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Nepal Quake Death Toll Rises to 2,263; Wake Scheduled Today for Freddie Gray; Obama Takes Aim At Correspondents' Dinner. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired April 26, 2015 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Right at the top of the hour now. Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. So great for your company.

BLACKWELL: We have new information from Nepal this morning. More than 2,200 people now have been killed and thousands injured after a deadly earthquake, 7.8 magnitude here hit the capital of Katmandu. And this morning, a new after shock of 6.7 magnitude rocked the nation.

PAUL: Rescue crews are digging in the hopes of finding survivors. Hospitals, though, are struggling. They're just trying to accommodate the thousands of people who are injured and looking for care right now. The U.S., India and China sending basic supplies such as food, water, tents, blankets and medicines to the victims.

CNN correspondent Mallika Kapur is near. She's talking to us about the fact that you felt the 6.7 magnitude aftershock, and I'm wondering how that is affecting rescue efforts?

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is having a serious impact on rescue efforts. You know, I did feel it. You're right, I am in the city of Kolkata in India.

Just to give you a sense, it isn't that close. It's 900 kilometers away from Katmandu. If I had to take a flight from here to Katmandu, it could be more than an hour's flight, but still we felt the tremors in Kolkata this afternoon, people left their buildings, ran outside. They were so fearful of what could happen here.

So, you can imagine just how strong it must have been in Nepal itself, yes, it's really scaring people over here, and people are nervous, of course, understandably, after what happened yesterday. A lot of people spent the night outside, and yesterday they were too scared to go indoors or into their homes, or whatever was left of their homes. Many people spent the night in an open football field and they said they will do the same again tonight because it's not safe to go back in there.

Of course, those tremors are affecting rescue and relief operations. In the last hour, I learned of two flights that were supposed to land in Nepal but they were forced to turn back. Our colleagues were on some of the flights, and one of them actually reached Nepal and circled Katmandu for half an hour before they were told it was too unsafe to land there because of these aftershocks and they had to come back.

This was an Indian government flight, it was an empty flight going -- carrying just a couple journalists, and the goal was to bring back some of the India citizens stranded in Nepal. And another flight, also an air India flight, a commercial flight was going in there and carrying a whole group of international aide agency workers. They sat on the New Delhi tarmac for three hours before their flight was cancelled because of these aftershocks.

And this is hampering relief efforts. People in Nepal and Katmandu desperately need as much help as they can get, but these aftershocks are making it difficult for people and emergency personnel to reach Nepal.

PAUL: You just feel for those people. I was listening to one man who said, he had talked to his family and they're just sleeping on the streets because they're afraid to go into a building.

Mallika Kapur, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Two Americans were killed in the avalanches on Mount Everest after that earthquake. Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive, and Eve Girawong, a base camp doctor from New Jersey, both families announced their deaths on social media.

Now, I know you are watching and wondering what can I do? Well, you can log on to for more information on how you can help the victims there.

PAUL: And thank you so much for doing so.

Back here in the U.S., we need to point out, family and friends are going to be saying goodbye to Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died a week ago after suffering a fatal spinal injury while he was in police custody. Now, a wake is scheduled for later today, and funeral services are expected tomorrow.

This is protests over Gray's death yesterday turned violent. I mean, look at some of what we are seeing here. Dozens of people were arrested.

BLACKWELL: Now, as a result of the escalating tensions, and we showed this to you a moment ago, officials forced fans to stay inside the Orioles ballpark there at Camden Yards.

We've got Polo Sandoval for us in Baltimore.

What are police saying about those protesters who were arrested? Do we know if the 12 who were arrested were the people we saw stomping on those cars and using the cones to break the windshields?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, at this point, it's 100 percent -- at least we're not 100 percent sure exactly who those 12 people are, or at least the extent of their involvement.

We do know they are some of the local officials here, some of those outside instigators, the bad apples, so to speak. We did begin to see them just moments after that scheduled protest.

But at this point, it's very quiet on the streets of Baltimore. Freddie Gray's family hoping it stays that way, especially the next two days as they get ready to say goodbye, Freddie Gray's funeral scheduled for tomorrow morning.

[08:05:00] Now, back on the investigation that is on going. But we did get a chance to speak to the reverend expected to deliver tomorrow's eulogy, to give us insight. He says he will walk a delicate line here. He wants to take the tone calling for activism, but at the same time, also calling for peace and healing, and I can tell you, Victor or Christi, that's going to be extremely crucial especially after last night's demonstrations.

Looking ahead, we are told there are plans for another protest which is scheduled to happen next Saturday. In fact, some of the organizers of the initial peaceful protest from yesterday were handing out some of the flyers, and there are efforts to schedule a town hall meeting between some of the demonstrators and city officials, which is obviously an indication here that there is the dialogue that continues between the people calling for justice and answers, and the city officials who continue to push forward with the investigation, guys.

