Politics Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on April 25, 2021

22:05  25 april  2021
22:05  25 april  2021 Source:   cbsnews.com

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On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by John Dickerson:

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  • Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio
  • Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Troy Finner, Houston Police Chief
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."

JOHN DICKERSON: I'm John Dickerson in Washington. And this week on FACE THE NATION, police reformers press their case, has their mission found its moment? After almost a year of unprecedented protests, Derek Chauvin's conviction for the murder of George Floyd brought a sigh of relief and renewed purpose.

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that a tragedy like this will ever happen or occur again. And this takes acknowledging and confronting head on systemic racism, and the racism disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system more broadly.

JOHN DICKERSON: Yet, even as President Biden spoke, a new tragedy and new protests.

WOMAN: Say his name.

JOHN DICKERSON: This time in Columbus, Ohio, after a police officer shot and killed sixteen-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant, who was armed with a knife during a fight with another teenager.

MICHAEL WOODS: Regardless of the circumstances associated with this, a sixteen-year-old girl lost her life yesterday. I sure as hell wish it wouldn't have happened.

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JOHN DICKERSON: We'll get the latest on that case and more from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Plus, the House passed a sweeping police reform bill last month. Can supporters push it through the Senate? We'll ask a leading proponent, Florida congresswoman and former police Orlando police chief Val Demings. Troy Finner is the current chief of police in Houston. We'll hear from him as well. And we'll talk with the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill. Then, a key COVID vaccine is back in circulation, with a warning about rare blood clots after a safety review. As cases decline but the number of vaccinations does, too, we'll check in with former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb.

It's all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. We are at the point now where the supply of COVID-19 vaccines may soon outpace demand, in part, because some are hesitant to get vaccinated. And we have some new findings from a CBS poll on that issue. But we want to begin this morning on the topic of police reform. CBS News senior national correspondent Mark Strassmann is in Atlanta with this report.

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(Begin VT)

MAN #1: Tell me what you need, what you really need.

CROWD (in unison): Justice.

MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News Senior National Correspondent): Again this weekend intertwined demands for racial justice--

MAN #2: Hands up.

CROWD (in unison): Don't shoot.

MARK STRASSMANN: --and police reform. An American movement sparked by an American moment. George Floyd dying face down on a Minneapolis street.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG (Civil Rights Attorney): There has been a systemic problem that has persisted for a long time, that has covered up murders at the hands of police in the Twin Cities and across the nation.

MARK STRASSMANN: Catharsis this week. Former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd.

MAN #3: Justice, for the moment, was served. We have a long way to go.

MARK STRASSMANN: But communities of color everywhere say they're tired of the knee on their neck. And week after week, outraged by police killing more people of color. Like sixteen-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio.

MAN #4: No justice.

CROWD (in unison): No peace.

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MARK STRASSMANN: Thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago.

LASHAWN LITTRICE: We are not playing games. Charge the officer now.

MARK STRASSMANN: Daunte Wright, shot by a cop in a Minneapolis suburb. And Andrew Brown, Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Deputies serving Brown a warrant last Wednesday shot him in the back. After protests every day since city officials announced Saturday they've started the process to release the body camera footage.

BETTIE PARKER: Elizabeth City is a microcosm now of what is going on across the nation.

MARK STRASSMANN: Since George Floyd's death, more than thirty states have passed new police oversight and reform laws. Those reforms will curb the use of police force, impose civilian oversight, and expose bad cops.

WOMAN #1: Will use our voices.

MARK STRASSMANN: But there's also backlash in red state America, fueled by episodic violence during protests over the last year, and a sense, the left has lost it. A handful of states have passed new laws intended to curb street protests.

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS (R-Florida): This bill actually prevents against local governments defunding law enforcement.

MARK STRASSMANN: Governor Ron DeSantis called Florida's new law anti-riot.

WOMAN #2: What do we want?

CROWD (in unison): Justice.

WOMAN #2: When do we want it?

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CROWD (in unison): Now.

MARK STRASSMANN: But to critics, that reactions prove any progress feels precarious, and that Black Lives Matter remains a call for action instead of an American reality.

DAVID BROWN (Chicago Police Superintendent): If we're going to change our culture, it's going to be because the community demands it.

(End VT)

JOHN DICKERSON: Mark Strassmann reporting in Atlanta.

We go now to Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio. Good morning, Governor.

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE (R-Ohio/@GovMikeDeWine): Morning, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: Governor, you said after the verdict this week that, "George Floyd's death laid bare some of our deepest divisions in our country. There is a lot for us to learn from this great tragedy." What is there for us to learn?

