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UAW Resumes Negations With Automakers; Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Fatally Shot Inside His Patrol Car; Death Toll In Libya Expected To Go Higher; Rescue Operations Continue In Libya; Sizable Discrepancy Over The Death Toll In Libya; NATO Chief: Must Prepare For A Long War In Ukraine; Zelenskyy Expected To Meet With U.S. Senators On Capitol Hill; Biden Expected To Meet With Netanyahu And Zelenskyy; Interview With Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State And Congressional Candidate For Maryland Joel Rubin (D); Trump Says He's Not Worried About Going To Jail; Sudden Storm Tramps Dozens Of Drivers On Flooded Atlanta Streets. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired September 17, 2023 - 14:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

There is a new round of talks today between striking auto workers and representatives from two of the big three carmakers. The historic strike is now entering its third full day. Today's talks are expected to be with Ford and General Motors. The UAW said it had "reasonably productive talks" when it met with Ford yesterday.

And for the first time ever, workers are striking at plants from GM, Ford and Stellantis all at the same time. Workers say they want big pay raises and other benefits after years of concessions during rough times for the industry. The carmakers say despite big profits in recent years, the raises being demanded would drive them out of business. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is at a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan.

Vanessa, what are we learning about, the talks and whether anyone there on the picket line is at all optimistic?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Ford and General Motors back at the negotiating table today with the UAW in Detroit. Stellantis says that it's talking a pause today and getting back to the table on Monday.

We heard from UAW president, Shawn Fain, on several morning shows, he said that he believes that the sides are still far apart and progress has been slow. He also said that he is rejecting offers of 20 percent, these are the historic offers that the big three say they're making, rejecting those. He wants to see 40 percent in wage increases over the next four years of this contract.

I want to bring in Cheryl Webb-Williams. She's actually one of these 600 workers that was impacted in terms of Ford laying 600 people off because of the ripple effect, because some union members here were told to go on strike.

Sheryl, I want to ask you, you know where negotiations stand. You know what the union is asking for. You know what the automakers have put on the table. What do you think is a fair place to end up in these negotiations?

CHERYL WEBB-WILLIAMS, FORD EMPLOYEE: I think Shawn Fain did a great job starting high because you leave room for negotiations. I know Ford is offering 20 percent. I think around maybe 36 percent is fair.

YURKEVICH: And fair based on what in your mind?

WEBB-WILLIAMS: Fair based on workers not having to work two and three jobs just to support their families. That we work hard -- middle- class, we work hard so that we could send our children to college, make a better life for themselves, as well as for others that surround them.

YURKEVICH: You are one of the impacted workers that Ford had to lay off because of the folks in here that were told to strike. Are you aware if you're getting strike pay, unemployment to pay the bills?

WEBB-WILLIAMS: Well, as of now, the union is -- we did sign up today for strike pay. So, we will be receiving strike pay.

YURKEVICH: How long are you willing to wait this out?

WEBB-WILLIAMS: Well, because this is a huge contract, this here is historical, I believe that, you know, however long it takes to make a difference. EVs are coming. I'm hoping for job security. So, not just pension, not just COLA, not just end in tears, but job security.

YURKEVICH: You want to be here for the long run?

WEBB-WILLIAMS: I want to be here for a while. Until it is time for me to retire.

YURKEVICH: Cheryl Webb-Williams, thank you so much for your time.

WEBB-WILLIAMS: Thank you so much, Vanessa.

YURKEVICH: Thank you. So, Fred, we're hearing from Biden administration officials that acting labor secretary, Julie Su, and senior White House adviser, Jean Sperling, have been involved in negotiations and talks. But they actually plan on coming to town early this week. We know that President Fain has said that he wants the administration to really stay out of this, but President Biden has sent these two officials to town to try to get these three automakers and the union on the same page and getting a deal done as soon as possible. Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Vanessa Yurkevich in Michigan, thank you so much for that. Well, earlier today on "State of the Union," Jake Tapper spoke with former vice president and now Republican presidential hopeful Mike Pence about the auto workers strike and this is some of that exchange.



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You blame the strike on President Biden's policies. Most Americans, 75 percent according to Gallup, support the strikers. As a general principle, do you think it is fair that the CEO of General Motors makes 362 times what a typical GM employee makes?

