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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf; Baltimore Protests. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired April 24, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Ransom paid -- new details about desperate attempts to free an American held hostage by al Qaeda before he was killed in a U.S. drone strike. Did his family pay the wrong terrorists?
Baltimore braces. Will there be scuffles on the streets again tonight after the police chief just acknowledged failures in the arrest of the suspect, Freddie Gray?
And, tonight, the growing focus on Gray's ride in a police van and whether it proved deadly.
Also, dash cam drama. The lawyer for a suspect in a stunning police shooting now is speaking out about the confrontation that left his client paralyzed.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news, the Baltimore police commissioner bluntly acknowledging serious failures in the arrest of Freddie Gray as the city reels from protests and widespread anger over Gray's death. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: We know he wasn't buckled in the transportation wagon, as he should have been. No excuses for that, period. We know our police employees failed to give him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Also breaking now, new details about a massive anti- terrorism operation and horrific attacks that were allegedly being discussed by members of an al Qaeda cell, including, including a possible strike against the home of the pope and the Catholic Church, the Vatican.
The acting State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, she is standing by, along with our correspondents and our analysts. They're all covering the news that is breaking right now.
First, let's get the very latest from our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown -- Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Pakistani man allegedly at one point had brought in a suicide bomber from Afghanistan to Italy to potentially launch an attack at the Vatican.
Italian police say some of the 18 suspects even had ties to Osama bin Laden.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, Italian police say the suspected al Qaeda terrorists seen here being rounded up in a series of raids were part of a terror cell plotting devastating attacks, including suicide bombings, possibly targeting the Vatican.
AKI PERITZ, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Thousands upon thousands of people go there every day, on Sundays even more so. To walk in there with a suicide bomb could cause catastrophe.
BROWN: The arrests are part of what authorities are calling an unprecedented terror takedown across Italy involving al Qaeda operatives with ties to Osama bin Laden's security. Prosecutors say the sleeper cell, which included as many as 18 men, had specific plans in place, but eventually scrapped them.
PERITZ: They had a suicide attacker ready to go, ready to strike and then they pulled the plug. Why? The Italian prosecutor actually says that they got spooked because they knew that they were being monitored by the police.
BROWN: Police say began investigating the group in 2005, eavesdropping on communications through wiretaps. But they never interrupted the plot. They say the suicide bomber eventually left the country, but the cell remained.
Tonight, investigators say the alleged terrorists had an abundance of weapons and plenty of cash, but by 2012 had changed communication tactics and the investigation had slowed until today.
Security at the Vatican has been a major concern, since Pope John Paul II was nearly assassinated in St. Peter's Square in 1981. After that, popes began traveling in a bulletproof vehicle, something the new Pope Francis has at times refrained from using. And just two months ago, ISIS also threatened Rome in this propaganda video, prompting the Vatican to ramp up security.
BROWN: The Vatican secretary of state said today, "We're all exposed and we're all fearful, but the pope is very calm." That was a direct quote. Meantime, the Italian prosecutor did not explain today what was behind the timing of the arrests. As I mentioned, Wolf, they had been monitoring the cell for 10 years.
BLITZER: Suspicious stuff, but important. Thanks very, very much.
Tonight, a new promise by President Obama to identify and fix what went wrong when a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two al Qaeda hostages, including an American. We're learning more about the failed efforts to free that U.S. aid worker, Warren Weinstein, while he was being held by the terrorists.
Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is looking into the story.
What are you learning, Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a source with detailed knowledge of the negotiations tells CNN that the Weinstein family fears the money may have gone to the wrong people. And there were signs, after the initial payment, a new demand for a prisoner exchange and more recent contacts, months after we now know that Weinstein was killed, suggesting at that time that he was still alive.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): It was only a year after Warren Weinstein was abducted from here, his home in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2011, a source tells CNN, that his family took a risk, paying a ransom to contacts claiming to represent his captors.
WARREN WEINSTEIN, HOSTAGE: It seems that I have been totally abandoned and forgotten.
SCIUTTO: But the money did not secure Weinstein's freedom. Instead, his captors made new demands for a prisoner exchange.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Koran is very clear on this.
SCIUTTO: Suggesting trading Weinstein for an alleged terrorists, including Asia Siddiqui, a prominent female jihadi, currently serving an 86-year sentence in the U.S. The Weinstein family now fears the money may have gone to the wrong people.
