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American Morning

Woman Dies in Police Custody; Woman Dies While in Police Custody at Phoenix Airport

Aired October 01, 2007 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It's a big day here. It's Monday, October the 1st. Thanks for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. I'm John Roberts.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. It is October. Where did the summer go? Gone so fast.

ROBERTS: Where did the last two decades go? I'm still asking that question.

CHETRY: We start with a very bizarre story that is raising a lot of questions today about a woman who died while in police custody at the Phoenix airport. The Sky Harbor Airport to be exact. Carol Anne Gotbaum was taken into custody, police say, after she became enraged when she missed her flight and was told that she have to take a later flight.

Witnesses say they heard her screaming "I'm not a terrorist." They say that she fought with security officials before being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed. Police say they then took her to a holding room, and that when they came back to check on her five to 15 minutes later, she was dead. A lot of people asking this morning, how could this happen? Alina Cho joins us now with more details on this story.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kiran, good morning.

A lot that we still don't know this morning. We can tell you an autopsy will be performed later today on the body of Carol Anne Gotbaum but it could be up to 90 days before we get the results.

Now it all started on Friday afternoon at Phoenix airport. Gotbaum was not allowed on her U.S. Airways flight to Tucson because she apparently got to the gate too late. According to several witnesses the 45-year-old then started yelling and screaming and running around the terminal.

Witnesses told the "New York Daily News" that she screamed "I'm not a terrorist. I'm a sick mom." Police eventually arrested her, hand cuffed her and put her alone in a holding room. When they didn't hear her voice anymore, police say they went back to check on her and found her unconscious and not breathing.

Now, Police aren't saying much but in a statement, they did say it appears that Gotbaum may have tried to escape from the handcuffs, got tangled in the process and accidentally strangled herself, just a bizarre story, Kiran. And, again, just a lot we don't know this morning.

CHETRY: And they're saying 90 days until we may find out more.

CHO: That's right.

Do we know whether or not any of this was videotaped by security cameras at the airport?

CHO: We're still waiting. There was no surveillance tape. What we do know is that there was no surveillance tape inside the actual holding room. There may be some tape of the larger terminal, but we still don't know, and still don't have that.

But we also can tell you we're learning a little bit more about the victim. Carol Anne Gotbaum lived in New York City, she was married, had three young children. She was the step daughter-in-law of a New York City elected official, who gave a brief statement to reporters over the weekend.


BETSY GOTBAUM, CAROL ANN GOTBAUM'S MOTHER-IN-LAW: Carol was a wonderful, wonderful person. She was a wonderful mother. She was sweet, and kind, and loving. At this moment, we are awaiting the results of the investigation. We don't know any more than has been reported in the press.

This is obviously very, very difficult for us. We are dealing with it as best we can. My number one focus is those children, and my stepson.


CHO: That was Betsy Gotbaum, the New York City public advocate. She's also been floated as a possible candidate for mayor in 2009. She says the family, like everyone else, is waiting on the results of the investigation. And in the meantime, Kiran, she has pleaded for privacy during this difficult time.

CHETRY: Alina Cho following latest developments for us in this bizarre story, Thank you.

ROBERTS: New information coming to us this morning, at least two people have died in a volcanic eruption that rocked a small island off of the coast of Yemen overnight. No one lives there but the Yemeni military uses it for naval control and observation. It's about 70 miles off of the west coast of Yemen in the Red Sea, between Yemen and Eritrea.

Witnesses describe the eruption as catastrophic. Lava shooting hundreds of feet into the air, volcanic ash rose 1,000 feet high. The volcanic activity triggered a landslide that collapsed the western part of the island. Navy ships have been assisting in the search and rescue operation. There are some night vision pictures of them out in their small boats. They found two survivors in the Red Sea, according to one person, who we talked to a little while ago, aboard the H.M.C.S. Toronto. It's a Canadian ship. At least two bodies have also been recovered. Four people said to be still missing this morning -- Kiran.

CHETRY: New this morning, we have new video out of Iraq that could shed some light on what happened between worker for security contractor Blackwater and Iraqi civilians. "Newsweek" obtained a nine- minute video that was shot by Iraqi police in the aftermath of this shooting incident. Earlier we spoke to Kevin Peraino (ph) of "Newsweek" who saw the Iraqi news report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said that Blackwater, the firing was unprovoked. They don't know why it happened. All the witness statements that I saw, that they had collected there, said that there was no apparent reason for the firing to begin. Blackwater, of course, says that they were being fired on from different positions by both civilians, people in civilian clothes, and people in Iraqi police uniforms.


