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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  April 24, 2021 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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indigenous art form, you buy from indigenous artists. this allows us to grow in new ways. all of our vendors go through a process to learn about tribal affiliation and native made. we have products from tribes across the united states and canada. >> we try to make sure as much money as possible goes back to native artists. >> i learned how to bead with my heritage and so many others have as well. that's why i think it's great it brings to many people together on the same platform. hello again, everyone, thank you so much for joining me this saturday. i'm fredricka whitfield. we begin with a growing number of states now resuming the u.s. of johnson & johnson coronavirus vaccine. the one-shot vaccine back online across the nation after the cdc's independent panel of vaccine advisers voted to lift a previously recommended pause. officials determining that
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resumi resuming use of the vaccine would save hundreds of lives and result in just a few dozen cases of rare blood clots at most. the u.s. suspended use of the vaccine after several women who received it developed blood clots. johnson & johnson has now updated its fact sheet to deflect that risk. joining me to discuss this is dr. henry bernstein, voting member of the cdc's independent panel of vaccine advisers and also an attending physician at cohen children's medical center in new york. good to see you, dr. bernstein. >> good to be here, thank you. >> you voted yes to resume the j&j vaccine. how did you come to that conclusion? >> well, it's really impressive how the whole thing has unfolded. remember the nation's vaccine surveillance system identified a potential problem, meaning the blood clots and low platelets. that in turn prompted the full
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investigation and identification of now 15 cases. it turns out the 15 cases are quite serious and 3 of them were fatal. but that was out of more than 8 million doses of the vaccine, and so i felt that it was important for the vaccine to be reinstituted so that more people can get vaccinated. the more people that do get vaccinated, the closer we'll get towards normalcy. >> you say even though you had 15 cases, 3 of which were fatal, you believed what supersedes that is that people need to take notice that this vaccine safety surveillance system works and that's what they need to appreciate from these findings? >> absolutely. and we will continue to monitor it. it is the nation's vaccine safety surveillance system, and
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anyone can put in or submit a report about a potential adverse event after a vaccine. the public can do it, providers can do it, public health officials. and when that system works as it did in this case, it identifies signals that potentially could be problematic and require further investigation. and so we will be monitoring this going forward. >> dr. bernstein, a study published earlier this week in the "new england journal of medicine" confirms that the johnson & johnson coronavirus vaccine is 66% effective in protecting against moderate-to-severe cases and more than 85% effective at preventing severe-to-critical covid cases 28 days after vaccination. how important and how will that -- how important is that information, and how will it be conveyed so that people who are
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reticent and even more concerned after the pause so that you try to restore their faith? >> i can totally understand why people would be concerned given the events around the vaccine over the last several weeks. but i can assure you all three of these vaccines are incredibly safe and effective overall. and i think there are advantages even to the johnson & johnson vaccine in the fact it is only one shot rather than two. it also can be kept in the refrigerator, doesn't need special cold chain storage requirements. so it makes it much easier to use the johnson & johnson vaccine and reach those that are difficult to reach, such as those in rural areas, the homeless, those that are h
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homebound. it makes it much easier because the faster we get vaccinated, the faster we can achieve heard immunity. >> overall do you see opening vaccines to children younger than 15 is a game-changer in this nation as pertains to closer -- reaching the herd immunity, making sure schools are more safe? >> you bring up a fantastic point. it is important for children to be vaccinated against covid, not only to protect themselves but also because when they get infected, they then transmit it to their caregivers, the individuals in their family, community. so we really need them to be studied receiving the vaccine. we won't need tens of thousands of people or children of
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different ages studied the way we did it in adults because we know with more than 200 million doses how safe these vaccines are overall, but we will need to study them in several thousand children in various ages. so we go down to 12 years of age and then 5 to 11 and then 6 months to 2 and 2 to 5-year-olds so we do what's called age de-escalation and we really do want everyone to have an opportunity to be protected against sars-cov-2 infection. >> dr. henry bernstein, thank you so much. good to see you. be well. >> good to see you. thank you. the u.s. added over 3 million vaccine doses to its total vaccination tally on friday. over 91 million americans are now fully vaccinated, making up about 28% of the population. experts say at least 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to reach
