Return to Transcripts main page


Inside Look at Houser's Former House; Concerns About Movie Theater Security; Obama Makes History in Kenya; Turkey Ramps Up Airstrikes, Terror Arrests; IG Says Some Clinton E-Mails had Classified Information; 2016 Presidential Politics; KKK Mural Calls History into Question; New Dash-Cam Video of Bland's Arrest. Aired 8- 9a ET

Aired July 25, 2015 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:10] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, stay right here. We've got more coming up this morning.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts now.

BLACKWELL: Inside the former home of a murderer. Our first look at the house the Louisiana movie theater shooter was kicked out of as we learn some pretty shocking new details about his past.

PAUL: And a Republican presidential hopeful with surprising words to the leader of the Senate. Why is Ted Cruz accusing Mitch McConnell of lying?


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These hundred senators have to be able to trust that when a senator says something, he or she will do it, even if we disagree on substance.


BLACKWELL: And does the KKK belong on a giant mural inside a Florida courthouse. Why so many want to keep it up and just as many want to take it down.

PAUL: We are always so grateful to have your company with us. Good Saturday morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Always a pleasure.

We are starting this morning with the disturbing look inside the mind of a killer.

PAUL: There are new details about Louisiana movie theater shooter John Russell Houser. Take a look at these pictures. These are from inside the Alabama home that he allegedly trashed after he was evicted. That took some energy.

BLACKWELL: And time. Houser, listen to this, allegedly destroyed the rooms in the hallways. Look, left behind potentially deadly booby traps.

Listen to how the home's new owner described what they found when they moved in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was semen in every drain, in sink, lavatory, commode, everywhere you could, showers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walked in, where he had a gas log that was unattached and lit with gasoline cans in front, with -- oh, he's waiting for us, whoever, to come in and for it to blow up.


PAUL: My goodness.

Ana Cabrera is following the story, live for us from Lafayette, Louisiana.

Ana, good morning to you. What have you learn this morning?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. We do know more now about this gunman's past. We also know more about what he did here inside the theater. In fact, we know he went in through the front lobby entrance. He had with him a handgun that he had purchased legally at a pawnshop in Alabama. It was a .40-caliber, high-point, semiautomatic.

And after he shot nearly a dozen people, he tried to escape. In fact, he went out at a side exit door near where his car was parked where he had disguises ready to go for his get away, but police were already moving in. And instead he went back inside the theater. We're told he fired three rounds back towards police and then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the head and killing himself.

Now what set him off on this rampage is still a mystery. Today, we know that investigators are trying to retrace his steps. They believe he came here to Lafayette back on July 2nd or 3rd that he had some interactions with people and discussed possible business opportunities, but they don't know exactly why he chose this city.

Investigators are interviewing family members to get more answers. And we caught up with his brother, Rem Houser, who said he hadn't seen John Russell Houser in about a month.


REM HOUSER, BROTHER OF THEATER SHOOTER: We had not been close in years. I'm not sure of the right -- we just separated from our family, and just differed emotional -- depression issues, psychological problems, and that type thing, so --

CABRERA: When was the last time you saw him?

HOUSER: Probably about a month ago? CABRERA: Under what kind of circumstance?

HOUSER: He just needed some money to continue moving on, living on, you know, living and surviving. And so, we gave him some and that was the last we had heard of him. We hadn't heard from him probably in 10 years prior to that, and haven't heard from him since.

We didn't know where he was. We didn't know anything about him. So this was a complete shock. We hadn't had any contact except that.


CABRERA: Houser was estranged from his family. We know he was once married. He has a daughter. His ex-wife back in 2008 actually filed a protective order against Houser citing mental health issues. And she went as far as to remove all the guns and weapons from the house. She had him committed involuntarily to a mental facility. And that's just how concerned she was for the safety of the whole family, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: You know, Ana, we're learning so much more about this man, including these online rants left by the shooter. A lot of these extreme political views as well.

CABRERA: That's right. He posted several hundred postings on a political forum, back in 2013, where he talks about his antigovernment, antimedia beliefs. He says stuff in his profile like no family is safe in U.S. environment. Don't vote. Waste of time.

