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CNN Tonight

First Big Speech Of Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R-FL) Campaign; Heated School Board Meeting Over Teacher Who Showed Animated Disney Film With Gay Character; Virginia Tech Study Of Police Officers First Words In A Traffic Stop Determines The Outcome; New Movie about Barbie And Ken And The real World. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 30, 2023 - 22:00   ET




PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: We are watching Capitol Hill, where Speaker McCarthy is set to speak as he faces criticism from fellow Republicans over the debt deal.

I am going to hand off our coverage to Alisyn Camerota. Hey, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Pam, we will continue to watch that as well. Thank you so much.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota, welcome to CNN Tonight.

So, while Kevin McCarthy t tries to corral Republicans on the debt deal, Ron DeSantis is in Iowa marking the first big speech of his presidential campaign and taking aim at the former president.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Well, now, he is attacking me over some of these disagreements. But I think that he's doing it in a way that the voters are going to side with me.


CAMEROTA: All right. Well, our panel is going to explain how all of this will play with the national audience.

Plus, a new study shows that the first 45 words of police officer says during a traffic stop of a black driver can predict how that encounter will end. I will talk to one of the researchers who discovered the warning signs of a police stop likely to escalate.

And remember the fifth grade Florida teacher who is investigated for showing a Disney movie with a gay character in it? Well, as we speak, there is a heated school board meeting going on where parents and students have a lot to say about all of this. And that teacher is going to join us straight from the board meeting. Just a reminder, here is the controversial scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any sweethearts waiting for you back home, huh? There it is. Who is it?


Diazo, his name is Diazo.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really like him a lot. I just don't know how to tell him.


CAMEROTA: Well, that explains everything.

But let's begin with Governor Ron DeSantis' big first speech of his presidential campaign. Here with me tonight, we have we have Presidential Historian Doug Brinkley, Natasha Alford from TheGrio, Coleman Hughes, host of the Conversations with Coleman podcast, and Scott Jennings, who worked for President George W. Bush. Great to have all of you here.

Okay. So, first, let me play for you guys what Ron DeSantis just said. So, this is his first big speech. He's also, I believe, taking some questions from reporters there. And so he was talking about how President Trump had gone after Run DeSantis for his COVID response, and he said that even Governor Cuomo of New York had handled COVID much better than DeSantis. Here is DeSantis' response to him.


DESANTIS: If you say that Cuomo did a better job with COVID than Florida did, first of, all is not what he used to say. This is like new. Like six months ago, he would have never said that, right. He used to say how great Florida was. Heck, his whole family moved to Florida under my governorship. Are you kidding me?


CAMEROTA: Okay. So, Doug, beyond the entertainment value of watching Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis go after each other, how will this all played nationally?

DOUG BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think DeSantis had such a terrible rollout on Twitter, I mean, a disaster. Iowa is a time for redemption. And he framed everything that he did tonight on American revival, meaning that he is trying to win over evangelical voters.

He's trying to strip them away from Donald Trump, and I was going to be a big deal to caucus Republicans. If anybody can beat Donald Trump in Iowa, meaning DeSantis or anybody else, they have the chance to be the nominee, and coming number two out of Iowa is important.

So, I think DeSantis tonight, for the first time, seems to be in real- time taking some swipes at Trump, particularly saying I would have fired Fauci immediately, playing The Apprentice thing. Why did you keep a guy like Fauci on? And you could see that Fauci is going to become initially an issue. He's suddenly baggage for Donald Trump Fauci and the Republicans fear.

CAMEROTA: Okay. We have a live shot right now of the response right now. This is on Capitol Hill. So, these are Republicans coming out of the debt deal. So, we are waiting to hear what has happened now with all of these negotiations and what is happening in terms of the vote with the debt deal. Let's see if they are going to tell us something right now.

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Thank you everybody for your patience for being here tonight. House Republicans just concluded a very productive and respectful conference meeting. Members from all across the conference shared their support for the important bill and they share their support for Speaker McCarthy's strong and effective leadership. This is a win for the American people and future generations.