JAMES REESE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Unfortunately, what happens is many families get sucked in to a farce. The family is very emotional because they want their loved one back and they get drawn into this.
SCIUTTO: His purported captors referred to themselves as Afghans, not al Qaeda. And after ISIS beheaded American journalist James Foley, they warned the Iraqis, an apparent reference to ISIS, wanted Weinstein and were preparing an orange suit for him, meaning the clothes worn by other ISIS hostages during their beheadings. When U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released by the
Taliban, one of Weinstein's alleged captors even bragged that he was also one of Bergdahl's kidnappers. The U.S. now believes it inadvertently killed Weinstein in a drone strike in January, the first sign of trouble immediately after the strike on the al Qaeda compound, when U.S. intelligence observed not four bodies being removed, as expected, but six, the additional two now believed to be Weinstein and fellow hostage, the Italian Giovanni Lo Porto.
But Weinstein's captors kept reaching out. The final contact with them came earlier this month, when the family asked for proof of life, proof of life they never received.
SCIUTTO: The White House appears aware now not only of the intelligence failure here, but also a communications failure with the Weinstein family, who complained of poor treatment by U.S. officials. The White House now says it may create a team incorporating the FBI, State Department, intelligence community to both coordinate recovery efforts and to better channel information, Wolf, to hostages' families.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Jim Sciutto.
Joining us now, the acting State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf.
Marie, thanks very much for coming in.
MARIE HARF, SPOKESWOMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: Happy to be here.
BLITZER: I noticed in the statements released by the Weinstein family, they thanked U.S. members of Congress, they thanked the FBI for their efforts, they specifically -- and I'm reading now -- they called all other government assistance, in their words, inconsistent and disappointing.
I assume that refers to the State Department, the White House, other elements of the government. Your reaction?
HARF: Well, I'm not actually sure who it refers to. I really leave it to the Weinstein familiarly to speak to that.
But I know, at the State Department, Secretary Kerry, our staff feels strongly about the kind of assistance we give to these families of hostage who are taken overseas. We're in regular contact with them. Other parts of the government are as well, including the FBI, of course.
But this is the reason we're doing this interagency review right now, to see what we could do better. We have reached out to 82 families of either former hostages, I think going back about 20 or so years, so they can play a role in this review to really give input as to how things could maybe be done differently. BLITZER: Because you remember Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. sergeant,
he was released as part of a trade, prisoners, Taliban prisoners suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay freed in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
There's now some suggestion that Warren Weinstein should have been part of the deal. Why wasn't he?
HARF: Well, these are sort of separate issues here.
When we were talking about Bowe Bergdahl -- and we talked about this a lot at the time -- he was an active-duty member of the military, that these people that had been released from Guantanamo went through this interagency process where everyone signed off. All members of the national security team signed off that they could be released and that we could get Bowe Bergdahl home.
But I would caution people that they weren't being held by the same groups. Al Qaeda is obviously very different than the Taliban when it comes to holding Americans. And, regardless, though, Wolf I would say that we use every tool we have, whether it's intelligence tools, diplomatic tools, law enforcement tools, to find these Americans and bring them home.
And I know, at the State Department, Secretary Kerry alone has reached out to dozens of countries, asking anyone for any assistance they can give us.
BLITZER: Because, in the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. military soldier, if you will, the U.S. traded valuable assets for him, but Warren Weinstein, he was still a U.S. government AID contractor. He was working for the U.S. government in Pakistan when he was abducted. Why not make a trade for him, if you made a trade for Bowe Bergdahl?
HARF: Well, I would disagree with terming the Guantanamo detainees, these former detainees, valuable assets. They went through an interagency process that's very rigorous in terms of determining whether or not they can be released. They were released under incredibly strict controls.
And, again, this was a trade for a member of the United States military. Were it comes to getting people held by terrorist groups hostage, to getting them home, there are different ways we can do that. There are intelligence tools we can undertake to find them. But we don't negotiate with terrorists and we don't make concessions to terrorists.
BLITZER: But these Guantanamo Bay suspected terrorists -- and they were held for years -- many of them eventually do go back to the battlefield and at least one of them who was released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl in Doha, Qatar, has supposedly established contact already with some terror organizations.
HARF: Let me be very clear. None of those that were released in the Bowe Bergdahl situation have been suspected of re-engagement.
