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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Nicole Paultre, Al Sharpton

Aired December 04, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight exclusive, her unarmed fiancee, gunned downed in a hail of 50 police bullets hours before their wedding. Now after more than a weak of outrage and two days after his burial, his grieving fiancee finally speaks out in her first interview.
And then breaking news into the desperate search for a family with two young kids who vanished into thin air more than a week ago. The mom and the kids were just found alive. Her husband still missing. We'll hear from her parents next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. My exclusive guest tonight suffered a devastating personal tragedy on what should have been the happiest day of her life, her wedding day, Saturday, November 25th. Here's what we know about a story that's made national headlines and could lead to a federal investigation.


KING (voice-over): Twenty-three-year-old Sean Bell was just hours from marrying his high school sweetheart, the mother of their two children. But he was killed when 21 of 50 rounds fired by police hit the car he was driving. Two others in the car were wounded, one critically.

Bell had just left his bachelor party in a strip club where police say undercover officers were investigating complaints of prostitution and drug dealing. One cop allegedly heard a member of Bell's bachelor party say "get my gun" during a scuffle in the club. What happened next and what caused police to open fire is under investigation by the district attorney.

Did Bell's car hit an undercover officer and ram an unmarked NYPD van as police say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You shall have justice.

KING: The next day, furious protesters demanded to know why police fired on men who turned out to be unarmed? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has since weighed in.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: But I can't tell you every time everyone does the right thing and whether they did the right thing or not this time, it sounds to me like excessive force was used, but that's up to the district attorney to find out.

KING: And Bell's fiancee told a New York radio station the cops were, quote, "murderers."


KING: And Sean Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre joins us now along with Reverend Al Sharpton. One note before we begin. We invited the New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the Mayor Michael Bloomberg to take part this evening. Both declined.

Nicole, obviously, how are you doing?

NICOLE PAULTRE, FIANCE SHOT AND KILLED: I'm OK, I'm OK. I'm just trying to be strong, be strong for the girls.

KING: How old are the little ones?

PAULTRE: Jada's three and Jordyn is six months today.

KING: Does the 3-year-old understand it yet?

PAULTRE: I don't -- I really -- I don't believe so. She still asks for her daddy. She wants daddy to come home. I try to explain to her that daddy's with God and he's an angel. She doesn't quite understand.

KING: How long were you and Sean together leading up to what would have been the marriage?

PAULTRE: Six years.

KING: Wow. Did you know each other in school?

PAULTRE: Yes, high school. We met when I was in 10th grade.

KING: All right. What about the last time you saw him alive?

PAULTRE: The day, the day that this happened.

KING: What happened that day?

PAULTRE: Well, he dropped me to my mom's house earlier that afternoon. I was preparing for my bridal shower that day, that evening. And he dropped me and the girls off, me, Jada and Jordyn, at my mother's.

KING: Did you know he was going to a bachelor party?


KING: What kind of wedding was planned? Was it very big? Where was it going to take place?

PAULTRE: It was to be held at La Bella Vita restaurant in Ozone Park and it was over 100 people invited.

KING: Where was your honeymoon planned?

PAULTRE: We were going on a cruise.

KING: And what, your folks would take care of the girls?

PAULTRE: Oh, yes.

KING: I understand, I'm told this that you're wearing what would have been your wedding ring?

PAULTRE: Yes. I'm wearing my wedding ring and so is he.

KING: He was buried with the ring?


KING: Did you know that the party was going to last that long, that it was going to be kind of -- apparently ruckus?

PAULTRE: No, no. I knew that he was going to his bachelor party that night, and -- that's it.

KING: Did you know it would be that late in the morning?

PAULTRE: Yes, yes, I did.

KING: So you planned for that?

PAULTRE: Oh, yes.

KING: How did you hear about it?

PAULTRE: The incident?

KING: Yes.

PAULTRE: Well, I was at my mom's house. And family member called that -- told me that something happened. And I needed to come to the hospital. That was it. That was all.

KING: That's all, they didn't say what it was?


KING: Was it at the hospital you learned he was dead?

PAULTRE: Yes. About an hour into the wait at the hospital, they told me.