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herd immunity. cnn's evan mcnora santora is joining me now. what are you hearing now that the johnson & johnson vaccine is being made available again to people? >> that's right, the governor said today the johnson & johnson will roll out here in new york immediately now that the federal government lifted its hold on it. but i want to talk about what's happening when it comes to vaccinations in america now. where i'm standing, something remarkable is happening. i have stood outside multiple vaccination sites all over new york throughout this entire pandemic. where i am now here at the national history museum here in manhattan, there are two things to look at, the city rncs are talking to people walking down the street and on the other side a nurse is standing by the subway entrance on the way to the museum. what 24those folks are doing is
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hawking the vaccine. this is a walk-in site for vaccinations. anybody who wants to get one can get one. there's concern in new york we are seeing hesitancy here we are seeing all over the country. previously, can we get appointments? is there enough availability of the vaccine? that process is over with. we got to new york where over 30.2% fully vaccinated, which is a good number but you need 70% to 80% to be completely vaccinated. so now the government is turning to cajoling people on the streets, stopping them on the streets saying why don't you come in and get a vaccine shot, and if you do, the national history will give a pass for four people to come to free to the museum after you get the shot. 2z a whole different approach, but not the idea of scarcity and getting an appointment and standing in line, but we have the vaccine and we really want to you take it. that's a huge, huge change that shows what the next phase of the pandemic will be, getting those hesitant people to get out and get the shot. fred? >> my goodness, museum passes
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new incentive to get vaccinated in new york. evan mcmorris-santoro, thank you so much. new questions remain unanswered following the deadly police-involved shooting of andrew brown jr. in north carolina. this morning elizabeth city officials revealing that they still don't have all of the details about what exactly happened wednesday morning. officials making a very clear distinction that the shooting and warrants involved county sheriff's deputies, not the city's police force or city management, but that county's sheriff's office remains tightlipped about the pursuit and shooting of this 42-year-old black man and has yet to release any body cam video. meanwhile, calls for the release of those videos are growing louder. in fact north carolina's governor tweeting his support for the videos to be shown to the public as quickly as possible. on friday the city council held an emergency meeting requesting the videos be made public. and today city officials
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revealed that request will be formally filed on monday. cnn's natasha chen was at the press briefing involving city officials. natasha, tell us more about what we are learning. >> yes, so, fred, like you said, the city officials don't know a lot of details at all about this case. they were not involved with what happened wednesday morning. they said they're pretty much in the dark as much as the public is. you can feel public frustration growing as the body camera footage still has not been released. in fact members of the public were gathered at the press conference trying to seek more information and we are here by the waterfront because some of them are expected to gather here for a march shortly. the sheriff told us yesterday he would not answer questions about who fired shots, so where brown was shot on the body and the body cam footage, so far he's deferring to the district attorney's office to protect the
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integrity of the investigation. so i asked during the press conference whether the city manager felt frustrated at this process, and here's what he said about his take on the whole situation. >> i would be lying if i told you that my belief is being tested. this time is where the rubber truly meets the road. and so because we have had very little, extremely little, we probably know even less than what you all know about this occurrence. my plea to all of you is that i need every single person watching and listening to keep your eye on this situation. i don't need any distractions whatsoever to take away from this very fluid and very necessary investigation.
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>> reporter: what we do have is the 911 audio dispatch from wednesday and we can hear an emergency responder say a 42-year-old has a gunshot wound to the back. right now there are seven deputies who are on administrative leave. they were involved in the event wednesday. there were two other deputies who resigned, a third one who retired from the sheriff's department and, of course, everyone is waiting about this body camera footage in north carolina. it requires a court order to be released in north carolina so that's what the city's emergency meeting was about yesterday, to try to have that formal request filed as of monday, and that gives the sheriff's office a few days to respond. the question is whether the city council, who was not related to this event, has any standing to request that. at the same time, cnn, we should mention, is part of a coalition of 14 news organizations who have also served a petition on friday to request that same body camera footage, fred.