MIKE PENCE, U.S. FORMER VICE PRESIDENT AND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let met me say what I don't think is fair, is that Joe Biden has put forward an economic agenda from the very outset that launched the worst inflation in 40 years. I mean, literally, the cost- of-living has gone up almost 17 percent since we left office. Their war on energy has caused gasoline prices to go through the roof, and I have to doubt in my mind that all those hard-working auto workers are living in the same reality every other American is living in, and that is wages are not keeping up with inflation.

I also think that this green agenda that is using taxpayer dollars to drive our automotive economy into electric vehicles is understandably causing great anxiety among UAW members. These guys are seeing the green new deal that -- you know, that was passed under the guise of an Inflation Reduction Act, you're seeing it driving their industry into electric vehicles, benefiting China that makes most of our batteries. And I think they're pushing back rightly.

And I also think the American people stand behind them in the numbers that you suggest because we're all living in the failed reality of Bidenomics today, Jake.

TAPPER: But there's also this issue of general fairness in 1965, during this era of the great middle-class expansion in the United States, CEOs made 20 times what their typical workers made. But as I noted to you know, the CEO of GM makes 362 times what her typical employees make. I just want to make sure I get an answer from you. Is that OK? Do you think that is fair?

PENCE: Well, I think that ought to be left to the shareholders of that company. I'm somebody that believes in free enterprise. I think those are decisions that could be made by shareholders and creating pressure, and I'll fully support how these publicly traded companies operate.

You know, I'm not interested in government mandates or government bullying when it comes to those kinds of issues. And I got to tell you, I don't think it is about the usual fault lines of the difference in salaries between white-collar and blue-collar, I think it's that every day Americans out there working hard are living in the midst of the failed policies of Bidenomics.

TAPPER: Inflation has been horrible, no question. But their wages haven't gone up since the auto bailout in 2008. Meanwhile, the CEOs, their wages have gone up 40 percent in the last five years. That's what the union workers say as to why they are striking. I guess just a question here, do you side with the CEOs or do you side with the union here?

PENCE: I side with American workers. I side with all American families. I side with the people of this country, Jake, that are living under the failed policies of the Biden administration.


WHITFIELD: President Biden's position on the strike is in stark contrast of that. He says, while no one wants a walkout, the big automakers should go further to ensure record numbers mean record contracts for the workers.

All right. And now, to the investigation into the shooting death of a Los Angeles sheriff's deputy. Officials say 30-year-old Ryan Clinkunbroomer died after being shot inside of his patrol car last night. They're calling the killing an ambush. CNN's Camilla Bernal joining me right now with more on this.

Camilla, what are you learning?

CAMILLA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred. This was a deputy on duty, in uniform and very, very close to the sheriff's station where he worked. This happened last night at around 6:00 p.m. in Palmdale, which is about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. And Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who see right there, was just 30 years old. The sheriff saying that he was found unconscious by a good Samaritan and they took him to the hospital, but was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Now, Sheriff Robert Luna is saying that all of the resources that the department has are being devoted to finding the person responsible for this. This is what they're focused on, finding who did this. Here is the sheriff.


SHERIFF ROBERT LUNA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT: We need to get this guy off the street, guy or guys. He's a public safety threat. He ambushed and killed, murdered one of our deputies. We need your help to get him off the street.


BERNAL: And the sheriff said this does appear to be targeted. He said it could be just because he was wearing a uniform. Now, he did also say that they're in the very early stages of this investigation. And as you heard there, they're asking for help from the public.


Now, I do want to mention that Ryan Clinkunbroomer was a third generation working for the department. His father served at the sheriff's department, his grandfather as well. He just had gotten engaged just four days ago. So, the sheriff saying that he was just starting out his life in that sense. So, of course, this is a community in mourning and a department in mourning.

But they are, again, really focused on trying to find the person responsible. This is not the first time this happens. Just three years ago here in Los Angeles, two deputies were shot, ambush-style, while they were in their patrol car waiting at a train station. And there are many of these incidents. Just this year, 2023, there's been about 83 ambush-style assaults or attacks on police officers resulting in 101 officers throughout the country being shot, and that resulted in 15 fatalities. This is according to a report from the Fraternal Order of Police.

