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Family Demands Answers After Police Kill Man Mistaken for Gunman; Border Crossing Closed Between San Diego and Tijuana; Russia Fires on and Seizes Ukrainian Navy Ships; Paris Cleans Up After Demonstrators Erupted into Violence; Alabama Police Department Admits The Man They Killed During A Mall Shooting On Thanksgiving Night Likely Was Not The Gunman. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 25, 2018 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:12] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again everyone. And thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with breaking news. The U.S. customs and border patrol has shut down pedestrian and vehicular traffic at the largest border check point between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Border protection has also called in additional personnel due to multiple planned demonstrations on both sides of the border as thousands seek asylum in the U.S. This happening as the incoming Mexican government is now denying reports that it reached a deal with President Trump's administration to keep asylum seekers out of the United States and in Mexico.

The push back coming hours after "the Washington Post" reported that Mexico had agreed to keep asylum seekers while application applications are being processed in the U.S. The Trump administration says the proposal would double the number of asylum applications processed at the southern border.

But the incoming Mexican government said it has not reached any agreement after all with Washington on what to do with the growing tide of asylum seekers from Latin America.

With me right now is CNN correspondent Rafael Romo.

So Rafael, reportedly, there was an agreement and then the incoming Mexican administration official say, no, there is not an agreement. So where are we right now with this?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICA AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes. That is the question, right. We, to begin with, we reached out to the transition team of Mexican President-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, to ask that very question and they denied that a deal had been made.

"The Washington Post" reported there was an agreement that would require migrants to stay in Mexico while their asylum applications are being processed. But in a statement, Olga Sanchez Cordero who will be Mexico's next interior ministry - secretary, I should say, and said that first of all, there can't be any agreements given that the President-elect won't take office until December 1st. And more importantly, Fred, she said that the incoming Mexican administration does not have any plans to make Mexico a third safe country for migrants. In other words, Sanchez Cordero suggest that the President- elect doesn't want to make Mexico into sort of a holding territory for immigrants coming to America.

WHITFIELD: Is it also -- I guess it leaves the appearances that perhaps somebody may have jumped the gun, I guess, while they are still trying to work out details. But as it pertains to asylum seekers who are in Mexico, the city of Tijuana, has been saying that, you know, they have no more resources, you know, to handle the influx of people. And in fact, more recently, they have saying that they want to ask the UN for some sort of financial help. So, is this kind of the same as this proposal of remain in Mexico or it is something different?

ROMO: Yes. The reality is that it is going to happen in practice. And it is a very good point. There are several thousand Central Americans - several American migrants in Tijuana. In fact, a very chaotic situation unfolded last hour when some of those migrants over powered Mexican federal police and started running on the international bridge towards the point of entry in San Ysidro.

The Tijuana mayor is asking for financial aid from the Mexican federal government and the United Nations to respond to the migrants' need situation that he calls a humanitarian crisis. He simply says I don't have the money, I don't have the resources and the personnel to tend to these migrant needs, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And now this breaking news that the border, there in the busiest, you know, border port of entry there, just south of, you know, San Diego impacting Tijuana has been closed reportedly now. The President potentially living up to this promise. He threatened that he might do that and now reportedly it is happening. How busy is that port of entry?

ROMO: It's one of the most - one of the busiest border crossing points in the entire world. And what happened was that there was a peaceful protest started a few hours ago. And within the last hour, the migrants in the hundreds overpowered the Mexican police lines and started running towards the U.S. side. And the decision was made that they needed to cross the bridge of vehicular traffic and also pedestrian traffic at the border. So essentially at this point we are talking about what President Trump said before, shutting down the border if necessary.

WHITFIELD: All right. Rafael Romo, keep us posted on that. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

All right. Let's talk further on this. With me now is Ben Ferguson, a CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson who is also a CNN commentator. Thanks to both of you. Appreciate you joining me. All right. So Ben, you first, you know. Is this the President living

up to his promise of shutting down the border as we talked about this San Diego, you know, port of entry or just south of San Diego?

