney General announced plans by the Justice Department to open a Federal investigation into policing in Minneapolis. Do you have confidence that something like that can really bring about some change?
LEE: Yes, but why just Minneapolis? Let's not stop there.
Anderson, a lot of the great things this country has done has been through the judicial system, '64 Civil Rights Act, and all, and this George -- what is very important to me is this George Floyd Act, you know, that the President and Vice President talked about last night, so I think that we could -- that's how we're going to have the get -- move forward, through the courts. That's why these Supreme Court appointees, and, you know, Asia, orange, stack them, so all this stuff is tied in together, I think.
COOPER: Yesterday, when I heard the verdict and then the hours after, I was thinking about it, I kept thinking just back to the history of this country and all the people who were not videotaped, all the people who would never have the President calling their family members and saying I'm sorry for their loss, all those, you know, black and brown people, Asian people, gay people, so many people who have been, who have died in silence are murdered in the dark and disappeared and history doesn't even record their names, and just the horror of that.
LEE: Anderson, there's a reason why I chose to wear this hat with you today because of my ancestors who landed in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 and they were lucky, the ones -- who knows how many millions who didn't even make it through the Middle Passage?
Let's be honest, this -- the history of this country is flowing blood of Native Americans who their land was bogarted, relegated to kill off the buffalo, relegated to -- I mean, I don't need to call them reservations, I am going to call them concentration camps and slavery of the Africans that were bought in. That's how this country was built on the genocide of the Native people, stealing the land and slavery. That is the foundation of this country.
COOPER: Spike Lee, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
LEE: Anytime for you, my man. Anytime.
COOPER: Just ahead, the investigation we mentioned earlier into the police shooting of a black 16-year-old girl in Ohio. This happened right before the Chauvin jury announced his decision yesterday, but with key differences in the two cases.
We're going to show you the video and examine whether the use of force was justified, when we continue.
COOPER: At the top of the broadcast, we mentioned a police shooting of a black teenage girl in Columbus, Ohio happened just before the jury's decision in the Chauvin trial, one reason it's gotten so much attention perhaps. However, the questions about the use of force here are four different as the young girl was seen threatening others with a knife.
Athena Jones had the details along with new body camera video. A warning, so my concern the image is difficult to watch.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New videos released in the case of Ma'Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old black girl in Columbus, Ohio shot by police after they say she attempted to stab two people with a knife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to stab us. One of them is trying to put her hands on our Grandma. Get in her now.
JONES (voice-over): Upon receiving that chaotic 911 call, officers were dispatched to the scene. Police say they still don't know the identity of the caller. Police body cam footage shows Officer Nicholas Reardon approaching a group of individuals in the driveway outside at home.
NICHOLAS REARDON, POLICE OFFICER: What's going on? Hey, what's going on? Hey, hey, hey. (INAUDIBLE).
JONES (voice-over): The video shows Bryant appearing to push one person to the ground and then lunging at another person in pink with what appears to be a knife in her hand. Officer Reardon then fires four shots killing Bryant. Franklin County Children's Services says Bryant was a foster child in the county's care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
JONES (voice-over): Tonight, newly released body cam videos from two additional officers show the moments after the shooting as well. Officers can be seen performing life saving measures on Bryant and sealing off the scene. Officer Reardon, who police identified as firing the fatal shots has been a member of the Columbus Police Department since 2019. Police say he is unpaid administrative leave while an independent investigation takes place.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the killing was a failure of the community.
ANDREW GINTHER, MAYOR COLUMBUS OH: The fact that we had a 16-year-old girl armed and involved with physical violence with other folks in that community. That's something for us to look in the mirror and to say what are we doing or not doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Find the defendant guilty.
JONES (voice-over): The shooting happened about 30 minutes before the guilty verdict was delivered for the murder of George Floyd. At a time when police use of force around the nation and then Columbus specifically is under renewed scrutiny.
GINTHER: That we'll be sharing more and the hours, days weeks ahead. That doesn't compromise the investigation because it's critically important for us, for the public to have the information that we have so we can be transparent as possible.