Last November, the American people sent a message strongly that they did not support the failed policies and reckless spending of single party Democrat rule. They country entrusted House Republicans with our vision of a commitment to America, to deliver results and rein in out of control spending, causing crippling inflation.


This is a Fiscal Responsibility Act is historic step to restoring fiscal sanity and holding Washington accountable. This will be the largest deficit reduction in history. For the first time in a decade, spending year-over-year will be cut while still providing critical funding for veterans and national defense.

This deal calls back tens of billions of unspent COVID funds, the largest rescission combined in the history of Congress. And this deal will lift millions of Americans out of poverty by strengthening work requirements.

Since earning the majority, House Republicans have been underestimated by the media every day. We have been underestimated by the media this week. But we will be tireless in keeping our promises and delivering results for the American people. And as we do every week, we are going to highlight a freshman, and I am pleased to introduce Derrick Van Orden from Wisconsin.

CAMEROTA: Okay. So, that was just Congresswoman Stefanik speaking about how they have reached this deal. We will hear more as soon as Speaker McCarthy comes out. Natasha, your thoughts as we listen?

NATASHA HORFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's so interesting. I was wondering whether they would unite, because I think that the American people have seen so many moments of the extreme factions of the GOP taking over, right, out talking other members of the party, sort of bringing all of this attention on them, even though their message is about we're doing this for the American people. So, it felt like the stakes were pretty high for the GOP to figure this out. Lest this be a moment where Democrats can sort of spin it and say you are essentially putting the entire country at risk for this ideological opportunity, right, to just sort of beat the drum.

What's interesting to me is the work requirements for the neediest among us, expanding work requirements. It just seems like something that at a time like this when people are still recovering from the effects of COVID and the pandemic, it sends an interesting message about what the priorities are, about who matters.

There are exceptions in there for veterans, for those who are houseless, but it just seems like it's such an interesting thing to make sure that that was a priority that you put people to work when there have been mixed studies and results about whether this actually helps to lift people out of poverty. And why choose that as opposed to maybe taxing the wealthy or doing something else?

So, they have united at a key moment, but, again, there is an opportunity for Democrats to highlight. This is what their priorities are.

CAMEROTA: Scott, as you know, there are a handful of holdouts. The Freedom Caucus doesn't like this deal. So, let me just play for you earlier what they had said about how much faith they had in this.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How much confidence do you have in the speaker right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None, zero. What basis is there for confidence?

RAJU: Is the speaker lying about the way he's characterizing this bill?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's lying.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): If there is a departure from that specific commitment, to have a majority of the majority, then I think that would be trouble for the speaker.


CAMEROTA: Scott, does now their obstruction no matter?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, there's no drama here. It's going to pass by wide margins I think in both the House and the Senate. These people that are criticizing Kevin McCarthy, like he can go out and order the president of the United States to have a position, or order the Democrats who control the Senate to have a position, they need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and understand one thing.

The reason that they don't like this deal is not because Kevin McCarthy, it's because Donald Trump lost the White House and Donald Trump's handpicked candidates for the Senate lost the Senate. That's why you don't like this deal.

So, think ahead here. This is about politics and whether or not you can win elections. It's a miracle that Kevin McCarthy has gotten anything at all, and this is a deal that any Republican should be proud to vote for. But some people in Washington, and the posture, and some people are there to govern.

Kevin McCarthy is there to govern, and he's doing the best he can, controlling one leg of a three-legged stool. I think he's doing a pretty darn good job. And the real issue here is that if you want to do better, win elections. That is the bottom line.

CAMEROTA: Coleman, I mean, there are people who think compromise equals defeat.

COLEMAN HUGHES, HOST, CONVERSATIONS WITH COLEMAN PODCAST: Not at all. I mean, the only people that think at are the super hard-line ideologues who would have been happy to see us default rather than, look, this is our system, right?

We have a Democratic president, GOP controls the House. So, you're going to end up with a compromised position. You're not going to end up -- they say in a negotiation, if one sides leaves completely happy, that's not a negotiation, right?

