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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

New Video Shows North Carolina Deputies Before Fatal Shooting; New CDC Guidance: Fully Vaccinated People Don't Need To Wear Masks Outdoors Except In Crowded Areas; Conspiracy Theories Help Fuel Vaccine Hesitancy; Misinformation Leads To Anti-Vaxxer Policy At Miami Private School; New Video Shows NC Deputies Before Fatal Shooting. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 27, 2021 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Leyla Santiago, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: That is unbelievable, affecting menstrual cycles. I can't even -- I don't even know where to start with this.

Thank you for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch the show anytime. Just go to CNN Go.

It's time now to hand it off to Anderson.

[20:00:18]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Simmering pot need lid. John Berman here in for Anderson.

After days of promising and failing to deliver transparency and accountability in the police killing of Andrew Brown, Jr. and after days of largely peaceful protests on the streets of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, local officials have now decided that the best course of action is a curfew, a curfew that as we speak is being broken by the looks of it.

Just last night, Andrew McCabe, our senior law enforcement analyst and a former top F.B.I. official said this about some of the frankly baffling responses he has seen so far from certain officials, most notably the County Sheriff, "It really defies logic," he said, the way they've handled this situation locally.

This comes as another new video comes to light.

Last night, we saw a clip of the immediate aftermath. Tonight's footage according to our source shows County Deputies arriving to serve an arrest warrant on Brown. What the two videos have in common is neither comes from the body cam of any of the Deputies involved, despite repeated promises of the transparency and accountability, the officials have shown precisely none of that footage to the public, and only asked for a Court Order to do so yesterday, something our legal analysts tell us they could have easily done on an expedited basis days ago. Brown's family and members of their legal team did get to see a 20-

second snippet of it yesterday, which was enough for one of the lawyers to call the shooting, quote, "an execution," which might explain why for all the officials saying the complete footage really, truly, totally ought to be released and released soon, it hasn't been.

We'll talk about that tonight and all the other key developments today including the F.B.I. opening a Civil Rights probe into the matter.

First, though, that new video. It was captured by two cameras at an intersection. On the first, you'll see a Sheriff's Department pickup truck roll past and then on the second, in the upper right-hand corner, you'll see it pull up and according to our source confront, Andrew Brown, Jr.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]

BERMAN: So there's that. There's the body cam video still being withheld, and of course, the people out on the streets in Elizabeth City.

CNN's Brian Todd is there. Brian, as we noted at the top, a curfew went into effect moments ago. What are the protesters telling you about their plans for the night?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, they say they're going to stay out here. They have been briefing -- some of the protest leaders and others have been briefing some members of the crowd, what number to call if you get arrested, to say your name loudly and your birthday so that they can track you if you get put in jail, kind of briefing them on what course of action to take.

And a lot of people have kind of dissipated and melted away from the crowd. Only a couple dozen people are here. Here's Kirk Rivers. He's been leading the protests every night since we've been out here.

Kirk, well, tell me first, are you going to defy the curfew? Are you going to going to stand here any longer?

KIRK RIVERS, COMMUNITY LEADER: We're here to talk to the different ones and make sure we get in different. As persons that have come together, we've kind of said, listen, everyone go home. We're not putting no pressure on the one to stay together because we want to meet with the city tomorrow to show them our track record, to sit down to the table, talk civilized, and then see why they instituted this curfew.

TODD: You don't agree with the curfew.

RIVERS: No.

TODD: Why?

RIVERS: Because we have been peaceful. We have not had no problems and we have been here, we've ended around nine o'clock every night. So why has this been instituted when there's been no burning of no buildings, no fights, no cars, nothing has been disrupted, except for traffic to be able to show that we just want to get things accomplished and get our protest going.

So that's why right now I'm here, because if somebody decides that they arrest, I'm going to be with them. But we're really just thinking about, we want to meet with the city tomorrow to see what their reasons are. They might have good reasons. And if they do, well, we're open minded. We're not close minded.

[20:05:00]

TODD: Speaking of tomorrow, it's a crucial day in court. The Judge may rule about releasing that body cam footage. What are you hoping for?