[08:05:07] He also has expressed beliefs that are in line with Hitler and the Nazi government, and has equated the U.S. government to running it like a Nazi state. And there's a posting that he made in March of 2013, that seems particularly relevant today after what happened here. And he writes this, quote, "It is true that the U.S. is about to fall. Truth comes with it, an understanding of death and rather than live without it, I will take death."

Again, that post from about two years ago. Pretty ironic, considering what happened here at the theater.

Victor and Christi?

BLACKWELL: Indeed. Ana Cabrera for us. Ana, thank you.

PAUL: Jonathan Gilliam joining us. He's a former Navy SEAL, FBI special agent and police officer.

Jonathan, thank you for being here.

JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER NAVY SEAL: It's good to be here with you.

PAUL: Of course. Let's talk about this home that John Russell Houser allegedly tried booby trapping back in 2014. I want to bring some of these videos back up and some of the pictures of what he did. As Victor and I said early on, it took time, it took effort to do what he did. What do you think when you see some of this video here?

GILLIAM: Well, I tell you. That was a fascinating report that Ana just did there. One thing I want people to understand is that this -- what you're looking at is mental illness.

I mean, what you see, this disruption in this house, is somebody who has rage and almost -- I would go further and say confusion. It's a miswiring inside the brain. That's why everything is so chaotic, but yet the person is able to focus, and do certain things that are just kind of detrimental.

What I don't want the mistake to be made, is that depression is always a thing that causes this. Because the reality is, depression is like a sinkhole that has no end, and you're falling through that sinkhole, whereas rage is like a volcano. What you see here is a volcano.

PAUL: And Jonathan, stick around here.

Security specialists have warned for years about the inherent dangers of so-called soft targets. Places where there is not a lot of security to protect against an armed assault such as movie theaters.

Let's watch this and then I want to ask you about it on the other side. Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the chaos of the latest theater shootings, a sadly common theme. Some people heard the shots, heard the screams, and thought nothing of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE OFFICER: They heard pops and they thought it was a big part of the movie or something until they noticed flashes. And that's when people realized that something was going on.

FOREMAN: It is an understandable mistake. Out of last year's top ten films, eight were action-adventures like "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" with lots of shooting, crashing and yelling all amplified by state-of-the-art audio systems.

In Colorado, "The Dark Knight Rises" was rolling when the gunfire began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was just, you know, a really good sound effect or something like that. But my wife, she nudged me and said, no, that's loud, that's way too loud, for something that should be in the movie.

FOREMAN: Another problem, darkness. Police said the Lafayette gunman clearly took advantage of all eyes being on the bright screen, when he started shooting, using the darkness to hide his actions and identity.

CHIEF JIM CRAFT, LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA POLICE: We think that he intended on leaving. He did exit the theater and try and blend in with the crowd who was also leaving very quickly. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, how are you doing?

FOREMAN: And, lastly, most theaters have limited security even while dealing with millions of people and films that are sometimes emotionally charged.

When "Boyz n the Hood" opened in 1991, more than two dozen theaters nationwide had violent outbreaks. Today, there are nearly 43,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada and almost 230 million people go to at least one film a year. All with little, if any, security.


PAUL: So, Jonathan, looking at that piece, a lot of people are probably wondering, do we need something such as airport security now in theaters, or at sporting events? What do you say?

GILLIAM: Well, sporting events do have some security. They have bag searches, et cetera. Those types of things. You're never going to be able to do this in theaters. That is just -- that is living under an oppression that people I just don't think would be willing to do. But what we can do is start looking at these things in a realistic way.

You know, when you go to bed at night, I'm talking about other issues like this -- when you go to bed at night and you lock your door, you're locking your door for a reason. There used to be a day and age where, you know, people left their doors unlocked. They didn't worry about things. They slept calmly. But then, you know, murders happened, abductions happen. And so it's now common place for you to lock your door at night. You don't lose it and get all scared. You just lock your door because you know you're secure.