[15:05:06] BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, I think it's a security issue. You just heard there. These protesters started rushing our border and overpowered the police in Mexico. The President is smart to do this. And it's important to make sure that you have a secure border. And you have something like this happen, the President said this is my responsibility and my job. I'm going to do it. And I think that's part of the reason why this administration has had very open dialogue with the incoming administration of Mexico and had these early talks and had these conversations.

They wanted to have a strategy day one. I think both sides, Mexicans' President-elect wanted to have a strategy and a working relationship with Donald Trump day one. That's why you have seen some of these information (INAUDIBLE). But this President made it clear. He is a deal maker to protect us and he wants to work a better deal and have a better relationship with Mexico's administration. That's I think what you are also seeing in this article, what has been put out there which I think is smart by both sides.


WHITFIELD: How do you see this border crossing closure potentially impacting what was reported that there was this remain in Mexico proposal that Mexico and the U.S. have agreed upon, but then now Mexico, the incoming administration says, you know, that's premature. That's not quite what the deal was. How do you see this move as potentially impacting whatever negotiations are made?

FERGUSON: Yes. I think if anything it actually strengthens the idea that we need to do something. Because clearly, Mexico understands this is not something that they want to see. They don't want to see a large number of people end up in a place like Tijuana where the citizens there are frustrate. The citizens there are protesting. The citizens there are saying this is a drain on our resources and taxes. We don't know who these people are. We want them to go back to their country of origin. The same things that many Americans are saying.

They are experiencing what Americans are experiencing. So now, Mexico is feeling that pressure from their own citizens and their own local law enforcement, seeing them be overrun only enforces the idea that there must be a strategy that U.S. and Mexico agree on.


FERGUSON: Because this is problematic for Mexico and it is also problematic for this country. So I think it is going to bring this administration and the new administration together even sooner than many probably hope for.

WHITFIELD: All right. So earlier today this is how Congressman Elijah Cummings responded to this asylum proposal arguing that it's against the law. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS DAILY: If the President cuts a deal with Mexico, are you supportive of that?


TODD: Why?

CUMMINGS: Because that's not the law. They should be allowed to come in, seek asylum. That's the law. And we don't --.

TODD: Would you support changing the law?

CUMMINGS: No. No. I think that we have a system that has worked for a long time. This President has come in, wants to change it. That's up to him. But now the Congress has got to stand up.


WHITFIELD: So Dave, how do you see this? Does in set the stage for, you know, another challenge against the President?

DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it does. And I think it's important, Fred, to understand the political context that we are working in this environment.

Right now, CBS put out a poll just yesterday showing that Donald Trump has a mere 39 percent approval rating. That comes on the heels of just two weeks ago Democrats picked up a whopping 39 seats in the House, seven governorships and 380 state legislative seats across America.

What does that mean? It's hard evidence that Americans want a change. They want a new direction. This scorch toward immigration policy that the President has implemented is not working. The American people are fed up and they are looking to change course. That's why they sent this resounding victory for Democrats up and down the ballot across the country.

What do Americans want? They want a pathway to citizenship for DACA individuals. They want comprehensive immigration reform that is inclusive and compassionate.

Do we need to work with the Mexican government to grapple with the caravan issue? Absolutely. But we shouldn't change federal laws. We should have our consistent asylum process work. These folks should be able to come in --

WHITFIELD: Except before the new Congress convenes, is this the President saying I'm going to get this done. This was my campaign promise. And you know, deal with it on the other side. But this is the way it's going to be for now, Dave.

JACOBSON: I don't think he has the executive authority to do that. Just like he thought of the executive authority to end birth right citizenship which Paul Ryan, you know, graciously came out and said that you can't change the 14th amendment, Mr. President, with an executive order.

This is an overreach by the President. And I think he needs to work with the incoming Congress to cut a comprehensive immigration reform that is compassionate and inclusive and reflective of our American values.

WHITFIELD: So Ben, that the President has threatened to close down - shut down - wait. The President has threaten to shut down the government if he doesn't get this wall. Is he putting a lot on the line, Ben?

