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Outrage In North Carolina Over Killing Of Black Man By Deputies, Family Shown Just 20 Seconds Of Bodycam Footage; Census Count Results In Net Loss Of Three House Seats For States Biden Won In 2020; President Biden Tries To Tackle Racial Injustice; Virginia State Trooper Fired After Viral Video Shows Him Violently Arresting A Black Man During A Traffic Stop; SCOTUS To Hear Student Free Speech Case; Joe Biden To Announce New Mask Guidance. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 26, 2021 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): Attorneys for the family of Andrew Brown Jr. calling his death at the hands of law enforcement an execution. They say they were shown just 20 seconds of body camera footage. Multiple sheriff's deputies were on the scene. So, where's the rest of the video?

Also tonight, President Joe Biden about to announce new guidance on masks ahead of his first address to a joint session of Congress this week.

I want to bring in now CNN's Brian Todd, he lives in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, he's live -- excuse me, he doesn't live there. He is live in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Brian, sorry, pardon me for my error there. But thank you for joining us this evening. We're still waiting for the body camera footage by CNN that we've obtained this exclusive video from the aftermath of the shooting. What does it show?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Don, this is video we obtained from a neighbor who lives across the street from Andrew Brown's house. This neighbor filmed what is essentially the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

You do not see the actual shooting in this video. What you do see is Andrew Brown's car crashed on a tree across a grassy area and across Roanoke Avenue from where his house is. He tried to get away as his lawyers have acknowledged.

They say he was trying to evade the sheriff's deputies who were there, that he made concerted efforts to evade them so that he wouldn't harm them. He did crash his car against a tree on that other side of the street. There is a white house that you see in that frame just to the right of where his car is.

That house got a bullet hole in it from the firing. We talked to the gentleman who owns that house. He said the bullet came straight through his front wall and landed in his house. And investigators came and retrieved the bullet. But what you do see in that video, Don, is the immediate aftermath of this shooting.

And we also got some additional details from one of the Brown family attorneys, Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, who viewed that 20 seconds of body cam footage. As bad as that was, hey only see 20 seconds, she gave us some pretty jarring detail of what that footage showed.

She said that actually when that 20 seconds begins, the shooting is already going on. So according to the Brown family attorneys, they believe the shooting starts before that video clip even comes on. I asked her how many deputies were surrounding his car and shooting at it. She said at least six or seven.

So you're getting the impression that there were multiple shots fired. And they say that Andrew Brown made a concerted effort to avoid harming anybody. He was trying to get away. He had his hands on the wheel, they said, when the deputies kept firing at him, Don.

LEMON: Brian, you also managed to get ahold of his death certificate today. What can you tell us about it?

TODD: It's again a jarring piece of information, Don. It says, when it says manner of death or cause of death, it says single penetrating wound of the head. It also says that he died within minutes of receiving that wound and that it was at the hands of others. Now, it is not a lot that it says on there but it does give detail.

And of course, that's the kind of detail that we're craving, because none of us have been allowed to see that body cam footage. We're not getting a lot of detail of course from the sheriff's deputies or from the County attorney. The Brown family attorney is putting that burden almost squarely on the shoulders of the County attorney. Michael Cox. Saying that he was, you know, just not giving them the answers they want. They wanted.

He did not give them an adequate explanation in their view of why he couldn't show them more than 20 seconds of this footage. And we have tried to get ahold of him and his office for response to their criticism and he hand gotten back to us yet. So Michael Cox shouldering a lot of the blame tonight for the lack of transparency here in Elizabeth City.

LEMON: Brian Todd, on the story for us live in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Thank you very much for that, Brian. I appreciate it.

Joining us, Darius Horton, he is a member of the Elizabeth City, North Carolina city council. Councilman Horton, thank you, I appreciate you joining us. Your County sheriff says that he is following through on his commitment for transparency and accountability in this case. But it has been five days since the shooting and only 20 seconds of body camera video have been shown to the family. What's going on here, sir?