So, this is not the first. And again, here in Los Angeles, they are now focused on finding the person responsible, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Terribly sad and tragic. Camilla Bernal, tell us more who you get more information about all of these unanswered questions.

BERNAL: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, overseas in Libya, rescue operations continue after devastating floodwaters ravaged the coastal town of Derna. Workers believe many bodies were washed out to sea. We'll have an update.

Plus, a stark warning, NATO secretary general saying the world must prepare for a long war in Ukraine. Hear why. And new video shows the brutality of that long war for Ukrainians. Stay with us.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. There is a sizable discrepancy now over the death toll in Libya. The United Nations says more than 11,000 are dead after devastating floodwaters ravaged the coastal town of Derna last week. But the Libyan government says it's documented a little over 3,000 deaths. Now, those numbers are expected to rise as aid workers say hope of finding any survivors is dwindling.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports from Derna.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Libyan and international teams have been working tirelessly out at sea trying to recover the bodies of the thousands of victims of last week's catastrophic event that hit the city of Derna.

And we have seen Libyan teams here trying their best to try to get out to sea to try and reach the bodies of those victims. But what we are hearing from the international teams that have been working on this for days now is that this has become a near impossible mission. They say that -- one team told us that they were able to recover more than 60 bodies since they got here. But right now, they are not able to do this anymore. This one team says they spotted the bodies of about 300 people. But the conditions are so challenging out there for them, they say that they don't have the right equipment to reach these really hard to reach areas, coves where these bodies have ended up, shallow waters where the boats can't go and they just don't have the equipment and the expertise, the man power to deal with a situation like this.

And what they're telling us is while they did spot these bodies over the past couple of days, right now, those bodies have disintegrated into remains that they just cannot reach, they cannot retrieve because of the health hazard, and this is absolutely devastating for the so many families, survivors here in Derna who we've been speaking to, who have told us all they want is to find the bodies of their loved ones or their remains to give them a proper burial.


WHITFIELD: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much.

And if you would like to help those impacted by the flooding in Libya, go to



WHITFIELD: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is expected to meet with all U.S. senators on Capitol Hill this Thursday. And this comes as Congress is deciding whether to fund additional aid in Russia's war against Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is warning there may not be a quick end to this war. And the International Community needs to be prepared for that.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen reports from Kyiv on Ukraine's assessment of their counteroffensive.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Fredricka. Well, the Ukrainians certainly believe they have a little bit of momentum going on. They say that they're consolidating some of the gains that they have made in the east of the country around Bakhmut, especially south of Bakhmut.

And there was some remarkable video that came out from the Ukrainian forces showing them advancing through the settlement of Andriivka. And, you know, the place can be best described as looking like a moon scape with this utter destruction that we see there. It's a very small settlement to begin with, but certainly, the houses that we can see on that video absolutely reduced to rubble.

The Ukrainians also saying, the ones that are operating in that area, the Russians are now firing a lot of artillery towards that place, obviously trying to stop the Ukrainians from advancing any further. Nevertheless, the Ukrainians say, for them, this is a very important tactical gain that they've made. But of course, it's also important for Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as he's about to head to the United States, both to go to the U.N. General Assembly and to speak with President Biden as well.

And the Ukrainians say, for them, they obviously want more longer- range weapons from the U.S. and its partners, but they also say that, immediately, they need more ammunition, especially artillery ammunition and ammunition for the HIMARS.

In fact, we were able to speak to the deputy defense ministry of this country, and she told us that there are areas on the front lines where the Russians are able to fire 10 projectiles for every one that the Ukrainians could fire. So, big mismatch. And all of that as the Ukrainians are trying to advance.

Nevertheless, Kyiv say that, by and large, they believe that their counteroffensive, while a lot slower than many had predicted and certainly, they would -- certainly, a lot slower than they would hope for, they believe there is a degree of success because the Ukrainians are the one putting pressure on the Russians across the front line while the Russians are on the defensive. Fredricka.


WHITFIELD: Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much in Kyiv.