FERGUSON: Yes, but he also has the exact issue that got this campaign to erupt and become the President of the United States of America. There are many Americans and I'm right now in Houston, Texas who want to see a secure border. They have no problem with people coming in this country legally the correct way, but the President has been very clear about this. You can't just keep having an open border.

And the problem that the Democrats have on this and it is the reason why they didn't take back the Senate, for example, when by the way, historically, we know that midterm elections after presidential election usually the party of the President loses. You can go back decades and see that. So to describe what the Democrats accomplished is literally the ordinary. They should have been able to take resounding --

[15:10:20] JACOBSON: Be, you can't deny it was a historic election. Come on.

FERGUSON: Hold on. Let me finish.

It is not historic when the Senate actually picks up seats from the Republican. If you want to talk about history, then you have to go back in history. But I will say this last point about the President here. And this is the part where you look at Elijah Cummings and what he just said on TV.

Would you actually work with the Republicans on a new law? No.

He was asked the question, he said that the current system works and it has been working. That's a lie. When you have 10, 15, 20 million people that come in to this country illegally and millions more that can cross in and out every single year illegally, to say that that system is working well and smooth as Cummings said is just completely tone deaf to reality in places like Texas and other border states. It's not working well. That's one of the reason why --.

WHITFIELD: Or is this also a signal, you know, Dave, that the President is seeing that working, you know, with the Democrats might be a challenge. So until that will time, let me take advantage, you know, of the scenario right now and just go ahead and, you know, embark on some of those promises?

JACOBSON: I have no doubt that the President is going to take advantage of this lame duck session. He still has control of the House with the Republicans in control. Paul Ryan is still speaker, of course, until the new Congress is sworn in on January 3rd. And so, undoubtedly, Donald Trump is going to take advantage of that situation.

But if he is playing long ball, what he should do is come up with a comprehensive plan with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to actually fix this problem.

I agree with Ben that Elijah Cummings was wrong in the sense of saying that this plan has - the immigration system that we have has been working, it hasn't. It has failed. There are millions of people on this country who are undocumented. But Democrats do believe as do the majority of the American folks that is the reality is these folks are in the country. They are not leaving. We need a pathway to citizenship.

And also to your point about the U.S. Senate, Democrats clearly picked up in some of the border states like Arizona. Those states are trending Democratic because Democrats are on the right side when it comes to this immigration issue. It's time Donald Trump comes to the table and cuts a deal with the Democrats.


FERGUSON: Here is what I will say. If you remember, Democrats couldn't even get a deal on the immigration reform or the Dreamers, DACA, anything else when they had the control of the House, the Senate, and the White House. So for this President, to think that somehow Nancy Pelosi is going to come together and Elijah Cummings and others and work with him and deal, I think is preposterous. I mean, I would say to the Democrats, you couldn't even get a deal done when you are in control of everything.

WHITFIELD: And Ben, as we are talking now, we are getting new images in right now in Tijuana. Again, what we are reporting now as U.S. customs and border control has closed the border just south of San Diego. Really, the nation's largest and busiest port of entry, San Ysidro port of entry there, just south of -- I can't tell you the context of the images that we are seeing. Only that we see a number of people, you know, running.

Raphael Romo is still with me now.

Rafael, perhaps, you can report for us what we are seeing here?

ROMO: It is the San Ysidro international bridge. It started a few hours ago with a peaceful protest. And I want to say about an hour ago, the Mexican federal police who were trying to hold back the immigrants numbered in the hundreds were overwhelmed by this group and they started running around the police lines. And that's what you see now. And the situation has forced authorities at the border, ICE, and border protection to shut down not only pedestrian lines, but also vehicular lines. So you a situation where we can essentially say that the border has been shut down at least in that border crossing connecting the Mexican City of Tijuana and San Diego, California. WHITFIELD: And I guess what's unclear, we don't know, is these images

taken just prior to the closing at the time of the closing or as a result of the closing.

ROMO: This was just prior to the closing. Again, it all seem very peaceful, but all of a sudden a group, I want to say of no more than a few dozen people started not fighting, but trying to overpower police. A smaller group ran around the police lines and started running towards the U.S. side. And that's when the situation became chaotic and that's what we are seeing right now.

