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U.S. Parents Bring Culture Wars to New School Year; U.S. Education Secretary Talks Reopening Schools Safely; Actor Michael K. Williams Dies at 54-Years-Old; Ex-Marine Held Without Bond in Shooting of Florida Family; Blinken and Austin Meeting with Top Officials in Qatar; Newsom Fights to Keep Job as Governor as Election Nears; Team Europe Beats U.S. to Retain Solheim Cup. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 07, 2021 - 04:30   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our children, our choice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our children can't be vaccinated. Mask up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hit me in my mouth. You don't hit me in the mouth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't spit on you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did so, you had your mask on --


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These ugly scenes are happening outside schools and in school board meetings all over the country.


SERFATY (voice-over): Some school districts are now battlegrounds in the highly partisan culture wars, issues like mask wearing, critical race theory and gender equality have led to anger and threats from both sides.

CROWD CHANTING: We're not surprised! We're not surprised!

SERFATY (voice-over): Protesters outside a school board meeting in Williamson County, Tennessee erupted after the board voted for a temporary mask mandate in elementary schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) find you, and where you are.

You will never be allowed and drum up a year.

SERFATY (voice-over): The local police had to step in to control the crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Shame on you, shame on you.

SERFATY (voice-over): This school board in Loudoun County, Virginia, were meeting on critical race theory in transgender students' rights. Critical race theory holds that much of America's history includes systemic racism, teaching it has been restricted and at least 28 states. According "the New York Times" and the nonprofit educational news outlet Chalkbeat.

Attendees say the crowd here was so upset they screamed and threw things at board members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're teaching children to hate others because of their skin color. And you're forcing them to lie about other kids gender. I am disgusted by your bigotry and your depravity. It's time to replace (INAUDIBLE).

SERFATY (voice-over): One attendee was even arrested by police for allegedly threatening to hurt someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, I'm all for ...

SERFATY (voice-over): The San Diego County Board meeting on vaccines it's just one more example of how children are being placed front and center in these debates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your children and your children's children will be suffocated. They will be asked how many vaccines have you had? Have you been a good little Nazi?

SERFATY (voice-over): Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Washington.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: And earlier CNN spoke with U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona about cutting through the political noise and making sure that kids can learn safely. He says he believes that it is possible for schools to reopen safely but says that it will require cooperation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIGUEL CARDONA, U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: We did this last year. You know, I was commissioner of a state last year and we reopened schools by working well together, communicating regularly. We're prepared, the Department of Education, to work with every state, every governor to do what we can to support their safe reopening. We've done a lot at the department in terms of handbooks and guidance. We really need to work together to keep our students safe, number one, and learning in the classroom. As I said earlier, they have suffered enough, they have been disrupted. We can't let this year be another year of disruption.


CHURCH: Cardona also pointed out that wearing a mask isn't just about parents keeping their child safe, it's also about protecting the people around them who might have a disability or be more vulnerable to the virus.

Well, just ahead here on CNN, this former Marine is accused of killing four people he didn't know including a 3-month-old baby. Hear what he told police about the shootings.



CHURCH: Actor Michael K. Williams has died at the age of 54. Williams was best known for his work in television most notably his role on "The Wire."


MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Hey look, I ain't going to put my gun on no citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a moral, are you not? You are feeding off the violence and despair of the drug trade. You are stealing from those who themselves are stealing the life blood from our city. You are a parasite who leaches off --

WILLIAMS: Just like you, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- a culture of drugs. Excuse me?

WILLIAMS: I got the shotgun. Got the briefcase. It's all a game though, right?


CHURCH: Authorities found Williams dead in his home on Monday with drug paraphernalia near his body. The award-winning actor had spoken openly about his struggle with substance abuse in the past. Celebrities and fans have taken to social media to praise the complexity and humanity Williams brought to his roles.

His "Wire" co-star Wendell Pierce wrote: The depth of my love for this brother could only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss.

Director James Gunn remembers Williams as one of the most talented, kind, sweet and gentle souls he's ever met. And actor Alec Baldwin, his co-star in "The Public" remembered Williams as a raw and powerful actor. An investigation into the cause of his death is ongoing.

In Florida a former Marine charged with fatally shooting four people he didn't know including a baby is be held without bond. 33-year-old Brian Riley told police that God told him to do it. CNN's Nick Valencia is following the story and a warning, the details in his report are disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sheriff says these people were begging for their lives, why did you shoot them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? Why did you do this?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His eyes closed and hands cuffed behind his back 33-year-old Bryan Riley ignored questions from reporters as he was led into the back of a police car on his way to jail.

The Polk County sheriff says that the former Marine confessed to shooting several people at this Lakeland, Florida home, but they still don't know why. Four people were killed, including a 33-year-old woman and her 3- month-old.