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: John, I think there's a clear pathway in regard to police reform. I think there are things that we all can come together on, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. We have a bill in front of the state legislature that we presented, for example, that calls for a lot more police training, more uniform police training. We have nine hundred and some police departments in Ohio. Many states have a lot of small departments. Many times because of resources, they don't get the training that they need. Body cameras. You know, the tragedy of a sixteen-year-old child who was killed in Columbus. Mayor Ginther made the absolute correct decision. Within six hours they had that out to the news media. But not every police department in this country has body cameras because of-- of the cost. So, you know, we presented a bill to the legislature that would provide funding for body cameras for police departments. Another pathway clearly is there, and that is to treat police as professionals.

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GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: What do I mean by that? Well, you know, we-- we have the state licensing boards for doctors, for lawyers, for nurses. We should do the same thing for police so that when there is a complaint against a police officer, a state licensing board can deal with that. These are common sense things that we can do, should not be controversial. We can all get behind.

JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get to some of those reforms in a minute. You mentioned the Ma'Khia Bryant case. You-- you support the release of the video. When you were attorney general, you called for an outside prosecutor in these kinds of instances. Should there be one in this case?

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: Well, they already have an outside investigator, BCI, and-- and I think in most cases this is-- this is certainly called for. Somebody come in-- investigating--

JOHN DICKERSON: Should it be automatic in these cases, Governor?

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: --in the front-- I'm sorry?

JOHN DICKERSON: Should it be automatic in these cases, Governor?

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: Yeah. I think it should be automatic, automatic outside, someone come in to do the investigation. You also have, you know, the prosecution. The prosecution itself. And it's not that the local prosecutor can't do it or the local police can't investigate themselves, particularly with the police investigating themselves. You know, there is the appearance. There's always the appearance that, you know, that was not a fair investigation. So I think getting rid of that feeling, getting rid of that appearance, making sure it's an outside agency that is doing the investigation. BCI in Ohio does a great, great job. They are the ones that are involved. It's a state agency. They're the ones that the mayor has asked to come in and do the investigation in Columbus.

JOHN DICKERSON: You've talked about training. And I want to talk about the Ma'Khia Bryant case. There's been a lot of people looking at it because the video is out there, a lot of people making judgments. What a lot of people in the Black community see is they see a situation in which white assailants, young white men who've sometimes have just come from committing mayhem, are taken into custody. But when it's a young Black man or woman, there-- they are-- there's a shooting, there's a-- a use of force, and they see a wide disparity there. In terms of the discretion used by officers, do you understand that feeling?

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GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: Well, I certainly understand the feeling. I also understand the feeling of the police officer. I-- I've not been a police officer, but I was a county prosecuting attorney. Look, they've got a tough job. You know, they have to make split-second decisions. And in this particular case, for example, you know, you're watching the same thing I'm watching, you know the same thing I'm-- I'm seeing. But that's what the police officer saw.


GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: So that's why one reason, frankly, to have the video cameras and get that out to the public so that everybody can-- you know, can take a look at that.


GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: But, yes, I understand how they feel. It's one of the reasons why, you know, teaching them implicit bias, you know, more police training, how you defuse a situation, how you deal with someone, for example, who has a mental health problem, how you deal with someone who is autistic, all of these things, you know, we know how to do now.


GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: It's just getting that training out to every police-- every police officer in the country.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about that question of implicit bias because what you see in the figures is that you're twice as likely, if you're Black, to get shot in one of these instances. And then also in Columbus, there was a study that showed even though Black residents are twenty-eight percent of the city, they're involved in half of the use of force cases. So it's not just a feeling. The numbers back it up. And I wonder if you can be very specific in this training about basically the implicit views of race that get embedded one way or another into police that cause these kinds of outcomes?

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: Sure. This is-- this is state of the art training today, John. This is what professionals want, and, you know, I've never met a police officer yet who didn't want more training. This is part of that-- that kind of training. Absolutely. This is something that, you know, I did when I was attorney general. It's something that we want to spread out with more police training, continuous police training every single year, even the smallest department. That's what we should have.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about qualified immunity, a piece of jargon we hear about a lot. Some people say it shields police officers who-- who do wrongdoing. Others say it allows them to make a good faith effort in these split-second moments. It's being taken care of in states, New Mexico, Colorado. Will Ohio do anything to change qualified immunity? Do you think?

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: Yes, John. John, we have not really had a discussion about it. I'm sure we will. I'll take a look at that. But I've really not looked at that to see what impact that does have.

JOHN DICKERSON: And you don't have a view one way or the other whether it should or shouldn't?




JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you a quick COVID-19 question. There's a lot of vaccine hesitancy out there. A, how worried are you about that? And B, as a Republican, one of the things we found in our polling is that forty-six percent, excuse me, forty-nine percent of Republicans either aren't going to get it at all or are very hesitant. So how worried are you and what would you say to fellow Republicans?

