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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  April 7, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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>> no! i feel like you should be competing. >> i wish i could. >> i'm going to come up with an event for you. >> reading a teleprompter. >> exactly. >> "nightly news" is next with lester holt. tonight, the cause of the crash that seriously injured golf legend tiger woods revealed the sheriff saying woods was speeding up to 87 miles an hour, nearly double the limit, when he crashed his suv. the critical seven seconds of data from the vehicle's black box. what it shows. and the mistake investigators believe woods made in panic. why woods won't face charges. the new cdc alert. the uk variant believed to be deadlier than earlier strains now dominant in the u.s new cases rising in half the country cdc teams in michigan the state seeing a 104% spike in two weeks. and new caution on astrazeneca's vaccine. the lapd expert
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testifying derek chauvin used deadly force on george floyd. and the courtroom debate over body cam video. what can floyd be heard saying on it president biden unveiling a plan to raise taxes on corporations to pay for his $2 trillion infrastructure plan. and new reporting. how he plans to go it alone on gun control the unintended fallout from the mlb moving the all-star game out of atlanta on local businesses and why beloved animal expert jack hanna is stepping away from the spotlight >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt good evening, everyone the curious case of the crash that nearly took the life of golf great tiger woods back in february is closed tonight with a simple explanation. he was driving too fast close to 90 in a 45-mile-per-hour zone according to los angeles county sheriff's investigators.
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today's matter-of-fact report didn't shine light on any other possible contributing factors, and woods himself still on the mend from serious injuries gave the okay for its release after officials first held the report back out of privacy concerns, something the sheriff said today is a legal requirement. miguel almaguer is in los angeles and has late details. >> reporter: it was excessive speed that nearly killed tiger woods. investigators say the golfing great was traveling between 84 to 87 miles per hour, nearly double the speed limit in this residential area, when he lost control. at 75 miles per hour woods struck a tree, sending his suv airborne he never hit the brakes >> it is speculated and believed that tiger woods inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. >> reporter: though woods told investigators he doesn't remember the crash, they did recover the suv's black box like this one, retrieving seven seconds of critical data, including speed,
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steering, acceleration and braking. what they don't know, was woods distracted >> wouldn't it seem to be logical to check to see if tiger woods was perhaps distracted using his cell phone or texting before the accident >> it's not going to change anything. the cause of the collision was the speed and the inability to maintain the roadway. >> reporter: with woods seriously injured, later requiring screws and a rod in his leg, officials say he showed no signs of impairment, giving officers no probable cause to draw his blood. following two prior incidents behind the wheel, one involving impairment, investigators reviewed video of woods leaving his hotel, stopping at stop signs and a street light later, they say he accelerated across a center divide. his air bags deploying after first hitting the sidewalk, then again after plowing through a tree >> do you think you asked enough questions and got enough answers from tiger woods >> absolutely. >> reporter: today woods says he's
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grateful to the good samaritans and the rescue teams who helped him we now know speed nearly killed him. but still unknown, why he was traveling so fast and if he'll ever play golf again. >> miguel, as we know, tiger woods the only one in the car what's the sheriff's office saying about how they handled this investigation? >> reporter: lester, they say tiger woods did not get special treatment, and they say because nobody else was involved there was never any discussion of criminal charges. lester >> all right miguel almaguer near los angeles tonight. thanks new optimism and new concern this evening in the covid crisis while almost 110 million have now received at least one vaccine dose, hospitalizations are edging higher again. with the uk variant now dominant in this country, michigan is especially worrisome let's get more from tom costello >> reporter: tonight the cdc says it has teams on the ground in michigan, where covid
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cases have exploded, suddenly up 104% over the last two weeks with those in their 30s and 40s now filling icus like rafael gonzalez's 28-year-old brother pedro on a ventilator. >> we just don't know why he's not getting better my brother's fighting for his life so like i said, i have a whole new respect for covid. >> reporter: the cdc tonight encouraging affected communities to act fast. >> in areas of substantial or high community transmission, cdc guidance specifically suggests refraining from youth sports that are not outside and cannot be conducted at least six feet apart >> reporter: critical, since the cdc says the uk variant is now the dominant strain in the u.s. more dangerous and more easily transmittable. >> two weeks ago they went up from i believe we had about eight people here, single digits now two weeks later we're at 50. >> reporter: meanwhile, european medical regulators say they've identified a possible link between the astrazeneca vaccine and rare cases of unusual blood clots there. 18 people are believed
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to have died while not approved in the u.s., uk authorities insist the vaccine benefits far outweigh the risks back here in the u.s., with 3 million vaccinations a day, the white house believes the country is well on its way towards a more normal 4th of july. >> the real question is how much death, disease, and misery are we going to see between now and then >> reporter: also tonight, if you've been vaccinated, new data suggests you're protected against infection for at least 209 days probably longer. dr. fauci says at some point booster shots will likely extend that protection even more lester >> all right, tom. we're watching a far different situation in brazil, where few have been vaccinated during a brutal covid wave, with thousands dying each day here's richard engel >> reporter: brazil tonight is going from bad to much worse. hitting a record over 4,000 deaths in a single day on tuesday. up from 3,000 just last week.
