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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Nightmare Storm; Investigating South Carolina Police Shooting; Wisconsin Man Arrested for Allegedly Trying to Join ISIS; AP: 200+ Airport Security Breaches in Past 10 Yrs.; Jury to Continue Deliberations Tomorrow. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired April 9, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:15] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We now know who filmed the video of the officer shooting that man in the back in South Carolina. We will hear what he says the video did not show.
I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.
The national lead. He says he was just walking to work when he saw a struggle and he had the presence of mind to turn his cell phone camera on. Now the man who filmed officer Michael Slager gunning down Walter Scott as Scott sprinted for his life says he never saw the victim grab the officer's Taser.
Also in national news, for many in law enforcement, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty, but this is not case closed -- why some investigators wonder whether he and his brother had accomplices who may still be out there.
Plus, it's looking pretty apocalyptic in the Midwest right now, baseball-sized hail, 10 reported tornadoes, a woman swept away by floodwaters and killed in her car and now the entire Chicago metro area is under tornado watch.
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Let's get right to our national lead and new information about what we did not see on that shocking video out of South Carolina that shows a police officer shooting a man in the back as he attempted to run away. The witness who captured this horrific scene is now speaking out, not only about why he took the video, but what happened in the moments leading up to the deadly confrontation.
Listen to what he had to say to NBC's Matt Lauer on "The Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEIDIN SANTANA, WITNESS: I saw that he was trying to get away from the Taser, and his reaction was just, you know, to get away of the Taser.
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": Was there a struggle over the Taser that you saw? Were they fighting over it?
SANTANA: No. He never grabbed the Taser of the police. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Feidin Santana says he was compelled to turn the video over after he heard the police department's version of what happened and it contradicted what he saw go down and what he filmed.
There are also other recordings from the scene of the shooting that may capture moments that were not recorded by Santana's cell phone.
And let's go live now to CNN's Jason Carroll to talk about it. Jason is in North Charleston.
Jason, there is this dash cam video that is being reviewed by investigators. Do we have any idea when it's going to be released and what exactly it might show?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question.
A spokesman for the agency handling the investigation which has the dash cam videos says that those videos will be released. He did not have the timing on that, and that's simply because there are a number of dash cam videos that have to be reviewed before they release them to the public.
CARROLL (voice-over): When North Charleston police officer Michael Slager radios to dispatch after firing his weapon at Walter Scott, he seems to make his case.
MICHAEL SLAGER, DEFENDANT: Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.
CARROLL: Feidin Santana shot the video of the shooting. His account of the struggle is much different from that of officer Slager's.
LAUER: Was there a struggle over the Taser that you saw? Were they fighting over it?
SANTANA: No. He never grabbed the Taser of the police.
CARROLL: Santana said he was scared when he saw and heard Slager's gunshots, but kept recording.
SANTANA: I didn't really thought like he was going to die or that he was dead.
CARROLL: For a video that so clearly shows an unarmed man being shot in the back multiple times by a police officer...
EDDIE DRIGGERS, NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, POLICE CHIEF: I have watched the video. And I was sickened by what I saw.
CARROLL: ... still, so many questions remain about what led North Charleston police officer Michael Slager to fire eight shots at Walter Scott as he ran away. Scott died shortly after being shot in an incident that began as a traffic stop, according to police documents.
DRIGGERS: There are questions that I have in my mind that I can't answer right now.
CARROLL: One of the questions, why did Scott run? His brother providing insight.
ANTHONY SCOTT, BROTHER OF WALTER SCOTT: It might have been something in his past, an outstanding warrant maybe for child support, but I do think he may have initially ran. But it's still not a reason to be gunned down.
CARROLL: The North Charleston Police Department has turned the investigation over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, the evidence-gathering agency reviewing multiple dash cam videos, including officer Slager's.
A spokesman telling CNN officer Slager's dash cam does not show the shooting or the struggle between the two and likely only shows the first few moments after Slager pulled Scott over for a broken taillight.
At an NAACP rally Thursday, members praised the city's police department and mayor for taking swift action against Slager, but still say:
DOT SCOTT, PRESIDENT, CHARLESTON NAACP: We are also aware, however, that the action taken in this case is the exception, rather than the rule.
[16:05:08] CARROLL: The NAACP and a number of people here in this community, Jake, will be paying close attention to the investigation. That investigative agency will also be interviewing the passenger who was in the car when Scott was pulled over.
Once they complete their investigation, they are going to put something together called a case file report. That then will be turned over to the prosecutor's office -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jason Carroll, thank you so much.