DARIUS HORTON, ELIZABETH CITY, NORTH CAROLINA COUNCILMAN (on camera): Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to come. I wish I could accurately answer that question. What's going on is simply, that we have a mess, we have a city that is full of outraged citizens. People who have much unanswered questions. And while we as elected official would love to pain a picture that is

only going to get better and better and better, in terms of the transparency and accountability, it seems like it is only getting worse, worse and worse.


LEMON: The sheriff says that the entire incident, sir, was over in less than 30 seconds. Suggesting that the family was able to see most of what happen in the 20 second clip. Do you believe that?

HORTON: Absolutely not. You know, for him to only -- the County attorney to only release 20 seconds of the incident first and foremost when the officers arrived, even if the shooting perhaps, or if I could use the word execution, was only 30 seconds. The incident was much longer.

And the family is in desperate need of answers, and more. 20 seconds and to have to wait and be given time after time and promises not being fulfilled within for a 20-second clip, certainly this family is probably more hurt now than they were this morning.

LEMON: Do you think the sheriff's department is trying to hide something?

HORTON: Honestly, from my standpoint, absolutely. It is sad to say in 2020, 2021, that we would even think like that. But here it is, five days later. The lack of transparency for the Brown family attorney to be told that the family would be able to come view this video and then at a certain time, and then an hour before they were informed that they were not going to be able to do it because of video, things of the video needed to be retracted.

And so you have this family that's already grieving. They're already hurt. They're already confused. And now you know, a 20-second clip which really hasn't provided any answers for this family. And just the way that this matter has been handled by the County Sheriff, and the County Attorney would lead one to really think that hey, something is going on here.

Because one thing about the video, the video is the video. It is not going to change unless they change it. So why not show the whole, it would make anyone think, and I heard one of the attorneys say that they, the County attorney said that he chose to show the 20 seconds because he believed that was you know, what they were looking to see. But he can't speak for that family. So, to answer your question, yes, it paints a very, very sad picture.

LEMON: Do you think that there's anything in the video that we don't see before the 20 seconds that would exonerate the officers in this case? That they're holding possibly for the investigation? Because, in these cases, one has to be careful. We can't get too ahead of ourselves.

The attorney did say from what she saw, he had his hands on the wheel and it didn't feel like he was trying to harm anyone except for backing out away from the officers. But do you think there's anything before the 20 seconds that we saw that could lead up to this shooting? Or possibly cause it?

HORTON: Well, definitely cause it. You know. From what the, you know, I gained from the press conference today, that it seems as if this clip starts when the shooting starts. So yes, there was something that happened beforehand.

However, I do not believe to answer your first question there was anything in the beginning that would exonerate or clear these officers for any wrongdoing. There is been calls all across the length and breadth of this nation for the County sheriff and attorney to release this video.

So now, they had a chance, if there was something that they could have put it out there to rest persons' minds and to just tell the truth about the situation. So, I believe if there was something up there, they would have certainly released that today to help change the atmosphere and they didn't do that. So it leads me to believe that whatever was not released is more incriminating than what was released on their behalf.

LEMON: Yes. Councilman Horton, I appreciate your time. We will have you back as we continue on with this case. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

HORTON: Thank you so much. Have a wonderful night.

LEMON: You as well. I want to bring in now, Phillip Atiba Goff, he is the president and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity. Thank you. Good to see you again. I told you I would have you back and here you are Phillip. So, let's talk about transparency here, it's key. Why do we not have a standard process for what to do with these body cams or videos when there is a police involved shooting?

PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY CO-FOUNDER AND CEO (on camera): So there's two answers I think to that question, Don. The first one is, they've got 18,000 police departments across the United States. 75 percent of which are 25 or fewer officers. We just have so many and all of them are making up their own rules. There is no federal lever to say you must all handle body cam -- worn camera footage one way.


So there is a bureaucratic answer to that question. But the other reason is because we have not had communities rise up and say, you don't give us this footage of this stuff that we're paying for or you all are not going to have jobs no more. We have not insisted that this right to transparency has been there in every community. And I think we're starting to see something different.