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so many they're exhuming bodies from old graveyards in sao paolo to make room brazil is deeply divided. many governors and mayors want to do more mayors nationwide begging for help but they don't have many vaccines to give and blame president jair bolsonaro for not ordering enough and continuing to downplay the covid crisis bolsonaro, an ally of former president trump, says lockdowns kill more than covid this week he refused to commit to taking a vaccine since he's already had the virus. though experts still recommend one. >> brazil needs to go to the international community and buy enough doses to help curtail the crisis right now. >> reporter: public health experts warn the virus is so unchecked brazil has become a breeding ground for new viral strains. a coronavirus petri dish bordering ten
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countries in latin america. lester >> all right, richard, thank you. and make a plan so you'll be ready when it's your turn for your vaccination visit for more in just 60 seconds, a defense hitting back in the trial of the former police officer charged with killing george floyd.
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at the murder trial of derek chauvin the most aggressive questioning yet by the defense and a fierce debate over what george floyd is heard saying on one police body cam video gabe gutierrez is in minneapolis. >> reporter: after a chorus of cops this week testified former minneapolis officer derek chauvin did not follow his training, today the defense fought back. >> a reasonable officer could perceive the words that people are saying and the tone that it is being said in as a threat or a risk to the officer's safety agreed >> a risk, possibly. but officers are typically trained that when it comes to verbal threats in and
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of themselves that you can't just use that only to justify force. >> reporter: attorney eric nelson cross-examined sergeant jody stiger of the lapd, a use of force expert, who said chauvin's actions were excessive. nelson drilling down, arguing that a crowd of bystanders distracted chauvin stiger shot back that chauvin's 866 hours of training should have prepared him >> even i was surprised that he has the audacity to say oh, it's the crowd's fault. these angry people which i think is a suggestive way of trying to say these angry black people it's just asinine. >> reporter: in that crowd a 9-year-old who testified earlier in the trial. the prosecution says the bystanders weren't dangerous. they were concerned. >> did you see anybody throw any rocks or bottles? >> no, i did not >> did you see anyone attack, physically attack the officers? >> no, i did not >> reporter: but the defense is also raising more questions about floyd's drug use, playing a short
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clip from a body camera to special agent james reyerson with the minnesota bureau of criminal apprehension, who investigated the police floyd's pained voice is heard while he's being restrained >> does it appear that mr. floyd said "i ate too many drugs"? >> yes, he did >> reporter: the prosecution had a dramatically different interpretation when it played a longer clip >> having heard it in context, are you able to tell what mr. floyd is saying there? >> yes i believe mr. floyd was saying "i ain't do no drugs." >> reporter: at the courthouse this week -- >> this is nail-biting i can say. >> reporter: george floyd's younger brother rodney, who watched multiple officers take the stand. >> i've never seen chief officers willing to testify against their own. we need more of that across this country. accountability that's it. >> reporter: late today the prosecution called several witnesses who examined pills found in the back of the police squad car. investigators testified the pills contained meth lester >> gabe gutierrez, thank you. president biden
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turned up the heat on congress today to pass his massive infrastructure plan while saying he is open to compromise on taxes. kristen welker is at the white house. kristen, what's the president saying >> reporter: lester, tonight president biden is defending his more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan he says will create millions of jobs to pay for it the president says he'll raise taxes on corporations republicans say those tax hikes will actually cost jobs and they call the plan a spending spree with most of the money not going to things like roads and bridges. i pressed the president on whether he's open to compromise he said he's "wide open." tomorrow the president is expected to announce executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence, including on so-called ghost guns, which are homemade guns that don't require background checks. lester >> kristen, thank you. in atlanta the mlb's decision to move the all-star game to protest georgia's new voting law has many small business owners facing a new hit let's get more on that