WHITFIELD: So Ben, how do you see these images assisting the President in his position?

FERGUSON: It goes back to the fundamental point that the President has made about leadership which is you cannot just allow people to come across the border without knowing who they are. And not all people, they are trying to come across are bad people, but some of them are. And we need to know who they are. And there is a right way to do this. And there is a right way to go about this. And you shouldn't be able to skip (INAUDIBLE).

This is only going to bolster the President's point which he has been making now for two plus years which is we need a secure border. And we have to know who is coming into this country. We know who gets on airplanes. We know when we leave to go to other countries who came into those countries.

It's absurd that in this country, we allow an open border to take place where millions and millions of illegal crossings happen and we don't know who the people are. Always asking for law and order. He is not saying that we can't have people come in to this country legally. He is advocating for legal entry into this country. And when you see these types of images, it only goes to bolsters the President's standpoint which is we clearly do not have control.

The way we should is the greatest country in the world of our border from a national security standpoint, from a terrorism standpoint, from humanitarian standpoint and also just from the rule of law, people who try to do it the right way.

[15:15:52] WHITFIELD: So Dave, does this bolster, these images, help bolster the President's argument or does it potentially set the stage for his argument backfiring?

JACOBSON: I think - clearly, his caravan rhetoric during the campaign backfire. It didn't work. He lost the House.

WHITFIELD: But these images right here.

JACOBSON: Yes. Look, but these images are not very different from what we saw throughout the course of the campaign of the caravan, right. It's clear that the President is going to have to make a deal with Mexico. He is going to have to make a deal with Congress to solve this problem. You can't just put a band-aide over this. The reality is the American people are looking for compassion. These

people are fleeing violence. Many of these individuals are women and children.

FERGUSON: Not all of them.

JACOBSON: The vast majority of them are. And look, Ben, I agree with you. Democrats want a secure - Ben, democrats want a secure border. Democrats want to know who these individuals are that are coming through here. But there is a way --.

FERGUSON: When have you guys been in favor of that?

WHITFIELD: Ben, right now -- the images that you are seeing are while there are a lot of people, you don't see anything, you know, that is disturbing except that there are a lot of people.

FERGUSON: But they are all in police today.

WHITFIELD: Who are all in pursue - but who are all in pursued of trying to get across the border or looking for the better way.

FERGUSON: But Fredricka - right. But Fredricka, remember when they were at the bridge crossing several weeks ago and they were going after the police and attacking the police? When you have people - I mean, the idea that this is lawful, this is lawless.

WHITFIELD: Rafael, is this lawlessness or is this -- how do you interpret this?

ROMO: It's a numbers game, Fred, if I can say that. We kind of saw the situation evolving little by little from a few hours ago where you would see the police show up and establish a perimeter there. And the reality is that they just didn't have the numbers to stop these people from crossing.

You are talking about possibly 500 people. There were no more than 100 police and so it was only a matter of time before they were able to overpower the Mexican federal police. It was just impossible for the police to stop them.

WHITFIELD: OK. And again, we are still trying to discern everything that we are seeing because we are seeing in a real-time. These images are taken moments ago and it will take some time to kind of decipher, you know, the sequence of events, everything that we are seeing and interpreting because it is difficult to interpret the entire story just by these images.

FERGUSON: Yes. You look at these images right here. And one thing is we always hear people say -- a lot of these people are with children. These are grown adults. I don't see any of them with children who are going and attacking and assaulting police overrunning them and then trying to come into America legally.

JACOBSON: I have haven't seen any police officers, Ben, been assaulted by the way. And we are looking at individuals --. FERGUSON: Well, when you are overrun and there is a conflict, we have

seen them assaulted in other videos from the caravan over the last several weeks. I mean, those videos are very clear. We saw it at the bridge. We saw it in Tijuana just a few days ago for goodness' sakes.

I mean, the idea that this is not -- that some of the people in this caravan have not become violent against law enforcement, the fact that you are overrunning police. I mean, this is the reason why there is such a divided on this issue. There are so many different people that see this as illegal activity and a threat. And we don't know who these people are.

