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Police Make An Arrest In Philly Robbery, Murder; Gruesome Sight Of A Noose Has Replaced A Burning Cross As Hate Symbol In America

Aired October 6, 2007 - 11:00:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello, everybody. It is Saturday, October 6th. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM."
HOLMES: And I am T.J. Holmes. Straight ahead this hour, we have breaking news. A suspect in a deadly armored-car heist caught on camera. This morning, police make an arrest. We've got the latest on that.

Also this we've got this --


MARION JONES, PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE: I want you to know that I have been dishonest. And you have the right to be angry with me.


NGUYEN: She denied it for years. Now Olympian Marion Jones is coming clean. We're going to take a closer look at her tainted gold.

HOLMES: Also, keeping them honest. You pay your bills on time, why are insurance companies making billions of dollars by not paying legitimate claims? A CNN investigation, that is coming up in the NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: First, though, breaking news from Philadelphia. A city stunned this week by a brutal and brazen crime. A suspect is in custody this morning after a two-day manhunt. That man identified by police as Mustafa Ali. He is facing two counts of murder and armed robbery.

Now police say he approached from behind, coldly gunning down three armored-car guards. They were servicing a Wachovia ATM on Thursday. Two of the men died, both were retired Philadelphia police officers. Police impounded the suspect's car, which is a black Acura S type.

"The Philadelphia Inquirer" reports a car dealer tipped police after the suspect's check for the Acura bounced. Mustafa Ali could have a preliminary arraignment as early as today.

HOLMES: A little earlier this morning I spoke with a reporter covering this story, KYW News Radio Reporter Michelle Durham.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MICHELLE DURHAM, KYW NEWS RADIO: Homicide detectives are confirming that Mustafa Ali has now been charged with two counts of murder, robbery, and related offenses, in the deaths of those guards that you just described. They were former Philadelphia police officers. And they were gunned down while they were servicing an ATM at a northeast Philadelphia bank, really shocking the surrounding community on Thursday.

Police say a tip call from the public about a car matching the description of the one fleeing the murder scene is what drew their attention to Ali. They swooped down, arrested him yesterday on an outstanding warrant. Today he's charged with much more.

HOLMES: Michelle, did it appear he was hiding in plain sight, if you will? Did it appear he was attempting some sort of getaway? Or he was where they thought he would be, living where he might have been?

DURHAM: What we're hearing from Philadelphia police today, T.J., is that he actually had the black Acura, which was the get away, allegedly, covered with a tarp. And was driving a rental vehicle. He was about to leave his apartment to go somewhere when they swooped down and got him on an unrelated warrant. Today he is charged with two counts of murder.


HOLMES: We're going to turn to Atlanta now. Police are hoping they've turned a corner on a recent crime surge. They've arrested eight man allegedly involved in an exceptionally violent string of crimes.


HOLMES (voice over): Atlanta police and federal agents call them the worst of the worst, saying eight suspects arrested in a sting operation are believed to be involved in three retaliation murders or hits in Atlanta and may be connected to three our killings.

CHIEF RICHARD PENNINGTON, ATLANTA POLICE: We looked at the type of weapon that were being used. And being a former chief of New Orleans, I know that for a fact many AK-47s were use the in murders in New Orleans. We started to see a rash of AK-47s being used in Atlanta.

HOLMES: Here's what we know. Police say three of the eight men arrested were New Orleans residents who relocated to Atlanta.

LT. JOHN DALTON, ATLANTA POLICE: We know that Edward Moses, Maurice Hargrove, and Ashton Mitchell are all from New Orleans.

HOLMES: Police say most of the crimes were committed over a three-month span this past summer. Authorities believe the spike in Atlanta's violent summer crime wave was caused, in part, by these two groups retaliating against each other.

DALTON: These individuals are associated together. This is the other faction down here.

HOLMES: Investigators say the men were part of an exceptionally violent crew who robbed drug dealers and criminals.

DALTON: They actually were friends with each other at one point, and now they're competing against each other.

HOLMES: Police say the suspects, all in their 20s, were particularly dangerous because they often fired at their targets with little concern for bystanders.

PENNINGTON: One of the individuals was shot in front of a pool hall and there were people inside the pool hall, when they opened up on that individual. So we were just I guess lucky that no innocent people were killed.

HOLMES: Authorities say they seized bullet-proof vests and 16 guns, including assault rifles and pistols, during their arrests conducted over the past two weeks. The investigation continues while seven of the eight are in custody. New Orleans police say they are also checking to see if the suspects could be responsible for crimes or murders committed there.


