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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Trump's Whine-To-Win Strategy; Trump Will Keep The Door Open To Third-Party Run; Reporters Charged In Last Year's Ferguson Protests; Policing For Profit And Targeting The Poor. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired August 11, 2015 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:30:25] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: We've been waiting for these polls and they're just out and they show Donald Trump is still doing well. I've got two for you and they are specific to the caucus voters of Iowa. Here's how folks recently weighed in there. They've got Trump ahead of Scott Walker, 17 to 12. That's the flip flop because Walker was ahead again, so Trump has done well after those debates.

Notice those last two at the very end, Carly Fiorina, who is at the kids' table debate bumped in to the top five tying with Cruz at 7 percent.

And now I want to take you to the New Hampshire polling of the primary voters there, Trump is still ahead there, five points ahead of Jeb Bush, and look who's third, folks, a guy who just squeaked in to the prime time debate, John Kasich with his discussion on that debate platform about gay marriage and how well he may not support it. He just attended one. He's now topped in to third place, look at Fiorina also up in the top five.

Again, those are New Hampshire primary voters and Iowa caucus voters only. National polls may look different but you got that for now. So, Donald Trump is still winning.

And he's strategy to keep it that way is whine. Not drink it, do it. Whine your way all the way to the White House. These are his words, folks.

GOP front runner with -- on CNN's New Day this morning and he told our Chris Cuomo about his whining strategy and he touch on his willingness to launch a third-party bid and how he will "take care of women."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running as a Republican and I'm leading in every poll. I think you report all these polls. In fact in the CNN poll I'm leading very big. And Iowa just came out yesterday where I'm leading substantially in Iowa. We're leading all over the place and I want to run as a Republican. I want to be the Republican candidate. I think that's absolutely the best chance for winning the way it's going right now. I'm being treated very nicely. I just want to be treated fairly and if I am treated fairly that's the way it's going to be but I want to keep that door open. I have to keep that door open because if something happens where I'm not treated fairly, I may very well use that door.

So, anybody that says anything, you know, I hear all of this so-called advisors and I think you know me well enough to know not all of the advisors that everybody saw could about that don't even exist.

So, I will tell you, I'll keep the door open but it's not something I want to do. I want to run as a Republican and I want to win as a Republican and take it back for the Republicans and for the country and make America great again. You know, my whole campaign is based on making America great again. It's so simple but it's hard to do. It takes a certain person to do it and I'll be able to do it. And I look at my competition they will not be able to do it.

When Jeb Bush made the statement on women's health issues that, you know, he wouldn't fund to me, that you would need the kind of money. They were talking about 500 billion. You would need that kind of money when that actually relatively speaking as peanuts compared to the kind of money spent on lots of other things, I think that was a terrible mistake that he made. And I think he's the one that has to apologize to women.

Now, I will say this, he has gone back, he said, I misspoke, he said, meaning not me, he...

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.

TRUMP: ... he said that he misspoke. Well, that's an awfully big issue to misspoke (ph). I will be so good to women. I cherish women. I will be so good to women. I will work hard to protect women. And, I'll tell you what, work hard to protect everybody.

The biggest problem I have with Planned Parenthood is the abortion situation. I mean, it's like an abortion factory, frankly, and you can't have it, and you just shouldn't be funding it. And that should not be funded by the government. And I feel strongly about that. And that's my biggest problem with Planned Parenthood. Because, it really, if you look at it and you look at the work they do, it really has become so heavily centered on abortion and you can't have that.

I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine because I want to win.

CUOMO: A whiner's winners.

TRUMP: And I keep whining and whining until I win. And I'm going to win for the country and I'm going to make our country great again.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BANFIELD: OK. Well, that's all very interesting but you need to really fact check when you get those comments especially the one about Planned Parenthood because there is a fact that was misstated. Planned Parenthood cannot and does not use any federal funds for abortion. Let's be clear. Cannot, does not use federal funds for abortion. That's against the law.