WHITFIELD: Well, it is challenging right now because - and it is challenging right now because while we are looking at images, we really don't know the full story. We don't what preceded it. We don't know exactly the complete context of what we are looking at right now. The sequence of events. And we are trying to decipher it kind of in real time as we are all looking at these images at the same time. And of course, we still need to do some fact finding here.

We are going to take a short break for now.

However, Dave, Ben, Rafael, thank you so much.

We will take a short break and we will be right back.


[15:23:54] WHITFIELD: All right. Live pictures right now at the San Ysidro port of entry, just south of San Diego. And we understand now that customs and border patrol have suspended traffic. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic both north and southbound along that U.S. and Mexico border at the nation's busiest port of entry, the San Ysidro port of entry right there.

And here are the live pictures that we are getting in right now. You are seeing it as we are seeing it. And of course, as we decipher all that's taking place, we will try to pass it on to you.

Meantime, another big story we are following for you, an emotional plea for answers after an Alabama police department admits the man they killed during a mall shooting on thanksgiving night and I'm quoting now, "likely was not the gunman."

His family broke down as they described their son and brother, E.J. Bradford, Jr. as a loving man who cared for his sick father and thought of others before himself.

And we are now left with more questions than answers as this investigation continues to intensify with police releasing very few details from the incident thus far. And his family sharing a heart breaking account, saying police never even called them to let them know of E.J.'s death. They say they learned everything through social media.

And now, family members and friends are demanding an apology, accountability and the release of all videos from the incident. Here is one of E.J.'s brothers.


[15:25:33] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We weren't even contacted. I had to get on Facebook and see a video of him shot and bleeding. No police officers covered him up at all. I will never see him come through the house anymore, you know. Tell him, hey, be careful on the streets. Give him a word of advice or anything. That you guys just took him. And the hoover police department, you guys dropped the ball in a major way. Seriously. And for you not to even call and give your condolences shows the type of character that the mayor and hoover PD has for our family. This family will never be the same at all. And it hurts me.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Natasha Chen joins me now with more in all of this. So what else are we learning or are we not learning about this?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are learning very little about this, Fred. And you could see from that video, the family is very frustrated.

Now, they do want that apology, but they are also sending a message to police officers that they don't want to hear more words from them until the surveillance video is released. Because they believe that will speak volumes.

It was an emotional press conference. And if you take a look at this video, we will show you one of E.J.'s members standing to the left of the podium can no longer stand to hear more about how he was killed.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY: (INAUDIBLE) died. They made their decision.


CHEN: They are also upset because police have not contacted them at all since this happened on thanksgiving night. Police have not responded to our specific questions either.

Now this all started because police said there was a fight of some kind at the mall on Thursday which resulted in an 18-year-old and 12- year-old getting shot. And they initially told the public, one of their officers working off duty as mall security, shot and killed the man responsible. But them they issued a statement later Friday, early Saturday, saying the person they killed E.J. Bradford Jr. was likely not responsible for injuring the others. But that they believe he was involved in the altercation in some way. And that leaves a lot of questions for Bradford's father and mother.


EMANTIC "EJ" BRADFORD, FATHER OF MAN KILLED BY POLICE: It hurts me to the core. My son is gone. I can't get him back. You vilify my son like he was a straight criminal.

APRIL PIPKINS, MOTHER OF MAN KILLED BY POLICE: Nobody even took the time or had the decency to notify me of my son's death. Instead it's flashed all over social media. That is no way that any parent should have to find out the death of their child.


CHEN: The last official word on the two people injured wad that they have survived and were taken to the hospital. But the person who shot them, police have not found that person as far as we know. We have asked the police to clarify how many potential suspects they are looking for, but Fred, we have not heard back from them yet.

WHITFIELD: All right. Let us know when you do. Thank you so much, Natasha. Appreciate that.

All right. Joining me right now, prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump who is now representing E.J.'s family. You recall, Mr. Crump also representing Trayvon Martin's family after he was killed in 2012 in Florida. And also, Mr. Crump is being joined by E.J.'s father, Emantic Bradford Sr. Good to see both of you. But sadly under these circumstances.