HOLMES: Georgia, of course, took in thousands of New Orleans evacuees after Hurricane Katrina and many former New Orleans residents are still living in Atlanta today.

NGUYEN: A memorial service was held at sea this morning for four missing crew members from a Miami-based charter boat. The Joe Cool was found abandoned in the Bahamas, and there is evidence of foul play. Two potential suspects were found a few miles away floating in the boat's life raft. A judge has ordered them held without bond. Arraignments are scheduled for next week.

HOLMES: Also from Florida, some dramatic dash cam video to show you. Police in Ft. Pierce trying to arrest a 15-year-old girl, who was said to be breaking curfew. Take a look.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not doing anything! I'm sorry! I'm sorry, sir, but I'm not doing anything! I'm sorry! Ow!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't fight me!


HOLMES: You could see there where it appeared the girl made some kind of a motion toward the officer's arm. And that is when he struck her. And then you see the pepper spray there. The officer says the girl did in fact become violent and tried to bite him as he tried to handcuff her. The police chief there said the officer acted appropriately. The teenager now faces a felony charge of battery and misdemeanor charge of resisting a law enforcement officer.

NGUYEN: Civil right activist Al Sharpton is calling for fans to picket the New York Knicks unless Isaiah Thomas apologizes to black women. On a deposition tape played at his sexual harassment trial, Thomas matter of factually stated that it was OK for black men to berate black women with vulgar descriptions.


REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Nobody, whoever they are, has the right to say the "B" word, and there is no difference for black men to say it, or white men to say it, an Asian to say it, a Latino to say it or anyone undecided to say it.


NGUYEN: Well, after his remarks played in court, Thomas backtracked but did not apologize. Sharpton says Thomas called him this morning claiming the tape had been altered. The jury ordered the Knicks' owners to pay the fired executive $11 million in damages.

HOLMES: Prosecutors apparently want Marion Jones to spend time behind bars. The Olympic gold medalist will be sentenced in January following a tearful admission that, yes, she, in fact, used steroids. Here now our Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She won five medals in the 2000 Olympic Games. Maybe Marion Jones should have won a sixth for best liar.

MARION JONES, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I have never, ever used performance-enhancing drugs. And I have accomplished what I have accomplished because of my God-given abilities and hard work.

TUCHMAN: Pretty audacious comment if you're not telling the truth. Now Jones, one of the most famous female athletes in the world, admits that she indeed was not.

JONES: So it is with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust.

TUCHMAN: In federal court, Jones told the judge she lied when asked if she had used performance-enhancing drug known as The Clear.

JONES: Today I pled guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal agents.


TUCHMAN: This is an attorney. She represents C.J. Hunter, who used to be married to Jones. Hunter was a shot putter who tested positive for steroids in 2000, and then told a grand jury, under subpoena that Marion Jones had used the drugs.

DEMENT: Obviously, he was happy. It's been a long three years of everybody in the world calling him everything from a liar to a bottom feeder. It's nice to be vindicated.

TUCHMAN: Jones, the fourth woman from the right at this Indianapolis track meet, had a goal of winning five gold medals at the 2000 games. It turns out three of her five medals were gold. Still, she captivated the world with her talent, poise and good looks.

Olympic track star Carl Lewis says he was caught off guard by Marion Jones' admission. He finished second to Ben Johnson in the 1988 Olympic sprint, but eventually got the gold after Johnson was caught using steroids.

CARL LEWIS, OLYMPIC CHAMPION: I was surprised because it's very rare that people that get away with it that ultimately admit it.

TUCHMAN: Why she has now admitted to using The Clear, isn't yet clear, but Jones will now become the first athlete convicted in connection with the BALCO laboratory steroid scandal, which has left other athletes implicated. Including home run king Barry Bonds. Jones will now lose her medals and possibly her freedom. She faces up to 10 years in prison. She said her family didn't even know about her lies.

JONES: I have let them down. I have let my country down. And I have let myself down.

TUCHMAN: And she will go down in athletic infamy. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


NGUYEN: In other news, you better check the freezer because there is another frozen beef patty recall that is under way. Sam's Club is pulling American Chef Selection Angus Beef Patties off the shelves nationwide. That is after four Minnesota children, who ate them, got sick with e. Coli. The patties were produced by Cargill and have an expiration date of February 2008. Cargill is asking customers to return the patties or simply destroy them.

