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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Report: Gray's Spinal Injury Occurred Inside Van; Protests Nationwide Call For More Answers; Protesters Marching On Streets Of Baltimore. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired April 30, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), FORMER BALTIMORE MAYOR: -- incidents like this one that boil up with young men who feel like their country doesn't care about them. Their country doesn't want to look at them, their country wishes they would go away, wishes they can't go away would get instead locked up and that's not the sort of country that we should be building for our kids.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hillary Clinton, who you will likely be run against sometime, soon gave a speech yesterday in which she talked about calming for body cameras for police and an end to the era of mass incarceration.
You've been slightly critical of her for being a Johnny come lately on some issues including drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants on same sex marriage being a human right not a state by state issue.
On this issue, when you look at her comments yesterday, and you look at the Clinton record, and she was a big part of pushing for the Clinton crime bill including three strikes you're out, which a lot of critics say led to mass incarceration, do you have a similar criticism for her? Is she finding Jesus on her way to Des Moines?
O'MALLEY: Well, I spoke a couple of weeks ago to Al Sharpton's group, the national network in New York, and made many of the same points about openness, transparency, the body cameras, differently than Secretary Clinton. I've actually had experience on the ground making police departments more transparent and more open.
And we also, when I finished my term as governor, we had the lowest incarceration number in our state that we've had in 20 years. So I think over the years, we have to constantly be evolving and putting forth new iterations and figuring out how to do policing in smarter ways, how to be smarter in criminal justice.
Some of the things attempted back in the '80s or '90s no longer serve us today. However, there are things that we can improve upon, like protecting the public from repeat violent offenders.
In other words, there are people who deserve to be behind bars, and they are the repeat violent offenders, but there are people who need drug treatment, who need job training and also, by the way, is a lot more cost effective as we've found here. TAPPER: Last question, Rand Paul made a comment how he was happy his Amtrak train did not stop in Baltimore. First of all, it's not true. Every Amtrak train stops in Baltimore, but beyond that, did that offend you as a Baltimorean?
O'MALLEY: Look, this is -- this is what pains me most deeply as Baltimorean. I feel a tremendous amount of sadness, as every one of my neighbors does, about the incidents that unfolded here. About the setback that this has caused to a proud city whose longer arc and longer and bigger story is about black and white people coming together to accomplish really difficult things.
That's what I'm most concerned about, and as far as Republican candidates for president, you know what they say, and -- you know, that's their choice. My choice is to be here with my neighbors and our choice as a city is to rise from this event and be stronger afterwards and that's what I'm focused on.
TAPPER: And our thanks to Governor O'Malley for that interview. We have some breaking news this hour, a brand new report from WJLA saying that there is no evidence. At least according to a medical examiner here in Baltimore that Freddie Gray's injuries were caused by police in his initial arrest.
That his neck was apparently broken inside that police van after his head slammed into the back of the vehicle. We'll have much more on that report coming up next. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper and I'm coming to you live from Baltimore where we just learned earlier this hour a stunning revelation about how Freddie Gray may have died, according to our affiliate, WJLA-TV.
The preliminary autopsy shows that Freddie Gray did not suffer a fatal injury during his videotaped arrest, but he broke his neck in that police van when his head slammed into the back of the vehicle.
This along with some other new developments could reshape the investigation, and potentially spark even more protests, more discussions. Let's bring in CNN justice reporter, Evan Perez. Evan, recap for us what our affiliate says happened. It really seems like a dramatic turn of events.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: It does, Jake. You know, this comes from a preliminary report that is given verbally to police by the medical examiner. I'm told that's the procedure. The medical examiner does not produce a formal preliminary report. According to WJLA's report, the fatal head injury occurred when he was
thrown into the back of the van. The one way they know this, according to this report, is that there's a bolt, an injury from a bolt in the back of his head that matches a bolt that is in the back of the van.
Now, in addition to that, according to this report, the driver of the van has yet to provide a statement to police. We know that five of the six officers involved in this incident have provided statements.
And according to this report we haven't verified any of these, from this report, but they say that the person who has not provided that statement is the driver.
TAPPER: Of course, this comes in the context of these things that are called rough rides, in Baltimore --
TAPPER: Which is when a driver of a police van drives in a turbulent fashion and bangs the person up, somebody actually, a similar injury about ten years ago?
PEREZ: Right. And it ties into the other revelation from police today, Jake, because they say that there's this undisclosed other stop that we didn't know about.
PEREZ: And the only person who would have known about that is the driver.
TAPPER: Yes. Evan Perez, thank you so much. Protests in Freddie Gray's name have been sweeping the country, from New York to Seattle and all places in between.
Let's go to CNN's Poppy Harlow in the great city of Philadelphia, where a demonstration just started. Word is getting around fast about this rally -- Poppy.