So, what you're going to going to end up with is a situation where the extremists on both sides are upset, and that is actually a good moderate outcome for the country and we get to issue more debt, and that is a good thing.

CAMEROTA: And what do you think about what they have had to compromise on, which is that they are apparently going to keep spending levels the same for 2024, as they are for this year, and they are still wrangling about the Pentagon budget.


But as Natasha pointed out, they have lots of different priorities and they chose some that won't work for everybody.

HUGHES: Well, who knows what they had to give up in order to get what they wanted. And I think that from what I have just heard, they are doing a little bit of a spin job by saying they're really cutting spending. They're not really cutting it. They're just not increasing it year-over-year. That is not the same as going back to pre-COVID spending levels. I understand why they are doing that spin, but we should understand what it actually is.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Doug?

BRINKLEY: I think Joe Biden did a masterful job of getting this pulled off. I mean -- and it's for two years. So, you don't have to worry about the debt now for 2024. It frees us from being -- having to go through this in the middle of the election cycle. And the American people won. I mean, we are sending these people to Washington to represent us and get things done. And I think that history will teach this Biden and McCarthy, these two

kind of catholic old style leaders in certain ways that they formed a sort of ability to communicate that with each other. And noticed, Biden didn't grandstand a lot. He played it very low. And it might they're going to calling him Basement Joe Biden, the Republicans, but he's starting to get a lot of winds in getting this done is big for Biden.

CAMEROTA: Scott, is that how you see it?

JENNINGS: Well, I mean, with all due respect to the historian, the recent history of Joe Biden on this debt ceiling is for six months, he said that he will not negotiate, I will accept nothing but a clean debt ceiling, he tried his press secretary out every day with that message. And at the end of the day, the reason this negotiation took place is that Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans in the House passed a bill.

They brought Joe Biden to the table, kicking and screaming every day, week after week. There were no talks, nothing, no meetings. Biden insisted there would not be any negotiations at all. And what happened is that he had to negotiate.

And there is a whole checklist of things here than any Republican would be glad to do, clawing back the IRS money, clawing back unspent COVID money, yes, the work requirements, oh, my gosh, we're going to make able-bodied adults work for a living. Be still, my beating heart. I mean, these are great things for Republicans.

They would not have happened if Joe Biden had has his way. So, I really think this is a great win for the underestimated, often underestimated Kevin McCarthy and I think that Biden looks foolish truthfully for saying what he said for so long and having you go to the table.

BRINKLEY: Look, this is just another win for Biden. I mean, he had the American Rescue Plan passed, he had the Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS, he has been able to do bipartisan policymaking through Congress, to, you just said, these are like wing nuts on the right that you just throw under the bus as crazies, and Biden has had to deal with them. And his style of laying back, laying low has worked.

That doesn't mean that I'm criticizing McCarthy. I am not. I think that he's served his party well. I think we can look at both McCarthy and Biden as winners out of this process.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting, because they certainly are acting that way. I mean, the both are taking a victory lap on this, that they've reached, it sounds like, a compromise. So, we'll hear more when Speaker McCarthy comes out. Thank you all for that.

There is also a school board meetings going on right now in Florida that is a very heated. One of the topics is this teacher who showed her faith great class an animated Disney movie with a gay character in it. We have a big update, next.



CAMEROTA: The Hernando County, Florida School Board is holding a heated meeting right now after investigating a teacher who showed the Disney film, Strange World, to her fifth grade class. Now, this is an animated movie about a family of explorers, and it features a teenage character who is gay.

One parents of a child in the class, who also happens to be a member of the school board, complained about this movie, and that triggered not only a school board investigation of the teacher but a review by the Florida Department of Education.

Then, another teacher launched a petition to have that school board member, Shannon Rodriguez, removed from the school board. And tonight, they are all haggling over all of that.

My panel is here with me. Also joining us is the writer, Hari Kondabulo.Gtreat to have you back, Hari. Okay, also, we have that fifth grade teacher, who we've spoken to two weeks ago, Jenna Barbee. She's the one who showed that movie. She's on the phone with us straight from tonight's meeting. She's just left to come out to talk to us. Jenna, great to talk to you.