HOLMES: And some related news here, Topps Meat company has gone out of business a week after it recalled some 22 million pounds of frozen hamburger patties. There have been 32 cases of e. Coli, in eight states, linked to Topps. Investigators are still trying to pinpoint the source of contamination at Topps New Jersey plants.

NGUYEN: A lot of nooses have been making the news lately. Are we seeing an increase in racial hate, or are these incidents just getting more publicity? We'll get a "Reality Check". That's a head in the NEWSROOM.

HOLMES: Also, people around the world are protesting the crackdowns in Myanmar. Later we'll talk to a young man who's been organizing these rallies through the Internet.


HOLMES: New fallout from the Jena 6 case in Louisiana, but this time over a song. A song by John Mellencamp.


JOHN MELLENCAMP (singing): Oh Jena, oh Jena, oh Jena, take your nooses down.


HOLMES: Jena's mayor says the video is, quote, "so inflammatory, so defamatory that a line has been crossed, and enough is enough." That song makes reference to nooses hung from a tree outside Jena High School. Six black teenagers were arrested for beating a white teenager during racial tensions three months later.

In a statement on his website Mellencamp says the song was not written to indict people of Jena. It was written to condemn racism.

NGUYEN: Let's stay on that topic a minute, because the Coast Guard Academy, a police station in New York State, a major university in Maryland, just some of the sites of racially charged incidents involving nooses. Now, it seems like a sudden onslaught around the country, or is it? Are we just paying more attention to it now that something has happened in Jena?

Josh Levs has been looking into it this. And that's what a lot of people are asking, is this just something that we're seeing more of? Or are we seeing hate crimes increase?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, or are we just suddenly paying attention to what's been going on all along.


LEVS: Obviously, this is scary to a lot of people. It is a very scary symbol and it has a tremendous history. That's something we really wanted to look into for you today.

This is the question we're posing today: Is what we're seeing right now, a new national trend?


LEVS (voice over): Nooses at the Coast Guard, the Hempstead New York police station, a high school in High Point, North Carolina, and the University of Maryland. Two hung from this red truck in Alexandria, Louisiana, right after the protests in nearby Jena, where nooses were hung from a tree at the local high school last year.

Are these kinds of incidents on the rise, or have all the events in Jena got us paying more attention? The Justice Department says it doesn't know. The government doesn't specifically track noose incidents. The head of a group that watches hate incidents says he thinks there is an increase.

MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Nooses have come to replace in many people's mind the burning cross as the kind of symbol of the Klan, or of racial hate.

LEVS: In 2000, the government did report an increase in the workplace. Calling it a "disturbing national trend". Now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it's still a problem, though not necessarily still on the rise. There have been at least 20 lawsuits involving nooses in the workplace since 2001. If there has been a jump in noose incidence lately, it just may because certain people want to capitalize on the new wave of attention nooses are getting.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I think some of this is copycat stuff, but I think there is some people that don't like the fact that our country is becoming more and more diverse, and they want to do whatever they can to block that, or make people feel uncomfortable.


LEVS: Now, in the wake of these events, educators and also civil rights leaders are putting new efforts into trying to help people understand why there are so many people who are offended by this symbol, where it comes from, what it means in this context. And, Betty, they're trying to convey that really horrifying history.

NGUYEN: When it comes to conveying that history, teachers are also making it part of a lesson. We saw Grambling State University, elementary schools got in trouble for doing that.

LEVS: And that got in trouble, exactly. They're trying to use the noose as part of a -- it's really an interesting topic and something that a lot of people are debating right now. Is this symbol so powerful that you even skip it in an educational context?

I was looking into some history on that. Earlier this year in Florida, there was a big dispute over a noose being used in a museum where specifically making a statement about the history of lynchings. Just seeing that noose really frightened, really disturbed people. What we're seeing, in a way, now is a whole new national dialogue about the use of a noose at all, even in that kind of context.

NGUYEN: Oh, really?

LEVS: Oh, yeah.

NGUYEN: OK, Josh Levs looking into it for us. Thank you, Josh.

LEVS: You got it. Thanks.

HOLMES: Well, six boys, six deaths, and the killer that is lurking in the water unseen. We're going to have that story coming up for you in just a moment. Also, a few other things to tell you about. Killer in the lake, our John Zarrella will have this story. A scary one you need to stick around for.