Because while in Elizabeth City, and well, there is an ongoing investigation. We've had body-worn camera footage out immediately after several recent shootings because the chief said that they could. Because the chief decided, we're going to do this thing. If you want to sue me, go ahead and sue me but transparency and trust is more important. So, it can be done.

LEMON: Well, let me ask you, because at the top of the show, Chris and I were talking. And you know, we are talking about whether it is happening more or if we're seeing more of it. And there is really no way, there's no answer to that question. No good answer to that question because there isn't a standard reporting around the country.

It seems like every day though we're hearing about another black person killed at the hands of police. It is hard to keep up sometimes. So, is the problem getting worse or are we, you know, just hearing about more of these shooting?

GOFF: Yeah. We don't have perfect data on this, but we're starting to get decent data on this. It is an embarrassment that we still don't have federal data collection of granularity that could answer the question but the Washington Post is on the case. And what they can tell for the last five years, it is about 1,000 people killed by policer every year. And the racial disparities are around the same. That's good news.

It is almost certainly better now than it was 20, 30 years ago based on all the estimates of all the data scientist who had looked at this stuff. So that's better in the long course of things but we're not anywhere near good enough. That said, the outrage that we're seeing over the past year, that's almost certainly because even if it is a thousand a year, which means an average of around three a day every year, even in the midst of a pandemic, right?

Even given that, we are seeing more of it. And it is a lot less like what we read about in the paper. Meaning the officers' account and a lot more like what black communities have been screaming and hollering about for years.

LEMON: Well, look, the facts in all of these cases are different. But many people, speaking to what you said, many people question why someone wouldn't comply with an officer, right. That's what they say. Well, you should just comply. Just the sheer volume of police involve killings of black people explain why many fear for their lives when confronted by police?

GOFF: Sure. That's one way that you could explain it. You could also look at the video of Philando Castile who was saying very clearly, I'm doing exactly what you tell me to do, I am afraid for my life. I'm not going to do anything sudden. He was given contradictory instructions. Give me your hand, that reach in your pocket and give your wallet and then was dead.

It's not the case that when people comply that they can't be shot. It's just the case that when people are afraid for their lives and act on it that some folks in this country want to blame them for that. I wish that we could have the conversation -- this is the conversation that we were having and then we have to go it last time. I wish we could have the conversation about all the ways which we fail people before their lives are captured, ending on body worn cameras.

Because that's got to be part of this conversation too. But on the question of just compliance, there are enough people who have complied and then been shot. I'm thinking, I forget the name, because there had been so many of the social worker who was on the ground. And while he was prone and his hands were above his head, they shot him anyway. When he asked the officer, why, the officer said, I don't know.

I got to say, there's no way to prevent it in a system that treats black lives so casually. So yeah. Better to comply. I would, like my god kids, my friends, I say, yes, please do comply. It maybe reduces the risk but isn't that a little beside the point?

LEMON: Yes. It's not a guarantee. Well, we'll continue to highlight these issues and we'll continue to have you on. Phillip, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

GOFF: Thanks, Don.

LEMON (on camera): So America is in the middle of a racial reckoning right now. Are the issues we are facing the reason Joe Biden supporters voted for him?


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The African- American community stood up again for me. You always have my back and I'll have yours.




LEMON: So the first 2020 census results are in and overall it shows a net gain for Congressional seats and states that Trump won in 2020 and a net loss for states that Biden won. Texas is gaining two seats. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon are gaining one. California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, losing one.

Let's bring in now CNN senior political writer and analyst, Mr. Harry Enten. And CNN political analyst, Astead Herndon for the law, this is of (inaudible). Gentlemen, thank you. Good evening. Good to see both of you.

