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Chicago Police Union Chief Tells Officers to Defy Vaccine Mandate; Murdaugh Charged with Stealing Money from Housekeeper's Estate; Oil Hits $82 a Barrel, Highest Price in Seven Years. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 10:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: It's in that day in Chicago, where municipal workers must now show that they are vaccinated or they won't get paid. The city's police union president is urging officers to defy the mayor's order. He estimates that about half the rank and file won't be working as a result.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus joins me now with the latest. So, Adrienne, what does this mean? Does it mean cops aren't going to show up on the beat and how does the city deal with that?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's the big question, is how does the city deal with this if officers do not show up. The city's mayor, Lori Lightfoot, says there is a contingency plan, but right now, city leaders are worried, so much so the city is seeking injunctive relief against the fraternal order of police and its president.

Now, once CNN is able to review that complaint, we will have a better idea, a better understanding of what the city is actually seeking. But I do want to share part of the mayor's statement with you. She said in part, Catanzara, and that is the union president, is encouraging an unlawful strike and work stoppage which carries the potential to undermine public safety and expose our residents to irreparable harm, particularly during an ongoing pandemic, this after the union president has pushed back, telling his members this mandate is illegal.

Jim, as you mentioned, today is the day city employees, not just police, but all city employees must disclose their vaccination status. If they don't comply with this mandate, they will go on unpaid leave. Also, those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing.

Listen in to what the president had to say.


JOHN CATANZARA, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: If we suspect a number and we get a large number of our members who stand firm on their beliefs that this is an overreach and they're not going to supply the information in the portal or submit to testing, then it's safe to say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend coming up.


BROADDUS: Meanwhile, COVID killed four Chicago police officers in 2020 and its former union president earlier this month.



SCIUTTO: It's quite an ultimatum to declare. Adrienne, thanks so much.

Well, health care workers in Texas who were fired over their vaccination status are now demanding their jobs back. Houston Methodist was one of the first hospital systems in the country to institute a vaccine mandate for staff back in June. But this week, Governor Greg Abbott signed a ban on those mandates. Now, an attorney the 153 employees who were eventually fired says that makes the hospital's policy.

Dr. Marc Boom joins me now to discuss. He is the president and CEO of Houston Methodist. Dr. Boom, thanks so much for joining us.

Yours was the first hospital to require employees to get vaccinated. By the way, health care workers are on the front lines of this and, really, at the greatest risk in many cases of contracting this. Now, you have the governor's ban. You're not backing down. What happens now?

DR. MARC BOOM, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITAL: You know, I'm really proud of our employees who have all stepped forward and done the right thing. We completed our mandate on June 7th, which means, so as of June 7th, 100 percent of our employees were compliant with the mandate. We lost about 0.6 percent of our employees, so those were the ones you referenced. I'm very proud of them.

And so this doesn't affect us dramatically in the short-term but, of course, affects new hiring for institution, but it really puts hospitals across the state of Texas in a confusing and difficult position as they try to sort this out versus federal mandates and as they try to finish implementing their mandates.

And the reason we mandate in health care because we have a sacred obligation to keep our patients safe. And we have had a long history of doing things like this if flu shots, for example. And then this is no different and we should be mandating this across hospitals.

SCIUTTO: I'm curious about the conversations you have with these employees still refusing because we know that vaccines save lives, right, they keep people out of the hospital. We also know that health care workers often face the greatest risk. I'm sure you sat down with these folks and said, hey, this protects you. What's their response?

BOOM: Yes. It's been one of the really frustrating things. I'm a primary care physician as well, so I've made many conversations throughout my career around vaccines. And it just shows the depth of the misinformation out that is there and unfortunately that people oftentimes buy into that misinformation.

SCIUTTO: So, what do you do about it now? I mean, they could win this case. I don't know. I suppose the argument going on now, right, is that federal law should supersede state law here, and you do have those federal mandates. But what happens next with this particular case? If you have to take them back, what do you do?

BOOM: Well, let me be clear, they had their day in court. They lost. Judge Hughes was very, very clear. We are an at-will employment state. They left over four months ago. So I'm not really concerned about that issue, quite frankly.

Going forward, and we do have a little bit of an issue as we think through who we handle new employees, but ultimately, the federal laws are going to supersede this. From a hospital perspective, all of the hospitals are going to be required by CMS, which administers all the Medicare and Medicaid payments to have a mandated place. Ultimately, that's a dramatic portion of each hospital's revenue base. We followed CMS rule across the board for many other things, and those will supersede any state regulations that in place.

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, we know you're still starting a battle, Dr. Boom, you and your staff. So, we wish you the best of luck.

BOOM: Thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: Still ahead this hour, Alex Murdaugh is facing new charges now, alleged felonies that he committed after his former housekeeper's death. We're going to be live in South Carolina, next.

And there is lots going on today. Here's what to watch.



SCIUTTO: Well, right now, a once prominent attorney in South Carolina, Alex Murdaugh, is back in jail after being charged with two felonies, this time he is accused of stealing millions of dollars in settlement funds that were intended for the family of his longtime housekeeper. Gloria Satterfield died in an alleged trip-and-fall accident at Murdaugh's home in 2018. But one of the attorneys for Satterfield just told me last hour her cause of death does not add up.