[08:10:00] Well, it's the same thing here. You have to be aware of what is normal and what is not. That one individual's wife was very aware that that was not correct and so they reacted. And what I suggest is that people realize what is going on and have a plan of action before they go there.

The other thing particular about movies is a friend of mine, another guy that's a SEAL, he came up with an idea, you know, if you can get these little Maglites that are really bright, LED lights, you know, if somebody is shooting and they know that you're looking at the screen and you won't be able to see. You hit that guy in the eyes with that light, it may give you one second to get down or get out of there.

And then lastly, I think it's just time for people to realize, like the individuals on 9/11 that were on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania, it might be a day when you go do something like this, where you have to react and jump on somebody. You have to be prepared to run, or to jump on somebody, but you cannot freeze, because that will get you killed.

PAUL: Great. Great advice there. Jonathan Gilliam, so appreciate your voice in this. Thank you, sir.

GILLIAM: You got it. Thank you. BLACKWELL: President Obama is making history in Kenya, returning to his father's homeland for the first time as commander-in-chief. Also, as the first time a U.S. sitting president has gone to Kenya. We're live in Nairobi as the president gets set for a news conference next hour. We'll bring that to you.

Plus, the American military secretly raising the pressure on Al- Shabaab as warplanes provide more support to African peacekeepers. Does the president's trip have much to do with this? And we'll talk more about that.

And Donald Trump, looking to drum up more support in Iowa. Will the attacks on his GOP rivals hurt the party more than it helps?


BLACKWELL: This morning, President Obama is in Nairobi. He is meeting with the Kenyan president right now.

[08:15:00] Now, earlier today, he was at a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial site for the 1998 U.S. bombings in Nairobi. This is his first visit to Kenya as president, his father's homeland, Kenya is, where he is attending a Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Let's go to CNN's White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski, traveling with the president. She is also in Nairobi.

There's a lot happening today. Give us an idea of what the president is hoping to accomplish?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor. Well, yes, he went to this Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Also, a Power Africa initiative. This was an initiative that he himself started two years ago to try to spread electricity throughout sub-Saharan Africa, where, by the way, some 600 million people do not have access to power.

So the president announced a lot of money commitments in both of those areas, entrepreneurship and power. I mean, we're talking billions and billions of dollars of both private and public money. So the White House obviously wanted to make some commitments and some big announcements while he's here.

Also, he's now in a bilateral meeting with the president of Kenya. And shortly after that, in about an hour and a half, they will have a press conference, where they will announce what they talk about. We expect it to be heavy on trade, democracy and counterterrorism.

And they're also going to get to ask some questions which we expect to lead into maybe some touchy areas, including human rights and gay rights, maybe even touching on some domestic issues. What the president plans to do on, you know, possibly gun control in the U.S.

So, he's already accomplished some things here and we're waiting to see what he answers during that press conference coming up, Victor.

BLACKWELL: And of course we'll bring that to our viewers.

We mentioned at the top that this is his father's homeland. So, a familial connection. And we saw that on full display last night.

KOSINSKI: Yes, that was incredible. I mean, he landed and then immediately went to this hotel for a big dinner with some three dozen of his extended family here in Kenya. People on his father's side, who he hasn't seen in a very long time. But it was interesting.

He was so animated and everyone very happy to be here. It was almost like there was zero awkwardness or lack of anything to talk about with the president of the United States. They just seemed to just, you know, get in there and pick up where they left off.

So that was something that the president could do that was really enjoyable on a personal level. And even when he was speaking at official events today. One person introduced him as a son of Kenyan soil. And he said himself, obviously, this is personal to me. Speaking about his family, and how proud he is to be back here as president of the United States, Victor.

Yes, great pictures from that dinner last night and we all know that it is hard to fall right back into the fold with family you haven't seen in quite a while.

Michelle Kosinski in Nairobi, thank you so much.

PAUL: Well, Turkey's push against terror is getting a lot stronger. New this morning, almost 600 arrests and a new round of air strikes. Why Turkey said this new operation could push ISIS out of northern Syria.