I want to be very clear here. I think people have been a little fast and loose with the facts about re-engagement. Under this administration, President Obama put in place much stricter rules and regulations governing how we release people from Guantanamo Bay, and because of that, the recidivism numbers have actually dropped drastically under this administration. They have fallen quite a bit. And we have ways of tracking people if they do return to the fight.
BLITZER: So, I just want to be precise. I guess is the main point I'm trying to ask questions about. Is an active-duty member of the U.S. military more important to the United States government than an active U.S. government contractor...
HARF: Not at all.
BLITZER: ... who is doing important work for humanity, humanitarian work in Pakistan?
HARF: Not at all.
And I could not be clearer than saying everyone at the State Department, Wolf, everyone in the intelligence community, everyone at the FBI used every tool we had to find Dr. Weinstein, to find the other hostages we have talked about on your show, to locate them and to bring them home.
They are being held by brutal terrorist organizations. I think the Weinsteins' statement was also very clear that the al Qaeda terrorists who were holding him are responsible for this.
BLITZER: Did they pay the ransom money, the Weinstein family, to the wrong terrorists?
HARF: I'm really going to let them speak to any contact they may have had with folks over there.
BLITZER: Were they breaking the law in paying ransom money?
HARF: I'm just going to let them speak to this.
BLITZER: Well, from the State Department perspective?
HARF: Well, I'm just not going to speak to those reports, Wolf.
What we do when we interact with these families is provide any assistance we can give them, as does the FBI. We talk to them. We give them information if we have it. We contacted them, we, the U.S. government, contacted them several months ago when we first had indications that he may have been killed. We told them we couldn't confirm it.
But as soon as we were able to, it was very important for the president to not only tell the Weinstein family, but also to tell the country what had happened and to say we're going to look into it and we're going to see if we can do better.
BLITZER: The Italian hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto, he was killed accidentally and tragically at the same time.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much. Don't go too far away.
We have more to discuss, including the American terrorist, Adam Gadahn. He was also killed.
Much more with Marie Harf from the State Department when we come back.
BLITZER: We're back with the acting State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf. We're talking about that U.S. drone strike that killed two Western hostages and two al Qaeda leaders. Let's talk about the al Qaeda guys who were killed, Adam Gadahn, Ahmed Farouq.
Adam Gadahn, pretty well-known as a top spokesman, a young guy from California.
Were they intentionally targeted for killing by the United States?
HARF: They weren't.
We were not aware that they were at this location when these operations were undertaken. You're absolutely right. Adam Gadahn had been indicted in U.S. courts. He was involved in attack planning. Ahmed Farouq was the deputy emir of the new al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, AQIS.
They were both heavily involved in attack planning, but we were not aware that either of them were there.
BLITZER: Well, since he's been charged with treason, Adam Gadahn, would it have been legal to target an American citizen, even somebody who ripped up his passport -- we all saw that video -- someone who pledged loyalty to al Qaeda and bin Laden? Would it have been OK to go ahead and target these two Americans for death?
HARF: Well, as you know, the president and the attorney general have talked a lot about the legal process that goes into those kind of determinations. And I really don't want to make a defense about a hypothetical question on what would have come from such a review in that case.
But the president has been clear that we have to have higher standards. That's why I think he's spoken very publicly about that, I think, in a pretty extraordinary way. BLITZER: Despite the accidental death of these two Western
hostages, Italian and American, is the U.S. drone strike program going to continue?
HARF: I think a lot of us have talked about counterterrorism operations in general over the past few days, and the point that, first, this is an incredible tragedy. This is a horrible situation.
Obviously, you heard the president speak in a very heartfelt way about it yesterday. But counterterrorism operations overall have gone a long way in protecting American lives and protecting the homeland. The president said these are situations where capture isn't an option. And so if you recognize that there's a threat and you recognize capture is not an option, we really have to look long and hard we do counterterrorism operations, where we do them, and make sure we're applying the highest standards.
And that is, I think, what this review is going to look at.
BLITZER: As you know, there's another American who is being held hostage along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, together with her Canadian husband. What can you tell us about efforts under way? I assume there's some efforts to try get them out.
And as we talked about with other hostages before, the U.S. government is using every tool we can, whether it's the intelligence community combing through every piece of information they have to try to find them, bring them home, law enforcement. Diplomatically, we reach out to anyone who might have information.
But these are very tough cases. These terrorist organizations take great steps to conceal where they're holding hostages. We saw that with Dr. Weinstein and the Italian hostage as well. These are very tough intelligence cases to crack. But we are very committed to seeing if we can find them.