COOPER: And Athena Jones joins us now. Athena, has the officer or the Police Union released a statement?
JONES: Anderson, no, we've reached out to -- CNN has reached out to Officer Reardon and the Police Union, we haven't heard back so far. But there's one thing I want to stress and that is that both the mayor and the interim police chief we're really emphasizing transparency today.
We know that the police department worked swiftly to get that first initial police body camera footage out last night, Interim Chief Michael Woods saying that his goal is to get as much information out to the public as possible as quickly as possible. This was especially important last night because there were videos taken by bystanders that were already circulating on social media causing outrage. Anderson.
COOPER: Athena Jones, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Want to get perspective now from Charles Ramsey who was led police departments in Washington and Philadelphia, and a CNN law enforcement analyst. Chief Ramsey, when you look at the video, and again, it is early, but how do you view it?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, let me start by saying that any loss of life is tragic. There's absolutely no question about this. And in this case is no different. But when I look at it, I look at it from the viewpoint of whether or not the actions of the officer were reasonable. He's responding to a scene of a fight.
He sees one young lady, push another one down. Can't really tell if she pushed her a cutter or what have you, but then she goes immediately after the young lady in the pink. She has a knife in her hand, she actually raises that overhead in a motion that is very, I think, obvious that her intent was to stab. The officer drew his weapon and he fired. In my opinion, that was a reasonable use of force.
COOPER: Some people might see the tape wonder why the officer wouldn't try to use a taser or another --
COOPER: -- non-lethal tactic? Can you kind of walk us through, you know, the split-second thinking again, because this all happens from the moment he gets out of the vehicle? I mean, this thing just escalates immediately.
RAMSEY: Well, first of all, you know, a taser is a great weapon. There's no question about that. But when you've got a situation where someone is being immediately threatened with death or great bodily harm, then, you know, would you go to the taser or would you really try to stop the threat to save the life of the individual who's being threatened. I mean, you know, you don't shoot the one young lady, she stabs the other one and she dies. I mean, it's a no win situation, this is a very tough situation.
The other thing I would mention in terms of a taser, if you know how tasers operate, and look at the distance there from the where the officer standing to where the suspect is with a knife, when you fire a taser, two prongs that come out, they both have to strike the subject, they both have to.
Otherwise, you can't get to the electricity will not discharge into the body, which is what actually causes the muscles to tighten up and for the person to react to it. That's pretty good distance that he's got there.
The only thing I would say for the officer, he took a chance by firing a shot in that he's so close to the lady in pink there. But he had no other alternative in my mind, other than to take some action because of what was going on. The young lady who was shot was clearly the aggressor in this case. There's no question about that.
COOPER: Suddenly, like a taser it can -- it looked like the person who was shot was wearing a sweatshirt, a black sweatshirt --
COOPER: Can that go through a sweatshirt?
RAMSEY: That could have been a problem. It may or may not, it depends. I know in the winter time, it can be less effective than in the summertime because it's got to actually strike the skin in order for the electricity to be conducted through the body.
And so, I mean, look how fast is happening. I mean, the minute he gets on the scene, you've got one young lady who's being pushed to the ground at the time, he didn't probably didn't know whether or not she was stabbed or pushed, the young lady who was shot has a knife in her hand clearly visible.
And this is not a small pocket knife, she pushes the other girl against the car, she actually puts herself in a defensive position, assuming she's going to get stabbed. And that's when the officer fire was once she, the offender, rear back with the knife, as if she's going to come in a downward motion, which would then stab the individual. And it doesn't take long to inflict multiple stab wounds.
So, it's tragic, it's unfortunate, but sometimes, you know, these things happen. And every time an officer uses force, it doesn't mean that it's criminal, or that it's inappropriate.
COOPER: It is interesting, because, again, it just to me, so many of these videos are well, I shouldn't speak broadly like that. But this video is just from the time he gets out of the vehicle to the time the altercation is right in front of him, had he paused and not acted or not. As you said, we don't know what would have happened. The woman in pink --
COOPER: -- the woman in pink could have been stabbed and killed. What would people think saying then? What would the --
COOPER: -- it's, you know, again, these are all hypotheticals.