And a bit later, it was supposed to be a look back at history. Now someone at a Florida town wants to take this mural down. It includes the KKK. Keeping it up has the same amount of support, though.


[08:21:55] BLACKWELL: Turkey says it wants to clear ISIS out of Syria. It's looking to create a safe zone. Several safe zones inside Syria for Syrian war refugees and it's wasting no time. Turkish warplanes took aim at ISIS targets just across the border for a second straight day today.

CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from Beirut.

So we know about these air strikes, but now we've learn about these hundred of terror arrests by Turkey.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, yes. They say they've been looking perhaps to some of this people for a long time but now have them in custody. This is a huge moment in both the Syrian conflict and Turkey's local history here, Victor, because many, many have accused them particularly at a Washington level of not really quite being in the fight alongside their NATO allies. Clearly they're off the bench here.

We have plenty of warplanes in the sky here, hitting both ISIS but also complicatedly Kurdish targets, too. Allies of the same Kurds who are in fact helping the coalition fight ISIS in some other places like Kobani that we talked about before.

More broadly, though, what does this mean going forward for U.S. involvement here? Well, they talk about safe havens. That's been a long term Turkish ambition. The idea you push ISIS out of the area and allow the refugees, the hundreds of thousands of them who are currently in Turkey, to go back to a safe place. That's going to take an awful lot of doing.

But in the more immediate future, Turkish officials are talking about allowing U.S. warplanes or UAVs, drones, as we call them, to use an air base in southern Turkey, and that can significantly up the tempo of U.S. operations there.

The Turkish are clearly in the fight, too. This war potentially alters things in sight in Syria and northern Iraq quite fast in the future to come but as a big sting to all of this, too.

Turkey is now open potentially to ISIS retaliation. And that could mean attacks on western targets, Turkish military targets in sight, Turkey, itself. That's the big problem here. That's why many say Turkey haven't been in the fight earlier on. And we're going to have to see really what this does for the war inside Syria. It used to be against the regime. Now it's against ISIS. It's so complex but it now has a new dimension and that's the Turkey. A pretty long-time reluctant neighbor now squarely in the fight.


BLACKWELL: All right. Nick Paton Walsh.

WALSH: Victor, sorry.

BLACKWELL: It's all right. Nick Paton Walsh reporting for us this morning. Thank you, Nick.

PAUL: So air strikes, hundreds of terror arrest, I want to bring in CNN military analyst retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona.

Lieutenant Colonel, thank you so much. So, I'm just wondering, how realistic do you think is it for Turkey to seek to clear the ISIS threat out of Syria? I mean, is this a game-changer?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The involvement of Turkey now at this level is a game-changer. Everybody on the coalition side is really pleased the Turks are now involved. Many would say finally involved. We've been waiting for this for a long time. The Turks have the second largest army in NATO. They are very, very capable armed forces and much of that armed forces deployed down to the Syrian-Iraqi border. So, it is a game-changer as Nick said.

Do they have the capability to go into northern Syria and create this buffer zone? Yes, they have the capability if they have the political will to do it. But I think we need to be a little reticent about what Turkey is actually doing here.

We welcome them in the fight against ISIS. We welcome them in the fight against the Assad regime. But we have to be very careful to understand that they're also involved in tamping down the Kurdish nationalism inside Turkey and that extends across the border in Syria.

[08:25:15] So I suspect that this was part of the deal between President Obama and the Turkish prime minister that we would not raise too much argument about them going after the Kurds as long as they go after ISIS. This is a big deal for the United States and the coalition to get the Turks on their side and the use of those air bases. Big, big game-changer.

PAUL: Yes, geographically, I know that it really expedites the process for the U.S. as well.

Listen. I want to ask you about the U.S. military operations in Somalia as well against Al-Shabaab militants there. U.S. officials telling us drone strikes are part of that strategy. Is that reliance -- do you think it's a solid one?

FRANCONA: Oh yes. We've been doing this for some time. Very, very much under the radar, doing it only when we have a really solid intelligence on the target and we go after that target specifically.

