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Brown Family Attorney Says Andrew Brown Jr.'s Death Was An Execution; GOP Faces Choice Between Trump's Big Lie On The 2020 Election And Reality; Sources: President Biden Expected To Announce New CDC Guidance On Wearing Masks Outdoors Tomorrow; NYPD Investigating Assault Against 61-Year-Old Asian Man; Critics Of Gov. Gavin Newsom Gather Enough Signatures To Force Recall Election. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 26, 2021 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Right. Well, in a two-party system, you need both parties to be viable, or else you end up with one agenda, and most people don't want one agenda.


BURNETT: So, all right, thank you very much, John. I appreciate it.

And thanks to all of you for joining us. "AC360" with Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. The live pictures of protests in Elizabeth City, North Carolina tell the story. If authorities there want to establish transparency and accountability in the wake of the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown, Jr. by local Sheriff's Deputies last week, they seem to be coming up short so far. If on the other hand, they intend to increase suspicion surrounding the incident, fuel anger and raise tensions, they succeeded today.

According to family attorneys, as many as eight body cams may have captured the shooting, which happened as Deputies were serving an arrest warrant on Brown. However, today the family was only shown 20 seconds of footage from a single body camera. What's more, they say even that brief clip was enough to demonstrate that he posed no threat when he was shot and killed according to family members.


CHANTEL CHERRY-LASSITER, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Let's be clear, this was an execution.

Andrew Brown was in his driveway. The Sheriff locked him in his driveway so he could not exit his driveway.

Andrew had his hands on his steering wheel. He was not reaching for anything. He wasn't touching anything, he wasn't throwing anything around, he had his hands firmly on the steering wheel.

They run up to his vehicle, shooting.

He still stood there -- sat there in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel while being shot at.


COOPER: In a moment, we're going to talk to another family attorney and also Andrew Brown, Jr.'s son, Khalil.

First, CNN's Brian Todd live in Elizabeth City. So, what's the latest where you are?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the crowd has taken to the streets again to express their disappointment, their anger at the fact that the County Attorney, Michael Cox only allowed the family to see that 20-second clip of the Sheriff's Deputies body camera video.

They are frustrated here. They are angry. But they've been very, very peaceful tonight as they have been for the past five nights. What's interesting, you played that clip by Chantel Lassiter, the family attorney. She told us separately that when that 20-second clip began that they viewed, the shooting had already started. They believe the shooting has already started when they saw that 20-second clip.

I also asked her how many -- about how many Deputies do you think were surrounding his car? She said at least six or seven.

So we're getting some details from them, but again, the family and these people out here are very, very upset at the fact that the local County Attorney in their view has not been transparent. They call it disrespect that he has not shown the community the respect that they deserve in trying to get more of this footage released to the public and more released so that the family can see more of what happened.

Clearly, as you saw the news conference this afternoon, this family and their representatives are very, very upset with how this unfolded.

We've tried to contact Michael Cox, the County Attorney for response to their criticism. He has not gotten back to us -- Anderson.

COOPER: And police have released very little information about what their version of events is. What are authorities saying about the possibility, I mean, about releasing more information? Are they -- obviously with the possibility of any kind of unrest, I assume they are concerned about?

TODD: Well, Anderson, they have declared a state of emergency in case, you know, there is more unrest -- or there is any unrest. I've got to say, there really has not been unrest. There's been no violence. There's been no looting. Nothing like that.

Five nights, this is the sixth night we've been out here. The previous five nights, it has been very, very peaceful, very well organized, and the community here determined to keep it that way, so --

So, this is the kind of mood that they're in. Again, they are determined to be peaceful, but they want that footage out there. The community expressing the same sentiment. But the Brown family attorneys are -- you know, petitions will be in front of the Judge in the next few days, media petitions and others. We're going to see if that pressure to release this footage really comes to fruition.

COOPER: Where are marchers headed tonight?

TODD: Well, they say that they want to go to the home of the Pasquotank County attorney, Michael Cox. They're gathering up ahead of us now. See, Ralph, if you can swing your camera around, we can see they're gathering in front of a home. We don't know if this is his home or not. But they say they want to go to his home and show him exactly how they feel.