Harry, let's talk about this, because overall, red states are gaining while blue states are losing. What does the census mean not just for 2022 but for the presidential race come 2024?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST (on camera): Look, I think the best way you can sort of gauge this is by taking the 2020 results and then applying them to different censuses, and essentially, applying the reapportionment. And what we generally see is exactly what you point out is that the red states gained.

So, if you were to redo the 2020 election under the new lines, what you see is that Biden's win of 306 would dropdown to 303. But what I think is so interesting, Don, is this is a decades long trends whereby populations are moving from the blue states to the red states.


So, if you applied the 2020 results back three censuses ago, Biden's electoral vote margin would be 310. But we've continually seen that dropping as the populations have been moving from the blue states in the northeast and in the rust belt, down into the southwest and to the south.

LEMON: So, are you saying that Democrats are moving to red states? Won't that affect the way those red states vote in some way?

ENTEN: It could, right. I look will look at different ideas of exactly how people move about. There's no doubt we've obviously seen some of those red states, some movement towards the Democrats. A state like Texas you mentioned earlier on, right. That's a state that even though Donald Trump won. He won it by a smaller margin than he did in 2016 and obviously a smaller margin than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

But it is also the case that there are some people who are living in blue states who are moving into red states who are Republicans, right. There a re plenty of people who have left California for instance and moved to some red states like Texas or like Montana which also where the congressional.

LEMON: And moved from New York to Florida.

ENTEN: Of course.

LEMON: OK, Astead, the census bureau is saying that New York lost a seat by a margin of 89 people. Can you believe that? I mean, it just shows you that you that every vote counts and it shows you really how important the census is.

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST. NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES (on camera): Absolutely. I mean, this is the kind of core of what we talk about when we think about democracy protection. When we think, when we think about of redistricting. This is the kind of baseline that these states are using.

But I think it is important for us not just to use the red state and blue state as Harry laid out. But we know that also these state legislatures will be drawing these maps and that's also going to throw a wrench into this.

So take New York for example, who is going to lose, well, congressional seat. They can very well draw the maps in the way that actually squeezes out a Republican seat from that state and actually is a net gain for Democrats. The same can be true in other states. We don't exactly know how this is going to fall in terms of reds or blues. We have to see what the state legislatures actually draw in terms of maps.

But what we do know is that the kind of baseline for political power, the baseline is really in that census and that even some of the states that were expecting bigger gains, like Texas and Florida, this is an impact or maybe under counting some of those Latino voters.

Maybe not seeing some of those residents actually get in to this as we saw Republican efforts to kind of demean that over the last year and a half. It could have cost them a Congressional seat when they were expecting to gain even more in this (inaudible).

LEMON: Harry, we're at such a pivotal moment in this country when it comes to race. And you point out that this issues are exactly why Biden supporters voted for him.

ENTEN: Yeah. I mean, look, if we talk about race relations at this moment in time. If you talk about uniting the country, you can look at the general election, right? And look at those voters who said that race relations was very important to their vote.

What do you see amongst those voters? Those voters voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. A 50-point margin, according to a Kaiser family foundations poll taken just before the election. And what about uniting the country, right?

That was something that Joe Biden spoke a lot about. Healing the wounds of this country. And what do you see there? You see that the voters who said that race relations -- excuse, uniting the country was the most important kind of quality. Look at this margin that Joe Biden got over Donald Trump according to the exit polls, 51 points. So Joe Biden's voters elected him for this exact moment I time to see if they can bring this country together especially on the issue of race relations.

LEMON: Yeah. And he's just doing it, you know, as best he can and not paying attention to the noise. Especially the noise from cable news. And listen, it wasn't just the general election, Harry. You found that Democratic voters in the primary also put Biden ahead of his opponents on these issues.

ENTEN: Remember, it was about a year and maybe tow months ago, we were coming out of New Hampshire and Nevada and Joe Biden hadn't won a single contest yet. And then all of the sudden --

LEMON: I remember.

ENTEN: You remember that. We went down to South Carolina, right? And that was the first -- that was the first primary in which African- Americans really had a heavy say on what was going on. And if you look across the primaries and you look at the folks who said that race relations was the number one issue for them.