RIVERS: Well, we're hoping for the best that they say they will give transparency, that they release the video that they -- and also, we're even asking for outside representation from the Attorney General, independent. We don't want people from this area, doing anything. We need outside because the good old boy system is in effect in this Northeastern North Carolina.

TODD: Thank you very much, Kirk, and good luck tonight. Hopefully, they don't come for you.

So, John, curfew is past. They have -- they have not come for these folks yet. But they are briefed on what to do if they do. The police have been kind of warning people in a gentle way over loudspeakers that the curfew is coming, that you may be subject to arrest or other police action if you stay out here, but so far, they haven't moved on them -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Brian Todd, please keep us posted. Thank you for being there for us. Appreciate it.

Joining us now, Brown family attorney, Wayne Kendall. And Mr. Kendall, we showed that newly released video moments ago about a minute long. You have seen it. What is your reaction?

WAYNE KENDALL, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, John, first of all, thank you for having me. We discovered that video a couple of days ago, we discovered the cameras rather than a couple of days ago and we were able to learn that those cameras are operated by Elizabeth City.

We were, this morning, provided with a copy of those videos from those cameras. And we provided them to CNN and what we learned is that there was a squad of Pasquotank Sheriff's Deputies, approximately seven persons fully dressed in tactical gear that rolled up on Mr. Brown's home and we were able to track the time from boots on the ground to shots fired has been no more than four seconds.

There was some yelling, some screaming about "Put your hands up. Put your hands up." And right after that, shots were fired. Four seconds at most. That indicates to us what we have always thought was that this was in fact, more or less extrajudicial killing, an execution, if you will. Mr. Brown's car never moved toward those Deputies. In fact, it moved

away from those Deputies, it moves backwards. And on the site, you can see the tracks where he went backwards in an effort to get away. And then he cut across a grassy lot and was shot in the back of the head.

So everything that we've seen indicates that this was an unjustified killing.

BERMAN: To be clear, in this new video that we're showing, what we see clearly is the police arriving in the tactical gear on the back of that vehicle. It's a little hard in this highlighted section for us to discern exactly what's happening there or hard to make out the audio. You say you hear shots fired. We've listened to it, it's difficult to make out. I just want to be clear, it's hard to make out.

So the significance of that time, you say, it is four seconds, the significance of that is --

KENDALL: Well, a suspect who is -- they have been arrested or being searched, police will normally give a command. That person would be given opportunity to comply with the command.

If the person complies with the command, then there is no need to use force of any type. And from what we know what we have seen in the video that was shown to our colleague was that Mr. Brown had his hands on the steering wheel. And what we know from our preliminary autopsy is that he was shot in his right arm four times and then there was a fifth shot to the back of his head, which is consistent with him backing up and then rolling out toward the street, toward Roanoke Avenue and then shot in the back of the head losing control of his vehicle crashing into the tree in the neighbor's yard, Mr. Gordon.

BERMAN: This of course could all be cleared up with the release of the body camera footage. Do you have any faith that this would be released at this point?

KENDALL: That's correct. It could be all cleared up. All they have to do is show us the body cam footage and we will know exactly what happened. We wouldn't have to speculate. We wouldn't have to guess and it is totally within their power to do so.

BERMAN: Do you think you will see it?

KENDALL: I'm hopeful that we will see it. We will get an order tomorrow that will allow us and the public and the media and everyone involved to have an opportunity to see exactly what happened. We don't know why it's taking so long.

BERMAN: You and your colleagues on the legal team released a statement earlier saying in part, quote: "The longer law enforcement wastes to release the body camera footage to the Brown family into the public, the more our suspicions are raised."

What do you believe is happening right now on the part of authorities? What specifically are you suspicious about?

[20:10:08]

KENDALL: Well, in today's environment, with body cams being ubiquitous amongst law enforcement agencies, typically law enforcement agencies want to get the public out to know exactly what happened in order to build trust between law enforcement and the community. There's simply no reason in this day and time to hide anything, to delay, to obfuscate.