So, tell us what's happening in this school board meeting? How heated is it?

JENNA BARBEE, TEACHER, WINDING WATERS SCHOOL: Well, it's pretty chaotic. You have two school board members who are on one side with a small group called Moms for Liberty that is very anti-everyone, and then you have a large group of everybody else, and the other three school board members who are fighting for equality among our students.

CAMEROTA: And one of the school board members, as we've discussed, her name is Shannon Rodriguez, she's the person who complained when you showed that Disney movie, and now there's this petition to remove her. Has her fate been decided yet?

BARBEE: No. So, I mean, that's not really how this works. So, in order to do that, you'd have to go through this voting process where you have to get, I'm pretty sure, it's like 80 percent of the votes or something like that. I am not really in the politics like that, but it's not that easy.

CAMEROTA: And do you have any sense of whether or not she's going to lose her position?

BARBEE: So, the most immediate action would be if the governor took her off. But, I mean, he's kind of right on board with her perspectives.

CAMEROTA: Here's her perspective. Let me play for you what she said tonight at the school board meeting about why she doesn't like basically what you did and showing the film, as well as the other curriculum that she thinks is being taught in this school district. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not want to have equity and inclusion in our schools. We want to keep our schools traditional, the way that they were. We don't want any of the woke or the indoctrination. And with that being said --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's the adults that are propagating the racism. It's not the kids doing this. It is teaching racism. They are repackaging CRT and they are just renaming it. So, if you want your kid to learn certain beliefs, send them to that type of school.


But in a public school that is supported by the taxpayer, that should be teaching education, not indoctrination.

So, I will never agree with any of these types of programs. I am not going there and that is not something that I think that our kids are ever going to benefit from. And like I said, I was elected to support our kids and to make sure that our kids get a good education and an education without any of the indoctrination.


CAMEROTA: Okay. Jenna, your thoughts, your response to that?

BARBEE: Well, it's not indoctrination. Like me showing the movie, the movie had a character who talked about his crush. So, it is just showing that it is an accepted thing if you are gay. I don't see what's the problem with that is. That's not a doctor nation. Indoctrination is telling people that they have to have a set of values, or that a set of values is not okay if you take them away. Indoctrination isn't representing equality and representing everyone.

CAMEROTA: And so what were the students -- I understand that there were some students who got up to speak. What were they saying tonight?

BARBEE: Every single student that got up to speak was highly frustrated on the situation, talking about how they deserve to have a choice, and that taking away their right to be represented when they are part of these communities, it's not okay. It's telling them that they're not only -- that not only they not belonging, but that there are adults in power who are telling them that they're not accepted and it's not okay to be who they are.

CAMEROTA: I mean, you and I talked before, two weeks ago, but how are you feeling tonight about the fact that one parent can have a complaint and it sparks an investigation and you have to rethink your curriculum, you have to rethink your career choice. The fact that one parent is allowed to have that kind of power, what are your thoughts on that?

BARBEE: It's scary for all teachers. I mean, they want more teachers to teach but they're not allowing teachers to teach. Instead, they think that we can just teach math, science, social studies and reading. But in order to connect the curriculum to real life, we have to be able to branch off and connect the topics. 90 percent of the socialization of the students get is at school. And by telling teachers that they just have to stick to what the textbook says, I mean, it's literally impossible.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I remember you telling us that you wanted to show that movie because you're very into environmentalism, you're into earth sciences, that's the theme of the movie. But, again, did you know that you are breaking the guidelines when you should that movie?

BARBEE: No. So, I did not even know about the don't say gay bill. I didn't know that it had been extended. I don't know anything about it until all of this happened. And I didn't technically.

And so our process in place per administration was to have a signed parent permission slip at the beginning of the school year. I have that. Two days later, they made it so that every single movie has to have a signed approval brought to admin with his signature, that was because of my situation.