[16:40:10] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Right, Jake. I mean, via social media, they're expecting about 2,000 people here at city hall, 15th and Market Street right in the heart of Philadelphia. We know police have tweeted there are 500 people here so far.
It has just gotten under way expected to grow. We know about 100 people in another location are marching. I've been talking to some of the people here about why they're marching, and they say this is not just about Baltimore.
This is not just about Freddie Gray. This is about a national problem. One girl I just spoke with, a young woman named Angela told me this is about police ignoring the cry for treating everyone equally.
She said we want answers and we want them now. There is a sense here that they're not getting answers. I know the process takes time, but they want answers from Baltimore and they say nationwide they're seeing this happen.
I did have a really interesting conversation, Jake, with a chief inspector of the Philadelphia police here, Joe Sullivan. Here's what he told me. He said, protestors are citizens, not suspects. Our job as police is to keep them safe while they exercise their first amendment rights.
He is not worried about violence tonight. He said we have a history in this city of peaceful protest, that's what tonight is going to be. As you see around me, that is exactly what people want. They are voicing opinions, but it is very peaceful indeed, Jake.
And he told me in terms of police presence that they are very well equipped tonight to handle whatever happens, but thousands certainly expected, Jake.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. We are live in Baltimore. We just saw hundreds if not thousands of people protesting in the great city of Philadelphia. Now crowds are starting to grow on the streets of Baltimore.
Let's go to CNN's Ryan Young. He's been covering these protests since the beginning. Ryan, it looks as though folks are on the move where you are including NBA superstar, Carmelo Anthony?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Carmelo Anthony with the crowd here. Obviously, this is something close to your heart. Why did you decide to leave and be a part of this march this afternoon?
CARMELO ANTHONY, NBA PLAYER: This is my community. Not my community alone, everybody's community. It's America's community. So for me to come back and be a part of a community where I grew up at and get a chance to try and talk to the people and get a feel for what's going on, I had to come. It was only right for me to come down here.
YOUNG: I see it in your face. You're basically walking by yourself. You've talked to people. What does that mean to be here with everybody?
ANTHONY: I was one of them. You know? When I come back home, it's all love. It's always -- everything is cool, but I'm here for a different cause right now. I'm supporting my community. You know, I'm here to talk to the youth about -- trying to calm things down here in the city, man.
We shouldn't tear our city down. We got to rebuild our city. We going to get the justice we want. It's going to take time. Take some time so my message to everybody is just calm down. Just kind of be patient, that's easier said than done right now to be patient, but we have to be patient, in order to get what we want.
YOUNG: On a positive note, when you see young people finally taking up a cause, and finally caring about something, what has that meant in terms of the message that's coming out right now? ANTHONY: We care. Like, I understand where everybody's coming from. Our community is fed up. They fed up right now, but there's different ways to go about it and I'm here to lead that to the right path, and this is a peaceful march.
This is my community. This is people that I grew up with. So for me to come back here and just show that type of leadership, we're together. This is one Baltimore, man. Now is about the time to rebuild this city back up and there's no need for us to tear it down.
YOUNG: I appreciate your time. You didn't have to so thank you so much. Obviously, you see the passion and hear in his voice, the idea that so many people want to work hard. This is going on right now and you can see the march is really swelling through the streets and it has strong chants, the reason you see all of the reaction going on right now -- Jake.
TAPPER: Ryan Young, a remarkable scene with Carmelo Anthony. Thank you so much. These protests come amid new revelations from CNN affiliate WJLA-TV that according to a preliminary report from the medical examiner Freddie Gray's fatal injury took place inside the police van.
I'm joined now by Neill Franklin. He is a former Maryland State police officer. Thanks for joining me, Mr. Franklin. I want to get your thoughts on this new report. What's your reaction?
NEILL FRANKLIN, FORMER MARYLAND STATE POLICE OFFICER: Well, obviously, this investigation is still going to take a long time before we get to the truth, until we iron out all the facts. This new report is rather interesting, though. And one of the things that I think about is that, you know what?
If Mr. Gray was seat belted properly seat belted in that van, we may not be here today. I still also have some concerns with the video images of when he is first being taken to the van, and the condition of his legs not working properly.
Some people are saying he was faking that, but that's conducive, that's actually, in my mind, directly related to a neck injury, if your legs aren't working properly. I still have concerns with that.
Was there some injury done then, and then in the van, was that injury exacerbated by him maybe striking the back of the van in some way with his head. I don't think it was caused by his own initiative, though.
TAPPER: There is also some news that came from a police department press conference earlier today. This news about an additional stop made by the police van that had been carrying Freddie Gray, the police say they did not know about this stop.
Initially they only learned about it because of their own investigation with closed circuit TV and private cameras. Bring us inside the process of this.