There is just no reason. We just simply want to know what happened.

The Brown family can deal with an adverse situation if it is in fact an adverse situation, but having them to wait, to guesstimate what happened is cruel. It is unusual punishment to an extent.

BERMAN: Wayne Kendall, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much for your insight.

KENDALL: Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: We're going to get perspective now from CNN legal and national security analyst Asha Rangappa. She is also a former F.B.I. Special Agent. Joining us as well, Joe Ested, a former NYPD officer and author of the book, "Police Brutality Matters."

Asha, there's a lot going on here. Let's just start, really, and we only know so much based on the limited video we've seen and the verbal accounts that we've been told by other people who have seen parts of the video.

Let's just take for a second, though, the idea that if -- and it is a big if based on what we know, this was a justified use of force by officers, then why the delay in releasing the body cam footage?

ASHA RANGAPPA CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, I don't know what this department is doing. I think what the previous guest just mentioned that building trust should be a priority right now. And if the use of force was reasonable, then it would behoove them to release the video so that that can be seen, or at least some kind of defense articulated.

This is why actually the body cam video is actually really important. The standard for the use of deadly force is a reasonableness standard. And it is reasonableness standard based on the point of view of the officer using the force. Did they believe that they or others were in danger or that there was going to be, you know, imminent harm?

And so you know, even a faraway video won't tell the story, what will tell the story, from the point of view of the officers will be the body cams, and it just feels to me that this is escalating an adversarial situation by simply not working with the family and being transparent here.

BERMAN: And Asha, officials in courts deal with things on an expedited basis all the time. I mean, do you see any possible reason for why the body camera footage hasn't been released, especially with this much public interest? RANGAPPA: I don't. I can see it not being released to the public until

the family has a chance to see it, perhaps out of you know, for privacy reasons, courtesy. But, you know, when a police department, any law enforcement is given the authority to use deadly force, they are entrusted with the power of the state. That comes with it a responsibility to be transparent and accountable. That is a part of the trust and responsibility that the people for whom they work is being given to them.

I don't see any reason, I have not heard one articulated as of yet. And I assume that in this case, a judge at some point will demand that this be released.

BERMAN: Joe Ested is with us also. And Joe, if you look at the question of deadly force, and whether or not Mr. Brown showed an imminent threat to him or to others, can you explain how that works? I mean, if he was, as his attorney say, trying to escape in his car, does that mean that deadly force could be used?

JOE ESTED, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: No, John, not at all. You've got to understand when we talk about deadly force, let's look at the components. You've got to have the danger, the imminent danger of life for yourself, the officer or someone else.

So what has to happen is the officer makes a decision to use deadly force to save a life. If no one's life is at risk and Mr. Brown was just trying to get away. This is not a justified use of force.

BERMAN: Asha, you know, we mentioned earlier, the F.B.I. has now opened up a Civil Rights investigation. Can you walk us through what that might look like?

RANGAPPA: Yes, John, this is --

BERMAN: That was to Asha. Sorry, Joe.

RANGAPPA: Yes, this would be a criminal investigation from the Civil Rights program of the F.B.I. This is also the program that investigates things like hate crimes. In this case, what they would be looking at, John, is what's called a color of law violation.

This is based on a Federal statute which makes it a crime to use the authority -- the color of law to willfully deprive someone of their Civil Rights. The color of law here just means any authority that is given to you by a local state or Federal government.

[20:15:08]

RANGAPPA: The important piece here is that the use of force, the excessive force, in this case, be willful. So we've already mentioned that there's a reasonableness standard. That's actually a pretty wide -- there's a lot of latitude given to law enforcement officers, and so what the F.B.I. would be investigating is, you know, whether, basically these officers may have intentional use of force that they knew was not justified at the time. I'll just add also that this comes with other, you know, all the rules

of normal investigation, so any attempt to stymie the investigation would also be potential crimes as well.

BERMAN: Right, and just the Federal presence significant in and of itself. So Joe, do you think this fuels distrust? I mean, the longer it takes for the release of this footage, that by the time they do release it, the public won't believe that it's the complete or full story?