They have stopped here on this side street off the main drive, and they're just chatting Andrew Brown's name.

And again, it's not clear if this is the home of the county attorney or not, but they are -- they're just determined to walk through the streets and express how they're feeling tonight.

Again, very, very peaceful, passionate, spirited, but peaceful throughout this evening, Anderson and the past five nights as well.


COOPER: Brian Todd, appreciate it. We'll check in with you throughout the night.

Coming up next, let's hear from Andrew Brown Jr.'s son, Khalil Ferebee, also Brown family, Harry Daniels.

Khalil, how are you and your family doing after seeing that video today?

KHALIL FEREBEE, SON OF ANDREW BROWN, JR.: We're heartbroken. You know, we got a little bit of evidence, but that wasn't enough for us.

COOPER: Mr. Daniels, I understand -- were members of the family or their attorneys given any explanation why only 20 seconds of the body cam video was shown?

HARRY DANIELS, ATTORNEY TO BROWN FAMILY: No, Anderson. We received -- I asked a question, how long would the video be, and the county attorney Michael Cox from Pasquotank said that they are showing the pertinent parts, but only 20 seconds they believe was pertinent.

Before the video started, it appears that the officers or Deputies already started firing and Mr. Brown had his hands on the steering column. So, they -- no explanation whatsoever as to why they decided to give 20 seconds of the shooting.

COOPER: So, you said basically your father was in the vehicle with his hands -- were they on the steering wheel or the steering column?

FEREBEE: The steering wheel. COOPER: And did you have a sense of how many officers were involved in


FEREBEE: In the video, I've seen about six or seven.

COOPER: And in the video, can you tell what the 20 seconds -- I mean, what happened in those 20 seconds?

FEREBEE: Starting in the video, I heard shots fired. And it was pretty -- it was pretty much clear that he was trying to get away instead of engaging in any officers. He was trying to get away and they just kept firing.

DANIELS: Yes, Anderson, for description, we actually had a lawyer in the room, Miss Chantel Lassiter, and she took very detailed notes. And her position was that Mr. Brown, he was under fire and he was trying to -- he wasn't fleeing. The first reports came out he was fleeing. He was trying to save his life.

But interesting enough, during that time, he was conscious. He is not that he was trying to injure the officers, but they were still trying to gun him down. He was trying to get away, fight or flight, conscious enough not to try to injure the officers and they still was trying to gun him down.

COOPER: When you say kind --

DANIELS: Unacceptable. It is unjust.

COOPER: So, I am sorry, when you say conscious to not injure the officers, in what way did that become apparent?

DANIELS: He clearly drove around them away from them, because he could have drove toward them. He drove away from them to ensure he don't injure any officers. However, it didn't -- they didn't care. They had a target. They had a mark. And it was, they had to execute that mark and that's exactly -- that's exactly what they did.

This is unjust, this is probably the worst of the worst.

COOPER: Authorities said they delayed showing Mr. Brown's family the body cam footage because they needed more time to redact the video saying they wanted to blur images of some of the faces in the footage.

Do you know why that would be necessary? And what is your next move to get access to the video?

DANIELS: Anderson, I have practiced Criminal Defense Law. I've seen plenty of videos, body cameras, you may redact minor or innocent bystanders or pertinent or sensitive information. I have never seen officers' faces redacted. Never.

The sole purpose is protect their officers. One purpose and one purpose only, but I can tell you, Mr. Brown's face was not redacted at all. Our next step is petition the court to the immediate release of all

the video footage, not 20 seconds. They want to talk about a redaction, to me, it was a pretty much deletion with the exception of 20 seconds and for the courts to order the county to release all video footage, the public should know and more importantly, Khalil and his siblings and the family should know what happened to his father.

That is -- you cannot heal until you know what happened. They showed him. What he saw was lawful shooting. That's what he saw, a killing of his father, execution of his father.

COOPER: Well, Mr. Daniels, has authorities, I mean at today's meeting or at any time really given any indication as to why they say Mr. Brown was shot? I mean, did they say Mr. Brown anytime posed a threat to the police? Did you get any further explanation from them today?