CHETRY: The Iraqis say at least 20 civilians were killed. Other reports put the number of dead at 11 -- John.

ROBERTS: Five minutes after the hour.

An uneasy calm this morning in Myanmar, where the military government seems to have silenced the pro-democracy movement, at least for now. A United Nations envoy hopes to meet with the country's military ruler in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully. Some 20,000 troops are patrolling the treats of Yangon, the capital city there.

Grambling State University says it is investigating photographs that show elementary school students with nooses around their neck. The pictures were sent anonymously to "The Monroe News Star", a paper in Monroe, Louisiana. They were apparently taken during a lesson at an elementary school run by Grambling State. The kids were in kindergarten and first grade, and were being taught about race relations and specifically talking about the case in Jena, Louisiana.

An AMERICAN MORNING update for you now.

The Washington woman who spent eight days trapped in a car after it crashed into a ravine is improving this morning. She is still in the intensive care unit, but Tanya Rider has been upgraded from critical to serious condition. She was admitted on Thursday after rescuers finally found her car down in that ravine. After days of pleading by her husband to go look for her, days in which he actually was in the crosshairs as a potential suspect in her disappearance. Doctors say she suffered kidney failure, was in danger of losing a leg but so far that that danger appears to have passed. A Florida pilot is talking about his near-death story after he made a crash landing off of I-95, in Florida. You may have seen the incredible video. The pilot in shock, still in his seat, his plane in pieces all around him. And 34-year-old Bob Robertson says he already decided that the impact was going to kill him, so he merely tried to save lives on the ground.


BOB ROBERTSON, SURVIVED PLANE CRASH: I really had no choice but to make it there. If things had worked out badly, I would have had to take the freeway, and there were, it was jam-packed, and there was nowhere else.


ROBERTS: Heroic efforts and he managed to survive as well. Robertson had just taken off from a Fort Lauderdale airport when an engine went out and the plane came down more than a week ago. He suffered several broken bones including a few in his face. He's now out of the hospital and doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

Don't know, Kiran, if he's going to get back up into the air again.

CHETRY: That is unbelievable to see the picture of him just sitting there with the plane completely gone, and he just looks so shocked. What a miracle.

Time now to check in on our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents, they've been following some other stories new this morning. We have Jacqui Jeras who is tracking extreme weather in south Florida. She's in for Rob Marciano this morning.


CHETRY: GM's new contract with auto workers mean more plants may end up closing. Ali Velshi is at our Business Update Desk, following this for us.

Hi, Ali.


The details of this agreement between the UAW and GM have really been trickling out. We still haven't gotten them confirmed but there seems to be someone who saw it, who said to somebody else, what was going on. Here is what seems to be the case.

It looks like the UAW wanted absolute guarantees that factories aren't going to be closed and jobs aren't going to be sent away from the United States. They didn't get that. The contract seems to allow for the closure over the next few years of at least those two plants that you're looking at, a stamping plant in Indianapolis, with 850 workers, and an engine plant in Livonia, Michigan. There are other plants on the table but it does seem that there is some undertaking, that GM will find other work, or try to find other work for employees at those plants, with seniority.

The workers, 74,000 of them, are voting on the contract now. Their leadership already approved it. GM and UAW hoping to ratify that soon. The United Auto Workers is now going to announce whether it's Ford or Chrysler with whom they're negotiating next. We'll continue to keep you posted on the development in those negotiations, Kiran.

CHETRY: Sounds good, Ali. Thank you.

ROBERTS: A growing health alert over potentially contaminated beef. Millions of pounds of hamburger are recalled, and we have learned, some of it is still on store shelves. Topps Meats has expanded its frozen hamburger patty recall to include nearly 22 million pounds of beef that could contain a dangerous strain of e. Coli bacteria. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says there may be as many as 25 e. Coli cases across the country.

CNN's Jim Acosta is live at a grocery store here in New York.

And when we said still on store shelves, Jim, that would be the store that you're in. Have you told them about it?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We sure have and we'll have more on that in a moment.