Look at this. Joe Biden had a 34-point margin over his nearest primary opponent in all those states. And look at this, uniting the country, again in the primary. What do you see? Amongst those voters who said that that was the most important quality.

Look at this, a 46-point margin over his nearest primary opponent for Joe Biden. So, it's not just the general election, the reason that Joe Biden won that primary last year was because of black voters and it was because of voters who really wanted him to address the issues of race relations and uniting the country.

LEMON: I went down there and went to a polling place and spoke to him and interviewed him. And that -- and we saw it.

ENTEN: I remember that.

LEMON: Really and we saw the difference. I said, look, the people there loved him, right. And then he said this connection especially with black voters and then you saw what transpired after that. Astead, Biden said that his inauguration speech that we can deliver racial justice, he said that.

He said that we can't stop here after the verdict of Derek Chauvin. The murder trial. He is clearly not shying away from confronting racial injustice head on. Does he see this as his best opportunity to get real change?


HERNDON: I think so. I think you see an agenda laid out by President Biden that tries to address these in a lot of areas. Not just criminal justice where we often talk about race. But also when you talk about infrastructure, the focus on black women, the maternal cares is part of that bill. They see that as part of racial equity.

When they talk about the COVID relief packages and kind of targeted impacts that we know disproportionately affected black communities. They see that as part of racial equity. What we see here is really a Democratic Party that has shifted from kind of a rhetoric about lifting all votes and that with all clue, communities of color to really kind of looking at targeted ways to really combat systemic racism.

I think that is going to be clear driver for President Biden and the White House. (Inaudible) question here as looms over all of his agenda is that are they going to run into that Senate filibuster? Are they going to run and into the kind of Congressional holes that have stymied big change for years and years and years? Because I think, come five, six months from now, there certainly will have accomplishments to point to, but that will be the question that folks where thinking of.

If they want to do voting rights. If they want to do the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, they have to deal with that question. And so it is their ability that their rhetoric about racial equity comes up against those kinds of Senate barriers that have stymied his predecessor, in Barack Obama, and he is very well is going to be a core part of whether his agenda gets pass or not.

LEMON: All right. We will be watching. Astead, thank you. Thank you, Harry. I appreciate it.

So he says that he was assaulted, his constitutional right is violated, all during a traffic stop and he sued. Derek Thompson tells his story, next.




LEMON (on camera): So I'm sure you remember the story. It was reported, a lot of reporting on it. It was a Virginia State trooper. Now, he's reportedly out of a job months after a video went viral showing him harassing, violently removing a Black man from his car. This is part of what happened. This is back in 2019. Here it is.


DERRICK THOMPSON, ALLEGES HE WAS ASSAULTED AND RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED DURING TRAFFIC STOP: You can't do that. This officer is trying to unlock my car. This officer is unlocking my car. They just illegally entered my car. And I'm being forcefully removed.

UNKNOWN: Take a look at me. I'm (bleep) best man right here, buddy!


UNKNOWN: -- my last nerve.

THOMPSON: My hands are up on camera.

UNKNOWN: All right.

THOMPSON: I'm a no threat to the officer.

UNKNOWN: You're going to get your ass whooped in front of (bleep) lord and all creation. I'm going to give you one more chance.

THOMPSON: I'm being threatened.

UNKNOWN: You can bring that with you.

THOMPSON: I'm being threatened.

UNKNOWN: I'll let you film the whole thing.

THOMPSON: I'm being threatened right now.

UNKNOWN: No, I'm giving you attempts.

THOMPSON: I'm not doing anything.

UNKNOWN: I'm giving you attempts.

THOMPSON: My hands are up, one hand on this camera.

UNKNOWN: As long as your hands are up.

THOMPSON: I'm not resisting.

UNKNOWN: As long as your hands are up. THOMPSON: I was unlawfully -- sir, please do not touch me, sir. Sir, please do not touch me.