But over the last few months, you've seen this ramp up a little bit. And I suspect with the president in Kenya, he's talking to the Kenyans and the Ugandans about increased American air support for their operations against Al-Shabaab.

With the Kenyans on the ground, very effective force. And American drone support, air power, if you will, they could be much more effective. So I think we're going to see more of this. And as we see Al-Shabaab getting more in line with ISIS. This just is part of our larger war on ISIS worldwide. So, I think this is a really good step.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Lt. Col. Rick Francona, we so appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.

FRANCONA: Good to be with you.

BLACKWELL: Hillary Clinton once again on the defensive. An inspector general said some of the e-mails sent from her private server as secretary of state contained classified information. Here's an important question. Does that IG believed that she knew?

Plus presidential hopeful Ted Cruz with a rare attack on the Senate floor, calling the majority leader a liar. We'll dig into both, next. PAUL: And gun violence can be devastating obviously not just for victims but also for those who witness it. Michael Silvia was haunted into adulthood after watching students at his school shot by a bullied classmate. And the fast forward was to turn his nightmare into something positive, not just for him but for kids everywhere.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 10 years traveling the world with the hit show "Stomp," Michael Silvia decided to shift his focus to a younger audience. But Silvia didn't just want to perform for students, he wanted to use his skills to teach an important lesson.

MICHAEL SILVIA, THE AWARENESS THROUGH ARTS FOUNDATION: The real reason why we're out here is to talk about bullying. Who knows what bullying is?

CUOMO: The motivation behind Silvia's message is personal.

SILVIA: In high school, somebody brought a gun to school, shot one of my friends. This kid was getting bullied, and he saw no other option other than to go grab a gun and bring it to school and stop the bullying.

CUOMO: Two students died that day and several were injured. This stuck with Silvia and led him to create The Awareness Through Arts Foundation. His mission, to use music and dance to get kids to express themselves about bullying.

SILVIA: Hey, I'm there to let people know that it's OK to speak up. If you are getting bullied, if you are the person bullying, it's OK to go talk to somebody.

Who likes to dance?

CUOMO: And he doesn't just want to show up once a year for a single assembly. Silvia's next goal is to create after school programs and curriculum that he can give to schools free of charge to keep the dialogue open year around.

SILVIA: I don't want them to go home and just play on their video games. I want them to have creative outlets. I want them to think. To also be able to complement each other.

Good job!


PAUL: For more information on how you can "Impact Your World," go to


[08:32:35] PAUL: 32 minutes past the hour. I hope it's a good one for you so far. Hillary Clinton is on the campaign trail in Iowa today as she deals with renewed controversy over her e-mail account. Intelligence community officials have informed members of Congress that some material Clinton sent out from her private server contained classified information. But because the e-mails are not identified as such, it's unclear whether Clinton realized she was sending potentially compromising data.

In the meantime an inspector general has now asked the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the matter.

Let's bring in CNN's Sunlen Serfaty with more. So Sunlen it sounds like the department itself is the focus of this, not particularly just Hillary Clinton.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right -- Christi. But this new information certainly deepens this controversy even more. The inspectors general -- they took a sample of 40 of the 30,000 e- mails that Clinton turned over to the State Department and they found that four of those e-mails in that sample contained classified information.

But here's the really important part. None of the four e-mails were marked as classified by the State Department. So it's not clear if Clinton knew she was potentially compromising that information. Back in March when this controversy first popped up, Clinton was adamant saying that she did not e-mail anything classified. And yesterday she responded a bit to the dust-up, referencing a report in the "New York Times" that she was the focus of a potential criminal investigation about these e-mails. That turned out not to be true and here's how she put it.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe the heat is getting to everybody. We all have a responsibility to get this right. I have released 55,000 pages of e-mails. I have said repeatedly that I will answer questions before the house committee. We are all accountable to the American people to get the facts right. And I will do my part.


SERFATY: Now this has already quickly picked up steam from the Republicans. Speaker of the House John Boehner saying in a statement, quote, "What these reports demonstrate is the inherent risk of conducting our nation's diplomacy foreign policy on your home e-mail and personal server. Her poor judgment has undermined our national security and it is time for her to finally do the right thing."