BLACKWELL: All right. Polo Sandoval, reporting live from Baltimore. Thank you, Polo.

PAUL: You know, the question is still fresh this morning, was he trained or not trained? New details about a Tulsa reserve deputy who fatally shot an unarmed man.

BLACKWELL: Concerns several years ago that Robert Bates was not properly trained and was receiving special treatment. His attorney joins us live to answer some tough questions.


[08:10:05] BLACKWELL: Ten minutes after the hour now.

The Tulsa county sheriff's office once claimed policy violations actually benefited the reserve deputy that accidentally shot and killed a man. There's a 2009 memo that claims that Robert Bates was shown special treatment. Bates has been under investigation since claiming he mistakenly pulled out his gun instead of his taser, in the death of Eric Harris.

Now, CNN obtained a copy of the memo from Harris' family attorney, Tulsa County sheriff's office has not responded for comment.

But Bates' attorney, Scott Wood, joins us now to talk about it.

Mr. Wood, good to have you this morning.


BLACKWELL: I have a copy of the report. You have read the report or at least have it, correct?

WOOD: Yes, I had a chance to peruse that document last night.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, I want to get to the conclusion first and then go to individual elements of it. The conclusion from this investigation back in 2009 said the policy was violated and continues to be violated, and this special treatment shown to reserve deputy Robert Bates.

I want to start with your general response to that because what we heard from Mr. Bates and you is that, yes, he was properly trained, but I would like you to talk more about the allegation that there was special treatment given to him above the other members and participants in this reserve deputy program.

WOOD: You know, the first thing that jumped out at me when I looked that document over is the fact that Mr. Bates was never interviewed or talked to. In fact, he didn't even know about the investigation back at the time and has only learned of it most recently.

So, if there are any quotes in there attributed to him, those were other things people said he said, and some of them, like, I can do what I want, and if you have a problem with it go talk to the sheriff -- we dispute those. Those statements are not true.

BLACKWELL: Did he receive special treatment? I think that's the bottom line in the larger discussion about Mr. Bates.

WOOD: You know, when we talk about special treatment. I don't know whether we are talking about assignment or his ability to function as a reserve deputy. I think it has been clearly established by looking at the governing law enforcement body here in Oklahoma, that by virtue of his past experience as a police officer, a sworn officer for the city of Tulsa that he was grandfathered in, and so that was legal. He had a legal right to be where he was on the day of the shooting.

Of course, the other aspect of this, it was five years ago, and it is so far removed from the date of the incident I don't see the proximate causation as to the event that brought us here.

BLACKWELL: Well, the relevant is the narrative being built by people inside the apartment and the special treatment connected to his relationship that is decades long with the sheriff there.

You brought up specifically this quote in which he allegedly said he can do what he wants and if you have a problem with it you can talk to the Sheriff Glanz there, and I'm paraphrasing.

Let's talk about the sergeant that attributed that to the deputy. He said Mr. Bates was driving a personal car with police equipment pulling people over, and making traffic stops, and he then when called on it, donated the car but continued to drive it and then continued to make traffic stops for which he had not received the training to do. So, that goes back to the question if there is special treatment?

You have provided documents saying at the time of the shooting that he was properly trained and CNN cannot verify those documents, but while he was working there before this shooting back in 2009, explain for us his training level related to those specific traffic stops. Was he working outside the rules of the program?

WOOD: You know, that's what the investigation found, that's true, but it's a policy violation, not a violation of the law. And, certainly, Mr. Bates, in 1965, I am pretty sure people were driving around in cars and people were pulling them over. So certainly he had that past experience.

BLACKWELL: We're not talking about 1965, though. We are talking about while he was in the reserve deputy program. Was he skirting the rules?

WOOD: You know, I -- I think the report also says that there were so many violations by other people that were also in the reserve program.

[08:15:08] BLACKWELL: But we're talking about -- I don't know if any of those other people pulled out a gun and shot a man instead of pulling out the taser they meant to pull out. That's why we are talking about Robert Bates here.

WOOD: Right, five years later.

BLACKWELL: OK, let's talk about a person in your firm, and they are talking about jealousy from other members of the department. Then, we'll talk about it on the other side.

WOOD: OK, thank you.


CLARK BREWSTER, ROBERT BATES' ATTORNEY: Mr. Bates was a former police officer, but 30 years earlier he was certificated and authorized to be a police officer in Oklahoma.


BREWSTER: Yes, but lacked the training. He was in a different category, and when he was received in the department there was some level of concern and jealousy, I think, and that was voiced to his superiors.


BLACKWELL: A level of jealousy for this reserve deputy. Can you expound on that? I don't see a level of jealousy expressed in this document.

WOOD: I don't know exactly where Mr. Brewster got that information. But I will say, somebody that has come into the program and donated and given so much, I think there was probably a perception on the part of some people that he did receive special treatment back during this training time, but certainly over the last five years all the people that he has worked with almost on a daily basis has sang his praises and said what a good job he has done, up until the day this horrible, horrible mistake was made.