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from blayne alexander. >> reporter: after months of seeing his sales stunted by the pandemic, shawn cooper thought all-star weekend was his chance to make up ground. >> just in one weekend over 20,000. >> reporter: 20,000? >> yes >> reporter: that's more than double what you normally see on a weekend. >> yes way more than double >> reporter: his restaurant sits in the shadow of truist park, home of the atlanta braves and until last week home of this year's all-star game now he's among dozens of disappointed businesses facing financial loss with mlb moving the game out of georgia, taking a stand over the state's new voting law and taking tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue. >> i understand why they're doing it, but it's still frustrating as far as a small business, black-owned business owner it's kind of hard to try to maintain and bring customers in because of the pandemic >> reporter: the game is now headed west to denver and critics point out to a city with a very different demographic. black people comprise
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more than half of atlanta's population in denver it's less than 10% it's the unintended consequence of taking a stand. it draws more eyes and attention to the conversation but the trade-off, what gets lost in the shuffle are these businesses who are desperate for more revenue >> reporter: the pandemic has already taken a disproportionate toll on black businesses. now for many this is another crushing blow. >> it's unfortunate to know that those who may be hurt by the legislation would also continue to be hurt by us not supporting our economy here >> reporter: brian maloof, who owns a restaurant near downtown atlanta, is worried about the lasting impact >> it's a trickle-down effect we're just trying to get back to a normal sense of business here >> blayne, you also have an update about that state lawmaker arrested when that voting bill was signed >> reporter: that's right, lester. representative park cannon was arrested and taken out of the capitol when she knocked on the governor's door as he was signing that bill. today the d.a. announced that she is not pursuing any charges and she's closing the case
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lester >> all right, blayne, thank you. here in new york a district attorney has asked the court to dismiss nearly 100 drug convictions after an nypd detective was accused of lying here's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: tonight in brooklyn dozens of drug convictions tossed out and more are likely to come all 90 of the cases involving one narcotics detective, joseph franco. >> i can no longer stand by detective franco's work. i have lost confidence in his reliability >> reporter: franco pleaded not guilty in 2019 to more than a dozen charges including perjury for his work on four drug cases. one in april 2018 franco said he witnessed a deal go down in this manhattan building but according to the indictment, security video showed no drug sale in the lobby. and other video showed franco was never close enough to observe what happened franco is still awaiting trial his attorney says throwing out the cases has created a toxic atmosphere that is prejudicial to mr. franco's
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constitutional right to the presumption of innocence. maryanne kaishian represents more than a dozen people whose convictions were vacated. >> people have carried these convictions on their record for many years, and they've prevented them from securing employment, from maintaining housing. these are lasting effects. >> reporter: franco's criminal charges are based on the detective work he did in manhattan. the d.a. in brooklyn has not been able to prove similar misconduct but he says he has lost confidence in the cases where franco was an essential witness. lester >> stephanie gosk in new york tonight thank you. up next, the great divide over pay in our series "the american worker."
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in our series "american worker," the great pay divide between ceos and workers that the pandemic is threatening to make worse. here's cynthia mcfadden >> reporter: jamelle brown makes $13.77 an hour, cleaning a very busy emergency department at this hospital in kansas city, missouri >> i'm not greedy. i just want to get by. >> reporter: covid has made it particularly difficult this year with some workers he says quitting out of fear so you were working especially hard? >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: on his feet all day, risking his own health but not making enough to rent an apartment, he crashes at his sister's and talks to us from his car. did you get a bonus for that extra hard work >> we didn't get nothing. >> reporter: nothing >> nothing we didn't get hazard pay. we didn't get a bonus.