CAMEROTA: And Florida, I mean, from our impression outside of Florida, it's so stringent about these rules. Why wasn't there a memo issued to every classroom from the governor about what your new guidelines were?

BARBEE: So, I guess because it's -- I honestly don't know the answer to that question. I don't know if it's because it's just our county didn't see it as a big deal or something. I honestly do not know the answer to that question.

CAMEROTA: But you never got anything, you never got a memo, you never instructions of what exactly what you could do or show?

BARBEE: No. But I think that the whole state is kind of confused on what exactly does that bill or law represents.

CAMEROTA: Yes, understood. Well, Jenna Barbee, we will let you get back in there. Thank you very much for taking the time to tell us what is happening right now.

BARBEE: Thank you so much. Have a beautiful evening.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, you, too. And we will be continuing to watch that school board meeting.

Let me bring in my panel now. Guys, great to have you here.

So, Hari, I'll start with you because you are new to our panel. So, very interesting, because this is what we hear from teachers saying that it is almost like they are self-censoring. There's so much confusion in Florida about what they are allowed to do that they decide, well, I just want to touch it. I just want touch it, I wonn't show any movie that I was going to. I won't bring up the conversation because I don't really know what I'm allowed to do. HARI KONDABOLU, COMEDIAN AND WRITER: I mean, first of all, I'm assuming the next school board meeting is when they banned dancing. All that the teacher did, it wasn't even about the acceptance of gay people. It was literally gay people exist.

That is all that that particular scene is showing us, gay people exist. And the idea that people have an issue with a gay people existing in a Disney film, yet they're fine with talking lobsters and mermaids and candles that dance, like that, they have an issue with.

Like when Beauty and the Beast came out, you're not going to boycott that, the clear act of bestiality that's against God's will, yet this is an issue. This is what they want to -- I mean, it's also cruel to all of those children who are LGBTQ in that school who are struggling to exist, who are struggling to come out, and you have a school board debating whether they should be able to exist in school.


CAMEROTA: Let me go to our favorite former teacher, Natasha. I go call upon you so often for this.

So, this school board, as you can imagine, devolving into these heated debates where students are standing up and saying the same thing that Hari just said, like you're trying to stamp out my existence, basically. That's what this -- well, I have it for you. Let me just play quickly what a couple of the students just said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm usually the quiet one who (INAUDIBLE) now I finally feel the need to make my voice heard. The school board has said over and over again that they want what's best for their students. If this is true, why you are allowing rules that make your students feel more and more unwelcome?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instead of representing me and other LGBTQ-plus students, because, yes, we exist, you instead have alienated and made us feel as if our entire existence is an issue to you. My existence should not be an issue to you. But come next election season, my vote will be. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ALFORD: Wow, the children who will lead with strength (ph). I listened to that school board member, and I and just felt this is what anti- intellectualism looks like in America. This is what it looks like when a politician like Ron DeSantis repeats the same talking points again and again and you have a school board member with power who does not truly understand what she is saying.

She is talking about indoctrination, she's talking about the woke agenda. All of these things are misrepresentations of the truth, saying CRT is in our classrooms, absolutely not true. But because she heard Ron DeSantis say it, because she heard Donald Trump say it, now she is exercising power at the local level. And this is what we mean when we say that elections matter. We want teachers to be everything, okay? Teachers have to put their lives on the line for their children at a time where mass shootings are rampant. So, they have to be G.I. Jane in the classroom, but at the same time, they can't show a movie because they could lose their job.

It is just an absolute insanity what we are seeing playing out in our classrooms and you cannot legislate this, right. This is a total violation of what it means to have the American ideal of freedom that we have. This is the opposite of that.

So, I think the children are reacting to that, the teachers are reacting to that, and the idea that it was a teacher who started this petition to get the school board member to stand down makes sense, because teachers are on the frontlines right now.

CAMEROTA: Coleman, your thoughts?

HUGHES: Yes. I think we should step back for a second look at how it is that we got here and why we are seeing situations like this. So, there is a study of FEC data a couple years back in Washington Post, they cited, and it found among high school teachers, there are 87 Democrats for every 13 Republicans.