ESTED: Absolutely, John. You've got to understand something. The transparency is a key fact that we're building trust with the community. I see major red flags with this incident.

We have an officer retire. We have several officers resign. We have officers put on administrative leave. And now we have a Sheriff who is being real candid, not even candid, he is being real limited on providing information.

Then, giving the information to the family's attorney and only giving very small seconds of a video. That's not transparency. That tells me that we have a major problem and this might be as bad as the George Floyd incident.

BERMAN: Asha Rangappa, Joe Ested, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you both very much.

ESTED: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Next, we're going to be joined by the City Manager of Elizabeth City to get his take on where all this is going and what he and others are doing to deliver on the promises they've made about the investigation.

And later, COVID; new C.D.C. guidelines on when and where people who have been vaccinated can show their faces in public. The thing is though, their answers seem to have prompted a lot of new questions, so we've got our medical team standing by to help.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:21:19]

BERMAN: A number of people still on the streets tonight in Elizabeth City, North Carolina despite a curfew that took effect at the top of the hour.

A moment ago, one of the leaders of the protest told us he sees no reason for this curfew. He says the demonstrations have been peaceful, and that he wants to meet with local leaders.

Joining us now, the City Manager of Elizabeth City, Montre Freeman.

Mr. Freeman, thank you so much for being with us. The curfew is now in effect in Elizabeth City. Can you explain why you felt the need for that measure tonight and what authorities are prepared to do if demonstrators do not go home in short order?

MONTRE FREEMAN, CITY MANAGER, ELIZABETH CITY, NORTH CAROLINA: Yes, so really quick, I do have a twin brother. That's Monte. I am Montre.

But the curfew went into effect as a result of some occurrences we saw happen last night. The protests ended last night around nine. At least that's what we were told, and then there was a second group that went out after that, that group began to do some things -- throwing rocks, egged some police cars, things of that nature.

And so that's a big piece of how we did that.

The other piece of instituting a curfew is to try to clear the streets a little sooner because we have a lot more cars in the city now, a lot more people are here. And so a lot more traffic and we want to try to protect protesters.

My initial initiative is still my initiative is to protect the protesters, as well as the citizens of Elizabeth City. So with so many more people in the city, as you can imagine, protecting those protesters just went to another level.

And so in my effort to protect them, I instituted the curfew.

BERMAN: Montre, I'm the father of identical twins. So I feel like I have to pay a fine for getting your name wrong. I apologize. Listen --

FREEMAN: It's okay.

BERMAN: If the protesters, if the public continues not to get answers, continues not to see the video that they are calling for and they have been told they will see, are you concerned that the tension will boil over?

FREEMAN: I'm extremely concerned. It has been my concern, since about day two. In this process, the gentleman that spoke earlier was spot on in terms of transparency. We know that in these types of crisis intervention trainings, the training is transparency, accuracy of accountability, and then you want to try to move some peace and end up -- you know, the root of all it is, it is that the family deserves that. You know, it's an honor to be on your show, but it's not a pleasure I'm here because someone lost their life.

Their family lost a family member. His children lost their father and so the root of all this is his family. And if for no other reason that family deserves it, and then this community deserves it.

BERMAN: So earlier, we aired new video obtained by CNN that a source says shows Sheriff's Deputies arriving to serve the warrant to Mr. Brown. I want to play that video again and get your reaction, so watch if you can.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]

[20:25:06]

BERMAN: So what do you believe the video shows? And does it answer any of your questions?

FREEMAN: It does show, you know, those Deputies in the back of that pickup truck. When you see them when they come up to our city camera, and then they make that left and then kind of at the end of that, it goes out of view.

It doesn't -- it doesn't really show me, you know, that end result. And as you said earlier, it's hard to determine what happens at the end because it's out of the camera's view.

But I still have a million questions, and if I have a million questions, I can only imagine what the family is experiencing at this time.

You know, those are our city cameras. And our Police Chief, Chief Eddie Buffalo notified S.B.I. and said, hey, we've got cameras. We will download what we have. We don't know if we could call it anything. But we want to turn it over because we don't want there to be a holdup.