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>> natasha, what about andrew brown's family, what are they saying? how are they handling this? >> yeah, they have been very open with the media about their pain and their frustration. they're expected to speak this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. alongside reverend william barber, alongside also the head of the local naacp here to talk about what's going on for them. andrew brown jr.'s aunt, betty banks, talked to us about what a loving father he was. he has several children who are represented by an attorney who will also be there this afternoon. she says he was not armed at the time of this incident and so they are really also eagerly awaiting more information. they met with the sheriff yesterday and they were hoping to be able to see this footage and were very disappointed when told that wouldn't be possible. >> so many unanswered questions. thank you very much, natasha
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chen there, from elizabeth city, north carolina. coming up -- new details on the investigation into florida congressman matt gaetz. prosecutors are looking into whether gaetz took gifts including travel and paid escorts as part of a scheme to illegally influence him over the issue of medical marijuana. and a new report shows the trump administration delayed $20 billion of aid to puerto rico following hurricane maria and stymied the investigation into the delay. only one 5g partner offers unmatched network, support, and value-without any trade offs. during photosynthesis, plants convert solar energy into chemical energy, cleaning the oxygen we breathe. plants clean the air. when applied to stained textiles, plant-based surfactants like the ones in seventh generation detergent trap stains at the molecular level and flush them away.
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so make home everything you need it to be during way day happening april 28th and 29th at ♪ wayfair you've got just what i need ♪ new details emerging on the federal probe of republican congressman matt gaetz. sources now telling cnn part of the investigation is focusing in on a 2018 trip gaetz and others took to the bahamas. let's bring in cnn's marshall cohen for more on these developments. marshall, what more can you tell us about these new details of this investigation? >> hey, fredericka, cnn has learned that the federal sex trafficking investigation into congressman gaetz is also
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looking at whether he took gifts, as you mentioned, in exchange for political favors. gifts like free travel and paid escorts as well. sources briefed on the matter say the justice department is k scrutinizing a 2018 trip he took to the bahamas. gaetz was there along with several young women. investigators in the public corruption unit are specifically looking at whether that trip was part of an orchestrated effort to illegally influence the congressman regarding the medical marijuana industry. cnn has previously reported that gaetz is under investigation for possibly engaging in a relationship with a woman that began when she was just 17 years old and they're also looking into whether gaetz attended sex parties in orlando with other prominent republicans that involved women, drugs and sex for money. so investigators in that probe already have one key witness who is cooperating, that's joel greenberg. he's the former tax commissioner
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in seminole county. he's a close friend of gaetz, and also attended some of those parties in orlando. he was indicted last year on dozens of federal charges, including sex trafficking. he's expected to plead guilty to some crimes in the coming weeks, fred. >> and so, marshall, the gaetz probe also includes scrutiny of public -- potential public corruption tied to the medical marijuana industry. what can you tell us about that? >> yeah, it's a real interesting part of this. gaetz, as you know, has a long history of advocating for medical marijuana, relaxing the rules around that schedule one drug and crossed party lines in congress even to work on some of those bills. while he's been dealing with that issue, he's repeated ly intersignif intersected with this doctor on your screen here. he founded a medical marijuana advocacy group. and gaetz wrote in his book the doctor is one of his best
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friends. according to reports, this doctor was with gaetz on that 2018 trip to the bahamas, which is now under investigation for potential corruption. a source tells cnn back in 2018 when gaetz introduced a medical marijuana research bill in congress, gaetz hand delivered a fully written draft of the bill to his staff and that that draft overlapped significantly with the agenda the doctor's group had been pushing. fred, i want to be totally clear before i 1e7send it back to you neither congressman gaetz or the doctor have been accused with wrongdoing. they have not been charges with any crimes. gaetz vehemently denied he ever paid for sex or had sex with any underage women. and regarding these latest developments, his spokesman told our colleagues he's a longtime policy expert on marijuana and it's laughable he could be influenced by others on this particular topic.
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fred? >> marshall cohen, all fascinating. thank you very much. so republicans in arizona have started reviewing ballots cast in 2020 as they continue to question the election results. more than 2 million ballots from maricopa county, along with 400 tabulation machines, have been handed over to the state senate for the audit. senate republicans sought a recount of the ballots from arizona's largest county to examine unsubstantiated claims that fraud or errors tainted president biden's win. the partisan audit, which could stretch for roughly two months, comes after county election officials conducted two audits and found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or other issues. still ahead -- a key clue in the search for a missing submarine. why the investigation is shifting from a rescue to a recovery mission.