DANIELS: No, and Anderson, even if they gave the explanation, Khalil and other counsel saw the video and there was no justification of why they were shooting him. So, if they give the explanation, the explanation would not be true because the video is a thousand words. That's the most objective evidence.

Who cares what they say when you have a video? We just want to see the entire video and put it all in context.


COOPER: Khalil, you've called for justice for your dad. What does that look like for you and your family, at this point? What do you want to see happen?

FEREBEE: I want to see all these killings stop. You know, it's too much going on in this world and we don't need that. They are supposed to protect us, but they are doing the harm.

You know, it's got to stop somewhere.

DANIELS: And one response, Anderson, about the justice. If it was you, I or Khalil who committed the act and took a person's life unjustifiably, we should be in jail. Right now, we should be arrested. We should be arrested.

FEREBEE: I know. They will be.

DANIELS: Just because you wear a badge, shield or a star doesn't give you the right to kill and if you kill, it doesn't give you the right to go -- to be free while a clear killing is on video, unjustifiable killing. If it is unjustified as homicide, if it is by another and is intentional, reckless, it is murder. Period.

So you have people in the City of -- Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County who is free for committing unlawful killing, regardless of what uniform they wear.

Now, three of the officers -- two of the officers have resigned, one officer was allowed to retire, and seven other officers on administrative leave. Anderson, this is a very small town. About eighteen thousand people, two of the Deputies are not on active duty. When there is fire, Anderson, we both know there is smoke, and that Elizabeth City is on fire. Where there is smoke, there is fire.

COOPER: I find it strange that they haven't even said to the family any more details. I mean, are they claiming that Mr. Brown was armed?



DANIELS: They acknowledge he wasn't armed and he was shot in the back.

FEREBEE: The whole city knows he doesn't carry a weapon. That wasn't even his thing.

DANIELS: He was shot in the back trying to save his life. Trying to get away.

COOPER: Mr. Daniels and Khalil, I appreciate your time. Thank you and Khalil, again, I'm so sorry for your loss.

DANIELS: Thank you, Anderson. I appreciate you.

FEREBEE: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, we'll play a video of the shooting's immediate aftermath obtained exclusively by CNN. That's just coming in.

Also, our own legal and law enforcement team weighs in on what we see as well as how this is being handled or mishandled as the case may be.

And later, for everyone who has been waiting for official word on what is and isn't safe to do once you've been vaccinated, tomorrow could be a very big day. We'll preview what are expected to be new guidelines on outdoor mask wearing and more.



COOPER: We have protesters out again demonstrating in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. CNN has just obtained video of the immediate aftermath of the police shooting and killing of Andrew Brown, Jr.

It was taken by a neighbor, pretty far away, we are just playing it here for the first time.


COOPER: Apparently that seems to be the car that Mr. Brown was in. According to family members, he was in the vehicle with his hands on the wheel, again, according to the family attorney and family members who witnessed, who watched some 20 seconds of one of the body camera video, one body camera video.

There are multiple officers there with multiple videos and body cams. We have not obviously seen those publicly.

A short time before we got this video, in a brief and essentially, well, content free press appearance. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten said this about the incident and I'm quoting now, "We previously committed to transparency and accountability. Today, we're continuing to follow through with those two important goals."

Well, tonight, we are still waiting for that or really anything resembling that to come to pass. Joining us now is Kirk Rivers, a leader in the local community who is marching with protesters tonight.

Kirk, you spoke to CNN's Brian Todd last Thursday. You had asked for transparency from elected officials. It's been four days since then. What do you make of how officials are handling this?

KIRK RIVERS, ELIZABETH CITY, NORTH CAROLINA COMMUNITY LEADER: From the day that this has started, the officials have done a poor job of being transparent, to let know what's going on and we keep demanding answers. We keep trying to find out what's going on.

The family is getting bits and pieces, getting 20-second of a video and not even still giving the people and letting us know what's going on.

COOPER: A number of the attorneys for the family today said that the County Attorney, Michael Cox, tried to prevent several of them from viewing the video in the first place and said that he wasn't going to be effing bullied by them. I'm wondering what you make of how authorities are dealing with the community and family members?