And also, you know, as an attorney, you know, we want to be clear about that evidence. If it is evidence, we're not even sure, but we wanted to be transparent in our process.

BERMAN: If you have a million questions, the family has a million questions. The public has a million questions. You know, answers have to be coming soon.

Montre Freeman, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it, sir.

FREEMAN: Thank you, sir. Take care.

BERMAN: A C.D.C. now says fully vaccinated people don't need a mask outdoors in most settings, but does the guidance go far enough. And how does the slowing pace of vaccinations affect safety outdoors? That discussion next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:27]

BERMAN: So, the new CDC mask guidance for fully vaccinated people is either a big step or according to critics, one that's not big enough. Masks no longer need to be worn at small outdoor gatherings or when dining with friends but they're still recommended in crowded events indoors and out. The CDC director said the change was due in part to the fall in cases in the rise in vaccinations.

And today, President Biden called the guidance quote, another great reason to go get vaccinated. However, the pace of vaccinations now does appear to be slowing in vaccine hesitancy among communities of color, rural areas and Republican men, it remains a huge hurdle.

Perspective now from our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital and the author of Preventing the Next Pandemic Vaccine Diplomacy at a Time of Anti-Science.

So Sanjay, the rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is at its lowest point since March 20th. It's high still, but it's dropping consistently. So do you think these new guidelines will give people an incentive to go get vaccinated? Or are they still too conservative?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they're still a bit conservative here, you know, I mean, and they're big, they're being cautious, which is sort of been the tone that they've taken, you know, throughout this administration. And understandably, I mean, it would be hard to, to loosen guidelines when the numbers were particularly high.

But these are still cautious guidelines. And I think a lot of people who are people that may need to be incentivized to get the vaccine may have been people who've already been doing the things that the recommendations are now allowing them to do.

So, I don't know how big a difference that really makes. You know, we have 61 percent of the country that says they are either already have received a vaccine or willing to do it, but 17 percent who say that they are in the wait and see mode, this movable middle, and the 20 percent or so that says, you know, pretty much they're not planning on getting this vaccine. So, it's really that 17 percent, you know, and part of it is, you know, they say they want to wait and see.

So, look at the UK and Israel. I mean, this is something that might help inspire people a little bit when they look at what's happening in other countries around the world. When you have robust vaccination programs, you can start to look like that. Maybe that'll inspire people, because when you get to that position, then you're sort of more in containment mode. And you really start to achieve sort of a sense of normalcy. We're sort of stutter, stepping towards that.

Now it's good, John, don't get me wrong. I mean, I like the idea of, you know, not having to wear a mask in some of these situations. But, you know, I don't know if it's going to be enough to incentivize.

BERMAN: So Dr. Hotez, the CDC is given the green light to do things that a lot of people are already doing, frankly, you know, take Texas is one of the states that doesn't have mask mandates anymore at all. What do you see in terms of people wearing or not wearing masks there? And do you think that these guidelines will make a difference? If part of the goal is to incentivize people to go get vaccinated, what do you think these changes will do in terms of that?

PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Yes, I mean, we're pretty much doing all of these things here in Texas. And depending on where you are, we're even probably more liberal than that in terms of, if you want to use that word for not wearing masks.

Here's what the CDC didn't do. They're not constructing a roadmap of where we're headed. And by that, I mean, we've only got about 40 percent of the U.S. population that's received a single dose 29 percent has received two doses, that still early on. We're not going to see declines and transmission at that level. When

we start at 60 percent, what we saw in Israel was the number started to go down and the best vaccinated state in the continental U.S. right now is New Hampshire, were at 60 percent, a single dose, and now the numbers are starting to come down.

So, I think it would have been more effective. They said, look, right now we're doing some incremental things. I understand people are frustrated. But we have good news. We think when we get to a 60 percent threshold level, we're going to come back and liberalize mask recommendations even more.