RAMSEY: It's a no win.
COOPER: We don't know. RAMSEY: It's a no win. Because then we'd be having a conversation. And so why didn't he act? And how did he allow this one person to stab and kill the other one? And so, it's a no win situation? It really is. But in this case, I think that the use of force -- deadly force in this case was reasonable on the part of the officer.
COOPER: Yes. Well, hopefully in the coming days we'll learn more about the incident. Charles Ramsey. Appreciate it. We're going to continue the discussion about race and law enforcement.
Next, a Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee is going to join us talk about the fate of the police reform bill at Congress. And why state Republicans across the country are pushing anti-riot bills in response to Black Lives Matter protests.
COOPER: Well, Congress tries to work out a police reform bill they can get 60 votes in the Senate. State GOP legislators appear to be focused more on sidelining Black Lives Matter protesters. New York Times reports one study that says Republican lawmakers in 34 states have introduced 81 anti-protest bills in the wake of those protests, more than twice the normal level.
According to the Times legislators in Oklahoma and Iowa pass bills granting immunity to some drivers who strike and injure protesters in public streets and Florida's governor had signed into law an anti- protest bill that among other things, turn some misdemeanors into felonies. These actions plus rhetoric from people like Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is acquitted Black Lives Matters with terrorism only complicates police reform.
I'm joined now by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who sits on the Judiciary Committee. Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. Yesterday's verdict clearly was received by many Americans as a step in the right direction. But what do you make of all these state level efforts by Republicans to restrict the ability of people to protest?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Anderson, thanks for having me this evening. You know, I've spent time over the years that I've been dealing with police reform, just looking at the long roll call list of black Americans, men and women who've suffered violence at the hands of police officers.
Frankly, these legislatures are engaging in distraction, and smoke and mirrors and really it is tragic when life and lives have been lost. We have been engaged in trying to stop the bloodshed. And certainly, we are very cognizant of police community relationships.
For us to be serious about this Anderson, we can spend time making a mockery of the sacrifice of Black Lives Matter the work they've done. The young people they brought together, the pain that they felt and have this kind of legislation and yet can't move more quickly the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act which by the way, there are many such bills have similarly been filed in state legislatures. I wonder why those bills have not been pushed.
COOPER: You know, it's, I mean, how does one move forward with police reform in Congress when you have members of Congress, like the QAnon curious Marjorie Taylor Greene, who call Black Lives Matter, and I'm quoting, the strongest terrorist threat in our country, unquote, which is just, I mean, on its face rather absurd. Whose office, you know, her office then, you know, floated and tried to backtrack from this idea of a so-called America First Caucus. How do you get things done?
JACKSON LEE: Well, you look at reality and you look at facts. As you well know, the insurrectionists we're here on January 6, that many of us still feel the pain of because of the attack on the citadel of democracy, clearly was announced as white supremacists, domestic terrorists, provoked by then President Trump.
Clearly those are facts. So we don't deal in smoke and mirrors here in the United States Congress. Certainly, any member has a right to utilize the First Amendment. But right now, we have very serious work to do. And I think members have their heads sort of in the idea of negotiating and trying to come up with a non-watered-down George Floyd, Justice and Policing Act.
The bill that was written here in the House, Anderson, really meets the standard for all the elements that have caused a tragic loss of life from no knock warrants, to choke holes, to excessive force, to the idea of what communities need. We even look to providing funding for communities to reimagine policing, at the same time, look forward to improving an ending police misconduct by training.
So, comments that are appeared distractions and false. We know that we've gotten great comments as it relates to the bill from the president and vice president. We are working on it in judiciary, it's being worked on in the Senate. There are negotiations that are ongoing, and we stay focused on that.
I think what a point that should be made is tomorrow, tragically, is a funeral of Daunte Wright. This week, I met his family in Minneapolis when we were there for the closing arguments. You can't help but feel the pain of these families and those who have unsettled, unsettled cases still languishing tragically. They lost their child to police. I call it misconduct, like Tamir Rice and of course, Breonna Taylor, and Pamela Turner.