All right, with that said, CNN is going to host three Republican debates. First one, taking place in September. And then in October, CNN is going to the host the first Democratic Presidential Debate. Stay with CNN to the very latest in the Race for the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:38:37] BANFIELD: So the legal fallout from last year's protest in Ferguson, Missouri not ever, not by a long shot. St. Louis County, in one instance, just one instance is now pressing charges against two reporters. You might remember when they were arrested inside a McDonald's where they were working in Ferguson last August. Now they've been charged with trespassing on private property and interfering with the police officer, but guess what, you might also remember it was all caught on tape.

I'm going to speak to that person in a moment. But in the meantime, I want to show the incident as the Washington Post cameras caught it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please do not tell me not to leave...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time to go. Let's go. We're down about 45 seconds, let's go.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, is the street...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, let's go...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm trying to ask you...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not (inaudible) to ask questions, let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) move my car...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can move your cards out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is. That's what I was asking. You do not have time to answer it, well that's just being mean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. There's a door over here. Let's go.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, you can move. Let's go, move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's move. Let's move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you got to...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's move this way. Here's the door. This way and this way. (END VIDEO CLIP)

[12:39:59] BANFIELD: And joining me from Ferguson, one of the people in the center of all that now facing charges, Ryan Reilly, the Justice Reporter for the Huffington Post.

Hey, thanks for coming back on the program. I remember speaking to you a year ago right after all of that happened. And at that time, you were worried you might get charged with it. And here you are a year later strangely enough right under the statute of limitations and you've been charged, are you surprised?

RYAN REILLY, JUSTICE REPORTER, THE HUFFINGTON POST: You know, I think I would've been a year ago, but after, you know, having reported on how things sort of working in St. Louis Country over the past year especially dealing with their municipal court system, and some of the abuses that happen there, I'm really not that surprised.

And I think that, you know, from a legal perspective, I think what's really interesting here is the same office which it chose to prosecute as an accepted the recommendations of St. Louis County Police Department is actually the same -- very same department that is defending the county from lawsuits from other journalist and from other protesters who, in my own and personal opinion, I believe are also wrongfully arrested in Ferguson last year, because basically the implication would be that if our arrest were illegitimate that could have an impact on this ongoing lawsuits.

BANFIELD: I'm going to talk to you a little bit more about that tape and about the whole process, but I also want to let our viewers know that you're covering this on a regular basis. In fact, you were just back out there on the one year anniversary of the protest and last night you had a run in with the police officers. I want to show that clip and take a look at it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: So what happened? What was going on in that tape?

REILLY: Sure, so I mean all through the other night I was -- I was live streaming a lot of scenes from the location and I was actually sort of coordinating and making sure that police officers knew who I was and where I was and what position I was in, and I need a very, very, very concentrated effort to politely and quickly obey every single police order that I was given throughout the entire night.

And in that case as soon as that officer said, back up, back up I started backing up. You can see me backing up and that officer grabbed me, shoved me back, and as I went to my chest and tried to show him my press credential, he snatched it off of my neck, grabbed it and threw it to the ground as it's very clear on that video. I immediately turned around put my hands behind my bak and yelled, "I'm media, I'm media, I'm media," because I wanted to make very in the situation I was not resisting, I was not doing anything wrong, I was simply recording and that's what happened because they were just grabbing people randomly from the crowed.

There wasn't a situation where, oh we're identifying this individual who threw something at us. No, they -- what happened was people briefly came into the street and the police surged over to the crowd and basically whoever that could catch you, whoever could had run quickly enough was arrested and many of them were charged with interfering at the police officer, just because they run when the scary group of officers surged at them. I don't know what any reasonable person is expecting that -- expected to do in that situation.

BANFIELD: Well, and I know that you and Wes Lowery, you're both going to be facing, you know, charges from a year ago, instincts how they can I help you. Keep up with us and let us know what happens in the process. I know Huffington Post backs you so as the WAPO, Washington Post back in west. Will you keep us updated?