President Biden has a pretty busy week ahead. He's expected to meet with President Zelenskyy, who will be in the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly. Biden will also meet with Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and this will be their first face-to- face meeting since Netanyahu returned to office. Netanyahu has not received an invitation to the White House since his return to power.

Let me bring in now Joel Rubin. He is the former deputy assistant secretary of state under President Obama and he's also seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in Maryland's Sixth District. Good to see you, Joel.

So, let's start with Netanyahu. Why his meeting with President Biden will be so important and what would be the focus of their conversations, do you think?

JOEL RUBIN (D), FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Fredricka, it's a significant meeting on many levels. First and foremost, Israel is a close American ally, but there's a message here now that President Biden has with Prime Minister Netanyahu that he needs to share, which is that he needs to share which is that he is very concerned about Israel's democracy being pushed in the wrong direction by the prime minister. And so, that's why this meeting is going to be up in New York and it's going to be a tough discussion.

There also some positive discussion points that the president is going to be engaging in related to possible normalization with Saudi Arabia, questions about the Palestinians within a possible deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. So, there's a lot on the plate. But I think the core message is that the president is deeply committed to Israel and he really wants to look at Prime Minister Netanyahu in the eye and say, say, look, you know, you have to straighten out what's happening domestically in Israeli. The Israeli people clearly are not happy with the direction of where the prime minister is taking judicial issues in their country.

WHITFIELD: OK. And now, for Ukraine's President Zelenskyy, I mean, his visit to the U.S. this week will also be very pivotal. I mean, he'll be in New York at the U.N. General Assembly. But then, he's also expected to meet with President Biden in Washington, D.C. and with senators on Capitol Hill. And this comes as a few members of Congress have expressed out loud concerns over continued U.S. funding for Ukraine's war efforts. So, does Zelenskyy, you know, have to make his case once again or make an appeal in a different way when he comes face-to-face with legislators?

RUBIN: Yes. You know, I think that the tragedy of the moment for President Zelenskyy from an American domestic perspective is that we're seeing Republicans in the house threatening a shutdown. And if there are no funds proved in this fiscal year coming up, we're coming up to the deadline in a couple of weeks, that could ensnare Ukraine aid as well.

And so, it's very important for President Zelenskyy to try to make his pitch and say, keep this focus going, keep supporting this supplemental, for example, that the president sent forward. We can't delay aid to Ukraine. We can't be the ones who undermine Ukraine's ability to continue its offensive, and I hope that domestic politics doesn't get in the way of this. It's really an unnecessary self- inflicted wound if we do see the Republicans shut down the government for many reasons, including for the ability of Ukraine to defend itself against Russia.

WHITFIELD: It is a delicate tightrope in a lot of ways, particularly for Ukraine, because even while you have the head of Ukraine's National Security Council who wrote an op-ed this weekend saying, they need better and more consistent western aid.


WHITFIELD: But there is also, you know, the expression from Ukrainians who are saying, we're very appreciative of the aid thus far, but it can't be over. So, how do they do that? How do they, you know, express an appreciation, yet, at the same time say, the war is still not over, we still need your help?

RUBIN: I mean, in the big picture, you know, what we're engaged in as American society right now is defending democracy around the world, defending democracy, certainly, here at home as well, and the president is doing that. But we really need to ensure that we're protecting our allies and that argument appealing to the American self-awareness of our role in the global fight for democracy, that's key.

President Zelenskyy, he's carried that message multiple times here. This is an investment in democracy, it's an investment in American alliances and ultimately, supporting Ukraine advances, American security, it protects our allies in NATO, it keeps Russia at bay, and this is the kind of message that does carry the broad majority support of the United States.

WHITFIELD: OK. Also, I want to shift gears. Let's talk about the catastrophe.


WHITFIELD: You know, the flooding in Libya. I mean, it is just -- it's unbelievable. And it's hard to even see what kind of aid can assist. I mean, what kind of apparatus, equipment could possibly help, you know, in the recovery of the bodies. You just heard our Jomana Karadsheh talk about bodies that were floating at sea and how Libyans don't have the equipment to retrieve them.


You see the, you know, the rubber dingy boats, you know, trying to get through the choppy Mediterranean Sea but to no avail could they recover hundreds of bodies.