A man who once filed a criminal complaint against officer Slager revealed just minutes ago that he now plans to sue the North Charleston Police Department. Mario Givens says he had a terrifying encounter with the officer back in 2013, when Slager was investigating a burglary in his neighborhood, and he also says had his case been taken seriously, perhaps Walter Scott would be alive today.
CNN's Brian Todd is live in North Charleston with more on this story.
Brian, this happened years ago. Why sue now?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it could be just because the timing is right, given all the attention on the Walter Scott case right now. That really is the frank truth of the matter.
As you mentioned, this incident happened in September of 2013, when officer Michael Slager was called to pursue a possible burglary suspect. He approached a residence. When he knocked on the door, a man inside the residence which now turns out to be Mario Givens yelled out that he was not the suspect. A witness nearby also yelled to the officer that Mario Givens was not the suspect, but according to police records that we have obtained, Givens was still pulled out of the house, he was Tased by officer Slager, and pushed down and dragged.
That's why he is now filing a lawsuit to -- as far as his perspective is concerned, Givens did say he did try to bring this to the attention of police department for several months and that they told him it was only under investigation, but nothing ever came of it. Here is what Givens said a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO GIVENS, CLAIMS SLAGER TASED HIM: I was upset, because technically they took a real long time to even investigate the case, because when I kept coming back, they told me, we still investigating, we still investigating.
And they tell me -- then when I came back one time, they told me, we will send you paper in the mail, because we ain't find nothing. He did no wrong.
If they had even tried to listen to me and really investigate it, that man would have probably been alive because he wouldn't have been an officer in the field.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Now, a very important point to make here is in that case involving Mario Givens, officer Michael Slager was exonerated.
Very important to remember that as we proceed with reporting this particular angle of this broader story. One thing that Givens did tell CNN later was that the actual suspect, the real suspect in that burglary, was his own brother -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Brian Todd, thank you so much.
The horrific events in North Charleston have brought renewed focus on police body cameras. Without this recording of the encounter between police officer Michael Slager and 50-year-old Walter Scott, who knows where we would be right now.
In the wake of the shooting, the North Charleston Police Department announced yesterday it plans to outfit all of its officers with the cameras. A 2013 study found that at least 25 percent of the 254 U.S. police departments surveyed used body cameras. Some police unions still balk at the idea over concerns that the footage could be used in fishing expeditions against officers.
As this debate rages on, we have some seen real life examples of how prominent a role these cameras can play. Take, for example, a case in Oklahoma earlier just this year when a police body camera captured a deadly police encounter with a suspect trying to get away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The case involving 21-year-old Terence Walker is still under investigation, but Muskogee police say the video when enhanced shows Walker pointing a gun at the officer just before he was shot. Witnesses have disputed the claim, but state investigators will be able to examine the video for themselves to determine what really happened.
Joining me now to look at the pros and cons of body cameras are former NYPD officer Eugene O'Donnell and former Saint Louis, Missouri, officer Redditt Hudson.
Thanks to both of you for being here.
Eugene, let me start with you.
What is the downside to these cameras?
EUGENE O'DONNELL, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Not for sure, but we're uncertain what ultimately, whether it will be a good or bad thing.
But the concern I would have is that it will be a disincentive for the police to be involved. We are currently focusing rightly on police abuse, police brutality, but the truth in America is that there are many places where the police are completely unengaged, are doing nothing and I would be concerned putting cameras on police people. It will make it much less desirable to be a police officer and police officers will find themselves -- it won't just stop wrongdoing. It will stop right-doing, also.
TAPPER: Why would it stop right-doing? Why would it encourage officers to not do their jobs?
[16:10:05] O'DONNELL: Put yourself in a position of a police officer who does a car stop and asks somebody for their for their license and they refuse. Would you want to be on camera in that situation?
When you don't know what the outcome is, when you may need to use force, when essentially you could go to prison by the time that stop is over or would you just not do the stop? These are the concerns. I don't want to emphatically say it's a bad idea, but I would have concerns about that. If you look around the country, there are many parts of the U.S. where
the police are simply not effective, not engaged, not proactive and we don't need to grow that further.
TAPPER: Redditt, what do you think about that?
REDDITT HUDSON, FORMER SAINT LOUIS POLICE OFFICER: Man, if you're doing your job within the policies of your department and the laws that you are enforcing, whether that's state or federal, you want to be on camera.