BLITZER: The drone strikes have been going after al Qaeda terrorists. Are you also using drones with Hellfire missiles to go after ISIS terrorists?
HARF: Well, let's separate these two things out.
There are counterterrorism operations that happen along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. We have talked about those for a long time. The president spoke very openly in 2013 about counterterrorism operations in Yemen against AQAP, for example. But when it comes...
BLITZER: When you use the phrase counterterrorism operations, that is a euphemism for drone strikes?
HARF: It can mean a number of things. We don't always go into specifics, for operational reasons. But, when we talk about ISIS, when you talk about Syria and Iraq,
the U.S. military is conducting kinetic action directly. They're dropping a lot of ordnance on these guys where they operate in Syria and in Iraq, on ISIL. So, they're taking the fight to them directly there. They're working with the Iraqis to do that. The Iraqis are also obviously playing a huge role too.
BLITZER: When you say kinetic action, you mean missiles and bombs, right?
HARF: Yes. Yes, dropping a lot of bombs on them, Wolf.
BLITZER: It sounds a lot more peaceful than dropping bombs and launching missiles.
HARF: I don't think it probably feels that way to the ISIS guys on the ground.
BLITZER: No, I'm sure it doesn't.
Let's talk about Yemen right now. We understand Iranian ships may be carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels have made a U-turn and are going back to Iran. The U.S. aircraft carrier the Teddy Roosevelt, that is now leaving the region. Where there was some sort of diplomatic negotiated deal between the U.S. and Iran, the carrier battle group will leave if the Iranians make a U-turn?
HARF: I certainly haven't heard of one. And we said throughout the whole Yemen crisis that Secretary Kerry and other U.S. State Department officials have ways of talking to the Iranians, different channels.
And we certainly use them if we need to. But I think the Iranians can probably explain why they decided to turn around and head the other direction. We're still watching very carefully, though, because we need to get back to a political dialogue. We need to get to a place on the ground where we can move away from the really extreme violence we have seen towards a political dialogue.
There are a lot of parties that can play a role here, but they all have to get on the same page, and we're not there yet.
BLITZER: See if that political dialogue can get off the ground. I'm not very optimistic, because of that -- the nature of what is going on in Yemen right now. But we will see if you can do it.
HARF: We will see.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Marie Harf, for joining us.
HARF: Happy to be here.
BLITZER: Just ahead, we're going to hear more from Baltimore police officials about the arrest and the death of Freddie Gray and the medical attention that he did not receive. And we also have the story behind another shocking dash cam
video. Why did a sheriff's deputy chase an unarmed man on a bicycle and then open fire?
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, major developments in the Baltimore police custody death.
The city's commissioner, the police commissioner now saying the victim, 25-year-old Freddie Gray, was inexcusably not buckled up in the police van, as required, and that officers failed to get him timely medical treatment multiple times and that anyone who harmed Gray will, according to the police commissioner, be prosecuted.
Gray died as a result of a spinal injury.
We have our experts standing by, as well as our correspondents, at key locations in Baltimore, including CNN's Miguel Marquez and Brian Todd. They're covering the breaking news for us.
Let's begin with Miguel for the very latest.
Miguel, what's going on?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have the strongest language yet out of the Baltimore Police Department, saying that officers that treated Mr. Gray that day and arrested him could be charged in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are people that are tired, frustrated, and we want answers now.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Tonight, Baltimore police admit Freddie Gray got medical attention way too late.
KEVIN DAVIS, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: Quite frankly, that's exactly where Freddie Gray should have received medical attention. And he did not.
MARQUEZ: The Baltimore police commissioner saying he himself walked the route that police chased 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
DAVIS: It's a foot chase that's not a short one. It goes through several streets, several housing complexes, and eventually ends up along the 1700 block of Presbury.
MARQUEZ: The commissioner saying, once arrested, the van stopped three times after Gray was arrested, once to shackle his legs.
DAVIS: The transport wagon stops again for a second time at Druid Hill and Dolphin with Mr. Gray. And the facts of that interaction are under investigation.
MARQUEZ: At the third stop, he said, Gray asked for medical attention. Despite the policy saying every prison anywhere in transport vans must be seat belted, police say Gray, handcuffed, legs shackled, was not belted in. Could Freddie Gray's injuries have been caused or aggravated by a rough ride?