And then by the summer, if we come close to fully vaccinating the American people, we may even look something like we didn't in the year 2019. And I think that would be very exciting and very stimulating, and it's accurate, it's real. And then people know where we're headed. They see the path, they see the roadmap, and I think that that that's something that I would have probably focused on.

BERMAN: Professor, what would you like to see administration do when it comes to some of these disinformation campaigns about vaccines and we're going to show some of the ridiculous ones later in the show?

HOTEZ: Well, you know, it's -- first of all, I think there needs to be better understanding of where it's coming from. And I have a paper out in Nature Magazine today that that identifies three sources of what I'm calling anti-vaccine, anti-science aggression, because that's really what it is. It's deliberate disinformation.

[20:35:16]

So, a big part of it is coming from homegrown anti-vaccine groups, which are well funded, well organized, that are dominating the internet. The Center for Countering Digital Hate now estimates around 58 million followers from these organizations. That's how extraordinary it is.

Then -- and we've seen this now unfortunately, this expanding anti- vaccine, anti-science sentiment among the political right it was a few years ago, especially down in Texas, and that's when they started going after me and I was going up against them was it came out of the fringe Republican Party. And then it's expanded across the Republican Party.

Now, we're seeing this play out, unfortunately, on the conservative cable news networks. And now, as if that weren't complicated enough to the Russian government and what the Russians are doing.

BERMAN: Sanjay, Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you both very much.

We just mentioned the problems with vaccine hesitancy.

(voice-over): Just ahead, a report from Miami where the problem is essentially school policy at one private institution, all because of one very powerful individual there who has promoted anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. The details with "360" continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:40:10]

BERMAN: Before the break, we mentioned the declining pace of vaccinations. And one reason for that decline vaccine hesitancy which has been fueled by Republicans like Senator Ron Johnson, it was downplayed the need for young people to get vaccines and says, quote, I see no reason to be pushing vaccines on people.

Also by the far right echo chamber with one popular cable news host who specializes in pouty hot takes, last night suggesting people should call the police on parents who make their children wear masks. It would be laughable if this kind of misinformation wasn't having a real impact.

But it is as our Randi Kaye discovered at one private school in Miami where the founders of anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories are now school policy for teachers and staff.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEILA CENTNER, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, CENTNER ACADEMY: There were all sorts of evidence and stories that came out that said potentially unvaccinated people are being impacted by being around vaccinated people.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fact is there is absolutely no proof that vaccinated people have any sort of adverse effect on those who are unvaccinated. But that didn't stop Leila Centner, co-founder and CEO of Miami Centner Academy from telling teachers if you're vaccinated, don't come anywhere near our students.

AILEEN MARTY, FIU INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Here we have one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal to protect ourselves and get out of this problem. And they are discouraging the use of it. It's tragic.

KAYE (voice-over): In a letter sent to employees of this private school, Centner writes, it was a very difficult decision made with a very heavy heart, but vaccinated teachers must keep away from the children.

CENTNER: It is an experiment right now. We are all part of the research.

KAYE (voice-over): In her letter the school CEO makes numerous false claims. COVID-19 vaccines are still in an experimental stage. They are not yet FDA approved. Rather they have emergency use authorization. Clinical trials are not scheduled to be complete until 2023. The truth is the vaccines are FDA approved for emergency use after extensive testing showed they are both safe and effective. And clinical trials in adults have been completed for all three vaccines to satisfy the FDAs emergency use authorization.

Some parents like this couple with two children in preschool here think the school's ban on vaccinated teachers will keep their kids safer.

JENNIFER, PARENT OF CENTNER ACADEMY STUDENTS: There have been thousands of reports of adverse reactions and those who have not received the job from being around those who have.

KAYE (voice-over): Those reports are false. There's no evidence, none to support the claim.

CENTNER: My number one responsibility is to protect our children.

KAYE (on-camera): That may be true, but her claims aren't based in fact, and the school's new policy could be making things more dangerous for the community. Because the actual science tells us the more people who get vaccinated, the more quickly we can put this pandemic behind us.

(voice-over): This man's children don't attend this school, but he says he might be OK with the policy.