RIVERS: Well, the way that this taking place is that's how Elizabeth City, certainly people who live in the city has treated certain people and that is unacceptable when you have the family in there that want to see what took place about their loved one. And then you're going to tell -- the County Attorney is going to tell people until the attorneys that they invited, they, while they were to represent them and they're not going to be bullied, that was totally unacceptable.

That is totally not trying to be able to de-escalate the situation and take control, and so from day one, they have not been doing a job that was pleasing. This has been just chaos, not getting information out and then talking to attorneys that way, when everyone is there to solve and to get justice for the family, to make the family be there to see what took place through the video, and the attorney is going to talk to them like that. That is totally unacceptable.

And we plan on going to the County Commissioners' meeting to let them know that that's unacceptable. That's unacceptable when we're trying to make the family as they are grieving, not to escalate the situation.


COOPER: How -- what impact do you think the protests have had over the last four or five days? RIVERS: Well, we have -- we have received no answers, we have taken it

to the streets. We're continuing to be peaceful. Note, where people come out, you see children here, grownups, all types of people, black, white. We have taken it to the streets to let the elected officials know from the Sheriff to the DA to the County Attorney, to everyone that we're going to protest until we get answers, until they release this tape, until they continue to make sure that they spread all of the truth, and that they continue until Andrew Brown, Jr. gets justice.

So this is the fifth night that we've been out here. We've done two a day marches and we're going to continue to march at five o'clock to until we get justice for Andrew Brown, and until the truth come out, we're going to continue to demand, continue to walk the streets. We're walking through residential neighborhoods. We're walking through the business streets. We're going to continue to protest until we get answers.

COOPER: Kirk Rivers, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

RIVERS: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Joining us now, CNN legal analyst and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Elliot Williams. Also Andrew McCabe, CNN contributor and former F.B.I. Deputy Director.

Andrew, I'm wondering what your reaction is to just how authorities are handling this? Is this normal? How do you -- what do you make of it?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's unfathomable, Anderson, as you know, it's the first rule of any crisis management is you have to get out in front of bad news.

You know, one of the reasons to do that is to be able to take the position and send the message to your community that you stand on the side of accountability and transparency and the rule of law. The danger to not doing that, like we've seen in this situation is you send the exact opposite message that they appear to be, we don't know if this is the case, but it certainly appears as if they're trying to conceal information and protect their own and avoid accountability.

And it's just the absolute worst thing that this police agency could do at this time and that's why those people are on the streets.

COOPER: Elliot, you say law enforcement is trying to have it both ways with the release of you know, 20 seconds of one body cam images. How so?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. Well, look, what they're trying to do is number one say that they can't release more information because it might taint the investigation, but releasing all of this information about -- here's what we know, or at least based on various sources that have been reported, number one, they were they're executing a drug warrant. I saw reporting out of North Carolina, about crystal meth and all kinds of prior convictions he has and so on.

Clearly, they are managing to get information out there about Andrew Brown, which can also taint the investigation, right, because that's prejudicial information right there. But not the video footage that might clarify some of all of this.

So it is trying to have it both ways and saying, no, no, no, we can't put information out there, but here is a lot of bad stuff about this really bad guy. And that's sort of the way law enforcement has been allowed to work for a very long time.

And this is exactly, Andrew's point from a minute ago, it's about communications and who controls the early narrative. And for decades, law enforcement could get out and just control the narrative earlier on and this year, or over the remainder of the last few years that just doesn't work anymore.

And I think we're seeing a big shift in what the public demands and expects when there are crises.

COOPER: You know, Andrew, I mean, reporters are always, you know, supposed to be skeptical about things, but in general public, when police have come forward and said, this is what occurred, you know, traditionally people have taken that for what it's worth, but believed or at least had an instinctive belief in that.

You know, when you see what happened in the wake of George Floyd and the first release put out by the Minneapolis Police, which now when you look at it, I mean, it is just completely not what actually occurred. It certainly makes one all the more skeptical.