But most supermarkets did not start pulling these Topps frozen hamburgers from store shelves until this past weekend. But Topps may have known about this potential contamination for weeks.


ACOSTA (voice over): Samantha Sofranic (ph) contracted e. Coli and was hospitalized, after eating a Topps frozen patty, bought at this Wal-Mart and month and a half ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the back of my mind I had that question if I was going to make it. It wasn't fair that, you know, the kid eats the hamburger and then ends up almost dying.

After Samantha's mother contacted health officials in Florida, Wal-Mart pulled the patties on August 30th. That was nearly a month before Topps issued its recall, then expanded it over the weekend, all the while supermarkets were still selling potentially tainted products. Samantha's family is now suing Wal-Mart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If is the food is not safe and the companies that are selling us the consumers the food, no it's not safe, they need to tell us.

ACOSTA: Federal and state food safety investigators are trying to pinpoint the contamination source, saying it could be anywhere, from the slaughterhouse to the Topps processing plant. The USDA has ordered tops to suspend operations, citing, quote, "inadequate raw ground process controls." Public health advocates say the government needs more inspectors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There have been six recalls since April of contaminated ground beef. This is the worst summer we've had in a number of years for these outbreaks and recalls.


ACOSTA: In fact, the supermarket we're standing in this morning still had those Topps frozen hamburgers with the USDA marking affected by this recall on their store shelves earlier this morning. We informed the manager about it. He pulled that product this morning, so he can now say the shelf behind me, that had those frozen hamburger patties, effected by this recall, those hamburger are now gone, John.

ROBERTS: What's interesting, though, Jim, is that recall went out, first of all last week, and then again over the weekend. And the store owner still hadn't heard about it. Any idea why the word didn't get to him, and how we could extrapolate that situation across the country?

ACOSTA: Well, it's interesting, because the recall was announced last week, but it was a smaller recall, focused on just about 300,000 pounds of ground beef. It was expanded to 22 million pounds over the weekend. And it's very possible that a lot of stores just didn't get the word over the weekend, and they are just finding out this morning as this store did.

ROBERTS: We're of course trying to spread it even one store at a time. Jim Acosta for us this morning.

Jim, thanks.

ACOSTA: You bet.


CHETRY: We have some breaking news right now, a football player at the University of Memphis shot and killed on campus late last night, this according to the Associated Press.

The victim's name is not been released but according to police he left his dorm and was in his car when the shooting occurred. The dorms are now locked down after the shooting. Classes are said to be could be canceled for today. Apparently, again, he had walked out of the dorm where he lived, and was in his car when the shooting happened. The car then ran into a tree a short distance from campus.

Again, they are not really releasing any information about the name, but according to local TV stations he was indeed a member of the university football team. They say he was shot in the chest and then pronounced dead a short time later at the regional medical center. We'll getting more information on this and we'll bring it to you as soon as we have new details.

Still ahead, we're headed into the cold and flu season. There are some drastic new recommendations about over-the-counter cold and cough medicines for children that parents should really be aware of. How do you help your child if they get sick? We have some advice coming up.

Also, more trouble for a mortgage giant, what it means for borrowers and their loans ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: It's 18 minutes after the hour now. Some unsettling news this morning for America's largest home mortgage lender. If you have a loan with Countrywide, listen up. CNN's Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis is here with us this morning.

So what's this all about, Gerri?


Countrywide, allegations this morning that the company isn't doing what it could to modify loans for people facing foreclosure. Now, you should know, as we have reported, adjustments in adjustable rate mortgages are putting a lot of people on the brink of default and even foreclosure. They are up 115 percent year over year.

Countrywide formed its own "Hope Unit" to help people in trouble. But "The New York Times" this weekend says it's not working. That in fact, people trying to use the Hope Unit can't even get a hold of them, and when they do, they're not getting the help they need.

Now, serious allegations, Countrywide has responded. Yesterday afternoon, they say the story is overblown. It's not fair. And it's not true. That they're doing everything they can to help folks out there who are struggling with adjustable rate mortgages that are resetting.

We talked to our sources at the Center for Responsible Lending. They say, hey, this is happening not just with Countrywide, but mortgage lenders across the country.

ROBERTS: There's another piece in "The New York Times", Paul Corbin (ph) wrote. Said, "Enron's Second Coming?", with a question mark, related to Countrywide.