It's the most objective record that we can have of the interaction between a citizen and a police officer. And, as you just pointed out with the footage you showed in two different instances, we see what happened. We don't have to trust the citizen or the officer. We can look at a tape and see what happened.
I don't want to work with any officer who is put off by the idea that his actions or her actions may be recorded, that there may be an actual record of what you did on duty. That's a very troubling thought.
TAPPER: Eugene, there have been some studies that show departments where cameras have been implemented have had dramatic declines in excessive force complaints and officers in some of these studies were less likely to use force.
Is your argument that that's because these cameras disincentivize work? Is that why you think the studies are the way they are?
These cameras seem to show that the cops knew the ending and seems to show there's some precision in which you can use force and there's some expertise that you can bring to this. The truth is, the police are often left to their own devices in these situations.
And, by the way, you can look at a city like Saint Louis, the city clears out after dark downtown. We need more police engagement in Saint Louis, not less. And I would be concerned again in that city and other cities that the police will simply find a way to be on Fifth Street when there's a problem on Sixth Street.
TAPPER: Go ahead, Redditt.
HUDSON: You can look at a city like New York that's had over $1 billion in settlements because of police officer misconduct and recognize the fact that none of that was self-reported by the officers who were involved in those incidents.
You could look at the fact that in South Carolina we would not be where we are but for the videotape. The officer would have gotten away with murder, which is what he committed on the videotape, because he could have fallen back on the very narrative that the gentleman from New York is putting out here right now, is that, our job is tough, we don't need to be watched.
O'DONNELL: We have an epidemic of murder in some cities in the U.S.
HUDSON: What does that have to do with cameras? What does that have to do with me videotaping your actions?
O'DONNELL: Police are our first line of defense. We saw this...
HUDSON: What does that have to do with their actions being recorded?
O'DONNELL: Let's look at L.A.
TAPPER: All right. Redditt, let's let him respond.
O'DONNELL: Let's look at the Skid Row shooting, which was shown thousands of times and actually reflects the police being brutalized, the police being attacked by a convicted robber.
HUDSON: I didn't see that.
O'DONNELL: Well, that did occur.
TAPPER: But, Eugene, isn't that the point, though, is that sometimes these...
TAPPER: ... these body cams would clear police officers?
O'DONNELL: It didn't. Ask the vast majority of people what the result of that incident was, and they think it's police brutality.
O'DONNELL: Have any of those officers been convicted? Have any of those officers been convicted?
O'DONNELL: If you were an L.A. police officer, putting yourself in harm's way, getting seriously injured, some of them I think have career-ending injuries, would you put yourself at risk like that if you could not do it?
(CROSSTALK) O'DONNELL: You can look at police departments that are useless in
this country. there are police departments that are useless in this country. They get there late. They don't engage. And ask the community what they want. They want engagement.
TAPPER: Eugene, let me just give Redditt the final word.
Go ahead, Redditt.
HUDSON: I have been shot at enforcing the laws in my state. Don't ask me whether or not I would engage.
Ask me about the value of having an objective record created, where police historically have abused their power and authority in communities that don't have a voice and don't have standing to challenge their behavior.
O'DONNELL: This has not been about objectivity or substance. It's been about visceral. It's been about the emotional. We need to have an intelligent conversation.
HUDSON: No. And that's the advantage of the videotape. It takes the emotion out of it and gives us a simple record of what's happened.
O'DONNELL: The videotape is simply to drive a news cycle. We need an objective conversation about homicide, gun violence and the situation police officers in America find themselves in.
HUDSON: We need police officers held accountable when they violate the rights of the citizens that they serve.
Eugene O'Donnell, Redditt Hudson, thank you. Thank you both very much for your passionate views. We appreciate it.
In other national news, a pilot nearly hits a man wandering on the tarmac. Another man digs under an airport fence and hides on a plane. A drunk woman drives her car close to taxiing planes -- those incidents outlined in a brand-new Associated Press investigation of airport security breaches. It is shocking, and it's next.
TAPPER: Those incidents outlined in a brand new "Associated Press" investigation of airport security breaches.
[16:15:05] It is shocking, and it's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Breaking in national news today: another American accused of trying to join ISIS. The FBI says this 34-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin, Joshua Van Haften, made it to Turkey before he was ultimately apprehended allegedly on his way the try to join ISIS. The criminal complaint accuses him of telling his roommates he wanted to join the terrorist group, ranting in text messages how he wanted to help the terrorists, quote, "take over Baghdad", even making it to the Syrian border allegedly. FBI agents say that while in Turkey, Van Haften tried to enlist the help of a smuggler to sneak him in to Syria.