(on-camera): Would you send your kids to a school that told their teachers it could -- they could not be vaccinated?

JESSE HAZELET, FATHER OF 10 CHILDREN: Maybe? Maybe? Yes.

KAYE (voice-over): All of this should come as no surprise since the school CEO has frequently shared anti-vaccine conspiracy theories on social media. In one Instagram post she claims they, she doesn't say who they are, can decrease the population by 15 percent through vaccines. Earlier this month, she appeared with a 9/11 truth on YouTube questioning mask wearing for children.

CENTNER: I would say 80 percent of our kids don't wear masks.

KAYE (voice-over): And her letter to the school staff also promotes a conspiracy theory, suggesting because of vaccines, there have been thousands of reports of menstrual cycles being impacted, and a 366 percent increase in miscarriages.

MARTY: The type of immunity that they induce in no way affects anything to do with anyone's fertility.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Some madness. Randi Kaye joins us now. Randi, how many students and teachers does this affect?

KAYE: John, it impacts about 300 students and about 70 teachers and I should note that the tuition here can run as high as about $30,000 a year. And that's the real tragedy. It's because this administrator is buying into these conspiracy theories and really denying these students access to teachers who will want the vaccine access to the education that these teachers can provide.

In fact, on the school's website, they promote medical freedom from mandated vaccines. And as you heard the CEO there, she says the children the students are her first priority. But if you look at the science and you listen to the CDC, John, as you know, I don't have to tell you this.

They say that these students would be -- any students will be a lot safer around teachers who are vaccinated than teachers who are not vaccinated. But the woman here the CEO, the administrator just doesn't want to believe that or promote that either. John.

[20:45:11]

BERMAN: Of course they would be safe. Randi Kaye, thank you so much for that report. Appreciate it.

(voice-over): Up next, with yet another law enforcement shooting of a person of color. I'm going to ask a leading Democratic member of Congress about her take on the events in North Carolina about police reform in general as President Biden prepares to address a joint session of Congress.

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BERMAN: More on our breaking news from Elizabeth City, North Carolina tonight. A small group of protesters still defying a citywide curfew, they're outraged over the death of Andrew Brown Jr. at the hands of sheriff's deputies last week. As we reported the top of the program the 22nd snippet of body camera footage of the incidents has been seen by members of the family and its legal team, but not yet released publicly.

These events in North Carolina of course underscore the national conversation going on about policing and reform efforts. California Congresswoman Karen Bass is the author of the George Floyd Policing Act passed by the House and for now stalled in the Senate.

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I spoke with her just before airtime about that, as well as what she wants to hear from President Biden when he addresses a joint session of Congress tomorrow night.

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BERMAN (on-camera): Congresswoman Bass, what does it say that just a week after Derek Chauvin's conviction for the murder of George Floyd, the nation finds itself in a tragically familiar situation where there are serious questions being raised about how and why police killed another black man?

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Well, I think it just shows you the extent of the problem. And remember, there are three cases that we're dealing with that happened within hours of the verdict. And there was also a girl a 17, or 16-year-old, who was killed as well and a 13-year-old boy. So actually, that's four cases. On average, about three people die a day at the hands of police.

So, I think we're just really becoming aware of a problem that has been there for more years than I can count. BERMAN (on-camera): So, investigations are obviously important, and there are things that police can sometimes justifying and not releasing to the public, while an investigation is ongoing. But in this specific case, in North Carolina, do you think there's any justification for the police to withhold the video of Andrew Brown Jr. being killed?

BASS: I mean, I am shocked at the way they have mishandled this situation. And I think I don't have a doubt in my mind that this is a complete cover up. They literally invited the family to come in and see the videotape. And then when they got there, they decided they needed to redact it or edit it. So how could that possibly result in any trust not just from the family, but from the entire community? And then just to show them the last 20 seconds of their relatives life was cruel.

BERMAN (on-camera): So you obviously sponsored the George Floyd Act, which passed the House twice, I believe, but you're now in negotiations on what could be a bipartisan bill with Republican Senator Tim Scott. What's the status of those negotiations and what are the specific holdups at this point?