But what can people do if the mortgage company will not work with them?

WILLIS: This is a big problem that's really emerging. The one thing you can do, the FHA is running a program right now, called FHA Secure. If you have defaulted on your mortgage, and it's because you've had an adjustment in rates, you should call the folks at FHA, is a great place to go. They're running a program right now that will give you a new loan with better terms.

Also you should know that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is offering counseling for people, call 1-800-569-4287, you can see the phone number here. You shouldn't delay. You need to go out and get help now. Home Ownership Preservation Foundation, another great place to go if you're really struggling right now. I know, look, the impulse is to do nothing.


WILLIS: You're embarrassed, I know, but you should really reach out because there are lots of programs out there, even some states have programs, John.

ROBERTS: It seems we haven't heard the last of this Countrywide story, either.

WILLIS: No, it will continue, I'm sure.

ROBERTS: Gerri Willis some good tips. Thanks very much. News that people can use.

WILLIS: You're welcome.

ROBERTS: A reminder that you can catch Gerri every weekend "Open House" Saturdays at 9:30 Eastern, right here on CNN.


CHETRY: Some new rules topping your "Quick Hits". Passports will once again be required for air travel returning to the U.S. They include flights from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The new rules go into effect today after a long delay because of trouble keeping up with all the new passport applications.

A 26-year-old doctoral student at University of Southern California is helping fight terrorism at LAX. He wrote a computer program that LAX police are now giving a trial run to. This program would keep potential terrorists and criminals constantly uncertain about where, when, and how often vehicles would be searched at airport entrances.

Still ahead, new recommendations from the FDA on what not to give your children when they've got a cold. We'll tell you which medicines are now being recommended not to be used on small children. And so what should you do if your child gets sick as we head into cold and flu season? We'll talk about it, coming up.


ROBERTS: Coming up now to 24 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning here on CNN.

The O.J. Simpson case tops your "Quick Hits" now. Attorneys for Simpson and his codefendants are set to meet with prosecutors and justice of the peace to talk about his case. It's expected they'll set a date for a preliminary hearing. The men face multiple counts of kidnapping, assault and burglary, all stemming from the alleged theft of memorabilia last month in Las Vegas.

And crews in Minneapolis have finished removing the wreckage from the I-35W bridge from the Mississippi River. Crews on the scene are now turning their attention to preparing the site for reconstruction. They expect to finish that phase in a few weeks. Thirteen people were killed when the bridge collapsed back on August the 1st. The National Transportation Safety Board still trying to put together the pieces of that puzzle to figure out why it came down.

A plane that would not come down, pilot and passenger were rescued after their small plane crashed into a tree. Police say that they were stuck about 50 feet up in the air, above a creek, for six hours. That was near an airport in Franklin, Virginia. Both of them are said to be doing OK. No word yet on whether they got the plane out of the tree, though -- Kiran.

CHETRY: There was some startling news that came out in the health news for parents. We're going to try to help sort it out for you. Hundreds of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for kids, there are some new recommendations about them now. And researchers are issuing a blunt warning for parents of young children. CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more on what you need to know.

Especially, Elizabeth, as we're heading into cough and cold season and it's already confusing enough when you look at the hundreds of different bottles and you're trying to figure out what to give your kid when they're sick.


Kiran, this news is going to be devastating to a lot of parents who rely on these products. I'm talking about products for coughs, for colds. I'm talking about anti-histamines. I have a couple of samples right here. These are products that parents use all the time. And now safety experts at the Food and Drug Administration are saying, uh-uh, don't use these for children under aged two, for certain products or under aged six for other products.

Again, we're talking about decongestants, anti-histamines. Specifically what this group of -- or these individual FDA experts are saying is for decongestant, don't use them for children under two. They're flat out saying, do not use them. For anti-histamines don't use them for children under six.

Kiran, even the people who make these products say you know what? The labeling on them really does need to be stronger -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Wow, it is confusing when you think about it. No anti- histamines for kids under six. My little baby's been taking Benadryl, which is an anti-histamine for various food allergies, et cetera, from time to time. And so it is scary when you think about it. How dangerous are those drugs?