BATTS: We know he was not buckled in the transportation wagon, as he should have been. No excuses for that, period.
MARQUEZ: The mayor and police department urging calm after scenes like this, at points, tension high, protesters swarming a police car, hurling insults and sometimes objects at police.
Only two arrested so far, as the Maryland governor ordered state troopers into the city. Tomorrow, more protests expected, maybe the biggest yet and big concerns they could turn violent.
REV. JAMAL BRYANT, EMPOWERMENT TEMPLE CHURCH: We have been with very few exceptions had very peaceable demonstration, and we are praying that those maintain.
MARQUEZ: Today, Baltimore's mayor under intense pressure to fix the city's long-controversial police force.
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), MAYOR OF BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: I pledge to take corrective actions. If there are any policies that need to be corrected, any ways that we do business that need to change, I pledge that we will make that happen.
MARQUEZ: The body of Freddie Gray now at a funeral home, where a second independent autopsy something is being performed.
MARQUEZ: Now, a couple of things to add.
I spoke to many people in this neighborhood who have been transported in those police transport vans. And they say they have never been buckled up. And it's sort of common practice here to drive very fast and take sharp turns and sort of treat them very roughly in the back of those vans.
We've also spoken directly to two of the witnesses that shot video. Both of them say that Freddie Gray was in medical emergency at the time of his arrest. A third person we spoke to a witness says that he seemed unconscious at the first stop where they shackled his legs. Police giving a very difficult account than people in this neighborhood are seeing -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Miguel, thank you very much.
Let's go to Brian Todd. He's in Baltimore as well.
What are you seeing, Brian? BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, police tonight ramping up
their presence in Baltimore. You've got some police officers here at the Western precinct manning the barricades, additional officers up the street. They are gearing up for possible protests tonight as Miguel mentioned, a larger rally scheduled tomorrow.
What they're going to try to avoid, Wolf, are confrontations like the one we witnessed yesterday when police were swarmed by protesters as they tried to make arrests of two people on the street related to the protest. That was an ugly scene. It was a flash point. It lasted only a few minutes, but that's what they're trying to avoid.
Also, Wolf, what they're trying to avoid are agitators from outsiders. This happened in Ferguson. They're gearing up for it. They're warning people not to do it we heard from the police commissioner Anthony Batts about it just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMISSIONER ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE: To any and all that would seek to bring chaos to our city, the people of Baltimore will not tolerate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And we spoke to a former police officer from the state police a short time ago, and she talked to us about outside agitators, she has a lot of experience in dealing with them. She says a lot of people come in from outside, they start to throw trash cans, like light trash cans on fire, throw objects. They even infiltrate members of the crowd to try to get them riled up.
So, those are the kinds of things to look for. The police are also prepared tomorrow. It's an all hands on deck situation, Wolf, with the police coming in in riot gear in force for that rally beginning at 3:00, it could last several hours.
BLITZER: Let's hope it stays quiet and peaceful. Protesting is one thing. Hopefully, it won't get violent and there won't be outside agitators.
Brian, thanks very much for that report.
Let's get more on what's going on. Joining us, the former FBI assistant director, our CNN law enforcement Tom Fuentes, our justice reporter, Evan Perez, and the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Cedric Alexander.
Cedric, have you ever heard, I never did until this story developed, heard of the so-called rough rides, where they throw a suspect in a van, they don't use a seat belt, and they make that individual feel the pain of just driving? Have you ever heard of that before?
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BLACK LAW ENFORCMENT EXECUTIVES: No, I must admit I've never heard of it at all, Wolf, over my number of years involved in law enforcement. That's entirely new to me, because typical policy is, as it is here in DeKalb County is once you put a prisoner inside of that van, you shackle them down and secure them. And you follow the laws on the road as anybody else would as well, too.
So, no, I've never heard of that.
BLITZER: Have you ever heard of that, Tom Fuentes? You're a former assistant director of the FBI. These rough rides, apparently people in Baltimore know about it.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I haven't heard of that before.
BLITZER: You've never heard of other cities where they deliberately -- Evan, have you heard of that?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: I have heard of it, Wolf, and it is something that sometimes police officer does to knock people around just a little bit.
BLITZER: Just to shake them up, to intimidate them?
PEREZ: To intimidate them, to show them who's boss, frankly.
BLITZER: That's totally -- Cedric, totally inappropriate, right?