[16:50:05] I think a lot of people are surprised that there wouldn't necessarily be a log that the police van driver would keep to write down every single stop?
FRANKLIN: Well, the log is his radio communication. If you're going to stop for a reason, you need to announce that over the radio. That's how the log is kept.
But here's a question that I have regarding that stop that apparently is captured on video in some way. There's been no report of what the driver of the transport van did during the stop.
So if that actual stop is caught on video, I mean, did he get out of the van? How long was he there? Did he go to the back of the van? Is the back of the van visible on video? So those are things that we also need to hear about that stop.
TAPPER: Earlier in the show, I spoke with the former governor and the former two-term mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley. He's been blamed by some activists here in Baltimore in recent weeks for beginning assertive police tactics early on in his mayoral administration, in 1999.
Some here in the community say that they may have reduced crime, but also contributed to some of the problems we're seeing here today. What's your take?
FRANKLIN: Well, Jake, I think it's no secret of what my take is. You already mentioned the 108,000 arrests that were made during 2005. More than 20 percent of those arrests were done with no charges preferred. The state's attorney office decided to release those people. That's significant.
I understand some of the arrests were multiple arrests of the same person, but still it's very significant. I want to point out something that the mayor mentioned during your interview. He actually commented on it a couple of times, and that was open-air drug markets.
So the citizens wanted him to do something about open-air drug markets. He even talked about the Dawson family. You know, whose home was set on fire and we had seven deaths from that arson committed -- committed by the neighborhood drug dealer.
So it takes us back to this issue of drug prohibition policies that we know don't work. You can just go back to the 1920s. It didn't work then. They don't work today. This is the type of violence that it causes within our streets, and who has to go out there and do something about it.
The police and you can clear a corner today, and you know what? Tomorrow drug dealers are back on the corners and we know how they manage those corners, with guns and with violence. And the police, again, are put in the middle of this along with zero tolerance policing. That occurred under his leadership.
TAPPER: All right, former Maryland State Police Officer Neill Franklin, thank you so much as always a pleasure having you on.
FRANKLIN: Thanks, Jake. TAPPER: Coming up next, what's a teen to do when they are playing a game without a single cheering fan? The Baltimore Orioles, well, they made the most of it. They signed pretend autographs. They high-fived invisible spectators, the hilarious highlights is coming up next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper and we are live from Baltimore today. It's a city filled with such strife, sometimes all you can do is try make the best of a bad situation. That is apparently what happened yesterday when major League Baseball closed off the Orioles/White Sox game to the public, after violence had spilled over to outside the stadium in recent days.
Now, the white board in the press room read "A Big Fat 0" in attendance, a first never seen in MLB before, not even at a Marlins game. There were no fans inside the stadium, to devour the fries, the seventh inning stretch to John Denver in the 7th inning.
But that does not mean that there was any shortage of fun being had in the ballpark. CNN's Tom Foreman is here to take us inside the game that we were not allowed to attend.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, it's just baseball. Everyone knows that amid all the serious inside, but as a symbol of a community in turmoil, this unwatched game was truly unlike anything we've ever seen before in major American sports.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The music rose. The players ran, and the fans could only reach for the bars. Locked out of their beloved Camden Yards, even as the first pitch smacked home with the sound you never hear in a regular game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know coming up the runway and walking out, it was like coming out for batting practice a little bit.
TAPPER: The 46,000 empty seats produced some funny moments. Players signing pretend autographs, high fiving invisible fans, but the absence of a crowd also brought eeriness. Announcers nearly whispering as it if it golf.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that green jacket nearly in reach.
FOREMAN: And the home run falling like the proverbial tree in the woods. Did it make is sound? Yes, but only outside the gates. Souvenir hunters side over the baseball's tossed into the yawning stands where there were no waiting gloves, no mad scrambles, no hecklers to shout at the umpires. No beer guys to call down the rows.
No peanuts, no crackerjack, just a few scouts slumping in their chairs and players with a peculiar problem of not being yelled at by thousands. BUCK SBOWALTER, MANAGER, BALTIMORE ORIOLES: It was different. It was different. I was real proud of our guys, their concentration level.
FOREMAN: Through it all, a lot of folks were mindful of the serious circumstances that led to this sports oddity.
ADAM JONES, ORIOLES OUTFIELDER: There is not an easy time right now for anybody. Doesn't matter what race you are. All the kids out there, they're hurting.
FOREMAN: Yet in the end, the final out came. A home team triumph and at least one player took a bow amid the thundering silence of baseball's first-ever ghost game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go.
FOREMAN: The situation has improved a bit, but the Orioles weekend game against the Tampa Rays have been moved to Florida so nobody in the how many town crowd will be taking anyone out to the ballgame anytime soon -- Jake.
TAPPER: Thanks, Tom. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.