KING: You had to wait an hour?


KING: What did you make of the whole story, and Reverend Sharpton will get in on the investigation, what's going on. But what did you make of the whole incident?

PAULTRE: I just -- it was really -- it was just -- everything that happened, it was -- just wrong. It was all for nothing.

KING: Did you know the friends that were involved? Do you know the other people that were hurt?


KING: Were you surprised -- I guess everyone -- were you surprised that the police shot without there being a gun present?

PAULTRE: Absolutely, absolutely. It's just a tragedy. He didn't deserve this. No one deserved it. No one would deserve this to happen to them.

KING: What do you make of it?

PAULTRE: It's -- I'm sorry.

KING: I understand.

We have an e-mail from Taylor in Washington, D.C. "Has this incident changed your view of the police? And if so, how?"

PAULTRE: Well, my view of the police, no. I don't believe it's changed my view of the police. I believe it was the individual, the individual who -- who made this happen. I don't -- I mean, there is -- I believe there is some things that need to be looked into with the situation with the way everything happened, but I just think it's that person.

KING: So you don't blame the whole police for the actions of one or two or a few?

PAULTRE: No, not at all.

KING: Al Sharpton, does that surprise you? Most people would be inclined to blame the entire body.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I think that's a misnomer. I think that most people that question police conduct, are not questioning police, we need police.

But there are some police that are wrong, they're not above the law. I think that two things come to mind, Larry. One, this young man and I wish his whole family could be on, his parents, he comes from a praying mother, comes from a father who is a member of the church. Has a solid family, her family.

There was no raucous party. They were at a club. His father was with them, having a bachelor party among other people that were at the club. If there was raucous behavior, they were not involved at all.

So I don't want to give the wrong picture that he had some raucous party. There may have been a disturbance according to witnesses that had nothing to do with these three young men. And certainly that did not cause what happened. But even if they had been a raucous party, it doesn't give police the right to come in and become judge, jury and executioner on unarmed men.

That's the pattern that we're fighting and all this family wants is justice. There are policeman in their family. They're not anti- police, but they're saying that no one should be above the law.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back with Nicole Paultre and Reverend Al Sharpton on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


LIZ KENNEDY, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bell was leaving his bachelor party with a group of friends when an incident which is still under investigation prompted police to open fire on the apparently unarmed men. Police fired more than 50 rounds killing Bell and seriously injuring two of his friends. Bell was laid to rest Saturday.




BLOOMBERG: We will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation to the extent that it is up to the police department and the administration, and we will be of any assistance that we possibly can be to District Attorney Brown. We always keep looking at our procedures to try to make things better. We are not perfect and we never will be perfect. But we will strive towards perfection.


KING: Nicole Paultre, you met with Mayor Bloomberg. What happened at that meeting?

PAULTRE: Well, he informed me and the Bells, Mr. and Mrs. Bell, that he would do the best he could to make sure this was a fair and thorough investigation.

KING: Did that reassure you?

PAULTRE: Yes. Yes, it did.

KING: Should he have attended the funeral?

PAULTRE: Well, it was -- it was fine. He wasn't there. He couldn't make it. That was -- that was fine.

KING: The deputy mayor did attend, right?


KING: Why -- this is strange to ask it this way, Nicole, but why don't you appear more angry? PAULTRE: Well, I'm actually, to be honest, I'm really not angry. I'm more just trying to be strong and we just want justice. I want justice. Me and my family, we want justice. That's it. And that's what we're praying for and we're hoping for.

KING: Reverend Sharpton, does it surprise you that she is not angrier?

SHARPTON: I think that what has been striking to me about her, she said the parents of Sean, is that they from the day -- from the first day wanted to preserve his name. You know, he had a guy named Greg, who was like an uncle to him, said this was a good guy. He does not want to be remembered for destruction. He wants to be remembered as one that led the justice that stopped this kind of thing.

And it amazed me, when I got the call from a family member and came within hours and spent the last several days with them, these are solid people that just want to see fairness and that just want to hope Sean Bell's legacy is that this stops -- whether it's here, whether it's in Atlanta with a 92-year-old woman -- something has to break the cycle where those police that step out of bounds feel they can get away with it.