I don't understand why the police would not at the very least come forward and say this person was armed. This person was not armed. This was -- all we know is, attempted to execute a felony drug warrant, and again, that's information which paints the subject in, you know, obviously a very particular light.


MCCABE: That's exactly right. And so you know, because of situations like George Floyd and many other really hard to watch situations of the use of lethal force and arrests of predominantly black men, this -- the police are working from a deficit of trust.

So you have -- you're already kind of one or two steps behind, you know, lower than zero, right? And then, in addition to that, because of the use of body cameras, we have the opportunity to know or at least have one pretty good view into what actually happened.

So it's this combination of a lack of trust with the possibility of actually seeing what took place at the time that is driving the public's expectation for accurate, fully transparent, forthcoming information right away and that's not something law enforcement is going to be able to put down.

The days of saying, oh, we're not going to talk about this until all of our investigation is finished, however long that takes are over. We don't live in that time anymore.

And you know, police agencies would be well served to understand the environment that they're operating in and start playing by the rules.

COOPER: Elliot, why would the footage the family saw, 20 seconds, need to be in their words -- in their words -- the police redacted. I mean, does that make sense to you?

WILLIAMS: I mean, it does, to some extent, again, if there were like innocent bystanders, there were minors, if there were people perhaps under investigation at the time, but it's just perplexing, Anderson.

And look, here's the problem. This is not -- well, I'm not talking about the law now, this is just straight up PR. If they were able to release the 20 seconds, and they clearly have the rest of the footage, it was very much in their interest to release the rest of the video to the public because what they did, if you saw that press conference today, those lawyers put on a clinic for how to take back the story and the police -- the Sheriff's Department just basically failed there.

And so now, by creating a vacuum as to what else is in the rest of that footage, they've really stepped in it and just left more questions for the public.

COOPER: Elliot Williams and Andrew McCabe, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Still to come, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney in a new interview spells out what Republicans need to admit in order to win back power in Washington, that's next.



COOPER: Almost six months after the election and nearly four since the Capitol Riot and Republicans are still at odds with one another over both. In a new interview with Politico, House GOP conference chair Liz Cheney says the party needs better outreach. She also said this, and I quote, we have to be honest about what happened in 2020, so we can really learn the lessons of that and that is the election was not stolen.

Now, contrast that with the message from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. In a new interview with The New York Times the Minority Leader defends the attempt by his conference to overturn President Biden's wins in Pennsylvania in Arizona.

And in a weekend interview with Fox News, he defended the President's actions after the riot began. Praising that video he made that came out hours and after the riot began. We repeated the false claim of a stolen election and told writers quote, we love you.

I'm joined now by CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator Paul Begala. So Dana, Kevin McCarthy has described his task as having to walk the tightest tightrope. What does that entail exactly? And is there room inside the Republican Party for all these factions?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, there's room inside the Republican Party for a lot of different ideologies. I would argue that there is not room inside the Republican Party for flat out lies.

And the litmus test that it's actually there's a new story on right now, which is wonderful by our colleague Manu Raju talking about the fact that in race after race, when Republicans are running in primaries, there is a need a political need for the Republican candidates, if they feel they are in at all in danger of not winning, to embrace, not just embrace the former president, but embrace his lies about the 2020 election.

And so, as long as that is the kind of North Star for the Republican Party right now. It is impossible to get to the point that Liz Cheney described because she understands what is needed to win, you know, more broadly and win general elections, maybe even in House seats, but certainly in Senate seats, and in the future for the presidency.

COOPER: Paul, I mean, what do you make where the Republican Party is right now? I mean, have you ever seen it like this?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think we've ever seen anything like this. I have to say, Liz Cheney is right, both on the principal and on the politics. Now, there'll be a weather report coming up after this showing that hell has frozen over because I've praised Liz Cheney.

I don't agree with her on anything. I didn't agree with her father, mother. I met her and Trudy, I wouldn't agree with her. But she's right about this. Here's why. Dana makes an important point. Kevin McCarthy was whining to the New York Times, I'm on the tightest tightrope.