[08:35:02] Now Clinton today, she starts a three-day trip throughout Iowa. This is a state where she has seen her polling drop in recent months. This just puts the spotlight, Christi, right back on that vulnerability. Certainly not the position she wants to be in on the defensive as she hits the trail today -- Christi.

PAUL: Good point. All right. Sunlen Serfaty -- good to see you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right.

Let's turn now to the GOP side of the 2016 presidential race. There is potentially a feud going, an intraparty feud between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

So there's this rare display from Cruz -- he repeatedly accused the fellow Republican of lying. His tirade -- it was triggered when Cruz believed that McConnell had blocked several amendments he and other Republicans offered to a bill. And remember, Ted Cruz is running for president.

Let's bring in CNN Stephen Collinson and CNN political reporter M.J. Lee. And Stephen let's start with just a portion of this speech, and then we'll talk about it.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie. And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every one of us. What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again was a simple lie.


BLACKWELL: Flat-out lie. Stephen -- how often does something like this happen?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: It's very rare for it to be so public, there's plenty of resentment among members in the senate but usually it's sort of dealt with behind closed doors. It's very consistent what Cruz did yesterday with his political philosophy and conscience as he came to Washington. He's a champion of the Tea Party who wants to establish the establishment.

But clearly, he's also playing a 2016 card here. He's set himself up as an agitator of this Republican field. Over the last few weeks since Donald Trump has taken all of the oxygen in this race, Cruz has had a little bit of trouble getting in the conversation. So soon after he did this on the senate floor yesterday he went on Rush Limbaugh's show and he's clearly getting his message across to conservatives. He's still in this race and still wants to compete.

I guess from that perspective this political stunt, if that's what it was, was a success.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And if it was, I mean we're going to see a lot of potentially political stunts as candidates try to make that cut-off for the top ten for the upcoming debate.

Let's go to M.J. Lee now. We know that Donald Trump has made this move to bar a reporter from the "Des Moines Register" from attending a campaign event. How is this being received in Iowa? M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Victor. The "Des

Moines Register" said yesterday that all of its journalists have been barred from attending this event today in Oskaloosa, Iowa. This comes after the editorial board of the paper wrote a very critical editorial of Donald Trump, basically calling him to get out of the race, calling him a feckless blow hard. Clearly Trump was offended by that. His campaign he was not happy about that.

But even still, it's pretty unusual for a presidential campaign to deny access to any media publication. So the move is another sign that Trump is running a very unusual campaign.

I think, Victor, it's also another sign of just how Trump deals with criticism. Earlier this week obviously in South Carolina, this moment that's been played over and over again on our network, when Trump went after one of his rivals, Senator Lindsey Graham, because Lindsey Graham had been doing some name-calling. So Trump hit back by reading out his personal cell phone number at a rally on national television.

So this is going to be a fascinating part of the Trump campaign -- just how Trump deals with criticism.

BLACKWELL: And M.J., you know, he seemed to be -- Donald Trump seemed to be kind of taken off guard when Anderson Cooper asked him earlier this week if these things were presidential. How does this play into his hand as far as gaining support in the primary? I mean does this play right into his brain?

LEE: Absolutely. I mean I have been fascinated to hear from people who show up at Trump events on the road just how much they love the fact that he is so unfiltered. They love the fact that he's an atypical candidate. I think a lot of people show up to see the host of "The Apprentice", to see this reality TV show star.

So when he does things like this I think people who are interested to see this side of him like it, they like to like the fact that he's putting on this sort of interesting performance. I think today we know that he's not going to be using a teleprompter. He never does. I think the people that come here to this rally will likely get a very colorful speech as he always delivers.

[08:40:01] BLACKWELL: M.J. Lee, he always delivers a colorful speech. Stephen Collinson -- thank you both.

COLLINSON: Thanks -- Victor.

PAUL: It is a look at history inside a Florida courthouse. A giant mural -- and look what is on it -- KKK; some want this thing taken down. The same number of people however seem to not to want to have this touched.