KING: Nicole, have you had any dealings with any of the police involved?

PAULTRE: No. Not at all.

KING: Do you expect the investigation to be fair?

PAULTRE: Yes. I would hope so.

KING: You have an extraordinary attitude. Do you expect it to be fair, Al?

SHARPTON: I will tell you this. There are many of us, and there's a group, not only me and National Action Network but from the NCAAP to Reverend Jackson, who will be monitoring this. Too many times, we have not seen it go fair. We don't want to go in saying what will not happen, but we've assured this family we'll be there every step of the way, and we are not going to let it go away.

We're having a huge leadership meeting tomorrow night, and all kinds of people are coming together through this holiday to keep this issue out there. Because if someone unarmed, if three men unarmed can face 50 bullets and no one be held accountable, what signal are we sending to any rogue police that they can just do something and get away with it? At some point, it's got to stop. And I think that words are not enough. I think now, we need to see the system will work fairly to protect citizens.

Criminals ought to be punished, Larry, whether they have on bluejeans or blue uniforms. That doesn't make us against all blue uniforms, but those that misuse it must be held accountable.

KING: In fairness, didn't someone supposedly in the car yell that they've got a gun?

SHARPTON: Well, that's what was said by some unnamed guy in a newspaper. We've talked to the witnesses; no one heard that. But ask yourself this question, Larry: If these three young men walked out of the club, got in a car, and a policeman approaches them alone, how could he hear through a car window and car -- I mean, who? Hear how? It is impossible. They float a story that they heard somebody talk about a gun.

First of all, why would somebody be talking about a gun if a gun wasn't in the car? Second of all, they did not know he was a policeman.

I feel that they really thought they were being carjacked.

These are not guys that had done anything wrong. There's not even the accusation of what the policeman approached them for, since no crime had been committed.

KING: And they backed the car into a police car, right? Not knowing it is a police car? It was an unmarked car.

SHARPTON: They backed up trying -- I would back into five cars trying to get away with a guy approaching me with a gun that I didn't know was a cop.

KING: Nicole, tell us about the two friends who were wounded, Joe Guzman and Trent Benefield. What about that friendship? Were all three very close friends?

PAULTRE: I'm -- I'm friends with Mr. Guzman and his fiance. And I've met Mr. Benefield. But, yes, they were all pretty close friends, very close friends.

KING: And close to Sean?


KING: How were Sean's parents doing?

PAULTRE: They're OK. They're holding up. They're doing a good job holding up.

KING: What was the funeral like?

PAULTRE: It was very emotional. Very emotional. It was very hard just for this unexpected thing just to happen out of nowhere. We were supposed to get married that day. So, of course, it's very hard.

KING: We have an e-mail question for Nicole from Ernest in the Bronx. "Nicole, have you spoken to other victims in the hospital? Did they tell you their version of the events that led up to Sean's death?"

PAULTRE: Yes, I have.

KING: What have they said?

PAULTRE: Basically, the same thing that we have in the statements. There was -- there was -- they were afraid. They thought there was someone trying to carjack them. They were afraid.

KING: That's why they backed the car up?

PAULTRE: That's why they backed the car up.

KING: And these were plainclothed detectives, right? They weren't policemen clearly in uniform?

PAULTRE: From what I was told, yes.

KING: We'll be right back with Al Sharpton and Nicole Paultre on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We will include your phone calls. Don't go away.


SHARPTON: There's a difference between peace and quiet mission. Quiet means shut up. Quiet means don't make no noise. Quiet means suffer in silence. Peace means justice and fairness and living together. We want peace, but we won't get quiet until...




CHARLES KING, ATTORNEY FOR EYEWITNESSES: Every eye witness that I am aware of who saw the barrage of bullets are coming forward. When those bullets started to fly, they ran for their lives.


KING: Reverend Al, you visited with the other people injured, Guzman and Benefield. What do they tell you?

SHARPTON: I think that what Nicole has said is the bottom line. I'm not going to testify for them. But clearly they felt they were carjacked. In fact, when I went with Mr. Benefield's mother to see him, he had just found out, in fact, it was a policeman that shot him.