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: We had a madman with a lot of guns that shot and killed innocent people.

VALENCIA (voice-over): When sheriff's deputies arrive at the horrific scene early Sunday, they saw a truck on fire and they say they encountered Riley in front of a home outfitted in camouflage and body armor. The suspect then quickly retreated inside before police say they heard a woman scream followed by gunshots and the whimper of a baby.

Oh my God Bullet holes and broken glass showed the aftermath of the shootout with law enforcement. Riley eventually surrendered after being shot at least once.


JUDD: We're not dealing with a traditional criminal here. But what we're dealing with is someone who obviously had mental health issues at least this last week, had PTSD, and whether or not we follow that back to the military, we don't know.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Riley spent four years as an active-duty Marine, a designated sharp shooter who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent another three years as a Marine reservist. According to the Polk County sheriff's office, Riley's fiancee told police the combat veteran's PTSB had become noticeably worse this last week. She said he was acting erratically and according to an affidavit had recently come home after working as a security guard at a church to say he believed he could speak directly to God. Adding to the disturbing details, police say Riley confessed that he shot the infant because I'm a sick guy.

A self-described survivalist, police say Riley admitted to being high on meth during the killings. At this stage of the investigation, police say there is no known connection between the victims and the suspect.

JUDD: If he had given us the opportunity, we should have shot him up a lot but he didn't because he was a coward.

VALENCIA: In his first court appearance riley was denied bond by a judge. He is being held on four counts of first-degree murder. What police want to figure out now, is if there's any relation or connection between the suspect and the family he's accused of killing. What they do know is that the suspect drove 45 minutes from his own home initially arriving at that Lakeland residence sometime Saturday evening. He left before police were able to arrive only to return nine hours later to carry out his shooting rampage.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


CHURCH: A 6-year-old girl was fatally injured in an amusement park ride in Colorado. The accident occurred Sunday at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The child was on the park's haunted mine drop attraction which plunges riders more than 33 meters underground. The nature of the girl's injuries was not immediately available. An autopsy is scheduled for this week.

Well, future relations with Afghanistan are the focus of a key meeting in Doha. These are live pictures where U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have been meeting with their Qatari counterparts. Qatar played a critical role in the massive evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.

Meantime, the Taliban appear closer to announcing a new government. A spokesman says that will likely come in a few days adding that a caretaker government may be needed. The Taliban also claim that they have taken complete control over the final stronghold of resistance, the Panjshir Province. But the leader of the National Resistance Front, and anti-Taliban group, says that the fight is not over. And he's calling on Afghans to join a national uprising.

And just a short time ago a large crowd turned out in protest on the streets of Kabul including women, mostly women in fact, speaking out against the Taliban rule.

CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Riley joins us now live from Doha. He was at that news conference that we were just explaining to you. Sam, talk to us about what we've learned so far.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the key issue in terms of the immediate American policies to try to get their own citizens and holders of Special Immigration Visas out of the country is that Secretary Blinken admitted that they didn't know how much SIV holders had gotten out already, that that is information that will be coming out in the future. The other Afghans at risk would be processed. And he would hold the Taliban to any and every promise they've made to allow them to travel.

On Americans particularly allegations from Republican Congressmen and others that Americans being held quote/unquote hostage in Mazar-i- Sharif, a northern city in Afghanistan where there are several charter planes waiting to take people out of the country, Ben unable to take off. He was -- he went to great effort to stress that this was not a hostage situation, that he didn't really blame the Taliban for this, indeed he hinted that this was a problem really with the processing of documents largely because they don't have from State Department any representatives on the ground to check the backgrounds of people, make sure their documents are valid. And of course, security checks for getting people on to aircrafts, also rudimentary following the Taliban takeover.

So, trying to put to sleep any suggestion that the Taliban there are behaving badly or holding people hostage in any way at all.


He didn't get the chance to comment on these demonstrations by women in Kabul, not least the allegations towards the end of these demonstrations close to the presidential palace, that these demonstrations had been broken up by gunfire into the air and violent actions by the Taliban after some time indeed in which the Taliban have been escorting many hundreds of these demonstrators without incident. Seemed to have focused with extreme problems around the presidential palace with we've heard reports of the arrest of journalists and confiscation of equipment.

So, a negative development there on the ground and something that the Taliban will immediately come under pressure for because they have promised to respect international norms in terms of human rights and the free media.

CHURCH: All right, Sam Kiley bringing us the very latest from Doha covering that critical news conference there about future relations with Afghanistan. Many thanks to you.

Well, we are now learning that the U.S. helped four American citizens flee Afghanistan over land. A State Department official says it's the first time that's happened since the withdrawal of U.S. troops one week ago. A lawmaker says the Americans were a woman and her three children from Texas and described their difficult journey from Kabul to a border crossing which forced them to pass through more than 20 Taliban checkpoints.