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>> reporter: what he did get was covid. when he got back to work, they made him employee of the month and gave him a $6 voucher to the cafeteria. >> it felt like a slap in the face. >> reporter: while jamelle got no bump in his salary new federal filings reveal hca healthcare, which owns the hospital, gave its ceo, samuel hazen, a 13% raise, bringing him to a whopping $30 million a year over 500 times the average hca worker and 1,000 times jamelle's pay. >> pay us fair wages treat us like we treat your patients. >> reporter: jamelle's union has been asking for $15 an hour for folks like him, who've received no increase for two years. hca, which owns 200 or so hospitals, had repeatedly said no but finally agreed last week to the increase for kansas city workers only, after nbc news contacted them mr. hazen declined to talk to nbc news hca saying in part, "we value our
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colleagues and are committed to offering competitive compensation and benefits." and yet the great national divide between the income of those at the top and those at the bottom persists the heads of corporations like ge, starbucks and acuity brands received more than 1,000 times their average workers last year, with walgreen's then ceo earning over 500 times. none of those ceos agreed to speak with nbc news each company saying their practices align with their shareholders' interests and that the ceo will take a hit if their stock price falls. but since 1978 ceo compensation has risen over 1,000%. compared with only a 14% increase for average workers. in theory, ceos are handsomely paid to increase a company's value. >> the problem is not that somebody's getting paid a lot of money. the problem is they
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get paid whether they do well or whether they do badly. >> reporter: glenn kelman, the ceo of redfin, a real estate brokerage firm, is bucking the trend. under kelman's leadership redfin more than tripled in value to just under $7 billion. he owns a valuable chunk of company stock but makes only 14 times his average employee and says that's plenty. >> i don't think i deserve a nobel prize for that >> reporter: in 2019 his annual income including stock was about $1 million last year he didn't take his salary. >> shareholders and investors are waking up to the idea that lots of people create shareholder value and the best way to do it over the long haul isn't to just bet on one guy or one woman but to bet on the whole company. and all the people behind it. >> reporter: that sounds a lot like what jamelle brown believes too. cynthia mcfadden, nbc news some sad news to share tonight about jack hanna his family says the columbus zoo animal and wildlife expert who became a long-time
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fixture on television is retiring from public life at age 74 because of dementia, now believed to be alzheimer's disease. america has lost a world war ii hero. charles coolidge, the oldest recipient of the medal of honor, has died coolidge led a unit that was badly outnumbered in france in 1944. he was 99, and his death leaves only one surviving world war ii medal of honor recipient, 97-year-old woody williams of west virginia up next for us tonight, a symbol of renewal that's inspiring america.
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finally, a sure sign of spring offering a much-needed boost. joe fryer with "inspiring america." >> reporter: in washington state's skagit valley the tulips are starting to stir, stretching to the sky, almost as tall as the little girl >> can you smell that? yeah >> reporter: paying them a visit >> you can be in a real big funk and come out here and just feel alive and wonderful and happy and just delighted with life. >> reporter: here at tulip town the flowers are a welcome sight. and so are the people. five childhood friends bought this 30-acre farm right before the pandemic when the region's decades-old tulip festival was canceled last march everything shut down but the tulips don't shut down, right? >> no. you don't hit pause on tulips they couldn't care less >> reporter: they shared the beauty by streaming pictures and selling bouquets online, keeping the
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business alive last year so they could welcome guests this year >> people are very emotional about it it's a tradition >> reporter: advance tickets are required to help manage the crowd size during the pandemic, but no one's complaining. like the flowers, we're all ready to bloom, which means the tulips aren't just a symbol of spring they're a symbol of us joe fryer, nbc news. >> nature puts on the best shows, doesn't it that's "nightly news" for this wednesday thanks for watching. i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and e
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