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: Well, I'm worried, John. We've seen our vaccination rate go down about half of what it was three weeks ago, so that's a concern. But we've vaccinated about forty percent of, at least for the first shot, forty percent of our total population. We just need to continue to-- to move forward. If you look at those sixty-five and over, we're over seventy-- seventy-three, seventy-four percent. So we're doing pretty well. But we have to continue to go forward. The game is not over yet. So I'm-- I'm concerned about it.


GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: You know, one of the things that we're doing is now we're reaching out to businesses and providing for vaccinations directly in businesses.


GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: We're doing the same thing in our colleges.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Governor, we're going--

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: We're doing the same thing in our high school. We've got to be more aggressive.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Governor. Thank you.

GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE: And we're doing it.

JOHN DICKERSON: Thank you so much. Sorry, I've got to be aggressive and move on. Thank you, Governor. We appreciate it.

We go now to Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, who is also the former police chief of Orlando. Good morning, Congresswoman.

REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS (D-Florida/@RepValDemings): Good morning, John. Good to be with you.

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, thank you so much for being here. George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, it has passed the House. The President wants it to move in the Senate. I read in the papers that there is progress. Is there any progress?

REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: Well, I do believe that every day gives us an opportunity for progress, John, and, also, I am hopeful that the Senate will meet this moment. We know that informal discussions are going on. I think we're closer than a lot of people realize. I know one of the sticking points centers around qualified immunity, but I do believe that we can do just about anything that we have the political will to do. And I do believe that we can meet this moment.

JOHN DICKERSON: You mentioned qualified immunity, it's an expression-- it's a word we hear-- or two words we hear a lot. Senator Scott, who's been running this issue for Republicans, says that he's trying to float a new idea on qualified immunity. And the idea would be that in civil suits, you wouldn't go after the individual police officers, but that the department would be on the hook for an incident. Do you think there's any chance that that might get some agreement among Democrats?

REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: Well, you know, as I said, John, I think we're closer than a lot of people realize. One thing that we all need to remember is that everybody counts, but everybody's accountable. And we do have to look at the inappropriate behavior of some officers, how egregious it is, how inhumane it is. And I do think there are opportunities to sue those individuals-- individuals on a personal level. The department is always, or can always be held accountable. I am hoping that Senator Scott will lead his delegation, if you will, or the Republican members in the Senate to sit down at the table, finish the negotiations and let's get this done. George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is not perfect, but it is a major step in the right direction. Let's get this done. We need it. The American people need it.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the-- the George Floyd Policing Act and this awful incident, Ma'Khia Bryant in-- in Ohio. So under-- as I understand it, under the legislation, federal officials, police officers, they would be restrained from using excessive force unless a third party was in danger and unless they couldn't deescalate. Those seems to be the facts of the case in the Bryant case, which means that under the standards set in the-- in the Floyd Policing Act, the officer in that case seems to have acted as they were trained and supposed to.

REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: Well, you know, John, when I served as a police chief, what I prayed for daily was that my police officers would respond as they are trained to do. Now, after every incident we would have to go back and look at our policies and make sure that the policies met the moment. But, look, I worked as a social worker with foster care children. So it's a-- it's a sad moment for me. But I also was a patrol officer who was out there on the street having to make those split-second decisions. You know, now everybody has the benefit of slowing the video down and-- and seizing the perfect moment. The officer on the street does not have that ability. He or she has to make those split-second decisions and they're tough. But the limited information that I know in viewing the video, it appears that the officer responded as he was trained to do with the main thought of preventing a tragedy and-- and a loss of life of the person who was about to be assaulted.

JOHN DICKERSON: You mentioned your experience. It's always nice in politics to have people who've done something that's being talked about on Capitol Hill. Do you have any advice for your colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, about how to think this through, given the fact that you have experience as a police officer?

REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: Well, I think it-- it does help to talk to those members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who have actually been out there doing the job. But my main advice, John, would be let's don't make this a political issue. You-- when we look historically throughout our history, even though there's always been two strong political parties, they've always seem in most instances to be able to lay down their political difference and rise to meet that significant moment. This is such a time. And, so, I am hoping that we will put politics aside and come together because we need to get this done. Our communities around the nation need it. Our good police officers need it, and, quite frankly, the American people need it. We in Congress in both chambers can meet this moment as well if we have the political will to do so.

JOHN DICKERSON: While I'm asking you about advice, Congresswoman. What would you say to your former colleagues, to police officers who feel like they're-- they're being-- they are getting scrutinized more than they deserve, that they are being all thrown into one barrel? How would you talk to them about the efforts to achieve accountability, given what you know about the work they do?

REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: Well, John and I have talked to some of them. And what I remind them of is that they-- they wear the badge, and I used to do this as a chief, over their heart because they have to have the heart for the job. We want them to have the mind for the job so that they will make good decisions. But we want them to have the heart for the job as well. And I-- I also remind them, remember, you are well trained.


REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: Utilize the training that you have, but also remember that it's human beings that you're dealing with and always have compassion for the community in which you represent. And, you know, the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers in this nation are good people who go to work every day to protect those, protect and serve our communities. I remind them of that. Always stand on the right side, speak up--


REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: --and be professional and do the job that you're paid to do.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Congresswoman Demings, thank you so much for being with us.

FACE THE NATION will be right back with some new poll finding-- new poll findings. Stay with us.


JOHN DICKERSON: We turn now to our CBS elections and surveys director Anthony Salvanto, who has some new findings in advance of President Biden's one-hundred-day mark and address to a joint session of Congress. He joins us from Westchester County, New York. Good morning, Anthony.

ANTHONY SALVANTO (CBS News Elections and Surveys Director/@SalvantoCBS): Good morning, John. Good to talk to you.

JOHN DICKERSON: It's good to be back with you. Let's-- before we get to President Biden, you asked some questions in the wake of the Derek Chauvin verdict. What did you find?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Yeah. Big majorities, John, seventy-five percent feel that the jury in the case reached the right verdict, based on what they, themselves heard. Now, I should point out that is true for big majorities of both white and black Americans, and look at that bipartisanship, like so many things today we find a little bit of difference. There are majorities, big ones of DEMs, of independents, who think it was the right verdict, the majority of Republicans, too, though a sizable portion of Republicans feeling like it was the wrong one. But, again, on balance, big majorities feeling like the jury reached the right verdict, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Let's pivot now and talk about the presidency and the President. Anthony, a hundred days is coming up, the President is going to speak to Congress. Where does President Biden's approval rating stand at this moment?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: So, he is at fifty-eight percent. Now for context, you know, we go back twenty years, and that's about where George W. Bush was in his first hundred days. It's lower than where President Obama was during the economic crisis as he took over. And it's higher than where Donald Trump was. You know, for context, you want to really note that back ten, twenty years ago, there was actually a little more partisan crossover, at least initially for presidents, where partisans from the opposing party would give them a little bit of breathing room. A little bit better ratings at least initially. But that really started to change during the Obama administration, and Donald Trump almost never got any Democratic support. And that's where we find Joe Biden right now, where this is build primarily on getting a lot of Democrats and also independents, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: Right. We used to have actual honeymoons, but the presidency now people basically approve or disapprove based on what team jersey the president wears. Having said that fifty-eight percent, not a bad number because of those independents that you mentioned. So why is President Biden getting relatively good approval ratings and-- and good approval ratings from independents, Anthony?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: So, John, a big part of this is two-thirds of Americans think that Joe Biden is doing a good job handling the coronavirus outbreak. And even, more specifically, a lot of people feel like he's doing a good job on vaccine distribution. This is really important because his administration had set out success for that as a marker in the first one hundred days, and he's meeting it. It's kind of classic transactional politics. Set out a goal people feel like you've achieved it. On the personal front, majorities describe Joe Biden right now as presidential, as competent, as focused, all things people want from a leader in a crisis. This is something that's in your wheel-house as you've written about. These are all things that are also accruing to those overall approval numbers, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: So, Anthony, that's how he's doing on the promises he made in the campaign. What about the ground he wants to plow going forward? What does the immediate future look like?

ANTHONY SALVANTO: Yeah. Well, one of those promises, John, was to be bipartisan. Now, people do think on balance he's trying to work with congressional Republicans. But, of course, there are some hurdles there. One is that the rank and file Republicans in the country still will not say that Joe Biden is the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. That puts pressure, of course, on the Republican delegation there. And though on policy matters he's got some poplar policies. Notably as he heads into this speech, talking about infrastructure. In principle, when you ask people if we should spend more on things like roads and bridges, you get big majority support. On the politics side you attach Joe Biden's name to it, his infrastructure plan and he still gets majority support, fifty-eight percent right now. So, if you do popular things, your numbers can at least be decent. And that's where he is, heading into the speech this week, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: Popular and principle. We'll see if the politics get in the way. Thanks so much, Anthony.

And we'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.


JOHN DICKERSON: A quick programming note, on Wednesday, CBS News will carry President Biden's first address to Congress, followed by the Republican response. Coverage begins at 9:00 PM Eastern on your CBS station.


JOHN DICKERSON: We'll be right back with Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill, and former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. Stay with us.