NGUYEN: All right, look at this. It's barely fall, and already there is snow on the ground. Check out the Sierras. Some areas got up to eight inches of snow. It's an early cold weather storm for the area. And this snow caught everybody by surprise. Some said this is the earliest snowfall that they can remember. After all, it still is fall.

HOLMES: It's still fall. It's a big college football day today.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Preach on, man. Preach on.

HOLMES: We have a football forecast as always, is what it is on Saturday.


HOLMES: Six boys, six deaths, and there's a killer that's lurking in the water unseen. CNN's John Zarrella has the story.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They were all healthy and young.

Played sports, played lacrosse, and

ZARRELLA: Ray and Deidre Herrera lost their 12-year-old son Jack in August. He had been swimming in the Lake LBJ in Austin, Texas.

RAY HERRERA, JACKS'S FATHER: It's beyond description to watch your most precious, beautiful, wonderful loved one, go -- become a vegetable, essentially, and then die.

ZARRELLA: Jack died from a microscopic organism, an amoeba that entered his brain through his nose. Something the Herreras had never heard of.

DEIDRE HERRERA, JACK'S MOTHER: It's the United States of America, why -- cutting-edge technology. Why does no one know about this? Why have we never heard about this before?

ZARRELLA: Because, health officials say, it is very rare. But not this summer. Six deaths now in lakes from Florida to Arizona. The most recent? A 14-year-old swimming in Arizona's Lake Havasu. The amoeba lives in the shallows of freshwater lakes. It flourishes when water temperatures goes above 80 degrees. It can kill within two weeks. Because symptoms mimic the flu, health officials say it often goes misdiagnosed. DR. KEVIN SHERIN, ORANGE CO. HEALTH DEPT.: If they had been in the freshwater bodies in the intervening week or two prior, that certainly has to be considered.

ZARRELLA: Health officials have no idea why it seems to affect primarily young boys. They may be more likely to roughhouse in the water, stirring up sediment and amoebas But why so many now? During the past two decades, there have only been 23 cases in the U.S.

DR. REBECCA SUNENSHINE, ARIZONA DEPT. OF HEALTH: Because it's been such a hot summer, that it has contributed to warmer water temperatures, and lower water levels, and that makes an ideal environment for the amoeba.

ZARRELLA: And if climate change means hotter, drier summers become the norm, some health officials worry that may translate to more cases of amoeba deaths in the future.

(On camera): Right now, the only way to reduce the risk if you are going to be going swimming in lakes over 80 degrees, wear one of these, a nose clip. John Zarrella, CNN, Orlando, Florida.


NGUYEN: Celebrities such as Jim Carrey are joining the fight against the crackdown in Myanmar. We'll show you what they're doing.

HOLMES: Also, how hard is it to get your insurance company to pay off a claim? Some say the fight for payment was worse than their original problem. In one state it's become a ballot issue.


HOLMES: An update here now on our top stories. A convicted bank robber is being arraigned in Philadelphia today charged with a double homicide. Police say he gunned down two armored car guards while they were servicing ATM.

President Bush denies that the U.S. plans to attack Iran. In an interview with Arab television he said America will rely on diplomacy to get Iran to give up its nuclear program.

Also rallies being held around the world today to protest Myanmar's violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

NGUYEN: Yes, world leaders as well as ordinary people are speaking out against the military crackdown in Myanmar. Buddhist monks led the peaceful protests against the government. Now, few of them are anywhere to be seen.

In a moment, we'll meet a Canadian student who helped mobilize worldwide support for these religious leaders.

First, though, CNN's Matthew Chance looks at some of the monks who have fled the country.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They fled terrible threats and bloodshed in Myanmar's crackdown. These trainee monks, some as young as 12, escaped with their lives just a few days ago.

We found them studying Buddhist scriptures in this Thai monastery. Some say they have traveled two-and-a-half days to reach the border, swimming across a river into Thailand.

"The situation is so bad for monks in Myanmar," 14-year-old Sana Wara (ph) told us, "people said it just wasn't safe enough for me to stay."

As the military authorities in Myanmar target the Buddhist clergy, Thailand is proving a safe haven, especially for monks like Uh Xintao (ph) from Yangon. He told me he took part in the anti- government street protests which began last month and says he witnessed terrifying scenes.

"I saw military police enter my monastery, beating the monks and using teargas," he says. "Then some of the monks were tied up with rope. I saw this and I ran."

And he's not the first. Behind barbed wire fences on the Thai border, sprawling refugee camps house thousands of refugees from decades of military oppression inside Myanmar.