So Mr. Crump, you first. You know, this is incredibly frustrating. We saw that in the family members particularly during that press conference. Are you getting any clarity, any guidance, any specificity from officials about what happened?

CRUMP: None whatsoever, Fredricka. At this time, Mr. EJ Bradford Sr., his father, who was a correctional officer for 25 years with the Birmingham police department, he considers law enforcement to be family. But they are not treating him like family. They haven't offered him the courtesy of letting him know anything. They are finding out all the information through social media and the media.

They found out on thanksgiving night their son had been killed. And then they found out that the police plastered his picture all over the media, all over the world, labeling him a killer and they knew the child they had raised. They knew what kind of person he was. And so, they knew it wasn't true even before the police retracted their statement and admitted they had lied on his son.


WHITFIELD: And Mr. Bradford, especially since you have worked with the Birmingham Police, you know how investigations go from start to finish. You know, what are your frustrations about the information that you're not receiving about how your son died, how he was killed?

BRADFORD: It's frustrating because I feel like he should have reached out to me and his mother, but nobody did. That's not protocol for you just to do something, kill my child and not respond when we are calling you. We got to call you. But when I call you back, you know, it's like 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and I got to call the county and the county did a good job to get me to the lead detective that was investigating the case.

And that's embarrassing for who the police department not to respond when I called them at 12:30 that night. You know, I didn't get no response back. All I got was they're going to call you back in 10 minutes. Somebody going to call you. Nobody ever returned my call until I got up at 3:00 or something in the morning to call back to get the clarification which I got from the sheriff's department detective. You know, who should have did something first, but they never did do anything.

CRUMP: All he did was release his pitch and label him a murderer.


WHITFIELD: There was information that was supplied by Hoover Police in it to underscore exactly what you're saying, Mr. Crump, initially saying that he was involved in this altercation, that he was brandishing a weapon and then it was followed later with it didn't appear as though he was involved. You know, he was not the gunman. So talk to me about the sequence of events, the kind of language that has been used and how that underscores the frustration and the curiosity about what's the real story.

CRUMP: Yes, ma'am. Because Mr. Bradford knows his son. Mr. Bradford is battling cancer. He's retiring this week upcoming from the Birmingham Police Department. His son would leave work after four days of working and come and check on his father every day. So Mr. Bradford and his mother April knew that this was not true about their son shooting somebody. And the whole notion that they would unjustifiably pull the trigger and release this information is almost as worse as the Hoover police officer who unjustifiable saw a black man with a gun and made a decision within milliseconds, according to witnesses, to shoot him in his face.

They don't even know if they can have an open casket funeral. And so it's just troubling when you see this pattern, whether it's Jemel Roberson in Chicago or now here in Birmingham, the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, where this suggestion by the top leaders in our country that if the good guys had guns, maybe they could help with some of these mass shooters of the bad guys who have guys, where if you're black and you're a good guy with a gun, the police doesn't see you as a good guy. They just see you as a criminal and they shoot and kill you. And that is what is devastating to Mr. Bradford who himself is part of the law enforcement family.

WHITFIELD: And given that you're part of the law enforcement family, Mr. Bradford, do you feel like you would have an advantage to getting more clarity, and getting more information, perhaps even getting access to any kind of body camera footage or surveillance video in order to help get the real story here?

BRADFORD: I feel that weight because know Birmingham Police Department would have reached out to Hoover Police Department being there, you know, I worked for them. And I think you can get together and say hey, let's get this right. It hadn't been done right. You know, (INAUDIBLE) they want to do. You know, and my son, you know, unfortunately, my baby, he ain't here no more. He didn't get no chance to even try to survive. You know, offer him no medical attention. You just let him lay there and bled out.

CRUMP: And I will say this, Fredricka. Right now this family does not trust anything coming from the police and what they are demanding is a release of the video. All the video --

WHITFIELD: Are you getting an explanation as to why that's taking this long? Why it hasn't happen thus far?

CRUMP: The only thing from talking to Mr. Bradford, we think they are trying to justify killing his son and they know the video is going to tell us a different story. As we have been saying, you don't need to say any more, just show the video. That's all this family wants. We can see the truth of what Mr. Bradford did and how they lied on him.