How -- what kind of assistance could the U.S. offer? What kind of assistance can, you know, allies offer when you've got this kind of both the meeting of the manmade crisis and natural disaster, Mother Nature's, you know, toll that has taken on all of this. Who can help and at what point, what kind of timeline do you see is possible?

JOEL RUBIN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Yeah. You know, Fredricka, you're bringing all of the right themes together here. I mean, the critical component that's missing is a functioning Libyan government. So, that makes any disaster relief, any international assistance incredibly challenging. We've seen North Africa and Morocco, for example, and in Turkey with the earthquake earlier in the year, functioning governments that we could work with to provide assistance.

But the timing from an international response perspective could be fortuitous? And that there is the U.N. General Assembly this week in New York, a lot of important discussions could take place about extending packages of support and we're going to have to see in any ways outside of government relief efforts be advanced and that means through nongovernmental organizations and that's really a very short- term survival mode.

There has to be work to get political reconciliation in Libya. That is been an ongoing challenge for years. Absent that, we're going to see Band-Aid approaches going forward and the poor suffering of the Libyan people.

You know, I'm glad you mentioned this way. It is just -- it is devastating to watch. This should not be happening. The manmade impact and the floods compounded by the manmade impact of failed governance, it's really devastating.

And so, the U.N., the international community has a role to play in resolving all of the these issues but in the near term, there's very much can be a band-aid approach until a greater international cooperation can come in and provide a package. But we do need a functioning Libyan government ultimately to take care of this humanitarian disaster.

WHITFIELD: Yeah. I mean, this humanitarian disaster on top of so many preceding it, and you mentioned Morocco as one of them.

All right. Joel Rubin, thank you so much.

RUBIN: Thanks, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, what Donald Trump says about the possibility of facing jail time.



WHITFIELD: As former President Trump faces multiple trials over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents, he's now weighing in on possibility that he could face prison time if convicted in any of those cases.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Trump claims that the charges against him are politically motivated and says he isn't worried about the prospect of jail.


KRISTEN WELKER, NBC MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: You're facing four indictments, 91 felony charges.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: If you would say it properly. I'm facing four Biden indictments. He told the Justice Department to indict him, or Merrick Garland said, let's indict him.

WELKER: Let me ask you this, Mr. President.

TRUMP: They indicted their political opponent.

WELKER: I just want to hear from you on this. I want to know what's in your head. When you go to bed at night, do you worry about going to jail?

TRUMP: No, don't, really. I don't even think about it. I'm built a little differently I guess.

These are political -- these are banana republic indictments. These are third world indictments.


WHITFIELD: With me now, Harry Litman, he is a former federal prosecutor and a former deputy assistant attorney general.

Harry, good to see you. So given the seriousness of the charges that the former president is facing, should he be concerned about the real possibility of being sent to prison if convicted?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER FEDERLA PROSECUTOR: Certainly. There's an irony here. He keeps calling it political. In fact, the system is bending over backwards to keep it from being so. And that means they're trying to hard to treat him like any other person.

Well, if he gets convicted and his prospects are strong for being convicted, of crimes that send other people to jail for, say, 10 years, there's almost no way to -- to keep him from going there. He's rolling the dice on a political victory. But back in the legal system -- yes, he's seriously looking at the prospect of time in prison and as unfathomable as it seems, that's the -- that's the direction it's going very strongly in.

WHITFIELD: And he spoke willingly in that interview and, of course, prosecutors are watching every word, whether it be on social media or even during interviews to see if in any way he violates, you know, crossing any line in these cases. And now, we know particularly that we're still awaiting judgment from a judge who has been asked for a limited gag order on Trump to restrict what the former president can say about the national election subversion case, especially as it comes down to intimidating witnesses or prejudicing the jury pool.

So, if a judge does render a decision on that, and does put in place some limited gag on the former president, how would it be enforced?

LITMAN: Little by little until he left her no choice but at the end of the day, what she's really got, the big card she has to play is to revoke his conditions of release and either enormous and multiplying fines or if that doesn't do the trick, time in jail. It's the same kind of dynamic.