THAN GAE, ACTIVIST: So these are the documents.

CHANCE: Than Gae was a student leader back in 1988, when pro- democracy demonstrations were crushed by the military. Now he's an activist based on the Thai side of the border.

GAE: We don't want to see any more bloodshed. So that's why we are asking the international community, please apply admirable pressure against this military regime.

CHANCE: More pressure these people desperately hope will help get them home.

(on camera): The big concern now for these generations of refugees is what will the international community do to help. For so long, they say, the suffering of people inside Myanmar has been ignored.

Matthew Chance, CNN, on the Thai/Myanmar border.


NGUYEN: Well, celebrities are also getting involved in the protests. Actor Jim Carrey is reaching out on YouTube and speaking out in public, calling for an end to the Myanmar crackdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM CARREY, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: I would like to appeal to General Than Shwe and the soldiers themselves. Please come to your senses. Stop hurting your people. Treat the monks with the reverence they deserve. Begin peaceful negotiations and return your nation's true leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to her home and her family. There is nothing to defend if you have lost the faith of your people.


NGUYEN: Well, today protests in cities around the world are taking place -- this one earlier today in the Philippines. Many of the protests are inspired by a campaign organized by a young Canadian on

Alex Bookbinder joins us now from Ottawa, where one of today's rallies is just about to begin.

We appreciate your time today.

Thanks for being with us.

ALEX BOOKBINDER, STUDENT/ACTIVIST: Well, thanks for having me.

NGUYEN: All right, you just recently returned from a trip to Myanmar, which you prefer to call Burma.

Give us some insight into how truly oppressed this secretive country really is.

BOOKBINDER: Well, again, as a traveler in that country, you don't see the full extend of what goes on. But then again, even as a traveler passing through, unless you're totally oblivious to people around you, I guess, you can pick up on what's going on quickly.

Everyone lives in a constant state of fear. And even as a traveler, you get caught up in that.

But that's not mentioning like the atrocities going on in the border states, I guess the Kara and the Karan, the Shan. And that's stuff that the government, of course, doesn't want you to see.

NGUYEN: And so as you were speaking with people -- I mean we have learned things that -- journalists can't report anything that criticizes the government or anything the government doesn't like without possibly being sentenced to maybe even death. We're also hearing that you can't, in Myanmar -- Burma, as you like to call it -- you can't gather in groups of five or more because that's illegal.

BOOKBINDER: Yes. There's no freedom of expression, no freedom of press -- honestly, no freedom, very little freedom to engage in civic society, as we take for granted, often, in Western democracies like the U.S. or Canada.

NGUYEN: So when you saw this, you decided to do something about it. And you created this group on

What were you hoping to accomplish with that?

BOOKBINDER: Honestly, I just wanted to inform my friends and family about what was going on and I mean it mothballed into something I never could have expected it to. It's exploded.

NGUYEN: It really has.

How many people are on the site?

BOOKBINDER: Right now, we're at about 350,000.

NGUYEN: That is amazing.


NGUYEN: So once the clashes broke out, were people inside Burma uploading information and pictures onto this site?

BOOKBINDER: Yes, they were, as a matter of fact. We were receiving news directly from people in Rangoon that were in Internet cafes and posting stuff directly onto the Facebook group. But, you know, unfortunately, that's ended now because the government has shut down the Internet, both of the ISPs that are in the country. So not a whole lot is getting out, especially not compared to what was getting out before. So we don't really know a whole lot about what is going on in the country right now. The regime is not being checked. And the regime is not being checked. The regime -- there's nobody monitoring what the regime is doing, which is very unsettling, to say the least.

NGUYEN: Well, you're trying to do something about it today. You have helped mobilize your members and others to join this national global action day.

What are you hoping to accomplish with it?

BOOKBINDER: Well, again, it's all about what we can accomplish and what we can't accomplish. You know, what we can accomplish is we can -- I mean the United States has comprehensive sanctions against the regime, which is a good thing. And what we're trying to do is we're trying to get similar motions, similar things implemented around the world.

We're trying to make it known that people globally care about the situation in Burma and that it is necessary for world leaders to take action in the form of sanctions in terms of pressuring China not to -- or to stop supporting the regime, in terms of getting actual concrete political action, you know, done. There's just not a whole lot of global political will on this issue. It's a bit forgotten, which is -- it's sad. It's very, very sad.