RONALD RICHTER, ATTORNEY FOR GLORIA SATTERFIELD'S ESTATE: There's nothing natural about a 57-year-old woman falling down a flight of steps and suffering injuries that caused her ultimate demise. That is not a natural death. And so I think those circumstances alone combined with the other, you know, suspicious deaths on the Murdaugh property were enough to cause our state law enforcement to reopen that investigation.


SCIUTTO: CNN's Amara Walker, she's live in Beaufort, South Carolina, just outside the courthouse there. So, Amara, tell us the latest. I mean, there's another page turning in this case every day. And what do Murdaugh's attorneys say in response to all this?

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, another twist in this saga, Jim. So, right now, we know that Alex Murdaugh is in custody in Orange County, Florida. He's waiting to be extradited to Beaufort County, South Carolina, here to appear in a bond hearing sometime early next week.


That is what his attorney is telling ABC News.

Now, this is the second time Alex Murdaugh has been arrested just this past month. He now faces two new felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. These charges, as you were mentioning, focus on his housekeeper, his late housekeeper of 25 years, Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2018 after what was described as a trip-and-fall accident in the Murdaugh family home.

The allegation is that he stole more than $4 million in insurance settlement funds that were supposed to go to Satterfield's family. This is according to the Erica Bland, the attorney for Gloria Satterfield's estate.

Now, we heard from one of Alex Murdaugh's attorneys, Dick Harpootlian, on Good Morning America a few moments ago, and he said that his client intends to cooperate in this investigation.


DICK HARPOOTLIAN, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING ALEX MURDAUGH: He has indicated clearly that he is going to try to right every wrong, financial wrong, and others that he may have committed. Look, he's reconciled to the fact he's going to prison. He understands that. He's a lawyer, was a lawyer for 25 years. He gets it.


WALKER: Now, in this interview, he also said that Alex Murdaugh denies any involvement or any knowledge in the murders of his wife and son. And as you know, Jim, Alex Murdaugh, this prominent lawyer who comes from a powerful line of prosecutors in the low country of South Carolina, he has been embroiled in so many investigations and scandals. And this murder happened in June. His wife and son found shot dead outside their Islandton, South Carolina estate.

And what we're learning now is that Alex Murdaugh was a person of interest from the get-go. Those are the words from one of his other attorneys, Jim Griffin, who spoke with CNN affiliate WHNS. And he said, look, Alex Murdaugh should not be considered a person of interest because his home was never searched, they never found any blood or weapons or any forensic evidence.

But, look, you know, we should make clear that Alex Murdaugh has not been charged in connection to the murders of his wife and son. SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, also has not publicly said that Alex Murdaugh is a person of interest, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Amara Walker, thanks so much for the update.

Coming up next this hour, gas prices in the U.S. are up more than a dollar from a year ago when the prices were depressed by the pandemic, crude oil up to a seven-year high now. A look at how the energy crunch is affecting countries around the world, just ahead.



SCIUTTO: The price of oil hit a new seven-year high today, $82 a barrel, just one symptom of global energy crunch from a shortage in India, skyrocketing prices for natural gas in the U.K. Here is a look from our correspondents around the world.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Hi. I'm Nina Dos Santos in London where across the U.K., the government, companies and consumers are getting increasingly concerned about a fuel crisis amid rising prices of hydrocarbons.

Now, the main pressure point appears to be this particular commodity, natural gas. These prices by some estimates have soared 425 percent so far this year and by those same estimates are reckoned to be up about 740 percent versus this time last year. This as the U.K. economy, like other parts of the world, roars back into full steam following the pandemic.

The government is coming under pressure and criticism for not having done enough to try and protect the U.K. from these rising prices, locking down contracts early enough. About 12 suppliers have already gone out of business. And it's not just gas that is worrying people, electricity prices are also branded astronomical by a number of manufacturers.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sam Kiley in Moscow, where the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has once again been trying to explain to the international community why is it that Russia seems unable to meet the export requirement for natural gas into Europe, where there's been a burgeoning need for increased supplies following the recovery from COVID. This is causing, of course, spiraling prices.

But the Russian president insisting that the expansion of Russian exports has been at least 10 percent. But once again repeating that this would be a lot easier to deliver on if the Europeans gave permission for the Nord 2 Gas Stream, the pipeline into Germany, which so far the Europeans see as a potential strategic strangle point that they would offer to the Russian president if it went ahead.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: I'm Vedika Sud in New Delhi. With coal stocks dropping to critically low levels, India could soon be on the brink of an electricity crisis in the coming months. Over the past week, we've seen as many as nearly half of the 135 coal-fired power plants in Asia's third largest economy left with just two days or less of coal supplies, according to a recent report released by India's central electricity authority.

With the economy opening up energy demand is soaring but supplies are keep keeping up, the Indian government says there is enough coal to meet demand and they're making sure to reach the power plants.


But state leaders from across the country are warning that key regions, including the capital, New Delhi, will be hit hard if they force to resort to power cuts.

SCIUTTO: The ripples of rising energy prices around the world. Thanks very to all our correspondents.

Thanks so much to all of you for joining us today. I hope you get a break this weekend. I'm going to try to get one. I'm Jim Sciutto.

At This Hour with Kate Bolduan starts right after a quick break.