No, sir, with respect. You're a wealthy, powerful Congressman, America's on a tightrope between truth and lies between freedom and an insurrection is mob between pluralism and white supremacy. That's the real tight rope.

Now, politically, the way for him to get off that is to listen to Liz Cheney, reach out to the new American majority, where Trump has put them on the wrong side of race, and religion and gender and generation. And they've got to get back on the right side of that.

You know, McCarthy has huge assets going into this midterm, huge colossal assets, three of them. He's got history where the party out of power usually picks up 30 or more seats. He's got geography, his party gets to draw the maps in most states, and he's got the rules. His party has filed scores of bills, hundreds of bills in scores of states to try to change the rules to make it harder for people of color and Democrats to vote. So, I don't know why he is whining when he has these massive structural advantages and he's just -- for reasons I don't understand clinging to Trump has been nothing but a disaster for his party.


COOPER: Well, Dana we're -- I mean we're still seeing real world consequences from the big lie too. I mean, look at the recount of the 2020 election that's actually happening in Arizona now, former president is actively supporting the recount and attacking the -- or the Republican governor of Arizona, because he refuses to do the former president's bidding.

BASH: Continuing to attack him. And this is a governor who went to Joe Biden's inauguration, Doug Ducey, in order to make a point, that the -- I guess, the majority of the Republicans who are doing the bidding of the former president, are on the wrong side of truth, of history of politics, all of the above, like Paul was talking about.

And, you know, even Republicans in Congress who have been very critical of the former president, Shelley Moore Capito, I spoke to her on "STATE OF THE UNION" yesterday, very critical of January 6, of his role in that, you know, candidly so. When I asked her about whether or not there's a place for President Trump to run again in 2024, she said it was too early, but she did say there is still a place for him in the Republican Party.

That's different from what Liz Cheney is saying she is out there with maybe a handful of other elected Republican officials who are trying to put the squeeze on the former president because they believe that is the only viable path for the GOP.

COOPER: Dana Bash, Paul Begala, thank you. Amazing times.

More breaking news next, President Biden is set to announce new CDC guidance on mask use tomorrow, but it's not expected to apply to every American. We're breaking details when we continue.



COOPER: It's breaking news tonight the pandemic. A federal official tells CNN that the Biden administration is expected to announce as early as tomorrow, several new recommendations for fully vaccinated people, including quote, unmasking outdoors. According to the federal official, the new recommendations will quote provide guidelines for activities fully vaccinated people can resume.

Again, it's important to note this would only be for those who are fully vaccinated. And currently that accounts for only about 30% of the U.S. population, but allowing the vaccinated to go maskless outside might be an incentive for more people to roll up their sleeves for the shots.

Joining us with her perspective is Dr. Leana Wen, CNN medical analyst, former Health Commissioner from Baltimore and author of the upcoming book, Lifelines, A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

Dr. Wen, so you've been critical of the ministration over not being aggressive enough in the efforts to reopen schools. As we wait for these guidelines tomorrow regarding mask use for vaccine people. Do you feel the same way here that the government is moving too slow on these guidelines?

LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I do Anderson. I understand that the Biden team wants to be cautious. But caution comes at a price. And that price is that people are saying, well, what's the point of getting vaccinated? If not that much changes for me?

I think what the Biden administration has been doing is to say, here's what we as a society should do, as then once we reach a certain level of vaccination and the society, once the infection level decreases, will lift restrictions for everyone. But I think they're just counting that many Americans want to know what's in it for me, they don't want to wait until everyone gets to some elusive herd immunity.

And I think it'll be a lot more effective if we same, once you are fully vaccinated, that's the end of the road for you. And so, at that point, you're able to take off your mask outside, you're able to go about enjoying many aspects of pre pandemic life. I think that is going to be key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy.

COOPER: The problem with that, though, is there's plenty of people who aren't wearing masks anyway who haven't been vaccinated. So is that a risk? I mean, if a lot of unvacc -- if a lot of vaccinated people are walking around without mask, or more people just going to start taking off their mask, even whether or not they've been vaccinate. It's not like anybody's checking.