He was unaware until right before we were allowed up and we were the first ones to meet with him, his mom, his brother and I, that he was even shot by police.

And I think that that is the thing that is most shocking. You asked about the funeral, Bishop Lester Williams who made a eloquent eulogy at the funeral said we're not talking about people that wouldn't have abided by the law or respected the law. They never knew these policemen were policemen.

And they had done nothing wrong that would make them think the police were approaching them. The only thing that anyone has said they did was leave the club after their little group was in the club having a bachelor party.

I did not know that was against the law. So the first thing the police have to do is make us understand why they approached the car in the first place.

KING: Yes. Nicole, have you kept close to Mr. Guzman's fiancee?


KING: How's she doing?

PAULTRE: She's -- she's pretty raw. She's -- she's an incredible woman, so she's doing good. They're both doing well.

KING: What's his condition? What are the condition of both gentlemen?

PAULTRE: I believe they're stable. They're talking and they're getting better every day.

KING: Al, will they both come out of the hospital?

SHARPTON: Well, we hope so. You know, Mr. Guzman, the first day we saw him was unconscious. He was on critical. He has 17 wounds. He was shot 13 times. Trent was shot four times. They were both handcuffed to the bed the first time I saw them, under some bogus arrest.

Now we've seen the police sweep through that community. That's one of the reasons why it would have been interesting if the commissioner and mayor had showed up because it seems like the police are going after the friends of the victims rather than after the police.

What the police need to explain is that how unarmed men that had not committed a crime were approached by cops with guns out in the first place. That's the simple thing this family's asked from the beginning, how could this happen? And no one has given us any answers. They start making up fourth men, they start saying there may have been a fight in the club. What does that have to do with three unarmed men getting in a car, going home after a bachelor party and then being shot at over 50 times? No one has given a logical explanation to that.

KING: Nicole, tell us a little bit about Sean. What was he like?

PAULTRE: Sean, he's -- he's incredible. He's the type of person that if he had it and you didn't and you asked, you needed it, he would give you the shirt off his back. He's incredible. A loving man and he cared for his kids and his family, his mom and dad, and myself. He's a strong guy, strong man.

KING: Good father? PAULTRE: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, a great father.

KING: We have an e-mail for Al Sharpton from Chris in Richmond, Virginia. "Do you think that calls to prosecute police for questionable judgments will reduce the power of their guns, would result in fewer wrongful deaths of civilians?"

SHARPTON: I think -- I think that we need to look at, first of all, I think that we must have a criminal justice system that works no matter what.

Second, I think that we need police reform. One of the things that we have said is that when the new Congress comes in, there needs to be congressional hearings to deal with how we have federal oversight on a lot of these local departments that keep having these cases of excessive force.

I think that police should not feel that they have the right to do whatever, to be judge, jury and executioner as I said. That does not mean we don't want them to police crime in the community. We just don't want them to become criminal and to shoot unarmed men.

At what point do you know that no one's shooting back at you? You know, these were semi-automatic weapon. These weren't automatic where it just went off. They shot, shot, shot, over 50 times. Even according to what the mayor and the police commissioner told Bishop Williams and councilman Charles Brown and all of us in the meeting, Reverend Herbert Daughtry, he said they are supposed to stop after every three shots and evaluate.

So how do you get to 50 shots, never stop and evaluate and never realize that no one is shooting back at you? They couldn't because they had no gun.

KING: Nicole, I know you want justice. Do you think you will get justice?

PAULTRE: I have faith that we will definitely get justice. This was -- this was wrong. I mean, everyone sees it. They have no -- they have nothing to show that this can be justified. I mean, if they do, we know it's wrong. I know it's wrong.

KING: So you have faith that the investigation will bear fruit and you will find out the whole story of what happened and that your fiance didn't do anything?

PAULTRE: Absolutely.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back. We'll include your phone calls and more e-mails as well. And then an extraordinary story of recovery in Oregon. Don't go away.


NEVILLE MITCHELL, BELL FAMILY REPRESENTATIVE: Sean bell is now a man that will never get to hear the continued pitter patter of his children's feet as he comes home from work. Sean Bell will never get to experience that. Sean Bell never got to marry the wonderful woman that he chose to marry.