Well, today people are mobilizing. They're coming together in countries all across the world to really speak their mind about what's happening. And you are one of them, one of the men who helped mobilize this effort.

Alex Bookbinder, thanks so much for your time. BOOKBINDER: Thank you.

HOLMES: One of America's most important allies in the war on terror may be getting another term in office. But we won't know that for sure until later this month. Presidential elections were held today in Pakistan's parliament and four provincial assemblies. Unofficial results show President Musharraf has been reelected. But it will not be official until Pakistan's supreme court rules on a challenge to his candidacy.

Critics say General Musharraf should have stepped down from his military post before seeking reelection. There were angry protests outside Musharraf's provincial assembly.

Well, Prince William and Kate Middleton -- they're an item again, so we're told. So we care. The couple spotted leaving a glitzy London nightclub with the burst of the flash bulbs. This is the first time the couple has been seen publicly -- if you can see them in there -- since their split in April. William is not too happy about this. He says paparazzi aggressively pursued the couple after they left the club. And the Prince says it is incomprehensible that the paparazzi is still putting people in danger. His mother, of course, Diana, died in a car crash while being chased by photographers.

NGUYEN: Well, time now to see what people are watching online.

HOLMES: And we're going to head over to Veronica de la Cruz, keeping an eye on things for us -- hello there.


You know, a man in Georgia listening to beats so hot that his pants catch fire?

Well, actually, he says it wasn't really the music that caught his pants on fire, but his iPod nano. Apparently, the lithium ion battery is the same one that's been catching laptops on fire. The man works in an airport and was carrying the iPod in his pocket when it exploded. He says the incident made him nervous because his pants were smoking and he was concerned that the TSA might think he had a bomb.

Apple says that it will be replacing his iPod.

All right, another story popular today, to the U.K. now. An amorous peacock by the name of Ron Davis -- say hello. Ron Davis lives on this estate and loves anything peacock blue, so much so that he runs up and attacks anything that color, including this car. Guests attending weddings on the estate are warned not to wear the color. And if they're driving peacock blue cars, don't park in the parking lot.

There's also this.


LORI PLATO, BRA SET OFF METAL DETECTOR: The security guard asked me, do you have an underwire bra on? And I was, like, yes, I do. And he says, that's it. You need to remove it.


DE LA CRUZ: A woman in Idaho says she was forced to take off her bra in public before she was allowed in a federal courthouse. She says she was embarrassed and humiliated. The Marshal Service says the woman was given a number of options to ensure her privacy. The courthouse is now adding a private room for people who may need to remove their under garments for security reasons.

And just a couple of the stories making that most popular list this morning -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right.

Thank you, Veronica.

We'll be talking about this -- battling the insurance companies.

HOLMES: And policyholders looking for help, but facing well- financed opposition. That's ahead here in THE NEWSROOM.


NGUYEN: Getting insurance companies to pay a claim -- it can be an uphill fight -- pitting policyholders against the deep pockets of the insurance industry.

"Keeping Them Honest," though, CNN's investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michelle Tribble was actually working for an insurance company when she got rear-ended on the freeway. Ten weeks later, she got hit again. The two accidents combined to injure disks in her back. She started treatment, went to a chiropractor and submitted her bills to Allstate and Safeco, the company that covered the other driver. It was about $18,000.

(on camera): Were you out to gouge the insurance companies?

MICHELLE TRIBBLE, ACCIDENT VICTIM: No. No, I just wanted the medical bills paid.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Safeco paid Tribble's medical bills, but Allstate fought her -- digging up information about her past.

TRIBBLE: So I had to give them every doctor I ever visited that I could remember. They pulled out, you know, a stack of medical records. They dug through everything to see if, you know, I was at all deceptive.

GRIFFIN: And arbitrators sided with Tribble. But Allstate went to court. A jury sided with her too, but Allstate appealed again. Finally, after four years of fighting, an appeals court judge made Allstate pay.

VALARIE GRENINGER, ACCIDENT VICTIM: Well, there's the Isuzu Rodeo that hit me.

GRIFFIN (on camera): So this is your case?

GRENINGER: That's some of my case, yes.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Valarie Greninger also talks about a drawn- out ordeal with Allstate. After an uninsured motorist hit her, she was treated for neck and shoulder pain. Her bills totals less than $10,000. But instead of paying, Allstate hired a private eye -- she said, to spy on her.

GRENINGER: To follow me around, making sure I was actually injured.