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debris from a sunken sub. it confirms what officials feared, rescue efforts would turn to recovery instead. blake essex is joining us from tokyo. blake, tell us what this debris tells them. blake, can you hear me? oh, we don't have any audio i think for blake.
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let's watch his report. >> reporter: some of the debris displayed by the indonesian navy, leading them to a bleak status change for a missing submarine carrying 53 crew members. >> translator: with authentic evidence believed to be from kri mongolia at the moment we raised the status from missing to sunk. >> reporter: the submarine went missing sunday morning in the bali strait. it's a race against time to locate the vessel with oxygen expected to have run out by early saturday. they believe it cracked under intense pressure allowing debris to escape. they said based on the findings, an explosion is unlikely. >> translator: the items would not have come outside of the submarine if there was no external pressure or without damage to its for torpedo launc
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>> reporter: the debris was found floating at a location where the ocean is 850 meters deep, which would make any possible evacuation difficult. authorities said earlier the submarine could not survive at depths below 500 meters. blake essex, cnn, tokyo. >> thank you very much, blake. up next -- a tornado threat on the move, 20 million americans facing potentially dangerous weather. find out who is at risk and for how long. plus, a bombshell new report accuses the trump administration of delaying hurricane aid to puerto rico and then blocking the investigation that followed. reaction from the mayor of san juan straight ahead.
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center. so good to see you. this storm system has already spawned a tornado in texas? >> yes, in fact, in the last 24 hours, we actually had five tornado reports total across the country, almost 50 severe wind reports and over 35 large hail reports. this is the same system that's still ongoing today, as it just continues to make its way farther to the east s some of the biggest strong storms are located down towards the gulf coast region but all of this area dealing with very heavy rain. charlotte, atlanta, raleigh, all of those cities having at some point pretty heavy rain today. we have tornado watches in effect across the southeast. some of the counties on the far west side will drop off after 3:00 p.m. eastern time. some of the eastern counties will not expire until 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight. there will be ongoing threats of hail especially in the origange areas here.
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you will notice what we call back building, storms piling up in some of the same places they already had them this morning. not only is that a concern for the strongest, severe thunderstorms but also potential for flooding. a lot of these areas, if you just keep getting rain over and over again, it's going to start to pond. the areas of biggest concerns are going to be southern alabama as well as southern georgia, where we could pick up widespread 2 to 4 inches, some spots 6 inches of rain. >> wow, that's a lot. allison chinchar, thank you very much. a new report this week is raising serious concerns about the response to hurricane maria and how that impacted puerto rico. an investigation by the department of housing and urban development's office of inspector general found the trump administration delayed $20 billion in relief funds, and then put up barriers to investigators who were trying to determine what was behind the delay. according to the report, former hud director ben carson and other former officials refused
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to be interviewed and declined to give information about decisions related to puerto rico's disaster relief effort. hurricane maria devastated the island, killing 3,000 people back in 2017, and now this new report is reopening those old wounds. joining me right now is the former mayor of san juan, puerto rico, now a distinguished fellow at mt. holyoke college. carmen yulin cruz, so good to see you. the i want to get your thoughts on this. you were in the middle of it all and it seemed that every turn, you were taking on the trump administration and its lack of response. now you hear of this report. what are your thoughts? >> well, donald trump has our blood on his hands and everyone that helped him stop the aid that was coming to us. i remember distinctly in september saying, we are dyeing here and you're killing us with
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your bureaucracy and inefficiencies. 3,000 puerto ricans did not offer their lives today. you see, you can kill a person with a gun or can kill them with neglect. by withholding that aid, donald trump might have pulled the trigger himself. here's what happens, when an aid or item is weaponized for political purposes -- and i have to tell you even more -- i think president trump really practices his own brand of racism and negligence in puerto rico. we have to remember that was at the beginning of his term, then we saw the culmination of that discrimination of that negligence in the handling of the trump administration over covid, the covid crisis. so it is very, very sad, very unnerving and very -- i cannot even find the word literally to express how i feel because what this confirms is that we didn't