KING: We're back with exclusive interview, her first appearance since all of this, Nicole Paultre, the bereaved fiancee, bride-to-be. And Reverend Al Sharpton, the noted civil rights leader.

Have some phone calls. E-mail question from Lucy in Jersey City. "Have entertainers been reaching out with their support? 50 Cent is from the same neighborhood as Sean. Should he be addressing the situation?"

What do you think, Nicole?

PAULTRE: Well, so far I don't believe -- I haven't had any contact with any entertainers. And I mean, it's -- I mean, that would be nice, but it's...

KING: You don't expect it?

PAULTRE: No, not really. I mean, I'm not in it for that. I just want the right thing -- I just want the right thing to happen, the right thing to be done.

KING: You have made that very clear tonight.

New Orleans, Louisiana, hello.

CALLER: Hi. First of all, I would just like to say, Nicole, you are the epitome of a virtuous woman. Not yet have I heard you bash the cops or anyone for this uncircumstantial situation that has happened to you. But what I would like you to do, Nicole, is just elaborate on Sean's livelihood. What was he like? What was his career? Just for some substance so everyone can have an idea of who Sean Penn was.

KING: You told us what he was like. What did he do for a living, Nicole?

PAULTRE: OK. Sean Bell.

KING: Yeah, Sean Bell.

PAULTRE: At this time, he was in-between jobs. His -- he was actually awaiting for his -- a job with -- I believe it was the electricians union. He's been waiting for and hoping for them to call. But at this time...

KING: He was an electrician by trade?

PAULTRE: Yes. Yes.

KING: All right. We go to Oakland, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Nicole, let me first say that you are a wonderful woman and you have such grace and such calm under such great stress. And please accept my sincere apologies for what happened. And I'm so sorry. My condolence go with you and your family and your daughter.

PAULTRE: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is this: Has the police department said to you that as the investigation proceeds, they will keep you informed as to what's going on, or are you going to have to hound them?

PAULTRE: I was told by the DA that we would have briefings on the case.

KING: Have you had any yet?


KING: Reverend Sharpton, have they assured you of information on the investigation?

SHARPTON: Well, they have made assurances. But again, we've heard assurances a lot of times. It must be monitored, and elected officials and leaders must stand with the family.

I think the good thing about tonight is you can see from Nicole, these are not people with a political agenda. These are not people trying to raise a ruckus. They only want justice. And if you see her calm demeanor, you would see the same with the parents of Sean. They just want justice. They don't do activism. They are caught up in something that they didn't ask for, but they won't let go until there's justice.

Those of us that have done these cases and monitored these things for years will be there to aid them. But clearly, they're not trying to say anything that they don't know is true. They have no agenda. They have a situation that they're forced to stand up for these two children Sean left behind.

KING: Nicole, an e-mail from Maryland and Columbia, South Carolina. "Do you think the police used excessive force because your fiance is black?"

PAULTRE: I think they used excessive force overall, overall. Because he was black? I can't really say what was going through their head at the time. But I just...

KING: So you think it was excessive force, black, white or whatever?

PAULTRE: Yes, absolutely. KING: What do you think, Al?

SHARPTON: I think that, you know, to be very candid, some of the officers involved were black, Latino and white. If they all were black, we would be fighting it.

I do say, though, that it's strange to us that it seems like this never happens in any community but ours. When we see these multiple shots, they seem to only happen in our community, even with black cops. It's almost like people feel that our communities are more vulnerable than others.

But this family has said in the beginning: They're not raising race, they're raising right. I think that clearly in our communities, we have an over-abundance of these cases. But there are black, Latino and white cops here. We're saying the cops were wrong no matter what their race, and we're going to fight this case no matter what their race.

KING: This was in Queens, right?

SHARPTON: This is in Queens, yes.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Steve in New York for Nicole. "I am more than touched by this tragedy and want to know what I can do to help. Is there something that Sean wanted to fulfill in his life that the community can assist with after his death?"

Is there any campaign you're -- are you trying to raise funds for anything, Nicole?