COHEN: The researchers say they are very dangerous. They say that they have actually, that some children have died after taking these products. If you take a look at the specific numbers they really are kind of scary. What the FDA experts say is there have been 54 deaths between 1969 and 2006, after kids took decongestants. After anti-histamines they reported 69 deaths. Now, this also, the Centers for Disease Control says 1,500 children just in the past two years have ended up in emergency rooms because of these products. And Kiran, here is the kicker, these experts say these products don't even work in little children.

CHETRY: That is shocking. And so as we head into cold and flu season, what are the recommendations, what do you give your children when they get sick?

COHEN: Kiran, there are some options. Let's talk first about kids with allergies. You mentioned that your children have allergies. There are allergy medications, other than anti-histamines, that your kids can take that doctors consider to be safer. You can ask your doctor about those.

When it comes to just the common cough or cold that your child might have there's several things you can do. You can do just plain old saline nose drops. It's just a drop or a spray that you give your kid. It's just basically saltwater. You can also give them a cool-mist humidifier.

And you can also, in addition use something called a bulb aspirator. It is something I won't go into great detail about, how you use it, or what it does. But I have one right here. This is what I call mommy's best friend. This you just use it, it sucks everything out that's getting your child all stuffed up. It's very effective, doesn't hurt the child.

CHETRY: If you can catch your kids. As soon as you take that thing out, it doesn't matter how young they are, they either cry or run.

COHEN: They hate it, but moms love it, absolutely.

CHETRY: All right. Elizabeth, so people really should be checking with their doctor just making sure if medicine they've given the kids for several years is now a no-no.

COHEN: That's right.

CHETRY: Thanks for talking to us this morning. We'll check in with you later.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: A look now at a story coming up in the next half hour that you just can't miss.

Have you ever gone scuba diving?

CHETRY: No, snorkeling though.

ROBERTS: You know, the deeper you go, the more pressure is on your skin. Your fingers and things like that start to shrink a little bit. And things like rings have a tendency to fall off.

CHETRY: Don't take them with you scuba diving.

ROBERTS: Yeah, leave them at home.

It happened to a guy, went diving four years ago.

CHETRY: That's right and he thought his college ring was lost forever. But we'll tell you how he got it back from the deep. Coming up.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Monday, first day of October. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, I'm John Roberts. This just in to CNN this morning, a student at the University of Memphis was shot and killed late last night on campus. The Associated Press is reporting that he was shot in the chest while in his car. Police say that the man was pronounced dead a short time later. Local television reports say the victim was a member of the university's football team. We're also hearing that the dorms were locked down after the shooting took place and campus police say classes there today have been canceled.

CHETRY: We have more now on that strange and sad story of a woman who died while in police custody at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Carol Anne Gotbaum was taken into custody because police say she became enraged when she missed her flight. Witnesses report hearing her screaming, "I'm not a terrorist." Police handcuffed and arrested her, took her to a holding room. And when they checked in on her about five to ten minutes later she was dead. So what happened? Well, joining me now with more on the circumstances surrounding this very strange incident is Sergeant Andy Hill. He is with the Phoenix Police Department. Sergeant Hill, thanks for being with us.

SGT. ANDY HILL, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT (on the phone): You're welcome, Kiran, good morning.

CHETRY: Can you give us more detail about exactly what happened to Miss Gotbaum when you guys were called by the airport security?

HILL: Absolutely. And of course in this tragedy, we send our condolences to the family. We did receive a call that she was very loud, yelling and screaming, running around the concourse areas. Two officers responded to that location and made contact with Miss Gotbaum. They could not calm her down. There was probable cause to arrest her for disorderly conduct by disturbing the peace, which they did. It was very difficult for them to get her handcuffed but they did not have to pepper spray her or tase her or anything else. They were able to handcuff her.

One of the officers then took her to a holding office where about seven police employees were there. She was placed in a holding room with her hands hand cuffed behind her back, according to policy. And we also, according to policy, check once every 15 minutes at least. So after 5 to 10 minutes, she actually stopped yelling and screaming and the officers went to check on her. They found her with the handcuffs up against by her neck area, she was unconscious. They tried to revive her. They used the AED, which they've used to save 17 lives at that airport prior to that and they also tried CPR. The fire department arrived and they could not revive her and tragically she died.

CHETRY: All right. You know, it does raise some questions. Well, first of all, just in terms of trying to figure out what happened if she was hand cuffed behind her back, how would she then, how would the handcuffs somehow get around her neck?