[16:20:01] Van Haften is also no stranger to law enforcement. He's a convicted child sex offender who also did time on a battery charge.
On that subject of security here in the United States, more troublesome news about just how effective airport security is at keeping unwanted individuals off your flight. According to a new report by the "Associated Press", intruders have gotten past airport security measures hundreds of times in the past 10 years, some even snuck by carrying knives. One person even had a loaded gun.
Let's get right to CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh.
Rene, hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars, have been spent on increasing airport security to upgrade the airport perimeters. This seems like clear evidence that not enough is being done, or at least it's not being done effectively.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, we are talking about alarming breaches in airport security, people getting past guard posts, barbed wire fencing, making it to runways, taxi ways and in some cases on board planes.
I want you to take a look at this video, this from last April. A 15- year-old hopped the fence at San Jose International Airport. He eluded detection for about six hours before he climbed into the wheel well of a plane bound for Hawaii. He survived the trip.
And then in 2012, a Jeep broke through a chain link fence. You're looking at that video. Drove on to several runways just as a passenger plane was about to land at Philadelphia International Airport.
Now, the "A.P.'s" year-long investigation reveals 268 perimeter security breaches since 2004 at major U.S. airports. The actual number of incidents is likely higher because not all of the airports shared their data. At least 44 times, intruders made it to runways, taxiways or to the gate.
We know that San Francisco International had the most breaches but also Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, Miami and Tampa, they are at the top of the list as well when it comes to these security breaches. TAPPER: Now, we should underline, the "Associated Press"
investigation says that none of these individuals were part of any sort of active terrorist plot. But I would think regardless, this is sounding alarms for officials in charge of security at these airports.
MARSH: Right. You know, when you do talk to many of these airport officials, they say that they are doing all that they can do. They have had fences and cameras. But still, when you see these numbers, all in one place, you see how many times it's happened, it really begs the question is there a weakness there.
TAPPER: All right. Rene Marsh, thank you so much.
When we come back, the Aaron Hernandez murder trial drags on. The jury is continuing to deliberate. Could a decision come today? We will go to the courthouse, next.
Plus, tonight's the night. If you plan to order an Apple Watch, Apple is already saying they expect the device to sell out. So, how can you guarantee you'll get one if you want one? That's ahead.
[16:26:56] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
In national news today, we just got word deliberations will continue for a third full day in the trial of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star is, of course, on trial for the murder of semi- pro player Odin Lloyd. For the second full day, jurors have been huddled together deliberating mostly circumstantial evidence. During the trial the jury heard from more than 130 witnesses but no one testified they actually saw the murder. Prosecutors could only suggest that Hernandez was the actual killer.
CNN's Susan Candiotti is live in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Susan, a major juror complaint held up deliberations today.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Two of the jurors were very concerned because when they left court yesterday, they were under a police escort to go to their cars, and they said they felt as though someone was following them, an unmarked SUV. They reported it to the court, took a snapshot of the license plate and then came back to a television station in Boston. Neither of the jurors told the judge that they felt all of this would impact their ability to fairly deliberate and render a verdict so they were sent back to work.
But the jury wasn't -- the judge wasn't done. She banned that particular photographer from covering the trial anymore and from even entering the courthouse until the trial is over with. With that, the jury went on with its work and they got a lot of work to do, because in this case, there are more than 430 exhibits to consider.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Each day, a traditional call to order. After 135 witnesses stretching over nearly 11 weeks, a jury will now decide the fate of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commonwealth is going to prove to you this defendant committed the crime of murder.
CANDIOTTI: But a hard-fought defense contends Hernandez would never kill his good friend Odin Lloyd, who was dating Shaneah Jenkins, the sister of his fiancee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aaron Hernandez was planning a future, not a murder.
CANDIOTTI: There is a mountain of circumstantial evidence from the crime scene: an isolated pit in an industrial park where Lloyd's bullet-riddled body is found. Experts testify a marijuana blunt with DNA from Hernandez and Lloyd put them both at the spot. A tire on Hernandez's rental car is consistent with tracks in there, too. A shoe impression in the dirt comes from the same kind of sneaker he is seen on video wearing that night.
In each case, the defense attacks those findings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't tell us, sir, can you, that that outsole pattern made that impression at placard 2, can you, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
CANDIOTTI: Prosecutors tried to prove this grainy home security video minutes after Lloyd is killed shows Hernandez holding a Glock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my opinion, the firearm shown in the video stills is a Glock pistol.