BASS: Well, let me just say that actually, conversation started right after March 3rd in the House with the problem solvers caucus, under the leadership of Josh Gottheimer, Pete Stauber, and other members. And so, they started off at been bipartisan, and we do have certain issues that are difficult, such as qualified immunity, and reducing the requirement to prosecute an officer.

So right now, we see case after case where an officer is involved in a shooting or something else that resulted in great bodily injury or death. And then we will see a DA not even prosecute, not even bring charges. Well, that's because the bar to bring charges is so high, officers are rarely prosecuted.

And then they don't have to worry about having any civil liability, which is why you saw Derek Chauvin look at the camera while he was murdering George Floyd. So that's what we need to address. That's a difficult area that we're trying to grapple with right now.

BERMAN (on-camera): Any progress?

BASS: Yes, I think there's significant progress. As a matter of fact, I feel very confident that we're going to get a bill, a bipartisan bill on President Biden's desk within the next few weeks.

BERMAN (on-camera): Well, that would be something the nation would certainly like to see that. As you know --

BASS: Yes.

BERMAN (on-camera): -- President Biden will address the joint session of Congress tomorrow night to mark his first 100 days in office. You won the lottery, you will actually be one of the, you know, not few but several dozen or hundreds of members who are actually be in the crowd there. He is expected to speak about police reform. What do you hope to hear from him?

BASS: Well, I am really honored that the Speaker Pelosi did invite me to attend. I want to hear President Biden really tell the Congress that he wants a bill on his desk in short order. I want to hear the push and the pressure from him. And we know that he has called for this and if he elevates it to the point of being a key part of his address, I think it will give us the momentum we need to get across the finish line.

BERMAN (on-camera): Congresswoman Karen Bass, we appreciate your time. Thanks so much for joining us.

BASS: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Coming up, a very special birthday to celebrate.

(voice-over): Anderson's son Wyatt turn one two today. What a year this has been. Look at that picture. More, when we return.

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BERMAN: A special day here for the "360" family and for one guy in particular, two actually Anderson and his son Wyatt. It is Wyatt's first birthday today. That's why Anderson's not here. They're celebrating tonight, father and son that has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? It was nearly a year ago that Anderson announced the big news.

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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (on-camera): It's been a difficult time in all of our lives. And there are certainly many hard days ahead. It is I think especially important in these times of trouble to try to hold on to moments of joy in moments of happiness. Even as we mourn the loss of loved ones were also blessed with new life and new love.

So I just wanted to take a moment to share with you some joyful news of my own. On Monday, I became a father never actually said that before out loud. And it still kind of astonishes me. I am a dad, I have a son and I want you to meet him.

(voice-over): This is Wyatt Cooper. He is three days old, he's named after my dad who died when I was 10 years old. I hope I can be as good a dad as he was. My son's middle name is Morgan which is a family name on my mom's side. I know my mom and dad like the name Morgan because while I was going through her things recently I found a list they'd made 52 years ago when they were trying to think of names for me Morgan was on the list. So that's Wyatt Morgan Cooper, my son.

He was -- he was 7.2 pounds at birth, and he is sweet and soft and healthy. And I am beyond happy. As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child and I'm so grateful for all those who paved the way for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son's birth.

Most of all, I am eternally grateful to a remarkable surrogate who carried Wyatt, watched over him lovingly, tenderly, and gave birth to him. It's an extraordinary blessing which she and all surrogates give to families who can't have children.

My surrogate has a beautiful family of her own amazingly supportive husband. I'm also so thankful for all the support that they have given Wyatt and me and she has kids of her own and I appreciate their support as well. My family is blessed to have this family in our lives.

I do wish my mom my dad and my brother Carter we're alive to meet why, but I like to believe that they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other smiling and laughing and watching, looking down on us.

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Happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt and that our family continues new life and new love.

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BERMAN (voice-over): And here is the birthday boy himself today. Oh, look at that. Happy birthday Wyatt and congratulations Anderson, and we could not be happier for both of you.

The news continues. So, let's hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."