HILL: Well, any police officer will tell you, Kiran, that there are many people that are able to get handcuffs out from behind their back and get them up and around. That can happen and how they got placed on the neck area, that will really be determined by what her condition was mentally, physiologically, and the medical examiner will have to make a determination if there was any substance involved. We don't know what her pre-existing condition was psychologically. You know, all of that information will have to be gathered and we don't know yet.

CHETRY: The other question is, where are these holding cells at the airport and is this typical? You get calls from airport security if there's an unruly passenger for whatever reason, and then how long are they kept at these holding cells at the airport?

HILL: Well, if somebody's arrested for disorderly conduct by disturbing the peace. It is a misdemeanor. They are not there very long, either they'll be booked into jail or they could be written a ticket depending on certain conditions, but they are arrested. By policy, we have to handcuff people. We do have a holding area in the terminal where that occurred and there really wasn't very long after the time when she went into medical distress so there are a lot of questions. And because we do very good investigations and thorough investigations, we will do that before we can release anything, if that will definitively says what happened and then we will need the medical examiner to finish it off.

CHETRY: I guess what I'm wondering is - was she going to be sitting.... I mean was she... did somebody explain to her this is how long you're going to be sitting here, or you know, it's until some paperwork is completed or was she just there for an infinite amount of time? Or how does that work? How long is somebody in a holding cell hand cuffed after a misdemeanor disorderly conduct?

HILL: It varies. It depends on probably what's going on, what other charges might be involved. In the case of Miss Gotbaum, she was extremely agitated, yelling and screaming, unconsolable, would not calm down. So, it's hard to rationally explain something to somebody in that condition. Usually they will calm down after a period of time and can be spoken to. In this case we will have to determine exactly what happened. Believe me, these officers would rather save lives and did not want to have a tragedy like this happening.

CHETRY: I know. No one is insinuating that by any means but just a bizarre situation that happened there. Well, thanks for sharing your side of the story and for letting us know what went on. Sergeant Andy Hill of the Phoenix Police Department. Thanks for being with us.

ROBERTS: Coming up now, 36 minutes after the hour. The Supreme Court this morning begins a new term today with a number of potentially polarizing cases on the docket but it's a new book out by Justice Clarence Thomas in his interview last night on "60 Minutes" that's grabbing much of the attention. Take a listen.


CLARENCE THOMAS, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: It's fascinating that people; there are so many people now who will make judgments based on what you look like. I'm black so I'm supposed to think a certain way. I'm supposed to have certain opinion. I don't do that.


ROBERTS: Senior legal analyst for CNN Jeffrey Toobin has got a new book of his own out about the Supreme Court, its called "The Nine... Inside the secret world of the Supreme Court." And Jeffrey joins us now from outside the Supreme Court.

Jeff, what did you find most interesting about what Justice Clarence Thomas is saying these days, not only in "60 Minutes" but in his book as well.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN, SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Just how angry he still is. 16 years after his confirmation hearings, it's like they took place yesterday. He is so bitter against the media, against Democrats, against liberals, and it's as if the whole thing took place just the other day, not 16 years ago.

ROBERTS: Last night on "60 Minutes," he was asked about Anita Hill. Let's take a quick listen to how he described her.


THOMAS: She was not the demure, religious conservative person that they portrayed. That's not the person I knew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is the person you knew?

THOMAS: She could defend herself, let's just put it that way.


ROBERTS: And in his book he called her "my most traitorous adversary."

But whose side of the facts really on in this case?

TOOBIN: Well, if you look at the historical record at this point, if you look at the book on this subject by Jane Mayer and Gilles Abramson, "Strange Justice," I mean, the fact is most of the evidence suggests that Anita Hill was telling the truth about what went on between the two of them. Justice Thomas simply asserts that she's a traitor that she's a liar but he doesn't really go through any of the evidence in the case. If you look at her accusations, if you look at the women who worked for Thomas who made similar accusations, you know I, of course, don't know what happened between them but the evidence suggests Hill was telling the truth.

ROBERTS: The title of the segment last night on "60 Minutes was "The Justice that No One Knows." In your new book "The Nine" you got an entire chapter on Judge Thomas. What's your take on him?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, I think the more important part of the hearings were really the part where he talked or really refused to talk about his substance abuse because his substance abuse are not only unlike anyone who is currently on the court, he is more conservative than anyone who has served on the Supreme Court since the 1930s.