Plus a day of mourning for the family of Sandra Bland; she's going to be laid to rest this afternoon. But her family is not giving up their fight. We're talking to TV judge Glenda Hatchett about this whole scenario. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: As many states rallied to remove confederate flags and statues, America is taking a deeper look at its history. And there's growing tension over what can be defined as historical and what is just downright racist. Recently this mural in Idaho came under fire for predicting white settlers preparing to lynch a Native American.

I traveled to a small town in Florida where another mural is stirring up big controversy.


BLACKWELL: In a quiet rural county about 35 miles west of Jacksonville, Florida, hangs a mural. It depicts in the artist's words, Baker County, Florida's thousands of years of history and pre- history. And thousands of people from across the country have stopped to admire it. Some leaving notes of appreciation in its very own guest book.

[08:45:00] "Beautiful with the accuracy of the history of Baker County" -- that's from Marion. Andre thinks it's an extraordinary piece of art. Then there's this anonymous message -- "Should make the KKK bigger and brighter." Yes, that KKK.

JOHN PHILLIPS, ATTORNEY WITH FLORIDA JUSTICE: The Ku Klux Klan is not heritage. That is a hate group.

BLACKWELL: The simple inclusion of these hooded Klansmen on horseback is not what's riled John Phillips and other attorneys with the group, Florida Justice. It's that This mural is hanging inside the Baker County courthouse. Marquita Smith Phillips' paralegal.

MARQUITA SMITH, PARALEGAL: If I were to work, walk into this courthouse for any legal matter, am I going to be -- getting justice? Am I going to be treated fairly?

BLACKWELL: The group has now launched a petition on to remove the mural.

SMITH: It's a pretty mural but it should be in a place of less historic value as a museum.

BLACKWELL: Not in the courthouse?

SMITH: Not in the courthouse.

BLACKWELL: The artist, local historian Gene Barber (ph) died several years ago but in a guide explained why many of the elements were included in the mural -- the palmettos, the panther, the confederate soldiers. He described the KKK as an organization that sometimes took vigilante justice to extremes but was sometimes the only control the county knew over those outside of the law."

HOYLE MCINARNAY, BAKER COUNTY RESIDENT: It's a bad thing that happened but it's part of what did happen. BLACKWELL: Hoyle McInarnay has lived in Baker County all his live.

He started a counter petition to quote, "Leave the mural alone at the courthouse". He's collected as many signatures as the petitioners who want it to come down.

They are offended by the hooded Klansmen and some of the other images. You tell them why?

MCINARNAY: If that's the case then are going to stop talking about the Holocaust at school. You have to know your history to be able to stop them from happening again.

BLACKWELL: But the petition alleges that the mural does more than depict history. It suggests that it features white supremacists symbols hidden in plain sight.

Phillips: There's symbolism to turpentine which was used in tar and feathering. There's a copious use of trees and low-hanging limbs. There's just -- that raises questions of whether he was -- whether there was a deeper meaning.

BLACKWELL: Including this woodpecker, just to the left of the Klansmen. Now widely considered extinct, the bird was once a southeastern U.S. native and according to the petition and the anti- defamation league a symbol embraced by skin heads.

PHILLIPS: Justice doesn't discrimination but yet they're going to a courthouse that says it might.

BLACKWELL: Baker County seemingly settled this controversy in 2002 when the mural was dedicated. The chief judge at the time ordered that it be removed from its originally intended home near courtrooms on the second floor. So it was hung on the first floor.

And with the tiny confederate flag there it's greeted every visitor for the last 13 years. So, why the controversial now?

Well, because this happened. After the removal of the confederate flag at the South Carolina statehouse, Baker County and cities and states across America are being challenged to strike a balance and to consider finding new homes for history.

MCINARNAY: It's the history of Baker County. That's what people are standing for, to keep this history alive.

PHILLIPS: Now, we feel like we have to look at history and heritage as, you know, as a common nation -- white, black, red, brown, yellow, green. And that's the issue.