REILLY: Yeah, I think -- yeah, I mean we're going to certainly file the charges. I think that, you know, one thing it's important to note here is obviously we have backing of large media companies, so it's not really going to be an issue for us but there are ton of people...

BANFIELD: All right.

REILLY: ... who are in very similar situations.

BANFIELD: All right. Well, thanks so much for being with us, appreciate it. Ryan Reilly, we'll talk to you soon about this.

And coming up next another big criticism against Ferguson Police documented by the Justice Department six months ago, officers have been targeting minorities and jailing them and fining them for really petty things like -- and I'm not kidding here, parking your car in your own driveway, just to boost the city budget.

So why are people in Ferguson still facing arrest for things like that? It's a good explanation but that does apply with the people there? Coming up next.

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[12:42:29] BANFIELD: When the Feds investigated the Ferguson Police Department last fall and winter, they found among others things, the practice of issuing citations and fines and arrest warrants for really trivial offenses, not because the city have really, really strict community standards but because it really, really like the money that it was able to squeeze out of people who essentially had no choice but to pay it. So is that still the case?

Our Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin went to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The number is astounding. The small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson has a population of just 21,000 people. In March, it had outstanding arrest warrants for 16,000 including Veronica Ortega, technically wanted by the law, for what?

VERONICA ORTEGA, FERGUSON RESIDENT: Over a parked car that I had in my driveway.

GRIFFIN: A warrant has been hanging over her head for three years.

ORTEGA: All right, so this is what happened.

GRIFFIN: When she moved into this house three years ago, this New York City transplant finally decided to by a car. A single mother of three living on fixed income, she could afford the $500 car but not, she says, the registration, license and insurance. So she parked it right here in her driveway. And within weeks a code enforcement officer had written not one but two citations that led to a ticket.

ORTEGA: It was $102 so now because it's been three years now, because I have to pay that. They kept my I.D. as hostage. So now in order for me to get my I.D. because my I.D. is old, I would have to pay now $102...

GRIFFIN: Ortega admits she could have solved the problem my registering her car in the first place. She could have saved up by now and paid the ticket. But Ortega says she's standing on principle, willing to face arrest over a parked car she no longer owns. And she's not alone.

In Ferguson and many other small communities surrounding St. Louis, thousands faced arrest for what initially were violations as small as owning delinquent cars, jaywalking or even having an overgrown lawn.

And in Ferguson if you were arrested for an outstanding warrant, it's almost certain you were black. The Department of Justice found 96 percent of those arrested due to an outstanding warrant were African- American. Critics call it policing for profit and despite a scathing report t by the Justice Department which found the policing practices used in Ferguson have some deep mistrust between police and minorities, the ticketing, fines, and arrest warrants for those who don't pay continue.

[12:45:00] The city has issued more than 2,300 new arrest warrants just this year. A CNNMoney analysis over a two-month period found nearly 80 percent of the tickets resulting in arrest warrants stem from some of the most minor offenses, failing to wear a seatbelt, speeding, even having that overgrown yard or playing loud music.

ORTEGA: Even though it may not be like a warrant say because I assaulted somebody or because I stole $5,000 worth of something in the store, no. I have an arrest, I have an warrant for a delinquent car, it makes you feel like you're a criminal even though you're not.

GRIFFIN: The U.S. Justice Department report on Ferguson released in March alleges a racially biased practice of policing that targets Ferguson's black community instead of protecting it and uses tickets, arrests and code enforcement mostly against black people as a source of revenue. Those fines paid for 16 percent of the city's budget last year.

BRENDAN ROEDIGER, ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY MISSOURI LAW PROFESSOR: The vast majority for failure to pay or failure to appear in court.

GRIFFIN: Brendan Roediger, a law professor at St. Louis University who represents plaintiffs in two lawsuits against Ferguson, says the Ferguson court system is still policing for profit. And when mostly poor, African-Americans can't pay their fines, the city courts put out a warrant for their arrest.

ROEDIGER: I don't know how to measure how outrageous something is. I think it's absolutely a tragedy. I think it absolutely ruins people's lives. I think that it creates homelessness. I think it discourages people from seeking help when they need help.