PAULTRE: Well, for the children. At this time, I don't believe there is a fund set up, but Sean wanted to provide for his family. That's all he wanted to do, is provide for his family.

KING: Did he have any insurance?

PAULTRE: Insurance?

KING: Money that would go to you in view of his death?


KING: Do you have any income?


KING: How are you living?

PAULTRE: At this time, I'm -- I was -- I'm receiving unemployment. But that's it.

KING: Al, is anything planned to set up something, a fund?

SHARPTON: Well, I think Bishop Lester Williams, the pastor of the Bell family community church in Queens, is structuring that. So that goes directly to the family. The parents of Sean and Nicole will work with that.

This is not a fund-raiser. They should not be involved in other groups. They should contact their church, where he was going to be married.

And I think what was admirable -- you know, I understand he had a passion for baseball, he was waiting on his electrician job, and he wanted to get married. He wanted to marry the mother of his children. And I think that was admirable, and I think that this is what we tell young men to do. No matter what your economic circumstance, stand up and do right for your family. He was going to do that.

The morning of that, of all things, he's killed by police. This is why it's such a compelling story to many of us, and this is why we're involved.

KING: Maybe a ball club could help. I know the owners. Was he a Met or a Yankee fan, Nicole?

PAULTRE: Yankee.

KING: Yankee. Well, I know Mr. Steinbrenner watches this show regularly. It would not surprise me to see him help.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be back with some more with Al Sharpton and Nicole Paultre. Don't go away.


PAULTRE: Oldest daughter, I had to explain to her that daddy's with God, daddy's an angel now. She knows all about prayer, so she was actually -- she was actually kind of happy. When I explained it to her, I told her that daddy's with God, he's an angel. Maybe you may not see him, but he's here.



KING: I must say, Nicole and Al, we are receiving an enormous amount of outpouring of love and callers calling in to express that. To Nicole, Nicole, what is that pin you're wearing?

PAULTRE: This was -- this is a picture of my family, the four of us. It was taken on Thanksgiving, the night before he was killed.

KING: Were you wearing it the day he was killed?

PAULTRE: No. We -- we actually had these made up, the family had these buttons made up for the funeral. We gave them out to a lot of people who were there.

KING: Beautiful, beautiful picture. E-mail from Temeka in Frederick, Maryland. "My question is besides praying, what can I do to help your girls? you or your girls. Like if I wanted to send a gift card or monetary donation or dolls to the girls, how do I get it to you?" Where can people contact you?

PAULTRE: They -- they can send it to the church, Community Church of Christ in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

KING: Al, is that all they need?

SHARPTON: All they need is Community Church of Christ on Merrick Boulevard and 108th in Queens, attention to Bishop Lester Williams who is the pastor for the family and who Nicole and the parents are taking care them for.

We don't want any organizations or anybody. It should go straight to help the family who are going to have to go through this period of mourning and investigations. Everybody pulling at them.

KING: Would you repeat the name of the church and the address again?

SHARPTON: The Community Church of Christ on Merrick Boulevard and 108th in Queens, New York, attention to the Pastor Bishop Lester Williams.

KING: We have an e-mail from Ashley in New York. "Nicole, do you plan on telling your children the story of how their father was killed when they get older? What do you think you will tell them?"

PAULTRE: I couldn't even begin to prepare myself for that.

KING: Yes.

PAULTRE: Maybe one day when they're older, but I couldn't prepare myself right now.

KING: We've got a call from Perry, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Mr. King. How are you?


CALLER: I'd like to offer my condolences to both families. But my question is for Reverend Al Sharpton.

KING: Go ahead. Can't hear you, sir, go ahead.


KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Mr. Sharpton.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Yes, my question to him is that this is a continuing event that I can remember back to the '60s where African-American communities where instances such as these have occurred on different occasions. And I'm really interested in this -- to a point where it's not unheard, as you said, to the point where forgotten. And the question that you're going to take on the floor of Congress in January, I was wondering if this is going on at local levels or you're going on national levels?

KING: Is there going to be a national look at this, Al?

SHARPTON: Yes. As I stated tomorrow night in New York we're having a collective meeting of leadership to deal with both the federal level in the Congress all of the way down to the local level with state senator Malcolm Smith and Councilman Brown and others.