JOHN DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We want to continue our conversation on policing in America with Troy Finner, Houston's chief of police. Good morning.

TROY FINNER (Houston Police Chief/@TroyFinner): Good morning, John.

JOHN DICKERSON: I want to get your first sense, what was the reaction within the force about the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case?

TROY FINNER: Well, John, let me just say this, it is a message to everyone that no one is above the law. If you raise your hand and you take an oath of office to protect and serve and uphold constitutional rights and you do what he did, it's a message that no one is above the law. And it's a message to everybody in our nation, including our citizens, that, you know what, everyone is going to be held accountable. So I-- I think that the-- the jury spoke. The judge spoke. And we need to move forward, but we also need to have deep, honest communications.

JOHN DICKERSON: Minneapolis-- the precinct commander in Minneapolis, Charles Adams, told-- said this to The New York Times, he said, "So much is being thrown at us as law enforcement officials. We're unsure how we're going to police in the future." I hear anxiety in that answer. Do you-- do you feel or get a sense of anxiety in your force?

TROY FINNER: No, John. I do have concerns with-- with our troops on the front line, but you have to remind them, what did they sign up for? They signed up to protect and-- and serve. And you also have to remind them that the majority of citizens in Houston and around the nation respect and honor police officers. You have to remind them, look, don't get caught up in the negative noise. Understand what's going on. Understand that people of color, communities of color, are hurting. We have to be honest with them. We have to give value to their perceptions, to their life experiences, because their perception is their reality. Our perception is our reality. And it's not until you slow down and give value to that, start to communicate and talk about those tough things. And when you do that, you-- you build bridges. And-- and that's what we need to be doing in our nation. Get away from the negative and understand there is a problem and we have to address it and we're going to address it together as-- as a nation.

JOHN DICKERSON: So what are you doing in your force to try to address those problems, to build those bridges, have those conversations?

TROY FINNER: Well, I've-- I've been in my community for thirty-one years as a police officer, so I have deep-rooted respected relationships, so reaching out to everybody and non-traditional people. We got to reach out to former gang members. We got to reach out to hip-hop. Everybody needs to be in a fight. But what-- what do-- what do we do in-- in-- in terms of training and-- and-- and making sure that we are deescalating every chance that we can. Make sure that-- that the officers are slowing down. A lot of the officer-involved shooting scenes, you find out one thing, sometimes the officers rush in, okay? Slow them down, gang cover when you can. But also take a critical look at everything that led up to the shooting incident. Did we slow down? Did we do everything we could because-- and you got to put it into the officer's heart and in their minds, sanctity of life is the most important thing. And it's important for everybody to go home, not only our police officers, but our general public. So you-- you just got to drill that in every day and-- and people ask about training. Training is just not something that you do once a year. Training is every day. It-- it has to be psychological. We talk about touching the hearts and minds of citizens every day. What about our police officers? And then you have to reassure them, look, we got eight hundred thousand police officers, eighteen thousand police agencies in our nation. The majority of them do great work.

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you ever worry, Chief, that-- you know, one of the-- one of the ways that we get change, one of the way-- ways there is reform is when there is a lot of public talk and-- and a lot of demonstration. That is necessary in the American story. On the other hand, what I wonder from you is if all of this talk about reform and the-- and the police officers who've done bad things changes the level of trust that is absolutely required for public safety and for what the members of your force have to do.

TROY FINNER: If-- if you allow it to. It's a two-way street in this, you know, and let's-- let's be honest, I'm a-- a-- a man that speaks the truth. I'm-- I'm to the point. There are problems, okay? Too many unarmed African-American or males of color, young males are being shot in our nation. So we have to address that. But at the same time, let's talk about all the good work. And-- and when I go out to the community, because I'm from this community and-- and I can only speak in terms of Houston. People ask me, you know what, Chief, why we don't have more Black or why we don't have more Latino officers in this area? You know what, but I never want to discount the Caucasian officers who've been in our communities, the African-American and Latino communities, for twenty-five, thirty-five years, you know, and retired, never shot anyone, never had a complaint. So we have to speak the honest truth. But remember what I said, we also have to give value to a group of people when they're hurting, when they have lost a loved one, you know, in-- in-- in a police officer-involved shooting, that probably wasn't justified. So we have to just come together and really communicate.

JOHN DICKERSON: What do you think, Chief-- and-- and I know you've paid attention to the Ma'Khia Bryant case in-- in Columbus in Ohio. They released the footage very quickly. Is that something you think is a good idea?

TROY FINNER: You have to release that footage. Mayor Turner is getting ready to announce some of the reform that's coming because of the result of his task force on-- on policing. We're going to have a press conference next-- next week. And I don't want to get ahead of him, but you're going to see departments around the nation--it is a thing of transparency. You can't just talk transparency and not be transparent. The public needs to know. And the quicker you put those body-worn camera footage out the better off everybody is going to be.