UNKNOWN: See, that's where we're coming to a disagreement.

UNKNOWN: I'm giving you to the count of three.

THOMPSON: Sir -- I'm not touching this officer. It is on camera. My hand is by my head.

UNKNOWN: Get down the car right now.

THOMPSON: I'm being threatened.

UNKNOWN: Now, you're under arrest. Now, you're under arrest for disobeying an officer. I'm giving you to the count of three.

THOMPSON: This officer has threatened me. I'm making it known. I am no threat to this officer. I've been threatened. My life is in danger. My life is in danger.

UNKNOWN: How do you like that mother (bleep)? How do you like that? Huh? Put your hands behind your back. Put your hands (INAUDIBLE) yes you are!

THOMPSON: No I'm not! Get off me! My hands are behind my back, sir! My hands are behind my back! I am not resisting! Sir, please get off my neck. I'm not resisting. Get off my neck. Sir, you are harming me. You are harming me. You are harming me, sir. You are harming me.


LEMON (on camera): I'm joined now by the man that you see in that video, Derrick Thompson, and his attorney, Joshua Erlich. Thank you both for joining. I appreciate it.

So, Derrick, I need you to tell our viewers for transparency. You've settle for the federal lawsuit, $20,000. No admission of wrongdoing by the state. You started recording before that trooper opened the car door. Why did you decide to record this traffic stop?

THOMPSON: I mean, my first instinct recording that encounter was, you know, worst case scenario. I don't want to be, you know, that one story that is untold. You know, you just hear about it and that's it. We don't actually get to see or get to dig a little bit deeper into what actually happened that day.

Aside from my case, there are hundreds of cases like this that happen where, you know, unfortunately, that victim didn't have the thought, you know, especially given the panic they had or anything they're going through to even decide. Let me document this. Let me get some type of proof that, you know, something is happening.

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

THOMPSON: You know -- I feel like by the grace of god, I just got -- I got pretty lucky. I knew what I had to do at that point. You know, whether it went smoothly or that didn't happen, I needed some type of accountability.

LEMON: Did you -- I wonder if you knew why they were stopping you. According to the lawsuit, they said that Charles Hewitt, the officer involved, arrived 10 minutes into the stop. You were stopped for having expired tag and then police believed that they smelled marijuana and they wanted to search your car. But there were no drugs found in the vehicle.

THOMPSON: None. Not on my person or in the vehicle.


THOMPSON: There were no drugs, period.

LEMON: Yeah. You were very calm in that video. Many people are not as calm. What was going through your mind when you hear the officer saying t things like, you know, you're going to get whooped and --


LEMON: -- placed to the camera saying, watch the show, folks? What were you thinking?

THOMPSON: I mean there really wasn't too much thinking going on at that point. I just feel like adrenaline kicks. Of course, when you feel like it's a life -- a life and death situation, you know, it's really kind of hard to have a steady train of thought. I can't really say I had a steady train of thought as far as just knowing something that -- this is a situation where I can potentially lose my life after this. And that's a scary position for anybody to be put in.

LEMON: So, during this traffic stop, this is what people are going into why. You asked for a lawyer. You didn't -- why didn't you get out? Why did you passively resist and not consent to a vehicle search?

THOMPSON: Well, I mean, given the day that it was, 4/20, I mean, I'm no idiot, I know why most of these -- what they're looking for in a day like that and it's a little cranked up, turned up, we're going go searching for this on for 4/20. I can understand that.

But for that to be that number one go-to thing like, all right, he is not showing any signs of any other signs that there might be any criminal activity going on but let's roll the dice with the 4/20 thing like there is marijuana in the car.

I know that's a pretty common tactic, especially for Fairfax County police to use. But on a day like that, I felt like it was not only just incredibly blatant to just put that out there. It was kind of like a slap in the face, like, are you going to pull over everybody on for 4/20 and assume there is marijuana in the car? And once that happened, I just -- I knew it wasn't a safe situation for me, like, there was no smell, nothing. Where did that come from?