GRIFFIN: Hold on, says Ferguson's Mayor James Knowles.

JAMES KNOWLES, FERGUSON, MISSOURI MAYOR: Now, does it seem extreme? Unfortunately if you get a speeding ticket or whatever, and you don't even show to court to explain to the judge why you can't pay, they do issue a warrant for you. That's the way the courts, all the courts in Missouri had been operating for many years.

GRIFFIN: That is true. And while some surrounding communities have far fewer arrest warrants being issued in Ferguson, some had even more.

Knowles says in the wake of last year's unrest, the city has moved to reduce fines, set up payment options for those who can't pay and offer amnesty for those carrying arrest warrants.

KNOWLES: We tell people as, "If you want to come in and get your warrant taken care of, we can take that warrant out, we can go back to its original fine and fee was, you can make your case to the judge, we have a new judge and the judge can work with you to make sure that you have no long -- you no longer have any warrants.

GRIFFIN: What the city will not do is just do away with them. No wiping the slate clean.

The City of St. Louis and several other neighboring towns are erasing old warrants, stopping the process altogether. Not so in Ferguson where tickets are still owed and arrest warrants are still being issued. And thousands of people like Veronica Ortega could technically be arrested just about any moment for something that started out as a delinquent car in a driveway.

So really, any time, a cop could come by here...

ORTEGA: And give a ticket for me.

GRIFFIN: ... and arrest you? ORTEGA: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: I'm joined now by CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Cedric Alexander. While I see this as airy stressful and very frustrating for a lot of these people who are facing this arrest warrants for petty things like that poor woman parked in her driveway. I also see it like everybody is subject to the same law, just do what

the mayor said, just show up, show up for court, is that such an oppressive law?

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well it is. I mean considering the history of Ferguson in that stating report came from the U.S. government, it certainly feels very unfair to a lot of people. A lot of people quite frankly, Ashleigh, maybe just are very frightened to go down and try to take care of those problems that they do had and fear of being arrested.

BANFIELD: Is the problem then -- do they need to change the laws because of what's happened or they need to communicate the way the system works better, because if they are afraid to go to courts, take care of that warrant, that's not going to help anything.

ALEXANDER: There's a couple of things need to happen. First, they need to do like some of their joining municipalities have done. They need wipe the slate clean, you know some of these cases that are very, very minor such as growing your grass too tall or jaywalking. That is just not an opportunity for this community to move forward when you have these stating reports that clearly, clearly indicates that that community or that leadership, that judicial system there has been prejudiced towards a group of people, 96 percent of the people were African America. There are some things that they can do different of kind of get people as new beginning.

BANFIELD: Yeah. Let's be clear, with that statistic that Drew just showed us, 96 percent of the arrest for outstanding warrants are black people, but the community is only 67 percent, 67.4 percent black.

[12:50:02] So, there's definitely something wrong and the DOJ said so, and said change your ways.

So, Cedric Alexander, what's wrong? We've been months and months since that report came out. The DOJ have to have people in place to oversee the process and make it better. Is it -- Does it just take long time or our expectations too high that a year later things would change?

ALEXANDER: Well, you know, let's consider the fact of this, you know, there appears to be from most from outside looking in, and I'll speak myself. I will speak for the organization which I used to be President Noble. There's a stubbornness that's coming from inside of Ferguson's leadership there in terms of really trying to mend some real bridges. There's a lot of work has to be done, not just with the police department but with the judicial system itself, because there just got to be some changes and there has to be some letting down of this tough posture the leadership there is taking so that people can feel more engaged and begin to work towards something different.

BANFIELD: Always a treat to talk to you. Cedric Alexander, thank you.

ALEXANDER: Thank you for having me, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Look forward to our next chat as well.

[12:56:06] And thank you everyone for watching. Brianna Miller, my colleague is going to sit in for Wolf Blitzer and she starts right after this quick break. We'll see again tomorrow.

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