Justice Thomas has written opinions that suggest he believes the new deal is unconstitutional. He believes in a very narrow federal government. I'm not saying that he's wrong because these are obviously judgment calls but this is something unlike anything we've seen on the Supreme Court in decades.

ROBERTS: Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear 19 cases in this final session of the year, that's an unusually high number. What are the cases that may have an impact on people's everyday lives?

TOOBIN: Well I think one of the big early cases is, is it constitutional for states to require photographs, photo I.D.s for voting? That's clearly a big case that has to do with the right to vote. There's a case about, is lethal injection cruel and unusual punishment? Fortunately, that doesn't affect most people's lives. There's going to be another big case about Guantanamo Bay, are the trials that the administration set up constitutional?

And perhaps the biggest case of all, not yet before the justices, is gun control constitutional? You know, the second amendment speaks of the right to keep and bear arms but the court has never said individuals have that right. This more conservative court may say, 'look, individuals have that right, so all gun control is unconstitutional.' That's a really big one.

ROBERTS: And on the voter I.D. thing, that was brought by Democrats. It may be a case of be careful what you wish for, because the Supreme Court, with its conservative balance could just uphold the fact that maybe yes, you do need to have an I.D.

Jeff Toobin for us at the Supreme Court this morning. Jeff, good to talk to you. Thanks very much, buddy.

TOOBIN: OK, John. See you.


CHETRY: Coming in the table, your "Quick Hits" now. Aides say Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will start work this week on their vision for a peace deal. It will be presented at a peace conference that's hosted by the U.S. in November.

And historic talks on the Korean Peninsula met with some protests. Leaders from North and South Korea are scheduled to meet tomorrow in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. It will just be the second meeting ever between the two leaders of the nations that are still technically at war after more than five decades after the Korean conflict of the 1950s.

Still ahead, uncovering America, we start a special series today looking at the issues facing the Hispanic community. Elizabeth Cohen will start us off next with a look at some serious health issues.

Also, if you lose something at the bottom of the ocean, you're pretty much out of luck, right? Well, one man got back his class ring, took four years, though. We have the lost and found story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: 44 minutes after the hour. Sign of hate inside a police station tops your "Quick Hits." Cops in Hempstead, New York, say they found a noose hanging in the locker room. It was apparently directed at Deputy Chief Willy Dixon, a black officer who was recently promoted. Dixon called it a cowardly act and says he won't be intimidated by it.

Fenced out -- 70 miles of border fence mostly in Arizona should be finished today. It's the first part to add 370 miles of fence to the United States southern border with Mexico.

And a Hispanic group is calling for a three-day boycott of all businesses in northern Nevada after federal agents arrested 54 suspected illegal workers and raided close to a dozen McDonald's restaurants. They're all owned by the same Reno businessman. He says he's still trying to pay the employees but the feds also seized his payroll records so he can't. Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, this week, CNN is uncovering America with a look behind the headlines and the faces and people that make up our changing nation. The focus this week is on Hispanic or Latino Americans. Hispanics now make up 14 percent of the U.S. population. According to the latest Census Bureau figures, there are nearly 43 million living here, making them the largest and fastest growing minority. By the year 2050, there will be more than 100 million Hispanics in the U.S., about 24 percent of the population. So, we're going to be taking a look at some of the challenges inside and out of this growing community and its influence on American politics, media, culture and life. And we start with CNN's Elizabeth Cohen who shows us some health concerns that are important and maybe unique to Latino Americans.

Hi Elizabeth. Good to see you again.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN, MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning, Kiran. Kiran, that's right, the Hispanic population is growing as you said there's almost 43 million Hispanics in the United States. To put that in perspective, that's double -- that's more than the entire population of Canada.

So, this is a huge group and public health experts are really trying to get their hands around what are the specific health needs of this group where people come from many different cultures and many different countries. Something that they've noticed in studies is that obesity is a bigger problem among Hispanics than among other groups in the United States. Another problem that's bigger among Latinos, diabetes. Now here's something really interesting. Heart disease deaths are actually lower. The rate is lower among Hispanics and other groups, even though they tend to be more obese, they tend to get less exercise, diabetes is a bigger problem and so health experts right now, that's one of the things that they're trying to figure out.