LEMON: It's just an easy go-to to say, well, the reason we did what we did is because we smelled marijuana in the car, right?


LEMON: Attorney, I see you're shaking your head with that. Do you believe that so?

JOSHUA ERLICH, ATTORNEY FOR DERRICK THOMPSON: I do. I do. And it's worth noting that since this, Virginia has outlawed these sorts of protection (ph) stops. But in April of 2019, they were still legal.

LEMON: Yeah. We reached out to the Virginia State Police and they said that they had no additional comments beyond what they already provided publicly into the media. We have attempted to reach the trooper for comment, but we haven't heard back. But it is your understanding that Hewitt was fired for cause in February. What do you know?

ERLICH: Sure. Our understanding is that the Trooper Hewitt was fired in February. Our understanding is that -- is that it was for cause. And our understanding is that -- well, let me put it this way. Trooper Hewitt was not terminated as part of -- as part of our settlement. Determination was done months before or at least a month before our settlement talks even really began.

But Derrick wouldn't have settled this case if Trooper Hewitt was still on the road. Derrick had two goals. One was to get some just compensation and other was to make the streets a bit safer by getting this guy off the road. And the case was a lot easier to settle once we found out that he wasn't on the road anymore.

LEMON: Attorney Erlich, Derrick did plead guilty to a misdemeanor of obstruction of justice last year. Why is that?

ERLICH: My understanding and I can let Derrick confirm this is the obstruction of justice charge was a guilty -- he took a guilty plea on the obstruction of justice charge in exchange for the other charges being dropped. I wasn't involved at that point, but people -- people take guilty pleas for lots of reasons, not least of which being, you know, how onerous the court process can be even if you don't think you've done anything wrong.

LEMON: Yeah, I understand that. I just want to -- it was a legal question. I just want to understand why. You want to respond to that, Derrick?

ERLICH: Absolutely.

THOMPSON: I feel like Josh answered it just well enough.

LEMON: OK. Good enough. Gentlemen, thank you very much. I appreciate both of you appearing here. Be well and safe. Thanks so much.

ERLICH: Likewise. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Yeah.

THOMPSON: Thanks for having us.

LEMON: It all started with a 14-year-old cheerleader, ranting on Snapchat, and now it's going to the Supreme Court. The free speech case that will affect tens of millions of students, that's next.




LEMON: All right. Parents, students, got to pay attention to this, a high school cheerleader's rant heading all the way to the Supreme Court. Brandi Levy was angry that she didn't make the varsity squad so she posted F softball, F softball, F cheer, F everything. She wrote that to her friends on Snapchat. This is back -- all the way back in 2017.

Well, Levi was suspended from the squad for her posts, but this week, the Supreme Court will weigh in.


LEMON: Their decision could have ramifications for millions of public school students.

Joining me now is a former U.S. attorney, Harry Litman. Harry, wow! What a case. Good evening to you. Thanks for joining. Let's talk about this.


LEMON: Brandi is a cheerleader. She represents the school. But she wasn't in school at the time. She wasn't using school property or naming any specific student or employee. So, where is that -- where is the line?

LITMAN: It's a Saturday. She's in a mini-mart. She does it on Snapchat, which, as you know, disappears and is designed to disappear. And she does, you know, language that rant might be an exaggeration. It certainly -- I've got teenage kids. It is something you hear every day.

But where is the line, is the question, Don. She's now in college. This isn't about her anymore although she's doing it for principle. The question is what will it mean going forward?

The court below said she was OK. She was protected. And the Supreme Court has now taken the case. They are not going to say that school districts, you know, can always discipline students. But they're going to use some words. We don't know what those words are, but those words are going to influence the lives of high school students for the next 20 years as lower courts try to apply them.

Because what they're going to say is, look, there are some times and they're right, that words can matter. You don't want kids bullying or maybe making certain threats or disrupting the school. But we know that she didn't disrupt at all. The school admitted that.