ALEXANDER: It is totally appropriate. Absolutely it is. And it's in violation of anybody I would say certainly there are human rights, and in addition to that, it's unprofessional and totally uncalled for.
We have a responsibility that any time we take a person into custody. Is that we manage them in a way that is safe and move them from one destination to the next. So, here again, in my experience, I have not ever heard of it. But that does not suggest in any way that it has not and has never happened before.
BLITZER: So, if he wasn't seat belted in the car and secure in that location, and they're riding around fast and he's going back and forth -- is it possible, and I know we're speculating right now, Cedric, that he could have broken his spine that way?
ALEXANDER: Well, absolutely any time. You got to remember, most of the compartment back there is mostly metal and steel. So, if someone is not secured adequately back there and you go up to 20, 30, 40, 50 miles per hour, and slam on brakes, you can certainly do some severe injury to someone.
But we're going to wait and see, Wolf, what the overall investigation revealed to us. And I don't want to be, and nobody should be too speculative about what we suspect may have happened. It is good today that Commissioner Batts was able to get on and reveal the investigation and take some responsibility in regards to what they know should have happened did not happen.
[18:35:10] For example, not securing that passenger or in this case, Mr. Gray, in that van.
BLITZER: And, Tom Fuentes, we know there was a case ten years ago in Baltimore, where a suspect wasn't secure, apparently flying around in the back of the van, and eventually died.
FUENTES: Right. That could be the case here, Wolf. If they don't have a person seat belted in and secured in some way, and they're handcuffed and can't break their fall, if they fall to the floor, get tossed around. They have no way to cushion themselves or protect their head and neck from being snapped around. So, yes, it's possible.
BLITZER: What are you hearing from federal law enforcement and from state and local about outside agitators potentially creeping into protests tomorrow?
PEREZ: Haven't seen much of that yet, Wolf, this past week. It's been mostly a local event. But certainly as we saw in Ferguson, because this is attracting a national attention, that you have the possibility of having outsiders coming in. That's why the state troopers are now going to be there to help back up the police there and I should just add real quick on the conversation we were just having.
I mean, the police commissioner there, Mr. Batts, addressed this earlier in the week. He said the other prisoner in the transport van claimed that he didn't see anything unusual during the drive. They weren't speeding, they weren't driving erratically.
Now, that's what the interview from the other prison anywhere the van, I'm not sure whether or not that holds, whether or not he said you know today's press conference that they were still looking at something that happened during that ride. So, we don't know exactly if there's something else that's turned up that has gotten their attention.
BLITZER: Is it problematic that there are so many separate investigations now under way by the police, by the city, by the state and the federal government?
FUENTES: Well, on the one hand, Wolf, it presents an extra opportunity to find more witnesses to get more information. But the reality is, being involved in cases like this with multiple agencies doing a separate track, is it does create a possibility of divergent statements which will affect the prosecution if you're going to have one.
If you've got a witness giving three, four different statements and maybe another one to the grand jury, they're going to be easily impeached by defense attorney who says wait a minute. On this day you said this. On that day, you said that, and when the statements don't match in a large sense, it discredits the witness.
So, it could hurt the prosecution.
BLITZER: It's a potential problem. FUENTES: The people who want this prosecuted, they're actually
going to be hurt by multiple prosecutions.
BLITZER: All right. I want all three of you to stand by. We have more to discussion, include breaking news, we now have some dramatic dash cam video of a police officer shooting an unarmed man, leaving him paralyzed. What happens to the police officer, what happened here?
Stay with us.
[18:42:31] BLITZER: We have some dramatic video of a police shooting of an unarmed man in Florida. It happened back in 2013. The video was obtained by our affiliate WPTV, joint investigation with "The Palm Beach Post".
Our justice reporter Evan Perez is back with us with more details on this video.
First of all, why are we just finding out of this video now?
PEREZ: Well, "The Palm Beach Post" and WPTV decided to do an investigation given everything that's been going on, Wolf, to see -- to look into police shootings and examples of excessive use of force over the last -- more than the last decade and this is one of the incidents that they took a look at and they investigated.
And what we can see from this video, Wolf, we see Dontrell Stephens. He is 20 years old. He's riding his bicycle. He's in what is a rough neighborhood. The deputy's name is Adams Lin; he works for the Palm Beach County sheriff's.