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need a report to tell us, trump made a decision to kill, kill the puerto rican people. and while congressman bennie thompson, and others were pushing the administration, all of those that aided him, including our current commissioner, a republican who supports trump and decided to say trump had given us everything we had asked for in the form of government, they gave donald trump the excuse and when he needed to just turn his back back on the puerto rican people. what we have to look at is what are the lessons learned here? how do we make sure when congress gives money not to help but fulfill its basic responsibility to save lives, what can happen and what needs to happen in an administration
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so that is not repeated. >> certainly this report asserts a concerted effort of deprivation in a time of crisis to people. so now with this discovery, or an understanding based on this report, do you think there really is any way to recover? is there any way to undo so much that was done, further putting people's lives in jeopardy and, as you said, 3,000 people died and others may have died because of the deprivation? >> the lost lives will never come back to us. and i think there's something all, all puerto ricans who went through this will carry for the rest of their lives. there was also a lot of pain that was caused by puerto ricans that had to leave puerto rico
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and migrate into the southern part of the united states, into holyoke, massachusetts, where i am at at the mt. holyoke college. but i think what we need to do is, one, the biden administration has been really clear and taken steps already to unfreeze the 347bs tmoneys that given. what the american people had to understand, the billions of dollars that were announced, most of them have not gone to puerto rico yet and not been used. just recently last week hud released some of that money. the other thing that needs to be done, how do we in the government push that money down to get into the municipality? it is kept all at the central level of the puerto rican government and it, too, can be used for political purposes. now to make sure those moneys are to go directly to municipalities to make things go
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faster and quicker and certainly, i have to repeat with a lot of pain in my heart, donald trump and the republicans that aided him and supported him in keeping that aid and fulfilling a promise to the people of puerto rico that aid was on the way have blood on their hands. and that will never be forgotten. >> former san juan puerto rico mayor carmen yulin cruz, thank you very much, joining us from massachusetts. i know a puerto rican flag is behind you and your thoughts of puerto rico still very much in your heart and thoughts. really appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you very much. up next -- cnn's bill weir takes us inside the plight of arizona farmers for our first hand look at how the climate crisis is affecting their livelihood.
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president biden is pledging to cut greenhouse gases in half by 2030, and as cnn's bill weir shows us, mega droughts crippling the american southwest are just one of the reasons why climate change is front and center for the president. >> my grand dad, and he bought our farm in the mid-'30s. >> reporter: on the plains of southern arizona, nancy cawood's
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family farmed this land for four generations, past of an industry that generates more than $23 billion a year for the state and uses a lot of water. about 70% of arizona h20 goes to agriculture. >> our water is just full of silt, and it would constantly be clogging drip lines and sprinklers, so the water in our irrigation district is plant irrigation. >> reporter: depending on where you live in arizona, your water can come from rivers, reservoirs or from wells, all of which have been impacted by a 20-year mega drought fueled by the climate crisis. >> most of the colorado river basin has been in a shortage condition for much of the last 20 years. it's common to have variability with short-term drought but this is much longer than what is considered common. there's clearly the fingerprint of climate change on this drought. primarily because of increasing
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temperatures. what we do know is when the temperature increases, we actually see a decrease in flows in the rivers. >> reporter: the water for cawood's farm flows 100 miles from the san carlos reservoir. the water levels there have been dangerously low since the megadrought started in 2000. in some years it's gone completely dry, leaving a stain like a bathtub ring. >> the river systems in arizona are in jeopardy period. if that is the only source of supply for a farmer, then clearly the impact of climate change on water available in the reservoirs is a critical consideration. if it's not there, you're not irrigating. >> here's going to be the main canal. this is going to all be cut off. >> reporter: while farmers have been growing cotton in arizona for a long time with the support of government subsidies, raising such a thirsty crop in the