It can't be and yet the statements he made just this morning that you -- that you played, Fredricka, are exactly the kinds of things that the DOJ was pointing toward in asking for this gag order. It's poisoning the jury pool potentially, making them think that the justice system is rigged. That's the sort of thing that he's not permitted to do under his conditions of release. And she may take a giant step, it won't be for a few weeks, there's briefing, to say you have to cut this out or else, or else we'll still mean -- she'll want to make it -- to really have her hand forced, but he's just the kind of guy to force her hand, right? That's what we've learned about Trump over the last many years.

WHITFIELD: All right. So you don't think it is a matter of a couple of days but a few weeks before Judge Chutkan makes that -- renders that decision.

LITMAN: Just because there's briefing on both sides. Now, he gets to respond and they'll be a hearing. So, at end of the month is when it will be ripe to decide.

WHITFIELD: All right. Litman, great to see you. Thanks so much.

LITMAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still to come, a dramatic rescue caught on body camera.

Atlanta police officer and an Atlanta fire rescue captain saving a man trapped in they sudden floodwaters right in downtown Atlanta. We talk with both of them next, live.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

And it just happened in little pockets here and there. In fact, the mayor's office said about three hours of rain fell in just 15 minutes.

And it trapped a lot of motorists on flooded streets, including one gentleman who had to be rescued in very dramatic fashion and all it was caught on body camera video. Take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn your head. Turn your head.

What kind of glass is this? Here we go. Come on. I have to break the window to try to get this guy out.

Come on. Come on. Let yourself go. Watch your head. Come on. Watch it. Come on. This way. I got you. I got you.


WHITFIELD: So as unfortunate as that was, that driver was actually very fortunate that it happened right near the Atlanta public service building which was where fire and rescue is. And so we are fortunate enough to have two of the officers here that reported that entire rescue there happening.

Officer Rayanado Bryan Atlanta PD and Captain Terrance Simon with Atlanta Fire Department.

You're here with us now. I mean, close call for that, gentleman.

But talk us through, Officer Brian, exactly what happened? It was the point of view of your body cam video that all of that was happening. So here this sudden rainfall comes in Atlanta and it catches people by surprise because it came with such force and throughout the city there were flooded areas.

At what point, did you realize or hear that the street right outside of your headquarters what so inundated with water there would be a driver there in his vehicle stuck? OFC. RAYANADO BRYAN, ATLANTA POLICE: So, I was traveling on Peachtree

heading to another call when I noticed the stalled vehicle. At that point, I didn't know there was anybody in the vehicle at that time.

The water, I was -- parked the car there to make sure no other vehicle gets stuck in that area. Within a space of seconds, it just started seeing the car started to drift. And then later on I started hearing yelling, that's when I guess captain was there and then that is when I know there was an actual occupant in the car.

WHITFIELD: And then, Captain, how is that you happened to be there or saw what was going on. What happened?

CAPT. TERRANCE SIMON, ATLANTA FIRE RESCUE: My story is a little bit different from officer.


SIMON: I have a co-worker at work Tori Henry, she's the executive assist to our current fire chief, Rodrick Smith, and she notified me that someone hit a tree and so, I just went outside to check it out and I noticed this gentleman was drowning in his car or appeared to be drowning in his car. So I just went into action and attributed that to my training.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's incredible. So, those instincts, thank goodness for your training and those instincts to kick in like that. He obviously looked very shaken. Who wouldn't be?

SIMON: Correct.

WHITFIELD: You know, but then you were able to hear that -- the yelling, you said officer. So you were able to sort of communicate with him so that he knew to either turn away while you hit the glass or talk to me about how that happened?

BRYAN: So, that's right. When I asked, I decided that, you know, I didn't want any glass going on him.


So myself and captain kept saying turn your head away, turn your head away turn, your head away and finally he did. So I was able to actually break the window.

WHITFIELD: And then I saw one of you pulling out -- pulling him out, there. I think that was you, Captain, right? I mean, I cannot imagine what this is like for the driver. But I mean, you all did all of the right things.

Walk me through a moment like that?

SIMON: Well, at that moment it's about getting the victim or citizen out of the car as quickly as possible. Standing water or flood flashes can be dangerous. I'm watching right now I can attribute everything to training, simply that. How well we train in the Atlanta fire and police, and we continue doing so.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, you all had to remain calm which you did. It was still raining. I mean, you could see the condensation on the view of the camera. I mean, there was a lot going on but you had your concentrated efforts on that drive right there to bring him to safety.