According to the deputy, you know, he's watching him -- he seems him obstructing traffic and he sees -- he decides to stop him. When he rides up there, he Stephen gets to the house where he is staying. Police officer gets out of the car and within four seconds you hear shots fired and Dontrell Stephens is down. He is now a paraplegic as a result of these shots fired.
He was carrying a cell phone and that's what caused the misunderstanding and that the police officer decided to shoot him.
BLITZER: Initially, the police correct me if I'm wrong, said that they saw him get something out of his waist, right? And they suspected it was a gun but the video shows that he apparently didn't go for anything, he was holding his cell phone.
PEREZ: He was holding his cell phone. It's an old cell phone and apparently he was using it like this, you know, speaker phone fashion and that's one thing that perhaps drew the attention of the officer.
We have a statement that the police gave in 2013 and according to them -- their account of it is that the deputy attempted to make contact with the subject. The subject is riding a bicycle, threw down the bike and attempted to run away. The deputies gave verbal commands to stop, "Let me see your hands," the subject pulled a dark object from his waist band and was shot three times by the deputy.
And the video doesn't really match what the police said in 2013 at the time. We called them and we asked them what they're saying now. They say because there's a lawsuit now, they're not going to comment.
BLITZER: So, you think, Tom, the federal government is now going to go back and look at the video and do some sort of investigation?
[18:45:00] FUENTES: They might. If there's a call for it, they may do that. I think especially since as Evan said, you have dash cam showing one thing that he already had the phone in his hand. The statements made that he was reaching for it, which you know, it seems pretty ridiculous, let's say for an officer to make a statement when there's a dash cam that shows exactly what happened.
BLITZER: I want Cedric Alexander to join us as well, the president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
What's your analysis of what happened here? Because the video that's now been released seems to show a different story than what the police initially said in the aftermath of this shooting and this young man was paralyzed as a result.
ALEXANDER: Yes, I mean, I would agree with Tom on this. I mean, I tell you, it's, what's been stated and what we're able to see and the frame of footage that you have there, is really somewhat shocking. And hopefully at some point, there would be a reopening of this case, because I truly believe it needs to be looked into, particularly in light of what's going on in the country right now, and it's not to find fault but find actually what actually, what occurred and the proper responsibility is taken.
Now, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County sheriffs office have an opportunity not to have to talk about this at all, because they're under litigation. However, I think it's going to become incumbent at some point that this is looked into.
BLITZER: I want to you listen to the victim's attorney, speaking out the victim Adams -- you know, the police officer, Adams Lin, shot this young man. Listen to what the victim's attorney said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK SCAROLA, ATTORNEY FOR DONTRELL STEPHENS: I think it cannot be questioned that when you dress for war, when you equip for war, and when you bring with you out onto the street and into the community an attitude of aggression, you are going to inevitably provoke violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The police deputy, the police sheriff deputy Adams Lin, I'm just reading what they said, he was wearing military fatigues, he had a riot shield, a grenade launcher, a shotgun that he used to shoot Stephens four -- that he used to shoot Dontrell Stephens four times.
What do you make of that?
FUENTES: Well, I don't know, we don't know the rest of the story here. Was that officer on his way to a training exercise somewhere where they would be wearing clothing appropriate for being in a wooded area? Why he would have all that.
Most officers will not carry all that gear in their car, especially in a high crime area, because locals will steal it, and they don't want to lose their weaponry and their shields and so on. That sounds uncommon to me. Now, as far as why he's wearing fatigues, we just don't know. Is that the everyday uniform for police officers in that particular county to wear? We don't know that.
BLITZER: And, Cedric, this is the case of a young black man shot by a white police officer. And now, we have new video that shows -- apparently gives us more information of what happened. You're seeing a pattern here, aren't you?
ALEXANDER: Well, I think the country is seeing a pattern of these shootings that it's create hearing again, a great deal of concern for Americans all across this country, regardless of who you are and where you live. And these interactions which are very questionable, to all communities across this country, we're going to have to continue to work at trying to, to get to the root of what's going on and how do we better select, train, work better in our communities.
I mean, just a cadre of issues are going to have to be addressed here, Wolf, as we go forward.
BLITZER: I think we as a country have a lot of work to do try to fix these problems, and I know you're trying to help, too, you're on the president's policing commission.
Cedric Alexander, thanks as usual for joining us. Evan Perez, Tom Fuentes, guys, appreciate it.