GRIFFIN: Allstate lost again, but not before the company spent several years dragging Greninger through the courts.

Allstate wouldn't comment on the two cases, except to say that they proved that the current judicial system is working.

Washington State Representative Steve Kirby says he hears stories like these all the time, especially with when people find out he chairs a state house committee on insurance.

REP. STEVE KIRBY, WASHINGTON STATE HOUSE: The insurance companies have figured out that they can make more money if they don't pay your claims.

GRIFFIN: Earlier this year, CNN exposed a controversial insurance industry strategy that we reported began in the mid-1990s. Former insiders say insurance companies began limiting or denying legitimate claims in minor injury cases and reaped billions in profits as a result.

JIM MATHIS, FORMER INSURANCE INDUSTRY INSIDER: It really came down to three basic elements. A position of delay, a position of denying a claim, and then ultimately, of course, defending that claim that you denied.

GRIFFIN (on camera): The three Ds?

MATHIS: Exactly.

GRIFFIN: Robert Hartwig, with the insurance industry-backed Insurance Institute, says the strategy was not intended to deny valid claims, but to attack fraud, which he claimed earlier this year was rampant in minor accident cases.

ROBERT HARTWIG, PRESIDENT, INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE: What insurers are trying to do is monitor costs. And every insurer is under the same pressure to do it. GRIFFIN: But Steve Kirby and his fellow Washington State lawmakers heard so many complaints from policyholders, they wrote a law to force insurance companies to pay rightful claims.

Did the insurance companies follow that law?


Next, you won't believe what the insurance companies are doing to stop it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll sue for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think?



HOLMES: And next up, one state trying to turn the tables on the hardball insurance industry.

Back with more of Drew's report, "Keeping Them Honest," right after this.


HOLMES: The battle over insurance goes to the ballot box next month in Washington State and insurance companies are paying big money to impact that vote.

Once again, here now, CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin, "Keeping Them Honest".


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Under the new Washington State law, if an insurance company refuses to pay an honest claim and loses in court, it could be forced to pay three times the value of the claim plus attorney's fees.

(on camera): It was a simple bill, the Fair Conduct Act, requiring insurance companies to just treat their customers fairly. It got a full hearing here in Olympia, passed the house, passed the senate and was signed by the governor.

But before the ink was even dry -- the very next day -- insurance companies made sure they filed a referendum trying to get it off the books.

DANA CHILDERS, EXEC. DIR. LIABILITY REFORM COALITION: In November, the voters will get to decide. Consumers will get to decide what they want to do. GRIFFIN: Dana Childers, with the Liability Reform Coalition, a group backed by big insurance, gathered enough signatures to get Referendum 67 on the ballot. Its aim -- overturn the Fair Conduct Act by having the public vote no before it ever becomes a law.

CHILDERS: Well, there was never the case made for why it ought to be law. I think anything...

GRIFFIN: But the statehouse, the state senate, the governor. There were hearings. The elected officials of this state decided this law was necessary and the insurance companies stepped in and said no, Washington State, you're not going to have this law.

CHILDERS: The insurance companies stepped in and said, consumers, you've got to decide if you want to do this.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): And to encourage consumers to vote no on Referendum 67, insurance companies like Allstate, State Farm, Farmers and others have raised more than $8 million -- dwarfing the $886,000 raised by Washington State trial lawyers and others who are trying to get the public to vote yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our lobbyists got a law passed letting us file more lawsuits and threatening triple damages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, like that California law that forced insurance rates to spike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So rates spiked?

We got our share of the money.


GRIFFIN: "Reject 67" commercials are already on television, featuring greedy lawyers in conference rooms plotting to sue insurance companies and warning consumers that frivolous lawsuits will lead to higher insurance rates.

And, Dana Childers told us, Washington State's own insurance commissioner sees no need for the Fair Conduct Act.

CHILDERS: His own information that he provided to the legislature and to the public says that this law simply isn't necessary.

GRIFFIN: But wait a minute. Mike Kreidler is the insurance commissioner and he told us he supports the law that makes insurers play fair.

MIKE KREIDLER, WASHINGTON INSURANCE COMMISSION: If companies act in good faith, it's not going to have a problem. It's not going to cost any more money. It's not going to be any legal action. There's going to be no treble damages, because if companies deal with their customers in good faith, there's no penalty. GRIFFIN (on camera): So what are they so afraid of?

KREIDLER: I think the insurance companies like the game where they can have it to their advantage.