And among English teachers, it's 97 Democrats for every 3 Republicans. And among health teachers, it is 99 to 1, right? So, there is a big gap between the politics of public school teachers and the politics of the public.

So, inevitably, that is going to create tension, right, because teachers are working for the public. There is a values gap. The question is, how do we address that? Is the right way to address that the Ron DeSantis, Christopher Rufo strategy of trying to write laws that ban every idea that conservative parents don't like? No. We are seeing the results of that play out here with this poor teacher that just wanted to show a silly movie with a gay character. It is sad.

I think the conversation that we should be having is, how do we get some more political balance among our public school teachers so that situations like this don't have to --

CAMEROTA: How do we get more Republicans to want to become school teachers? I mean, that's another question, if that imbalance exist?

We only have ten seconds, your thoughts about why this is taking hold across the country?

BRINKLEY: Because of Ron DeSantis making this woke his main issue in Florida. It's become the ground zero. It is the place where they try to ban books on Rosa Parks for school kids, or a great novelist like Toni Morrison in Florida. And this is just another continuation of the DeSantis war on Disney down there.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, friends.

Meanwhile, tonight, there could be answers about how some police stops with black drivers become violently so quickly. That is next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Can the first few words out of a police officer's mouth determine whether a traffic stop escalates to violence? Yes. A new study finds the traffic stops are much more likely to result in a search, handcuffing, or an arrest when police begin with a command to the driver rather than a question.

Researchers looked at the body cam footage of 577 stops involving black drivers and found that the first 45 words from an officer are critical. Case in point, the first moments when police approached George Floyd reveal how quickly things can escalate.


UNKNOWN: Let me see your hands. Stay in the car. Let me see your other hand.

UNKNOWN: I' sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. cars. Please. Please --

UNKNOWN: Both hands. Put your (BLEEP) hands up right now. Let me see the other hand.

UNKNOWN: All right. I didn't do nothing. What did I do?

UNKNOWN: Put your hand up there. Put your (BLEEP) hand up there. Jesus Christ. Keep your (BLEEP) hands on the wheel.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now, one of the researchers in the study, Eugenia Rho, assistant professor of computer science at Virginia Tech. Professor, thank you so much for being here. Since we're also familiar with that horrifying video, what do you see there? And that was 56 seconds that we just played there, but roughly the same 45 seconds.


CAMEROTA: What do you see there in those seconds?

RHO: Right. So, in our work, we discovered that isolated car stops have this unique linguistic signature where the officer starts with an order without explaining the reason for the stop.


And this led us to explore if this pattern persisted in stops involving force. That's why we analyzed initial moments of the highly publicized encounter you just -- between George Floyd and first responding officers that you just saw.

And we found that in less than the first 30 seconds of interaction between Floyd and the officer, the officer communicated 57 words over nine speech turns, all of which were physical orders.

And despite Floyd's livid [ph] turns of dialogue consisting of apologies, request for reasons, assertions of innocence, please, and expressions of fear, you know, I got shot, I got shot. Each of his dialogue act was met with one singular response and order.

CAMEROTA: And so, is it you are finding, is it true that when the first 45 words begin with commands instead of questions, you know, often -- I mean, I'm sure many of us have been pulled over, and it says where do you live? What are you doing out here? Can I see your license? Where are you headed? Things like that. Is it the command versus the question that's the big distinction?

RHO: It's not -- it's the presence of certain dialogue acts versus the absence of others, right? It's the presence of orders in the absence of reason, explaining the stop. And for black drivers, that linguistic signature functions as a predictive -- as a predictor of how they perceive the officer, what might happen next, as well as an anticipation and anxiety over whether force will be used on them.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting because I know that part of your study, you had black drivers watch some of these exchanges. And they --

RHO: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- their anxiety level, just watching it, before anything escalated, went up when they -- when it started with commands. So, tell us about what their response was watching it.

