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At This Hour

Ukraine: Russia Adds 1,000 Troops In Fight Over Key Southern Ukraine; Texas Teen On Life Support After Being Shot By Police; LA City Council Censures Members Involved In Racist Conversation. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 28, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Now to the war in Ukraine. Russia is adding a thousand additional troops to the fight -- to the frontlines trying to hold on to the strategic southern city of Kherson against Ukraine's ongoing and successful counter-offensive. CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Kyiv for us at this hour for the very latest. Nic, what are these additional troops mean?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They mean that it will be harder -- a harder fight for the Ukrainian forces moving into Kherson. It depends on how well-equipped and how well-trained they are. We know that President Putin today met with his defense chief Sergei Shoigu. Shoigu said that they had now trained 81,000 troops and 41,000 of those have been moved forward to units in Ukraine. So the implication is that Russia has more troops that it can send to -- into this fight. Russia officials from Kherson say that they've now evacuated all the civilians.

And the way that all this is being interpreted by Ukrainian officials responsible for the Kherson region, they're saying now that the civilians are pushed out, this gives the Russians the opportunity to put all these new recruits into civilian homes inside Kherson. Why is that important to Russia? Well, I think we got a big clue on that today from one of President Putin's big military backers, the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov talking about how he lost 23 fighters killed in one incident, 58 injured in Kherson. It tends to create the impression that there was one large incident explosion potentially at a barracks or type of place where the troops were collected. So clearly, a dispersal around the city in civilian homes of new Russian troops makes an attack harder.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Nic, thank you so much for the update. I really appreciate it.

So a teenager is fighting for his life right now after being shot by a police officer when he was just sitting in a car eating in a McDonald's parking lot. His parents join me live for their first CNN interview.


BOLDUAN: A teenager shot by police in Texas is fighting for his life nearly one month later. Body camera footage from that night shows a San Antonio police officer opening the door of 17-year-old Erik Cantu's car while he was just sitting there eating in a McDonald's parking lot -- just sitting in his car. Moments later, the officer opens fire. Cantu was shot multiple times. Since then that officer has been fired and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and Erik Cantu remains in the hospital, as I said fighting for his life.

Joining me now for their first CNN interview are Erik Cantu's parents, Eric Cantu and Victoria Casarez, along with their attorney, Ben Crump. Thank you.


Eric and Victoria, we were just talking in the break before. I am so sorry that we are meeting under these circumstances. How is Erik -- how is your son doing? How serious are his injuries still?

VICTORIA CASAREZ, MOTHER OF TEEN SHOT BY POLICE IN MCDONALD'S PARKING LOT: You know -- you know, Erik is doing his very best to stay with us. He's a very, very strong young man. And every day is just -- you know we're so blessed to have him. He is quite the miracle.

We were having a greater week at the beginning of this week, and it kind of had a turn. This week, he developed a severe infection that we're battling right now. But, again, we're just remaining hopeful and we haven't lost faith.

BOLDUAN: And you must. Because he's been so strong to even -- to make it through even to this point. I mean, Eric, are you getting any assurances from his doctors? I mean, how long is the road ahead for your son?

ERIC CANTU, FATHER OF TEEN SHOT BY POLICE IN MCDONALD'S PARKING LOT: That's a -- That's a great question. And we've asked -- we actually tried to stop, not ask that anymore because there's just no determining. Just as Tuesday, we weren't expecting that to happen. You know, he had developed that and no one saw it developing. And before you know it, here we are in emergency surgery later -- on hours later, you know, to help curate that.

And after that, he gets out of surgery, and it just goes downhill from there. His body goes into septic shock. And here we are trying to control his blood pressure and keep it from going too low and then going too high and it's just -- it's a battle every day. This kid is amazing and he's super strong. So we have nowhere in sight.

BOLDUAN: So it -- yes. Victoria, this is -- it's been nearly a month since your lives changed really in an instant. Has he -- has Erik been able to communicate with you? Does he fully understand what's happened?

CASAREZ: You know, he was unresponsive some -- quite some time due to him being medically induced due to his severe injuries. As he comes out of some of the sedation at times, he does try to communicate with us. He cannot speak to us because he has a ventilator that, you know, prevents that. However, whenever he does try to communicate by sign language or by whispering, it's unfortunate, but he's reliving and he -- the moment that he keeps on and he cannot get out of is the incident itself. So it's very sad to see him relive this over and over and over each time he wakes up.

BOLDUAN: He's still reliving that moment. Eric, on that moment, what do you think happened that night? What do you -- why do you think that officer went after your son?

CANTU: You know, there's a lot of feelings about that night. And one is I feel that my son, as his mother has said once before, he just seemed like an easy target based on what this gentleman had already, you know, presumed to be Erik as a Hispanic kid with a bowl-shaped haircut. But you know, my son is not a problem child. I mean, he's a regular teenager, and you know, regular teenage -- doing regular teenage stuff, like, eat in the parking lot with his girlfriend.

He's not capable of doing that. His intent was not to do that night. Unlike the intent of the officer that had those capabilities that he built into his head before he even pulled on that door handle. Those were his intents.

We didn't have no intent that way. He didn't have no. He -- the video shows he clearly did not have that intent. He was scared, he was fine, and he moved. Unfortunately, he did. But you know this gentleman decided to act like he was in Wild Wild West hunting down Billy the Kid. And here we are, and where is he?

He's out there living his life taking care of his son. He can hold his son. We couldn't even see our son for three days because of the privilege she has. And that's where we feel we are today. And unfortunately, we can't let this get swept under the rug. We need the justice.

BOLDUAN: The -- and I was going to -- I was going to ask, Ben, the officer was swiftly fired, charged with aggravated assault by a public servant, what does justice look like here?