Well, up next, how California Governor Gavin Newsom is leaning on one crucial group to help him survive a recall vote. And what he's saying to motivate fellow Democrats to go to the polls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Trump is still alive all across this country. Is it any surprise the entire Trump organization is behind this recall, behind Larry Elder for governor.




CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, California voters have one more week to decide whether to keep Governor Gavin Newsom in office. And as the campaign to recall him comes down to the wire, the support of one crucial group may be the key to defeating his main opponent Republican Larry Elder. CNN's Kyung Lah explains.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Let's vote no, no, hell no, no, no, hell no, no, no, hell no.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a sweltering Labor Day weekend, California Governor Gavin Newsom rallied the foot soldiers who fought for him before, leaning on organized labor to keep him on the job.

NEWSOM: We embrace unions. We embrace social justice, racial justice, economic justice. All of those things are at risk if we don't turn out the vote on September 14th.

LAH (voice-over): That's the last day to vote in the Republican-backed recall of the Democratic governor. The Los Angeles Federation of Union says it spent $2 million to protect Newsom, calling half a million voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?


LAH (voice-over): Union member Hugo Soto-Martinez, son of immigrants, has helped knock on 60,000 doors in Los Angeles, aiming to hit 100,000 before voting ends.

HUGO SOTO-MARTINEZ, UNITE HERE LOCAL 11: Organized labor has been key in making sure this becomes a deep blue state. So, the values of the state reflect the union values. And those are workers. Those are immigrants. Those are people who work for a paycheck in this country.

LAH (voice-over): National Democrats boosting Governor Newsom this holiday weekend have called the recall an attack on unions.

From Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren --

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): The SEIU, all the unions are in the house.

LAH (voice-over): -- to Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Vote no on this recall.

LAH (voice-over): The Newsom campaign says unions have contributed $14 million to fight his recall, a worthy investment, believes union member Shavon Moore-Cage.

SHAVON MOORE-CAGE, AFCSME LOCAL 36: I am for Gavin Newsom. And so, whatever I have to do to keep him in office, to keep the people empowered, I'm going to do that. Larry Elder doesn't represent everybody. He doesn't represent all colors and all nationalities. He may say he does, but his action speaks louder than words.

LAH (voice-over): Republican challenger and conservative radio host Larry Elder has slammed the union money backing the governor, especially the California Teacher Association.

LARRY ELDER, CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL MEMBER: The number one obstacle to school choice is the teacher's union. What's the number one funder of my opponent? Teacher's union.

LAH (voice-over): It's a criticism the governor brushes off, especially with just over a week to go before the election.

NEWSOM: It's about energy. It's about boots on the ground, door knocking. It's about text messaging. It's really about turnout. Labor knows how to turn out.

LAH (voice-over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: Well, a big win for Team Europe in Golf. Plus, the latest Action from the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. Patrick Snell has our minute in sports -- Patrick.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well thanks, Rosemary. Europe's golf is celebrating their own very special piece of history in Ohio, after sealing a victory against Team USA in the Solheim Cup. A famous win indeed secured when Matilda Castren rolled in a clutch putt at the last to claim victory over the USA's Lizette Salas. And what a moment there for the Finnish player. And just look at these European celebrations now back-to-back Solheim Cup triumphs for them. This now just their second win on American soil.

And the U.S. Tennis Open in New York City, Novak Djokovic moving one step closer to completing a Grand Slam sweep and a record 21st men's major title. The world number one seeing off young American Jensen Brooksby in four sets, to book his spot in the last eight.

The dream run of the British teen, Emma Raducanu, continuing after the 18-year-old straight set victory over the USA Shelby Rogers.

[04:55:00] And doctors in Sao Paulo treating Brazilian football legend Pele, say the 80-year-old is recovering well in hospital after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his colon on Saturday. We certainly wish him all the very best at this time. Rosemary, it's back to you.


CHURCH: Thank you so much, Patrick, appreciate it.

Well, a ground-breaking surgery in Israel has given one-year-old twin girls a precious gift. For the first time in their lives, they are able to see each other face-to-face. These little girls were born conjoined at the back of their heads. They were separated Sunday after a grueling surgery that took more than 12 hours. The lead doctor gave an update during the procedure.


MICKEY GIDEON, CHIEF PEDIATRIC NEUROSURGEON, SOROKA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER (through translator): The neurosurgery part of the surgery of the twins' separation has ended. We have done the reconstruction of the brain membrane. A reconstruction of the skull and now the plastic surgeons continue the surgery for the sealing of the skin. To our delight, everything went as we had hoped.


CHURCH: The girls' surgery took months of preparation. The hospital says it's the first separation of its kind in Israel and only the 20th ever performed in the world. Simply remarkable.

Thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter anytime @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans is up next. You're watching CNN, have a wonderful day.