JOHN DICKERSON: And finally, just twenty seconds, Chief, what would you advise Americans watching this footage? Because we're going to see more of it, how they should process it? On any-- not just in the--


JOHN DICKERSON: --in Ma'Khia Bryant case, but any case.

TROY FINNER: Yeah. Look at every case on its own individual merit. Look at it. Don't paint a brush or put--


TROY FINNER: --all police officers in one pot. Just as the same that officers shouldn't put a par-- particular community in one pot.


TROY FINNER: Because when we do that, guess who wins? The criminals and-- and-- and the bad police officers. We need to have a laser focus--


TROY FINNER: --on those officers who are violating people rights and also the suspects who are out there that's doing wrong.


TROY FINNER: So let's come together, let's have those difficult conversations--


TROY FINNER: --and let's love one another and our nation.

JOHN DICKERSON: Chief, thank you so much for being with us-- with us. We appreciate it.

We go now to the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill. She joins us from Baltimore. Good morning.

SHERRILYN IFILL (President and Director-Counsel of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund/@Sifill_LDF): Good morning.

JOHN DICKERSON: Sherrilyn, there is a long history that-- of protest and reform and struggle that has been in American life since the '60s, but something changed with George Floyd's murder. And I wonder, with the-- the conviction this week, what you think changed and what you think did not change?

SHERRILYN IFILL: Well, I think what has changed since George Floyd was killed last summer is that people who have been in this fight for a long time and let's be clear, many have been in this fight for decades. The issue of police violence against unarmed African-Americans is an issue of the twentieth century. We can go all the way back to the beginning of the twentieth century and find these incidents and find this unrest as Black communities have resisted this. It was a signature issue of the unrest in cities across the country during the 1960s. And we emerged from that decade with three core civil rights statutes, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. But we emerged with nothing on the issue of policing and racism in policing. So I think where we are now, John, is that people are fed up and that's a good thing because it's time for a fundamental change. If you can recall, we've been in these conversations for the last seven years since Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. And there's been some tinkering around the edges. There's been some movement. The most powerful movement has been that the conversation has shifted away from talking about tinkering around the edges and modest reforms to radical changes and a radical envisioning of what public safety needs to become in this country.

JOHN DICKERSON: Where should we put our focus when we-- what's an example of what you're talking about? In other words, not tinkering, but-- but real reform?

SHERRILYN IFILL: Well, you look at places like the city of Berkeley that has decided that armed officers will no longer be involved in traffic stops or mental health calls. Or the experiment happening in Ithaca, where the entire police department is being set down for a new community solution and public safety core. It will include some armed law enforcement officers, but it's focusing on the root causes of crime. It's shifting resources to mental health, to homelessness services, to youth services. And then it's focusing on what is it that you actually need armed police officers to do to deal with the most violent of circumstances. But the truth is it's a re-envisioning of what public safety needs to be. Do we need an-- officers of an armed constabulary to come out to address the possibility that someone is passing a bad twenty-dollar check? Do we need armed officers to come out and address a homeless person who won't leave your front stoop? We have to actually get into thinking about what public safety is supposed to mean and not assuming that we have to continue the current structures. But being bold. What we've been doing, John, is something akin to "all deliberate speed." You'll remember the admonition of the Supreme Court in the second Brown case, which actually slowed down desegregation. We've been moving at a snail's pace. And I think even for myself, I've been involved in this work for quite some time. There's-- there's just a fundamental shift and we realize that reform around the edges is not going to do it. We're looking at Elizabeth City today.


SHERRILYN IFILL: We're looking at Spotsylvania County, where there have been additional killings. We need the killings to stop. And that means we're going to have to have fundamental change.

JOHN DICKERSON: I wonder if you think there's also common cause that can be made with a lot of police officers who express this sentiment when I talk to them. They say, you know, we're in a system where these communities we work in have been failed by education, by the jobs system. There are guns everywhere. And we're being asked to be the-- go in there and-- and sort of face all of these problems on our backs. And that requires a broader lens to. Would you agree?

SHERRILYN IFILL: I agree. I'm so glad you said that, John, because this is the place-- when people talk about making common cause with existing police officers, it's not about having a pancake breakfast or playing basketball. It's about some real, honest talk. Police officers need to begin to be honest about the fact that open carry laws and concealed carry laws actually make them nervous. It endangers them. They don't like people having guns on the street and having concealed carry and walking around with weapons. It makes them nervous. But you don't hear police or-- organizations or law enforcement or-- organizations telling the truth, the things that they will set-- say behind closed doors about how they feel about these gun laws. It is also true that rather than actually solve the problems of our community, problems of education, problems of poverty, prob-- problems of homelessness, we have shifted all of the resources to deal with those problems into our criminal justice system.