So, we're going to focus, there are some differences in positions with Republicans and Democrats on this bill. I think that we can convince more colleagues in this backdrop of this court decision, where Americans decided that an Officer Chauvin deserved to be found guilty on all three counts. That should propel members of Congress to say where America is, and we should do the right thing with this legislation.
COOPER: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, appreciate it. Thank you.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you for having me. COOPER: Coming up, a closer look at the Minneapolis teenager who recorded that cell phone video Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, murdering him, shared it online literally changed the course of conversation (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: When a teenager named Darnella Frazier hit record on her cell phone camera nearly a year ago last May as George Floyd was gasping for breath outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis. Little did she know the impact her actions and the video would ultimately have? She posted it online not only did it change the course of the conversation in this country about policing and people of color, it's fair to argue that it changed history as well.
The curator at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Ann Marie Lipinski, put it this way in a tweet. As the prosecutors congratulate each other thinking of young Darnella Frazier, there is no case without her. The video record she made is one of the most important civil rights documents in a generation.
Our Randi Kaye has more and first warning some of the videos graphic and is difficult to watch.
DARNELLA FRAZIER, RECORDED FLOYD MURDER ON CELLPHONE: I heard George Floyd saying I can't breathe. Please. Get off of me. I can breathe. He cried for his mom. He was in pain.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That's the voice of Darnella Frazier, testifying in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The cell phone video she took it the scene and then posted online was seen by millions around the globe.
The world needed to see what I was seeing she told the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis at the time. Darnella kept recording for 10 minutes, Derek Chauvin with his knee to George Floyd's neck. Darnella kept recording. George Floyd pleading for help and taking his final breath. Darnella kept recording.
Remarkable composure for a high school student who was just 17, yet there she stood on the corner of 38th Street in Chicago Avenue South in her blue pants, hoodie and flip flops. She hit record because as she told the Star Tribune, stuff like this happens in silence too many times. At the trial, Darnella would not be silenced as she and her video became star witnesses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you observe Mr. Floyd do anything that you felt was threatening to any of the police officers?
KAYE (voice-over): Unlike the officer she had videotaped, this teenager knew the difference between right and wrong.
FRAZIER: He wasn't right.
KAYE (voice-over): Her video changed the narrative and torpedo the Minneapolis Police Department's initial and misleading statement about George Floyd's death being the result of a medical incident during policing direction.
GEORGE FLOYD, VICTIM: Please, please, please. I can't breathe.
KAYE (voice-over): After Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder, Darnella took to Facebook overcome with emotion. I just cried so hard, she wrote, adding, George Floyd we did it. Justice has been served. Her bravery inspired Pen America, a nonprofit focused on freedom of expression to give her an award for her courage. Anita Hill who took on then Supreme Court Justice Nominee, Clarence Thomas praised her.
ANITA HILL, LAWYER: Your quick thinking and bravery under immense pressure has made the world safer and more just.
FRAZIER: I never would imagine, out of my whole 17 years of living that this will be me.
KAYE (voice-over): The NAACP in North Carolina where George Floyd was born, released a statement saying Darnella Frazier's video will go down in history, comparing it to the brooder film which captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Despite all the attention and praise for Darnella Frazier, hitting the record button wasn't just for George Floyd. In him, she saw those she loved.
FRAZIER: I have a black father, I have a black brother, I have black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them.
KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.
COOPER: More news ahead tonight. Coming up, what President Biden is saying about his goal to get 200 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in arms in his first 100 days.
COOPER: President Biden says his administration has met his goal of 200 million adult Americans receiving a dose of the COVID vaccine in his first 100 days. In fact, the CDC is saying tonight that nearly 216 million doses have been given across the country, a seven-day average of about 3 million a day. So, a little more than 40 percent of all adult Americans receiving at least one dose of vaccine, among senior the numbers nearly 81 percent have received one dose and 66 percent are now fully vaccinated. [21:00:06]
The President said he also added more incentive he called on businesses to give employees paid time off to get the vaccine announced he would give nonprofits and small businesses a tax credit to offset the cost.
The news continues right now. Let's hand it over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.