[15:35:04] We can also help the public solve a murder crime. A murderer is at large in Birmingham, and he's on that video. You can release it to the public and the public can help. You identify who the police department, who the real murderer is and try to build trust and help him with this community.

WHITFIELD: And a busy shopping night Thursday night, Thanksgiving. You've heard nothing about eyewitness accounts.

CRUMP: There are several eyewitness accounts, several eyewitnesses have reached out to the family. Several have now called my law firm saying that EJ was one of the people who was trying to get away and also trying to help others get away from the shooting scene, that he wasn't the bad guy. You shot the wrong guy. And we believe it was because of his skin color.

WHITFIELD: Benjamin Crump, Emantic Bradford Senior, thank you so much and we are so sorry for your loss.

BRADFORD: Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we're also continuing to follow breaking news. You are looking at pictures right now from moments ago out of Mexico where hundreds of migrants have attempted to storm a border fence is what we're being told. That border fence separating Mexico and the U.S., this while the Customs and Border Patrol are also reporting that the San Ysidro Port of Entry has been suspended, closed both north and southbound traffic to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

We'll continue to follow the story and bring you more images with more facts behind it as soon as we get it.


[15:41:12] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We're continuing to follow breaking news. You're looking at video from moments ago out of Mexico where hundreds of migrants have attempted to storm a border fence, we're told, separating Mexico and the U.S. All this taking place while the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have also closed one of the busiest ports of entry in the U.S. just south of San Diego.

Rafael Romo, CNN anchor, is with me right now.

So, Rafael, just trying to understand the context of the images that we're seeing, this in contrast with other live pictures that we showed earlier showing the border crossing closed officially by Customs and Border Patrol.

ROMO: Yes, and this was meant to be a peaceful protest that started several hours ago. The migrants from Central America were just supposed to go to the border, make their presence known and start chanting some of the same things that we have heard before in the past. And at about 2:00 p.m. Eastern, the number grew large -- larger than it had been. We're told that it was about 500 people who got there.

And all of a sudden, one of the smaller groups started running towards the officers, Mexican Federal Police trying to hold them back on the Mexican side, and they were just overwhelmed. There were dozens of Mexican Federal Police. We don't have the specific number, but it was very evident that they didn't have the numbers to hold back the migrants and that's what you.

Now we're talking about the San Ysidro crossing point, connecting the Mexican city of Tijuana and San Diego, we should mention that that has been closed momentarily, but there's also the other crossing point in Otay Mesa. So one of the two ways that people have to cross from Mexico into the United States has been closed.

But I can tell you, we've been looking at some of the images, Fred, and it is very chaotic. We didn't really see violence, but we did see families at first. It was mainly young men, and those who were able to run and overpower police. But at one point, the police, you could tell by looking at these images simply gave up and families with young children started walking across the border.

Now they hadn't been able to make it into the United States. Just went to the bridge. And so the reality is that even though they want to make it to the American side, the reality is that they are not going to be successful.

WHITFIELD: Because what we're seeing just -- so I haven't been there, I haven't seen this crossing. This bridge that you're talking about is still in a way in which vehicles and pedestrians would traverse in order to get to the border, the San Ysidro Port of Entry. And at that entry, that is what has been suspended, that traffic north and south. So while you're seeing all this movement here, people who are running on the Mexico side, you know, people who have gathered and then you see these images right here of law enforcement.

This is not at the border.

ROMO: Right.

WHITFIELD: This is on the Mexican side and people have not actually gotten across into the U.S. ROMO: And, Fred, it's very important to put this in perspective.

Mexico used to be a source of immigrants. That stopped in about 2012 when the number of Mexican migrants coming to the United States was less than those leaving from the U.S. and going back to Mexico. And what we started seeing back then was Central Americans coming to the United States. Mexico from being a source country now it has become a transit point.

WHITFIELD: Excellent point.

ROMO: And what these images show us is that the Mexican government is not prepared to handle the influx of Central Americans who are trying to get to the United States. Mexico has offered them jobs, shelter, food, and they don't want to stay in Mexico.