SHERRILYN IFILL: And we've used the criminal justice system as a holding pen for resolving the-- the core problems that any healthy democracy has to solve. And that's--


SHERRILYN IFILL: --the conversation we need to be having now. We are now in a moment where we should be able to look squarely in the face, the issues that have to be addressed, that relate to our young people, that relate to jobs, that relate to homelessness, that relate to the mental health crisis happening across the country, and that COVID will only exacerbate. We need to be putting our resources and attention to those problems and not shunting them off to the criminal justice system and asking police officers, armed officers to address issues that we have been too cowardly to address as a democracy.

JOHN DICKERSON: As-- we're running out of time here, I wanted to ask you about the Justice Department decision this week to open a pattern and practice investigation into Minneapolis. How do you think things will be different under the Biden administration in-- in dealing with these issues?

SHERRILYN IFILL: Well, I don't-- I think it'll be night and day from Bill Barr, for sure, and I think, you know, Judge Garland, Attorney General Garland, that's an opening salvo. Barr was asked last summer whether he would open a pattern and practice investigation into Minneapolis, and he blankly said no. So it was important for Judge Garland to say that today. I don't think this will be the only one. I think this will be the first--


SHERRILYN IFILL: --of many. And one of the things that needs to happen is the re-upping of those investigations into unconstitutional policing and bringing resources--

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Sherrilyn--

SHERRILYN IFILL: --to bear to show that we are serious about it. So we were very encouraged.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Sherrilyn Ifill, thanks so much for being with-- with us.

And we'll be right back.


JOHN DICKERSON: We go now to former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. He sits on the board of Pfizer as well as Illumina, and he joins us from Westport, Connecticut. Good morning to you.

SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D. (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Good morning.

JOHN DICKERSON: Doctor Gottlieb, the CDC director this week said that there was a drop in cases that suggested a hopeful trend. Do you share that hope?

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Yeah, I think we are seeing a hopeful trend across the country. Cases are clearly declining. The positivity rate is about 3.3 percent right now. Hospitalizations are falling as well, which is a good indication. And even in hard-hit areas like Michigan, which had late epidemics, late surges, you're seeing cases start to come down. I think whereas the past trends when we saw cases start to decline, we were somewhat skeptical because we knew a lot of those declines were a result of behavioral changes, people pulling back more, taking more precautions. And then as soon as we sort of let our guard down, we saw cases surge again. Right now, the declines that we're seeing, we can take to the bank. I think we could feel more assured because they're being driven by vaccinations and greater levels of population-wide immunity, not just from vaccination, but also from prior infection. There's been a lot of Americans who've had this infection and have a level of immunity from their prior disease.

JOHN DICKERSON: So when we hear numbers-- what you're suggesting is kind of a mindset change in the way we process these numbers when they come in. What other ways should we be thinking in the vaccine world when we still heal-- hear numbers of the kind we'd heard for the last year? How should our mindset change in the way we process these numbers?

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think we need to think about the overall vulnerability of the population and not just the cases that we're accruing on a daily basis. The vulnerability of the population has been reduced substantially because of vaccination. A lot of older Americans and people who are most vulnerable to COVID, who are most likely to be hospitalized or succumb to the disease, have now been protected through vaccination and are going to be far less likely to have a bad outcome. So ten thousand cases right now is a lot different than ten thousand cases a year ago when the most vulnerable Americans had no protection from this disease. We might not get below a point this summer when we have much below ten thousand cases a day. If we sustain the current levels of testing, there's going to be outbreaks in summer camps. There's going to be sporadic infections. We'll have one to two hundred infections a day in most states, most large states in the country. But we need to look at those cases differently. They're going to probably represent much less disease, much less death, because most of-- most of the most vulnerable Americans will have been protected through vaccination. So we need to look at these things differently. I think we should focus more on hospitalizations as well. That's probably going to be the best measure of the overall impact of coronavirus on society.

JOHN DICKERSON: So if we should change our mindset a little, should we change the policies and practices that have been put in place by the states and the federal government on-- on how we behave?