WEN: Yes, I mean, I think frankly, outdoor mask mandates should just go regardless of whether you're vaccinated. There are a lot of locales and states that still have blanket masked mandates. So even if you live in a suburban area, or rural area where you don't see that many people, there's still mask mandates in place, that does not make any sense.

So I actually think outdoor mask mandates can go. But I also think that we can do a lot more with specifically incentivizing vaccination, including allowing businesses to come back at full capacity if they're checking for proof of vaccination.

COOPER: So, I mean, is there -- I mean, it's interesting to me that you say if wearing a mask outdoors, that there's not much point I mean, that's essentially what you're saying is that I mean, what about being close to somebody, you know, walking down the street, isn't that a risk if they're -- they haven't been vaccinated?

And even if you've been vaccinated, I mean, is it what's the percentage of people who are vaccinated who may get it, but just get a really mild case, but even now, mild cases, aren't you seeing that down the road, they can have other effects?

WEN: I think the key at this point, Anderson, is that we have to think about reducing risk, not eliminating risk, because we're just not going to be able to live like that. We are seeing major portions of this country who are not yet vaccinated, who are already returning to doing everything they're doing pre pandemic, because our guidance, the public health guidance is so disconnected from their everyday reality.

Part of public health is understanding where people are meeting them there. I think we can tell people, here are all these activities that once were high risk, get vaccinated, they are now lower risk. But once they get vaccinated, go and do things. We encourage you to do things like travel, we want you to do it safely. But please go see your friends and family. I think that kind of message will have a lot more resonance, than here are all the things you can't do, even if you're fully vaccinated.

COOPER: The pause was listed on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Friday, you were a part of the trial received the placebo but then chose to receive the vaccine before the risk of these rare but serious blood clots was known. Would you still receive the J&J vaccine? And what are you advising your female patients to do?

WEN: I mean, I would say that the J&J vaccine is still a very good vaccine that for a lot of people getting one dose, one shot going to the appointment once is really important. So if that's really important to them, go ahead and do that.

But now we also know that there is this rare but very serious clotting disorder, a very serious clotting disorder that has children -- I mean three people have died because of this, seven remain in the hospital for an intensive care. And the number the people who are primarily affected are young women, women under the age of 15.


And so, I would say to these individuals, and if I had a choice, this is what I would have done, I would have taken one of the other vaccines, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, because those vaccines don't have this risk that are still very effective.

We're in a very different point at the pandemic than we were a month ago or two months ago, when we said to people, take whatever vaccine you have access to first. Now we have enough supply and we also have more information about the possible risk, the very small risk, but in this very particular population of women under 50. So I would say that those women take Pfizer or Moderna first, if you don't want to, for whatever reason, then get Johnson & Johnson it's still a very good vaccine.

COOPER: Dr. Wen, appreciate it. Thanks.

Just ahead, the New York Police Department has released new photos of someone they're seeking as they investigate an attack on a 61-year-old Asian man in New York, that investigation. And Lisa Ling joins us to talk about the wave of attacks on Asian-Americans, next.



COOPER: New York Police Department has state authorities are investigating an attack on an Asian man Friday night as possible hate crime. Now we want to warn you the video you're about to see is disturbing. Police say the 61-year-old man was hit from behind by the assailant. He was then repeatedly kicked in the head. The man's in critical but stable condition.

Today, the New York Police Department released photos and videos of a person they're seeking to identify as they investigate this crime. Now the attack came two days after the Senate voted overwhelmingly for the Justice Department to create a new position to expedite reviews of potential COVID-19 related hate crimes.

I'm joined now by CNN's Lisa Ling. Lisa, I mean this -- this video is just horrific. You know, for all the attention this has gotten over the last few months. You know, these attacks are continuing.

LISA LING, CNN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & HOST OF "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING": Yes, Anderson, it is sickening and horrifying. And I've just been so devastated for Mr. Ma and his family. You said it yourself despite rallies from coast to coast the condemnations from the highest levels of government on down, corporation supporting organizations, working to combat a solidarity in the Asian community, support from outside of the Asian community that these attacks are still continuing to happen unabated.