BLACKWELL: All right. Scott Wood, we will have more opportunities to discuss this report and other elements of this investigation as it expands. I thank you for taking time to speak with us this morning.

WOOD: You are welcome. Thank you, Victor.


PAUL: It's Sunday morning. Time for Washington to get ready for the week ahead, and John McCain is appearing on today's "STATE OF THE UNION." We have a preview for you.


[08:20:45] PAUL: Twenty minutes past the hour, and Washington may have been celebrating at the correspondent's dinner last night. Today, though, it's back to work.

Jim Acosta joining us live from Washington with the preview of what's ahead on "STATE OF THE UNION."

John McCain, huh?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You know, somebody has to work this morning, so might as well be me. And Senator --

PAUL: Yes, OK.

ACOSTA: That's right, and Senator John McCain. You know, he's going to be coming on because as you know earlier this week, President Obama came out and made a remarkable admission that a U.S. drone strike had killed not only an American hostage but an Italian hostage as well, who are being held by al Qaeda.

And so, I will ask Senator John McCain who is going to be joining us from Arizona this morning, he's joining us very early, about whether or not there are alternatives to this? Is there the only option for U.S. forces when it comes to taking terrorist off the battlefield?

When I asked the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, about this earlier this week, he said, you know, we can't do an Osama bin Laden style raid every time we want to take a terrorist off the battlefield. So, we'll push that point with Senator McCain and see what his reaction is to that.

PAUL: All right. So, you're going to go from Senator John McCain to an R&B superstar? Am I understanding this right?

ACOSTA: Yes, it's quite a segue, we'll see if we can pull it off. But John Legend, I sat down with him a Friday evening, and he was in town for the White House correspondent's dinner, and we take a lot of jabs from the media and critics and the dinner being sort of a spectacle.

You know, some of the stars that come in, like John Legend, actually have rally important causes to talk about and John Legend is really the perfect example of that. He came into town to not only enjoy the dinner but to talk about his cause of over incarceration in the justice system, and we use that as an opportunity to ask about the allegations of police brutality, and it was the perfect opportunity to talk about this with John Legend.

And, you know, Christi, he was a big supporter of President Obama back in 2008, back in 2012, and I think you will find it interesting to see what he has to say about the president and whether or not he's done enough on this issue. He says he wants to push the president to do more, so you will hear that as well.

PAUL: All right. Interesting. Jim Acosta, always good to see you.

ACOSTA: Good to see you, thank you.

PAUL: Thanks.

"STATE OF THE UNION" starts at the top of the hour, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.


BLACKWELL: President Obama took aim at Joe Biden, the Secret Service, himself in many ways. We'll have the best of last night's Washington correspondent's dinner, next.



CECILY STRONG, COMEDIAN: Here we are at Aaron Schock's own dinosaur island. Here we are after hunting the dinosaurs. Wait, who is that? Brian Williams? You were not there. What are you doing, you rascal?


PAUL: Look at, some of them laughing and some of them, I don't know what to do with that.

BLACKWELL: Some people don't know if they should laugh.

PAUL: Right, right, exactly.

"Saturday Night Live" comedian Cecily Strong making her first appearance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night. She looked lovely, I just have to say.

BLACKWELL: She did, she did really well. But as usual, the president took the big laughs. Take a look at the best from last night.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My advisers asked me, Mr. President, do you have a bucket list? I said, well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list. Take executive action to immigration -- buck it. New climate regulations -- buck it. It's the right to do.

STRONG: Hillary's campaign slogan is it's your time, which I assume that's what she says in the mirror while she is dead lifting 200 pounds.

OBAMA: Being president is never easy, I still have to fix a broken immigration systems, issue veto threats, negotiate with Iran, and all while finding time to pray five times a day.

STRONG: I solemnly swear not to talk about Hillary's appearance because that is not journalism.

OBAMA: I look so old, John Boehner already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.

STRONG: Whenever a big strong breaks, I can turn to CNN and watch Anthony Bourdain eat a cricket.

OBAMA: And they finally figured out a fool-proof way to keep people off my lawn. There he is.


PAUL: Oh my goodness. They always do something clever.

BLACKWELL: Do you think Jim and the senator will talk about that, coming up this morning --

PAUL: He might, that's right, on "STATE OF THE UNION." We'll see if he brings that up.

But they brought up Anthony Bourdain for us, which is perfect because we wanted to tell you that, yes, he's coming back with for a new season of "PARTS UNKNOWN," and he is taking things off in South Korea, with bar hopping, spam eating, something called the soup of death. I will leave that to him, I think.

BLACKWELL: The season premiere of "PARTS UNKNOWN" is tonight at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: We are always so glad that you are with us on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Make some great memories today.