But the court will say some things and then probably return it to the court below. And then if they draw a clear line, well, the courts below will know what to do. If they draw a not so clear line or it sounds like kind of a strict line, high school students, people who are being born today are going to have to suffer with it. It is a real illustration of the role that the U.S. Supreme Court plays in American life.

LEMON: OK. Harry, so, look --


LEMON: I don't think anybody would recommend that a student use that kind of language, but where is -- is there difference that it was posted online because this is back talk, right? Just imagine if she had found out she'd gone and then they said, oh, you know what? Brandi, you didn't make the thing. And she goes, F you guys. The school -- and she stomp off.

LITMAN: Right.

LEMON: What's the difference?

LITMAN: She goes running through the hall and doing it. Now, we're on a different line. Now, we're on a line where school authorities have to worry about discipline in school or what it says.


LITMAN: You know that's not really what it was and she -- she was saying it. Remember, Snapchat is designed to disappear and you have --

LEMON: Yeah.

LITMAN: -- your little cautery of friends, 250 -- and by the way, what happened here is one of them turned out to be the daughter of a cheerleading coach, brought it to her mom, the other cheerleaders.

LEMON: Oh, my God.

LITMAN: Yeah. It was a little bit of a mean girls' subplot. I don't think it was that serious, what she did. I don't think they'll think it is so serious, but they'll define the ability of a school to go to a certain length and how they define it is going to apply to all kinds of cases.

LEMON: I got you.

LITMAN: We can't imagine now.

LEMON: Yeah. I can't believe that they narked her out like that. With friends like that, who needs enemies? Thank you.

LITMAN: Right.

LEMON: Got to be careful with your posts. You got to be careful with your posts. Thanks, Harry. I appreciate it.

LITMAN: Yeah. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: So, if you're planning a summer vacation, you might have a lot more options soon. New guidance is coming out about who can do what where. Stay with us.




LEMON (on camera): President Joe Biden set to make a big announcement tomorrow about what vaccinated people can do this summer. CNN's Nick Watt has more.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tomorrow, the president expected to announce major tweaks to the COVID-19 guidance on who can do what and where.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Certainly, what one can do outdoors vis-a -vis, masks is going to be one of those recommendations.

WATT (voice-over): Allowing the vaccinated to go maskless outside might be an incentive to get the vaccine.


WATT (voice-over): Closing in one-third of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated. Still, far from herd immunity. But apparently, normality is nearer than that.

FAUCI: You will reach a point even before then where you'll start to see the number of cases going down dramatically. It's going to be a gradual getting with regard to what you can do outdoors, what you can do travel, outdoor sports, stadiums, theaters, restaurants.

WATT (voice-over): Even European vacations could be OK this summer for the vaccinated.

ANDY SLAVITT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER FOR COVID RESPONSE: They are saying those Americans are safe to come to our country without risk of spreading COVID-19. Think about that. That's incredible.

WATT (voice-over): But the pace of vaccination here is now slowing.

SLAVITT: It might not be as fast as the first 50 percent. UNKNOWN (voice-over): Right.

SLAVITT: I think that it's going to be slower. But I think we're going to continue to get there.

WATT (voice-over): Average daily new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. just dropped below 60,000 for the first time in about a month.

UNKNOWN: Right now, the declines that we are seeing, we can take to the bank. I think we can feel more assured because they are being driven by vaccinations and greater levels of population-wide immunity.


WATT (voice-over): But in India, crisis mode. The U.S. now sending equipment, drugs, advisers, and pending safety review, will release doses from its stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccine, unauthorized in this country and apparently not needed, still unknown which countries they would go to.

KRUTIKA KUPPALLI, VICE CHAIRMAN, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SOCIETY OF AMERICA, GLOBAL HEALTH COMMITTEE: We really do have a responsibility to try and help vaccinate the rest of the world. And that includes India and other places that need it right now.

WATT (voice-over): Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


LEMON (on camera): Until we hear from the president, continue to wear this, a mask. Until we hear otherwise. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.