And it must deal with the cases around the country. I was in Atlanta yesterday as you know on a case there with a 92-year-old woman. Excessive force and deadly force must be looked at both nationally and locally. We cannot continue to see police in these kinds of situations and there be no resolve and no solution. We can't keep going case by case.

I would hope that someone like Dr. Charles Ogletree, we can bring in to deal with a collective of lawyers to deal with how we make structural institutional change on policing in this country in light of what Sean Bell has gone through.

Here's a family with dignity, here's a family not trying to burden America down, despite their loss. Let's make something positive and permanent out of this. And that would be a legacy for Sean Bell.

KING: I tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to spend a couple more minutes with the both of you and then come back and spend the rest of the program with Dr. Phil and Sandy Fleming and under- sheriff Brian Anderson over the rescue today in Oregon, which was incredible.

But I want to spend a couple more minutes with Al Sharpton and Nicole Paultre. We'll be right back.


KING: Just a couple of quick questions for each of you before we meet our next guest. Nicole, we have an e-mail from Baile in New Haven, Connecticut. "Where do you go from here? Will you stay in Queens and raise your children or will you pursue the plan Sean had of moving to Atlanta?"

PAULTRE: Yes, I believe I'll stay here in Queens. This is where we lived, this is where we began to raise our family. So far, I'm going to stay home.

KING: And Al Sharpton, finally, where's all this going to go?

SHARPTON: It will go where the people organize and make it go out of this collective leadership. I would hope during the Christmas season we have a huge outpouring of support for justice for this family. I would hope that the government is pressured to make change.

The only time we've seen change, I learned that from a kid growing up under Jesse Jackson, is if we make change and we make it in a way that does not in any way cast aspersion on the memory of this young man, but that we make sure that justice is achieved. Until there's justice, there can't be peace. You can ask for quiet, but you can't get peace without justice.

KING: Thanks, Al and thanks Nicole, very much. Thanks for your bravery, Nicole.

We'll come back with our remaining moments. Coming up, an extraordinary story of a missing family. Most of them found alive just hours ago. We'll hear from their loved ones when we come back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's good news. The family, as I understand, is at the hospital where Kati Kim and the two children were transported. They are reportedly in good condition.



KING: Extraordinary story. Joining us in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Phil and Sandy Fleming. They're the parents of Kati Kim. Kati and her husband James and their two young daughters vanished in Oregon more than a week ago while driving back to their home in San Francisco. A few hours ago Kati and the girls were found alive in Merlin, Oregon, under Sheriff Brian Anderson.

Brian, can you tell us first what happened and how were they found?

UNDERSHERIFF BRIAN ANDERSON, JEFFERSON COUNTY OREGON: About 1:45 this afternoon a helicopter that was rented by the family was flying in the area saw a person later identified as Kati Kim standing on the road waving an umbrella. They were able to land and confirm it was Kati and the two girls. Unfortunately, the husband was not with them.

KING: Were they stuck in some sort of snow situation? What happened?

ANDERSON: It appears they probably took a wrong turn at the top of Bear Camp and went down into a drainage above a lodge and got stuck in the snow. It was my understanding that James Kim on Saturday tried to walk out and hasn't been seen since.

KING: Phil and Sandy, have you been keeping abreast of this the whole week, Phil?

PHIL FLEMING: Absolutely, yes.

KING: So you...

SANDY FLEMING: As close as we possibly can.

KING: So you must be extraordinarily relieved, Sandy?

S. FLEMING: Absolutely. Absolutely.

KING: Did they have a cell phone, Phil?

P. FLEMING: Yes, they did have a cell phone.

KING: Do you wonder why...

P. FLEMING: Well, I think cell phone -- I understand from reading all the information that the cell phone coverage in those areas was spotty.

KING: Brian, how do you think they made it? I understand she was breast-feeding the children?

ANDERSON: It's my understanding they had limited food and water. So they were able to survive that way. They started -- to stay warm, they were running their car during the day. That soon ran out of gas. And then they started burning their tires at night to stay warm. So they went through five tires to stay warm.