RHO: Yes. So, in a study, we had black male adult participants in the United States listen to audio recordings of 10 randomized car stops, five that escalated, five that did not. And we asked about their feelings and predictions of what might happen in each car stop. And when officers began with orders without reasons, participants predicted an escalation in over 80 percent of cases as opposed to only 37 percent when officers provided reasons without issuing orders.

And further, anxiety over potential uses of force was reported in over 80 percent of the stops initiated with orders with no reason compared to less than half, 47 percent in stops for a reason were given without orders.

CAMEROTA: So, I mean, is your finding that at some point it becomes a vicious cycle? So, the first command and the aggressiveness of the first command then escalates the driver's feelings of anxiety, and they respond in a certain nervous way because obviously, sometimes we see certain drivers run. I mean, is it -- then it becomes this vicious cycle?

RHO: So, I really have to emphasize that we control for a variety of factors in our study. The demographics, the gender and race of drivers, the officer, the neighborhood crime statistics, officers state of legal justification for the stop, including the driver's response to the officer.

We analyze every single response by the driver to the officer's first 45 words in the escalated stops. And our results still hold true even after taking these very variables into consideration. Most of these drivers are just responding to the officers' questions, explaining themselves. There is not a single instance in which the driver refuses to comply to the officer's order or answer the officer's question.

So, in other words, these factors, you know, neighborhood crime statistics, how the driver reacts to the officer, these factors are not what contributes to escalated outcomes as much as the officer's linguistic signature.

CAMEROTA: Very helpful. Professor, thank you very much for explaining all of that. It's really interesting. Thank you for being here. Our panel is chomping at the bit to get in on this and we'll be back after this very short break.



CAMEROTA: Okay. So, you just heard about that new research showing why the first 45 words that a police officer says during a traffic stop with a black driver can predict how that encounter will end. My panel has a lot to say about this. Natasha, what did you think (inaudible) from the professor there?

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm going to be anecdotal for a moment because it just -- I felt a lot watching that video. I remember being six years old, my parents being pulled over, my father not driving but being asked for his I.D. and that aggressiveness and tone of voice of the officer. I remember that at six years old, five or six years old.

And years later, having those same experience as an adult. So, what is it about the way that police officers, no matter their color, because again, race, you can still be racist if you are a black officer when you encounter a black person that you feel this need for aggressiveness, right? That you feel that you don't have to talk to them, maybe the way that you would talk to someone else.

The drivers feel that. So, I'm glad that the study, you know, took a formal approach to it, but I think ultimately, we're saying that human beings are human beings. And you feel someone approach you with aggression, distressed, and that can lead to fear, that can lead to anxiety, that can lead to an escalation. So, to me, it confirmed what I feel I've always known.


CAMEROTA: Yeah. I thought it was very interesting, Doug, what she was saying, she sort of corrected me there, my (inaudible) position there at the end where she basically wanted us to know, no, it's the police officers that are escalating. The police officers are escalating it more than the drivers are escalating.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: And it's just common sense. When anybody has a police officer, if you get pulled over for a traffic ticket, that they're taking a hard shot at you, like you get rattled, you're not sure what you're going to do. And I think of it as equally bad, what happens to Latinos in America.

The fact that sometimes it's a language barrier, and suddenly a policeman comes up and start shouting something that they don't understand and don't -- aren't following. And we -- I would love to see a study done on, you know, Mexican-Americans in Arizona, you know, California, that are constantly being pulled over because of the color of their skin on the thought that they're illegals when some of them have been here four generations Americans and they are being abused by police in that regard.

CAMEROTA: I mean, the reporting out there is the linguistics of this which I think is fascinating. Hari?

HARI KONDABOLU, COMEDIAN & WRITER: I think what frustrated me most is the need for a study like this, you know. It's basically like here is evidence that racism exists. Like you were talking about your stories and like the anecdotal evidence. Like, I have enough friends with anecdotal evidence, and that means that people aren't listening, people don't believe it until they see it and we need numbers.

Well, I will let you know when it's racism. That's why I feel like America is saying, and the idea that you need numbers to back something that everyone kind of knows, you know, who's experienced it is kind of absurd.