BLACKWELL: So, a county leader says beyond the petition there's been no official requests submitted to removal the mural. Florida Justice, that's John Phillips' group, says that that will likely come soon, possibly through court action -- Christi. PAUL: Victor, new video this morning showing the arrest of Sandra

Bland three days before her death. What does this new video reveal and what are the legal options for her family at this point? Popular TV judge Glenda Hatchett is weighing in. She's with us next.

Stay close.


PAUL: We've got just released dash-cam video showing more of that traffic-stop arrest of Sandra Bland. She was found, remember, hanged in a Texas jail cell earlier this month. Now, the funeral for the 28- year-old is happening this morning in Illinois. So, you can imagine what a morning it is for her family.

Here's the video this is from the dash cam inside a second police cruiser that arrived at the arrest scene. You can see that patrol car there -- Sandra Bland was in that car's back seat. Officers are outside the car. One reaches in and takes Bland out. They pat her down and then they put her back inside the car.

So, let's talk to Judge Glenda Hatchett here. She's a founding partner of the Hatchett Law Firm. It's so good to have you here -- Judge.


PAUL: What can you make of this video? What can we glean from it? Anything specific?

HATCHETT: Not a lot specific from this new piece. It is protocol to pat somebody down to make sure there's not a weapon or something they could do to harm themselves or a police officer.

But the real question is why was it necessary to arrest her in the first place? This is a tragic situation, a very, very tragic situation. I think that the officer's conduct was reprehensible. It should never have gotten to that.

We're talking about changing lanes. We're talking about so simple -- what should have been a simple traffic stop at most got really blown out of proportion and then, you know, basically he says that she's resisting arrest. She's belligerent and she's a threat -- none of which I think was really the case. It could have been deescalated and she could have just gone on about her business.

PAUL: Remember, prosecutors said that this preliminary autopsy said she did indeed commit suicide. There are a lot of question about that because the family says there's no way. Can the family still get another autopsy done, or did they? And how much weight will that hold as opposed to the official?

HATCHETT: It is my understanding that there will be a second autopsy. I haven't been able to confirm that definitively. But I would not be surprised if they didn't get a second autopsy, and I think that they should, for their own satisfaction, for their own peace of mind, because a preliminary report says that it was suicide. That she was not murdered. There was no foul play. There was also, apparently, a prisoner within earshot who said that they didn't hear any screaming, they didn't hear any evidence of any foul play in there.

But, but, but, that does not mean that the family doesn't have civil recourse here because the question is, if in fact they noted on her form that she had tried to commit suicide before, that she was showing signs of depression by not eating that morning, why wasn't she on closer watch?

[08:55:09] PAUL: Yes.

HATCHETT: And even the Texas authorities have said that the prison did not follow protocol in this matter. And so I think the family has strong civil actions to follow up, not only with what happened in the jail after she was arrested, but the actual stop and how she was treated.

PAUL: How she was treated.

And one of the questions I have to get to you because this is something I think everybody asks me is for a traffic stop like this -- and we know that wasn't why she was arrested for the traffic stop itself. But why three days later was she still in jail?

HATCHETT: And it was just -- unfortunately it was a matter she couldn't get the bond posted. And apparently she was making calls to friends and family members but there was a $5,000 bond requirement which that means you have to put up either property or cash of $500 -- just a tenth of it and that they were not able to get the bond posted. Because it's ridiculous that she was in jail for all that time but that's why.

Three days, for a traffic stop when we have so many other horrendous things going on in this nation.

PAUL: All right. Well, Judge Glenda Hatchett, we appreciate it.

HATCHETT: We have not heard the end of this. There will be civil actions on this -- I'm certain of it.

PAUL: You're certain of it.

HATCHETT: I'm certain of it.

PAUL: And those are solids.

HATCHETT: Those are solid. If I were representing them I would go aggressively based on the stops and based on her treatment and lack of surveillance when she was arrested.

PAUL: All right. Thank you so much. We appreciate it Judge, as always -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right. That's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for "NEWSROOM". "SMERCONISH" starts after a quick break.