It's been pretty cold up there. They're about at 3,000 foot elevation.

KING: What's their physical condition now?

ANDERSON: Kati and the kids are doing great. In fact, one of the kids asked for a cheeseburger with lots of pickles on it today. But they're both looking good. They're in good spirit. We're extremely happy.

KING: And what about the search for the dad?

ANDERSON: We are continuing. We have two deputies from Jackson County that are currently trying to track him on foot. We have a helicopter from the National Guard that has special heat-seeking equipment on it. They're trying to track him down. We're going to have people there all night. And we'll gear up. We're going to do it again tomorrow until we find him.

KING: Is there a good scenario for him?

ANDERSON: There's always a good scenario. Nine days in the -- you know, stuck in the snow in a car is a good scenario. We're going to continue to look until we find James. We're operating on the assumption he's still alive. And we're going to try to find him.

KING: Sandy, what is your son-in-law like?

S. FLEMING: He is -- he's the same as one of my own children. In fact, my son met him before I ever did and he said, he's like me. And so how can I not love this person that loves my daughter? He's totally responsible. He's a hard worker. He's devoted to Kati, devoted to the children. I don't have any criticism ever of my son-in-law.

KING: Phil, would you say he's resourceful?

P. FLEMING: Oh, absolutely. He's a very intelligent -- he's a very -- he's a very intelligent young man. And I -- at this point, I have a -- certainly a big bag of emotions. It's been an extremely difficult week. I'm elated that the children have been found and that we have our babies back. But I have a intense worry about James at this point.

KING: Sandy, have you spoken to James' family?

S. FLEMING: We've communicated all week long, and I communicated -- I was only able to get hold of her -- James' sister, before we left Gallup (ph), because we're remote.

KING: Phil, how did you cope through this?

P. FLEMING: Well, it is very difficult. I think the main thing is I was basically fairly numb. I've often wondered how people cope with a situation like this. And I kind of liken it to a massive injury in which you may not feel anything. It was very difficult. And you just -- if you are going to keep breathing, you've just got to keep -- got to try to keep going. I did try -- I have been trying to set my thermostats for the possibly the worst case scenarios.

Another way I cope with it, too, Larry, you know, I really celebrate the fact that those two -- that that couple and their children -- there's a little seven month-old that's a little -- she hasn't had much opportunity in life, of course.

But Penelope, the four year-old has had absolutely a wonderful childhood and I can't think of anything that might have been different. And so that made me feel a little bit better as -- thinking about her and all the joys that she's had in life, and Kati and James both.

But it has been very difficult to cope with and trying to think if there's any silver lining to a situation like this -- and the only silver lining I can think of is it would give us an opportunity to tell people, please appreciate your children, please give them every opportunity because you don't know when they might be taken away from you. Certainly, at a lot of points here we thought the kids might be taken away.

KING: Sandy, have you spoken to your daughter?

S. FLEMING: I did. I got on the phone and we both told each other we loved each other. And -- and we were just -- we were so excited to hear from each other. And she said, mom -- and I nursed both babies. And when I told her we were going to be here this evening she said, would you please talk about breastfeeding because -- she saved those babies. And, you know, James saved that family. So she is an absolute advocate of breastfeeding, especially she's nursed both children anyway.

KING: Give her our best.

What must be extraordinary mixed emissions -- mixed emotions for her, with her husband missing.

S. FLEMING: Right. And Kati's an upbeat person, too. And she knew what direction he was going. She said she -- the day after he set out, he didn't -- they had a plan. He didn't come back the next day. She set out with the kids, but had to go back to the car because she could not carry both of the children.

KING: I've got a hunch she's going to get him, too. And I wish you nothing but the best of luck.

Phil and Sandy. Thank you.

And Undersheriff Brian Anderson, great work by your whole crew. Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Undersheriff Brian Anderson, Dr. Phil and Sandy Fleming, their daughter, Kati and her two children found OK. And James, still missing.

Hope we have good news about him as early as tomorrow.

Tomorrow night, Kathy Griffin returns with her entertaining style. You can e-mail her at

And our man Anderson Cooper stands by. He's in New York. It's homecoming night.

"AC 360". What's up, Anderson?