SIMON: Right.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, I mean, your training definitely kick again. But then, you know, there really is the compassion that you demonstrated with this gentleman because he didn't know what was going on. How did he do during all this, too? What are the lessons learned?

BRYAN: He actually did really well. He was shaken up, he was fighting for his life inside of that car, and just to know that we were there, it changed his mind very quickly. He knew that he was in the safe space, once we got him out of the car. Correct.

WHITFIELD: What do you want people to learn from this? What should they do? I mean, you know, it's one thing to hear, you know, the instruction -- never go into a drive-through standing water. But this was a moment where it all came so quickly, I was actually on the road, and nearly turned in that direction. See you all might have been rescuing me, too, but, you know, I ended up going left instead of right, because it just got so dark so fast, and it was difficult to see.

So, what is your advice to people, when they encounter conditions like this, the come out of nowhere?

SIMON: My advice is simply this, avoid it. Avoid the flash flooding, and also if you're caught in a precarious position, I would get on top of my car and wait for help.

WHITFIELD: So, we saw some of the video, where that did happen in other parts of the city where people were on top of their vehicles, and waited for help. All great advice.

Officer Rayanado Bryan, Captain Terrance Simon, thank you so much for coming in. Thank you for doing what you do, and helping out that gentleman, and everyone else in so many spontaneous crazy situations that occur, all the time. It's your norm, but for the regular citizenry, it certainly is not. Thank you so much.

BRYAN: Thank you.

SIMON: Thank you for having us.

WHITFIELD: Good to see you both.

All right. All this week, our special "Champions for Change" series, stories that spotlight everyday people who don't make headlines, but smash barriers and inspire others to do the same. Here's a quick preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go, here we go. Go on, let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was about how many people can you help.

ANNOUNCER: Join us for champions for change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel the source of inspiration and pride just coming together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you guys to truly forget the word can't.

ANNOUNCER: As CNN journalists spotlight the change makers who inspire them.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She teaches you to break through that fear, to get to where you need to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It turns out that one human being can do a lot.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: She's opening a door for people that are desperate for freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These aren't throwaway animals, these are precious beings.

ANNOUNCER: See how these community champions use creativity, heart, and grit to lift society up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the music starts, something happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I surround myself with positive people, they help me be that inspiration.

ANNOUNCER: "Champions for Change", all this week, on CNN.



WHITFIELD: All right. A lot of sports action, Coach Prime's. That's how I got to say it. The Colorado team faced their biggest challenge of the season so far and delivered against Colorado State. Deion Sanders has turned his team into the hottest ticket in college football. That's just one of the highlights from a big Saturday night in the sports world.

CNN's Coy Wire joins us with more details.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hey, Fredricka. Colorado went 1-11 last season, this year, three games, three wins. And their coach Deion Sanders does not conform. He wears flashy hats and shades at press conferences.

Well, Colorado State coach Jay Norvell threw some shade. During the week, he said he takes his hats and glasses off when talking to adults because that's what his mom taught him.

Well, Colorado took it personally. The 130-year rivalry got heated. Give the Rams credit, though, they rose to the occasion. Colorado State were up eight with a minute to go. But Deion' son Shedeur Sanders throws a dart to Jimmy Horn Jr., 45-yard touchdown and they got the two-point conversion to tie it at 28.

The game goes into double overtime, check out Shedeur Sanders doing it again. His fourth score of the game to Michael Harrison.

Colorado State had one more shot at an upset. But the ball was intercepted in the end zone. The 18th ranked Buffaloes hang on 43-35 to stay undefeated.

Here's Coach Prime after the game.


DEION SANDERS, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO COACH: To be great, you don't have to -- be resilient. You got to overcome the (INAUDIBLE). And we overcame.

I'm proud of my kids, but I'm proud of this team. This team is phenomenal. (INAUDIBLE) is phenomenal. They were resilient. I mean, we started off playing of like hot garbage. Well, we got it right. And we got the victory in the end, that's all that counts. We've got the W.