COLEMAN HUGHES, HOST, CONVERSATIONS WITH COLEMAN PODCAST: So, the study actually isn't about racism. It only dealt with black drivers to begin with. So, and that's actually one thing I like about the study, is that it's constructive. It's asking the question what do police officers do wrong and what do they do right to escalate or de-escalate these encounters? So, I think a lot more research like this is needed.

Now, one complication of the study is that they looked at what drivers said and held that constant, but they didn't look at what drivers or police officers did, right? That's what I'm curious about as well because half of these encounters is not just what you say, it's what you do. So, I want to know does it affect an encounter when a police officer has his hand on his gun to begin with?

CAMEROTA: I'd say yes.

HUGHES: Well, look, we all may have our gut instincts, but that's the whole point of this research, right? Does it affect an encounter when a driver has their hands in their pockets or on the steering wheel because all that stuff, knowing that kind of thing gives me power as a driver to influence an interaction and it gives the cops more information, the cops that want to do their best job, more information about how to do it well.


ALFORD: I think if it's a study about black drivers, though, this is about race in America. I don't think that we can separate those things, right? And as I said before, even -- it doesn't matter the color of the police officer.

If you have a perception of black bodies as being criminalized, as being more aggressive, it's a message that we constantly see throughout the media, that can inform the way that you do your job in the same way that that happens in classrooms with teachers who adultify black children, or punish them more harshly.

So, although this study may not have explicitly said that it's about racism, I think when we do this analysis, we have to confront that. We have to unpack that. We have to talk about the different ways that that manifest because black people are disproportionately profiled and we die because of these encounters.

CAMEROTA: And we'll see if police departments will be able to use this research and if they're able to make any inroads into different police departments. Thank you all very much. We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: All right. We have a sneak peek of the new Barbie movie hitting theaters soon. So, here's the plot. Barbie and Ken leave the perfect pink world of Barbie Land and get a taste of life here in the real world. They get arrested, teenage girls want nothing to do with Barbie, and she kicks off her high heels for Birkenstocks. Weird Barbie played by "Saturday Night Live" alum Kate McKinnon, pushes Barbie to experience the real world.


UNKNOWN: What do I have to do?

UNKNOWN: You have to go to the real world. You can go back to you regular life or you can know the truth about the universe. The choice is now yours.

UNKNOWN: The first one, the high heel.

UNKNOWN: You have to want to know, okay? Do it again.

UNKNOWN: I'm coming with you.



CAMEROTA: Our Birkenstocks, is that what represents the real world, Hari?

KONDABOLU: Apparently, it means knowledge and (inaudible). People of Seattle are very happy to hear that.

CAMEROTA: Barbie was overdue for (inaudible).

ALFORD: I think it was time. I think it's brilliant though. Issa Rae, I saw was in a, you know, the diversity of the Barbies that do different things. That just -- it's more real to the point of the film that there is a real world where women are complicated, girls are complicated. They have different interest. So, I like it. I like the direction it's going in.

KONDABOLU: I mean, the fact there is a diverse range not only racially, but of body types that play Barbie and Ken. I mean, if I think a movie is going to lead to a Florida school board hearing, I'm all about it. I want to watch it immediately.

CAMEROTA: And, yes, I feel that you're right. That is exactly where this is headed. This is too subversive.


CAMEROTA: For whatever you're going to show in your fifth-grade classroom, they cannot see this kind of parody. All right guys, thank you. Great to have you here. Thanks a lot, guys.

KONDABOLU: Thank you.


CAMEROTA: All right. Some of our favorite reporters are here to talk about the stories that they are working on for tomorrow. They're coming out right now, and I'll share it with all of us. Hi, guys. Let's do an actual --


CAMEROTA: Hi everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this hour where we bring you tomorrow's news tonight. We have our great lineup of reporters here with me tonight. We have Brynn Gingras, Harry Enten, Omar Jimenez, and Alayna Treene. Also joining us from Pittsburgh tonight is Danny Freeman.