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF ERIK CANTU: Well, Kate, justice looks like full accountability. First and foremost, a family's concentrating on his health. We asked her community for prayers. And then we go to justice to say you can't eviscerate the constitutional rights of a young man based on racial profiling, just because he's a Hispanic person with a bowl shape haircut that you believe fits a profile. The Fourth Amendment applies to every citizen, Kate Bolduan, and that's what we have to prove with this tragic shooting of this teenage kid who graduated early from high school, had his whole life ahead of him, and that we're dealing with this.


Attorney Greg and I are going to bring a civil lawsuit on behalf of the family, that we want there to be criminal accountability. And it's no guarantee that just because the officer's arrested for killing the person -- shooting a person of color, that they will be held accountable.

BOLDUAN: That's a long road ahead on that, as well. Eric and Victoria, just finally, I mean, your son is fighting for his life. You don't know what tomorrow will bring, as you've made very clear with the infection that he's now currently fighting. What does this been like for you guys as a father, as a mother?

CASAREZ: You know we just have to remain strong for Erik. I think he needs everybody's support, you know, especially ours and that's what we have to do. We have to do our best to be our best for him. And you know, Eric, if you'd want to add to that.

CANTU: I'll tell you, we're tired. We're still -- staying in hotel ICU and it's draining on us. But as loving parents, we find the strength in us that pushes every day for him. Everything that we do is for him right now and everything that you know these blessings does work for him, so we add that you all continue those.

BOLDUAN: Eric, Victoria, thank you so much. Ben, thank you for coming on. I appreciate your time. We'll continue to stand -- we will continue to follow his progress and what happens with us. Thank you. We'll be right back.

CRUMP: Thank you, Kate.

CASAREZ: Thank you.



BOLDUAN: The Los Angeles City Council now voted unanimously to censure current and former members of the council who were involved in a racist conversation. The leaked audio, you'll remember, was released earlier this month by the LA Times. That scandal has already forced out the former city council president, but two other council members involved in that conversation refusing to resign. And a recall effort has now been launched by some constituents.

Joining me now is LZ Granderson. He's a columnist for those -- for the Los Angeles Times. It's good to see you, LZ. The LA Times actually held a town hall about this just last week that you were part of, what are voters saying about this now and still? I mean, how long it's lingered?

LZ GRANDERSON, COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, you know, there's a lot of heartbreak in the city of Los Angeles because it's an area that really prides itself on its diversity and its ability for all of us to live together. You know, the city went through a really ugly period during the 1990s in particular, when there was hostility between the black community and Latinos, largely because of gang culture, stemming out of prison. And the leaders -- the grassroots leaders in Los Angeles worked together to get over that hump. And so to have this tape leak is really reminding us of those terrible times during the 1990s. It was heartbreaking.

BOLDUAN: This is one of the biggest cities in America. Protesters are having to be dragged out of these council meetings because they're so upset with the leadership still and what's happening. What do you think this says that things have gotten to this point?

GRANDERSON: You know, it's -- you know again, I can't you know talk enough about how heartbreaking this is. You know, I love Los Angeles. You know, it's a lot like New York, in a sense that the diversity, you know, really makes you smile and makes you aspire to what's possible. And so the emotions that you're seeing interrupting the city council meetings, the emotion that you're seeing in the streets, and as you mentioned earlier, that we heard from constituents during the town hall meeting last week, people are very upset because it's an affront for everything that the city stands for.

And I've been writing about this conversation because it's my feelings that the dynamics of these other races meeting that held, in other words, an effort to get Latinos to have more political power in large cities like New York or like Los Angeles or Chicago, these are issues that are going -- are going away anytime soon. And so we've got to figure out, Kate, how we are able to bring in a larger voice from the Latino community when it comes to both municipal as well as national politics without it meaning black eraser, without it many other minority groups have to lose power in the process.

BOLDUAN: You also, LZ, have a new really interesting column out this week where are you taking on what your -- what our election place, like what we've seen in Florida with police arresting what really are confused and really stung former convicts for allegedly voting illegally in the 2020 election. We talked a lot about that. But we -- you explore in this. What you explore is that this didn't start with Ron DeSantis -- Ron DeSantis's - his efforts in Florida. This started in Texas years prior. And you also write about this being part of a much bigger problem. What do you want people to see in this?

GRANDERSON: I want them to see what happened with Roe v. Wade. What happened with Roe v. Wade, you know, you have to go back to Texas. And the reporting that wasn't happening because it was a very, very small town, it was a local town. But the heartbeat bill that eventually led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade started off, Kate, as an experiment in a small town in Texas. And it continued to grow in Texas and then it picked up around the nation and now here we are in this conversation.

And so when you look at the police -- the voter fraud police, which we all know was created based upon lies from the former president, it started in a small town in Texas. And now people are talking more and more. You mentioned Florida, but it also had been talked about in Arizona, has been talked about in Georgia. It's beginning to pick up in a very similar way that the anti-abortion legislation picked up in a small town in Texas. And so I wrote a piece because I wanted to draw attention to this.

[11:55:02] Because if you really look at the rate that the election that police that they use in Texas and in Florida, it feels nefarious, and we need to address it now before it becomes much larger and interrupts elections on a larger scale.

BOLDUAN: LZ, it's always good to have you. Thank you.

GRANDERSON: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: And finally before we go, news from Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen officially announcing they are ending their marriage of 13 years. The couple posting the news of their divorce on Instagram saying "we arrived at this decision to end our marriage after much consideration." Tom Brady, of course, quit football earlier this year after a career that included of a record seven Super Bowl victories, returned to the game then in March. Brady and Gisele, they were married in 2009 and they have two children together.

Thank you so much for watching everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this break.