And the attack on Mr. Ma wasn't even the only one this weekend. There were some others. And some of them were violent as well. In fact, we have this AAPI GoFundMe fund a page, and it's the sort of the centralized source for victim relief funds. And Anderson, when you look at all of the fundraisers for all the victims, it just goes on and on. And you just see these images of people bloodied and beaten. And it's just devastating.

COOPER: It's also I mean, when you start to look at the people who have been attacked, it's often the most vulnerable, especially, especially the elderly.

LING: Yes. You know, when you think about the Asian-American community, many people think of high levels of achievement and success in education. But what most people don't realize is that the wage gap between the richest Asians and the poorest Asians is the widest in the country, and more Asians live in poverty than any minority group in New York City. And when we talk about elders, our Asian seniors who have been subjected to so many racist attacks, they have very high rates of poverty.

In fact, in New York, 24 percent of Asian seniors live in poverty compared with 18 percent of elderly --

COOPER: Oh, 24 percent. Wow.

LING: Exactly. And that's why, you know, this demographic is particularly vulnerable, not just because of their age. And in many ways, Mr. Ma represents that population of for Asian seniors who don't receive unemployment or federal funds. So he was has been living in the shadows doing what he had to do to survive, which was, in his case, collecting cans to support himself and his wife.

COOPER: Yes, I've actually seen that quite a lot this particularly the last couple of months, people collecting cans. Usually it's men and women, almost together. Clearly, you know, dedicating their entire day to collecting cans to make whatever money they can, they're essentially living. They may not be here illegally, so they don't have access to much help.

LING: That's right. And people who are watching may remember about a year ago, there was another video that emerged of another Asian senior, who was also collected cans who was repeatedly harassed by people who said I hate Asians. So, again, these are people who are living in the shadows, they're living in the margins, they don't qualify for any relief. And so, they are just literally doing what they can to survive.

COOPER: The reports of hate crimes targeting Asians and Asian- Americans have increased since the epidemic began, obviously, more than a year ago, when the former president repeatedly obviously use, you know, anti-Asian slurs to refer to the virus, how much did the pandemic add to an already difficult situation?

LING: Well, look, Anderson, I mean, that was just -- it was so irresponsible, right to make a joke out of something so serious. And in many ways, it just gave people license to do the same. But in all honesty, you know, this is a pattern of racism and scapegoating that has been happening to Asians for centuries in this country.

I mean, if you think about the '80s, when there was an economic downturn in the automobile industry, and Vincent Chin in Detroit, who was about to get married, was brutally attacked and killed with a bat by two auto workers who had just lost their jobs and accused him of being Japanese, because people believe that they were losing their jobs because of Japanese automakers

So, it's just been this continuous scapegoating of Asians for decades and decades.

COOPER: This past Thursday, the Senate passed an anti-Asian hate crimes bill with bipartisan support. The only no vote was Missouri Republican Josh Hawley. How far do you think the legislation could go toward making a difference?

LING: Well, it's hard to say. I mean, I think the legislation will expedite the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department. And one thing that I think will be helpful is that it will provide support and better tools for local law enforcement to respond to hate crimes and hate related incidents, because I'm just not sure how well-equipped law enforcement has been across the country to deal with these kinds of crimes.


COOPER: Lisa Ling, appreciate it. It's great to see you, Lisa. LING: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next. You may remember Gray Davis, the last California governor to be recalled and replaced with a celebrity. We'll tell you about a key new development that puts Gavin Newsom the current governor one step further down the recall road.


COOPER: Backwards of an effort to recall the governor of California Gavin Newsom appear to have gathered enough valid signatures to force a recall election this fall. According to the Secretary of State's website, county officials verified more than the required amount. Officials will continue to verify signatures through Thursday, no date set for a recall election.

Previously Governor Newsom told CNN of the recall effort quote, it is what it is. This is a Republican recall. The recall effort began before the pandemic but criticism over new -- over the restrictions Governor Newsom imposed (INAUDIBLE) to fuel the effort. Should Newsom lose a number of Republican challengers have stepped forward including the former mayor of San Diego, former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner.

That's it for us. Thanks so much for watching. The news continues. Want to hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, appreciate you Coop. Thank you.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.