GRIFFIN: Remember Michelle Tribble, the woman who spent four years fighting Allstate just to get medical bills paid?

She's not surprised at all that insurance companies are pouring money into fighting the Fair Conduct Act.

TRIBBLE: They poured a lot of money into defeating me.

GRIFFIN: She just wishes it were on the books when she was hit. Then, as she says, hit again by her insurer.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Seattle.


HOLMES: And Anderson Cooper and the CNN investigative team "Keeping Them Honest". Don't miss their special reports on "A.C. 360." That's week nights at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: And you don't want to miss THE NEWSROOM. It continues at the top of the hour with Fredericka Whitfield, who joins us now...


NGUYEN: ...with a look at me and T.J. .


WHITFIELD: This time it's Betty first because I'm sitting closest to her.

NGUYEN: On this side, finally.

WHITFIELD: Not ignoring T.J....

NGUYEN: I never get her on this side.

WHITFIELD: We've missed you over the past couple of weeks.

HOLMES: Thank you.

You know I'm sensitive to all that.


WHITFIELD: Yes. Your absence was very pronounced.

NGUYEN: Yes, it was.

WHITFIELD: We all noticed.



WHITFIELD: We're glad to have you back.

HOLMES: It's good to be back.

WHITFIELD: Yes, yes.

HOLMES: It's good to be back.


WHITFIELD: Well, coming up in the noon hour -- I know you guys have been talking about it a lot, Marion Jones. The unraveling of a champion -- we will talk about how she was able to elude the test and why now come clean. That's beginning in our noon hour.

And then coming up in our 2:00 hour -- and we're going to dabble a little bit in our noon hour, as well -- a very well known NBA executive and well known former player now at the center of a pretty nasty sexual harassment suit. Well, apparently he made some comments on a deposition tape that has gotten quite the notice of a lot of people, including Reverend Al Sharpton. He's going to speak out about his view of what was said, dissecting the intent of Isiah Thomas and now in the middle of this ugly lawsuit where there is an $11 million settlement.

NGUYEN: Oh, yes.

WHITFIELD: We'll be getting into that in the 2:00 hour and a little bit in noon hour, as well. So you want to stick around for at least both.

NGUYEN: Good stuff coming up.

Looking forward to it.

WHITFIELD: All right.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: See you guys.

HOLMES: Thank you.

NGUYEN: Well, it is Saturday and you know what that means, T.J. .

HOLMES: Yes. It means that somewhere, somehow, a building has got to go down.

WHITFIELD: I thought you were going to sing.


Did you really? What was that song? NGUYEN: Well, this is music to his ears, though -- an implosion. And we're going to show you more of it coming up.


NGUYEN: People like to see stuff come crumbling down, right?


NGUYEN: So here goes.


NGUYEN: Oh, yes. Two Eastman Kodak buildings in Rochester, New York bit the dust early this morning.

HOLMES: Yes. Here's the idea -- the demolition team put up a curtain of water to help hold down the dust. Kodak has done in some 80 buildings at this Rochester complex over the last decade. Two more here and, well, you can expect a lot more of these on the weekends to come. And we are excited about it right here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what do you think, guys?

You've seen everything you can see in a major league baseball game. Check it out.


HOLMES: All right. I don't know how big of a bottle of Bug Be Gone, you can buy, but they needed the biggest one they could find last night. The Bronx Bombers got...

NGUYEN: Look at that!

HOLMES: ...they got bombed by some teeny, weeny bugs during the play-off game last night against Cleveland. They're called midgets. These are gnat-like insects and there were apparently millions of them.

NGUYEN: All over the place. The midgets seemed to take a liking to the Yankees pitcher. Poor guy. Maybe the pests threw him off his game, because the Indians won in the eleventh inning...


NGUYEN: They hold a two games to zero lead in the five game series.

HOLMES: You know, Reynolds, you do what you've got to do to win and some times you have to bring out the midgets.

NGUYEN: Bring out the midgets.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Watch out for those midgets. I've got my bug spray right here.

How's that for a (INAUDIBLE)? Is that good to go?

NGUYEN: Bug Be Gone.

That looks like hair spray, Reynolds.

HOLMES: That's hair spray, Reynolds.

WOLF: Well, you know, at least they're...

NGUYEN: You're not fooling anybody.

WOLF: I'm not. I'm not. I mean, you know, bug spray and (INAUDIBLE) hair spray and midgets. Now you just have the little bugs that have, you know, styling hair. So there you go.