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desert has become all the more controversial. either way, cawood have no place but to let 100 acres of intense cotton or more intense alpha fa turn to dust. >> we have to choose what we grow and how we water it. when we watch weather forecasts and see no water coming into the lake and the dam levels continue to go down, we're going to become very concerned. >> reporter: her neighbors share that worry. across the region fallow fields have transformed the landscape, a sign of larger change that may already be here. >> when i'm driving around here and i see all of these housing developments go in, it's almost heart-wrenching. it almost makes me want to cry. it is so sad when a big store comes in or shopping mall or housing development, and it's been put on really good farmland. >> reporter: located about 60 miles from phoenix, this farmland is near one of the fastest population booms in the nation. it is prime real estate. and according to cawood, without enough water, farmers are
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selling to developers or, in some cases, solar companies. >> i completely understand what happened. this drought doesn't appear to be ending any time soon and it just finally got down to where there was really no choice other than go ahead and sell. we've been approached on sales but the dollar amount wasn't where we wanted it and we would not have somebody put solar panels on our farm. >> reporter: further down, solar panels have been avoided on this man's farm so far. >> so far. >> and he can access water from lake immemead, and so far, they reduced by 13% based on the federally approved drought
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contingency plan, and farms like his could be the first to face cutbacks. >> the only alternative is to plant less acreage, and so this crop of trincale is going to be fallow, because we won't have enough water to farm all of the acreage. >> reporter: to offset that loss, they are drilling new wells at a cost of $1 million each, but in the drought, groundwater can also become scarce, and thelander thinks that he is only going to get a fraction of what he has now. >> we will have to lay off employees and not buy as much seed or tractors and so we will have to scale down and operate a smaller farm, and so, yeah, it is going to be real bad. >> here it comes.
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>> reporter: the caywoods are unable to drill a well, so the only thing they can do is to lease land downland which has a lease to the colorado water. they plan on growing corn and pay the bills and make it through another season. >> we will hang tight as long as we can. it is in our blood. we love it. >> wow. that is an extraordinary look at the landscape. bill weir, thank you so much for that reporting. still ahead, trying to bridge the gap of policing in community. one officer is going beyond the call of duty to make a difference.
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all right. these are pretty tough times for relations between the police officer s and their communities. trust is broken and the gulf is deep, but some officers are going beyond the call of duty to help build bridges like one atlanta officer who lends a hand to the homeless on her beat. cnn's natasha chen has her story. >> when she is not responding to 911 calls, 25-year-old atlanta police officer molina lim checks
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in on businesses in northern atlanta. >> there are times when i have walked into a library at this location before. >> reporter: but it is the stop at the end of her day that brings a smile to her face. >> i think so much of her. >> reporter: shortly before the pandemic, she drove past this man who goes by the name of doc on the side of the road, and noticed his sign. >> he was not begging for money or anything, and just holding a sign and waving at everyone, so i went to grab my lunch, and so i decided to get two lunches today. >> 61-year-old doc said that the drinking and the drug addiction have cost him well paying jobs. and he recalls the first time that lim pulled over to talk to him. he thought maybe he had a warrant out for him in his earlier days. >> i was scared, but she said, what do you need? >> reporter: their connection strengthened at a time when the
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communication relations were strained. >> he said that he was pro blm and i was able to get him a t-shirt. >> reporter: their relationship strengthened. >> so we were able to stick together, right? >> i knew that the community was hurting, and so the reason that i got into the job is to strengthen the ties, and we are not always the enemy. >> reporter: with the recent asian attacks and so doc is concerned about his friend, too. >> i hate that we have people who are so one-sided that asian americans right now, they are being pick ped on, and lot of violence is happening. so i am hoping nothing would happen to you, you know. >> ah, i thought about you, too. >> reporter: lim has brought doc
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food and clothing over the years, but he says it is not about the gift, but it is the mutual chat that lifts him up. >> it has taught me patience and compassion, and everybody ha as story to go u there, and it only takes one person to listen. >>k o i will see you in a little bit, because i am going to get you some food. >> all right. let's have an awesome and amazing year. >> natasha chen, cnn, atlanta. hello, again, everyone. thank you for joining me. i'm fredricka whitfield, and we begin this hour with more questions swirling around the deadly shooting of a black man in north carolina. this morn, elizabeth city officials are revealing that they don't have any details about what happened wednesday morning to andrew brown jr. officials are making a clear distinction that the shooting and the warrants involved, county sheriff deputies and not the city's police force, but the


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