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think a lot of the sacrifices we've made, and Americans have made substantial sacrifices over the last year, the things that we've asked people to do as public health officials were based on mutual consent, that people understood we were doing these things to try to protect the public. But as the situation improved, we were going to pull them back. And I think oftentimes a mistake we make is that we're quicker to implement these precautions than we are to lift them, because we're worried that once we lift them, we won't be able to reimplement them. I think we need to lean more aggressively forward and look at ways to try to relax some of the provisions that don't really make as much sense anymore. And probably the ones that we should be looking at the hardest are things done outside. I think we should be thinking about lifting mask-- mask ordinances outside. I think we should be thinking about lifting limits on gatherings outside and trying to encourage people to go outside now that the weather is warming, take more activities outside in the face of declining risk overall. Again, I think that these declines we're seeing are really locked in at this point. So I don't think we need to be as worried that as we take our foot off the brake, things are going to surge again. People by and large, are engaging in a lot of activity. B.1.1.7 is epidemic across the country and we're still not seeing big surges. And that's a good indication.

JOHN DICKERSON: Can you give me your thoughts on vaccine hesitancy? There are concerns. How concerned are you about those who don't want to get the vaccine, including the second shot some people aren't doing? How concerned are you and what do you think can be done?

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Yes, I need-- I think we need to break this down a little bit more. There are people who are clearly vaccine hesitant, people who, you know, are skeptical of vaccines, worry about the safety of vaccines. I think some portion of those people we can reach with better education in getting the vaccines into hands of people that they trust, like their local physicians, to try to encourage them to get vaccinated. But I think that there's also a large group of people for whom getting a vaccine still isn't convenient, people who work all day take care of families at night. For those individuals, we need to create more twenty-four-seven vaccination sites. We need to guarantee them they're not going to wait more than ten minutes when they go to get vaccinated. We need to encourage businesses to give people time off to get vaccinated. And then there is just softer demand. There's marginal customers like there are for any other product. There's people who say, you know, I'll get vaccinated, but they're not as anxious to get vaccinated as those sixty-five and seventy year olds who lined up back in January. And for those individuals, I think we need to market it more aggressively to them. We need to put vaccines in the hands of pharmacies that know how to market health care products to individuals, maybe pay pharmacies a little more over the next couple of months, give them an extra twenty dollar bonus to get people vaccinated, do things to try to create incentives in the market to get more information out to those marginal customers. We will get more people vaccinated, but the rate of vaccination is going to slow. That's not a bad thing. We just need to recognize it.

JOHN DICKERSON: Twenty seconds left. Your view on stopping the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccination.

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, they-- they pa-- I think they should have stopped the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccination based on what we know. This is a safe and effective vaccine. It has a place in public health right now. They paused it to try to see if there was going to be more cases that surfaced. They surfaced some additional cases, but not a lot. I think the risk-benefit of this vaccine looks favorable.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Doctor Gottlieb, sorry to cut you off. We're out of time. Thanks so much.

And we'll be back in a moment.


JOHN DICKERSON: Walter Mondale died last week at ninety-three. Twelve years as senator, vice president of the United States, and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984. It is an impressive resume. But it was not the resume that made people who never knew him weep in the middle of the day. Joe Trippi, the veteran Democratic strategist, posted a story on Twitter about working for Mondale in the '84 Democratic primary. During one of his early conversations with the candidate, Trippi mentioned he had been estranged from his father for five years. Trippi's dad, an Italian immigrant, wanted Trippi to go into the family flower business, but he'd gone into politics instead. He was good at it. He helped Mondale win Iowa. Months later, Trippi helped him win Pennsylvania, clinching the nomination. Before the victory celebration that night, Mondale called Trippi to his room. As the aide walked in, he saw the candidate talking to an old Italian man, telling him "that his son was in an honorable profession. Fighting for people who were down and hurting. He's making a difference," Mondale said, "I count on him and you need to know that." The response to this story from Republicans, Democrats, humans all, included words like character, mensch, integrity, decency, honorable, words we'd all like attached to us at the end of our lives. "Well my time has come," Mondale wrote to his former staffers just before his death, he said he looks forward to rejoining his wife and late daughter. "Before I go, I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me," he wrote, "I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some and was greeted by one of you." Gratitude and thinking of others, both at moments of triumph and at the final moment, when your behavior writes your eulogy, you've gone out pretty well.

WALTER MONDALE: But just trying to help others and be decent neighbor and friends.

JOHN DICKERSON: Few us of will ever have a resume like Fritz Mondale, but to leave a mark with your heart, with gratitude and grace, that life is available to each of us.

We'll be right back.


JOHN DICKERSON: That's it for us today. Thanks so much for watching. Come join us next week. We'll be here at FACE THE NATION. For FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.

Athletics pitcher Jesus Luzardo fractures pinkie while playing video game .
Oakland A's left-hander Jesus Luzardo suffered a hairline fracture when he hit his pitching hand on a table before his start Saturday vs. Baltimore.A's manager Bob Melvin said Luzardo hit his left hand on a table while playing the game before Saturday's start against the Baltimore Orioles.

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