[15:45:03] They want to go on to the United States. And we just came across one more piece of information. About 11,000 people that at one point through another were part of the caravans have decided voluntarily to ask for the Mexican government's help to return to Central America. Countries of origins. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua. So the reality is that if you look at the numbers, the majority have decided to go back, but you still have a group of anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people at the Tijuana border overwhelming the local government there.

WHITFIELD: And we don't know if this took place simultaneous, meaning people, you know, who got through Mexican law enforcement authorities gathered here or whether we know it's a sequence of events that people got through and then as a consequence, border -- you know, Customs and Borders then shut the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which is at least the nation's busiest port of entry and perhaps even the world's busiest port of entry?

ROMO: I wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely one of the world's busiest.

WHITFIELD: It's the nation's -- right.

ROMO: Yes.

WHITFIELD: OK. We'll leave it right there for now, Rafael. We're going to have you back. We're going to take a short break for now. But again, this story is breaking right now. We'll continue to follow it, try to get a little bit more fact-finding for you before we can share it with you. We'll be right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

[15:50:02] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. More breaking news. According to multiple reports Russia has fired on and seized several Ukrainian Navy vessels off the coast of the annexed area of Crimea.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow with more on this. Tell us what you know. MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka,

this could be a major escalation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Just off the coast of that Crimean peninsula that was annexed by Russia from Ukraine back in 2014.

According to the Ukrainian Navy, and they've been posting this on their Facebook page, Russia has opened fire and seized three Ukrainian vessels in the Sea of Azov, which is that very narrow stretch of water that exists between the Crimean peninsula and the Russian mainland.

The Ukrainian Navy says two of its gun boats and a Ukrainian Naval tug were captured by Russian special forces after a brief chase on the water by Russian special forces. According to the Ukrainians again, at least six Ukrainian crew members, Navy personnel have been injured. It's not clear what the nature of their injuries were, but obviously they were injured during those clashes.

As far as the Russians are concerned there's been no statement yet. It's midnight nearly here local time. We're expecting comment from them not until the morning, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Keep us posted. Matthew Chance, thank you so much, in Moscow.

And we'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. As France cleans up from a second weekend in a violent protest against rising gas prices President Trump is weighing in, tying the protests to trade, saying, "The large and violent French protests don't take into account how badly the United States has been treated on trade by the European Union or on fair and reasonable payments for our great military protection. Both of these topics must be remedied soon."

Yesterday police confronted hundreds of violent protesters along the Champs-Elysees, firing tear gas and water cannons.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Paris. So, Jim, how does it look today?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a little bit better tonight, and not a lot of tear gas in the air, Fredricka. In fact, though, that tweet from President Trump left a lot of people here just scratching their heads trying to figure out exactly how he was connecting the dots.

[15:55:06] There was nothing about yesterday's protest that had anything to do with trade or military protection. This was a protest which demonstrators were out to show their anger about rising fuel prices, about stagnant wages, and about rising cost of living in general. And so there was no connection and no reaction at all to President Trump's tweets from either the presidential palace or the prime minister's office or the Foreign Ministry.

However, some of the news organizations here did in fact make an attempt to connect the various things, and they've basically I think, believed that this was an attempt by President Trump to kick President Macron in a sore spot, mainly the protests along the Champs-Elysees. It was along those avenue just a couple of hundred yards off the lay here two weeks ago that during the ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I, that Macron made a speech that many felt humiliated President Trump.

It was a speech basically about the benefits of multi-multilateralism, something which clearly President Trump doesn't believe here -- Ana.

WHITFIELD: All right.

BITTERMANN: Fred, sorry.

WHITFIELD: I'm Fredricka, but that's OK. We're all interchangeable.


WHITFIELD: All right. Jim Bittermann, thank you so much from Paris.

All right. Still ahead, much more from the NEWSROOM.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

WHITFIELD: Hello, again, everyone. Thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We're following breaking news at the southern border. Around 500 migrants outnumbered federal and local Mexican police there, rushing towards the U.S. border near Tijuana, Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has closed the border closing between San Diego and Tijuana.