Angelina Jolie is chiding the United Nations for not doing more to help refugees from the war in Syria. The actress and special U.N. envoy spoke to the U.N. Security Council about the hundreds of thousands killed and the millions displaced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY: Anyone of the Syrians I have met would speak more eloquently about the conflict than I ever could. Nearly 4 million Syrian refugees are victims of a conflict they have no part in. Yet, they are stigmatized, unwanted and regarded as a burden.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: For more on what you can do to help the refugees
survive the crisis in Syria, visit CNN.com/impact, and you'll be able to impact your world.
Just ahead, he works for the United States Congress and he has a surprising secret. He's homeless. And he's living on the streets of the nation's capital.
[18:55:00] BLITZER: Up on Capitol Hill, new moves in the battle over raising the federal minimum wage, including a walk out this week by low wage congressional workers. One of those protesters has a powerful story to tell us. He works at the Capitol by day, spends his nights living on the streets of Washington, D.C.
Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash had an opportunity to speak with him.
This is an amazing story, Dana. Tell us what you learned.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is heartbreaking. You know, covering politics there's often a very big disconnect between rhetoric and debate and real life. But in this case, the hard scrabble of real life is happening right under lawmakers' noses.
BASH (voice-over): For Charles Gladden, this is home, a sidewalk next to Washington, D.C.'s McPherson Square metro station, shoes by his side, blankets to keep him warm. He wakes up before sunrise when he and the other homeless are kicked out before the bustle of the morning commute.
But as he collects his worldly possessions which fit into a bag, Gladden is actually getting ready for his own trek to work.
Charles Gladden works at the U.S. Capitol.
CHARLES GLADDEN, SENATE CAFETERIA WORKER: I work for the most powerful people in the country and here I am sleeping near a subway stop.
BASH: For eight years he has worked in Senate cafeterias, washing dishes, doing janitorial work.
GLADDEN: I sweep, mop, clean the bathroom and that type of stuff.
BASH (on camera): Is there a place here where you can shower? How do you get clean for work every day?
GLADDEN: Well, I use the bathroom. It's not a shower, basically a birdbath. BASH (voice-over): He makes about $11 an hour, takes home some
$360 a week. But says he gives a lot of that to his family, who have their own financial troubles.
(on camera): When your paycheck comes $360 a week take home pay into your bank account, what happens to that money?
GLADDEN: What happens to that money is my grandkids and my kids need something, they, you know, I take care of them.
BASH: There are lots of people who work in this building who make what you make, who it's very tough to live, but they don't live on the street.
GLADDEN: Right. Some of these people have second jobs. The majority of them. I was unable to get a second job.
BASH (voice-over): Almost no one at the Capitol had a clue he's homeless until he went public as part of a one-day strike by federal contractors, demanding $15 an hour, what they call a livable wage.
(on camera) You seem like a proud man. It must not be easy for you to do this.
GLADDEN: Exactly. You got to look down sometimes and see what's around you and they are not doing that. Everybody's focused on what's ahead, and they're using blinders. And they scrambling around for issues to talk about, and all they have to do is stop and ask a common person on the street.
BASH: Or in the building.
GLADDEN: Or in the building. People bringing them their food, you know, and people sweeping and cleaning their toilet.
BASH (voice-over): And the 63-year-old said his deteriorating health has meant missing work without pay.
(on camera): How many toes have you had amputated?
BASH: Three toes amputated, because of your diabetes.
BASH (voice-over): As he goes back to work after protesting for higher wages: he has a message for senators he serves every day.
GLADDEN: They got a guy working in there that ain't got nowhere to live. You know. I'm an embarrassment. I don't want to be an embarrassment to this country, a country I was born and raised in. My children and grandkids have to come up in this country.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: Dana, this is so heartbreaking that this can happen. A
guy works for the United States government on Capitol Hill, in the U.S. Congress, and he's homeless, he sleeps on the streets. This could happen in the United States of America. How does this happen?
BASH: Well, in this particular case, what they have done in the Congress, at least in the Senate is that they have privatized the cafeterias and dining areas. And by doing that, they outsourced and really put at a bid to private companies to do this. And that company is -- has wages that are very low.
So I'm told, actually, what senators are doing that actually seen this story are preparing to try to push this contractor to raise the wages. That might happen as soon as next week.
BLITZER: I hope it does. It's a shocking, shocking story.
Thanks for sharing it with our viewers. Appreciate it, Dana.
BASH: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Important story for allover us to remember.
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