CHETRY: So, what are some of the health... we talked about being uninsured, of course, one of the biggest health concerns. What about some others when it comes to things that are unique to the Latino and Hispanic populations?

COHEN: Right, being uninsured is a huge problem. It really can't be overstated. In the United States, about 16 percent of Americans in general don't have health insurance. Among Latinos, it's 33 percent. Yes, one out of three Hispanics does not have health insurance. That means often they don't get to the doctor until it is way, way too late. Now you asked about other concerns, mental health is a big concern. Depression rates for reasons that are not entirely clear are higher among Latinos than among other groups and here is a sad statistic, Hispanic high school girls, they have higher suicide rates than any ethnic group. Kiran.

CHETRY: That is very disturbing also, on some top causes of deaths for Latinos -- heart disease, cancer, accidents, stroke and diabetes.

COHEN: That's right. That's right and accidents that's one that again is in the top five. That's an important one to remember. That's higher than a lot of people would like to see it. Assault is also higher up in the top ten list than people would like to see. Those are some problems that public health experts are trying to get at.

CHETRY: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

CHETRY: By the way, you can check out's special online report "The Hispanic Experience" today and read about some of the real issues facing Latino community and some significant moments in Hispanic history and you can also share your stories and send us some photos through i-Reports, that and much more on John.

ROBERTS: Your "Quick Hits" now, a female suicide bomber in Pakistan blew herself up at a crowded police checkpoint. Police say at least 10 people were killed including three officers. They say, it is the first time that a female suicide bomber has struck inside the country.

The United States is launching a new most wanted campaign, no playing cards this time. They're offering rewards of up to $200,000 for information leading to the capture of 12 Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders.

And did your luggage not make it on your last flight? Maybe it came a few days late, maybe it was lost forever. It turns out that you're not alone. In fact, you could populate a fair-sized city with the number of pieces of luggage that have been lost in the last three months. Ali Velshi will try to explain why; he's "Minding your Business."

And lost and found. A man gets his class ring back after it spends four years at the bottom of the ocean. We'll tell you how it was found ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: A man who lost his class ring at the bottom of the ocean while scuba diving got it back four years later. The man who found the ring tracked Steve Brown down through Ohio State University. Steve got the ring when he played lacrosse at OSU in the 1980s.


STEVE BROWN, REUNITED WITH CLASS RING: It was all those memories and it was hopefully something I'd have a lifetime to remind me of athletics and academics at Ohio State, and to go through the effort to track me down and to get the ring back to me, there just aren't words. I don't tell my wife this but my wedding ring would come off before this thing does.


ROBERTS: He'll lose that in his next dive vacation. The ring was fairly crusted up when it was found but now it's as good as new and back on Steve's finger to stay, hopefully, just like his wedding ring.

CHETRY: How about that? So, his alma matter is more important than his marriage. Don't tell his wife, though. It's 52 minutes past the hour. Ali Velshi is here "Minding your Business."

How are you?

ALI VELSHI, "MINDING YOUR BUSINESS": Good. Speaking of lost things, you know with summer gone one of the things you can look forward to, is there are fewer flights, which means fewer lost baggage.

Over the May to July period, according to the Bureau of Transportation statistics, you know how many bags were lost in the United States? A million, 1 million bags. Now, let's look at those numbers. Per thousand passengers, we're now running in July about eight bags per thousand passengers.

Back in 2002, it was about four so we're double that. The airlines say that's less than a percent because it's for a thousand and that means 99 percent of the bags get there on time. I'm not entirely sure because I haven't counted them. But it's happened to me more than once. In fact, I'm about to get on a plane later today; I hope they're not watching this.

The airlines say the reason for the increase in lost bags are these restrictions on gels and liquids and things like that, which means people have to check bags that they otherwise would have carried on. There are fewer employees to handle the bags, greater use of these hubs as opposed to point-to-point so more chance of losing that bag and a lot of the smaller regional jets can carry less baggage than the other planes so some bags don't get loaded at the end so check in early.

United Airlines by the way has been studying ways in which to try and solve this problem to get bags between planes at its hubs and it says that that's why it has the lowest lost baggage rate of the major airlines. U.S. Airways is ranking up there at number one of the major airlines.

CHETRY: Well, we solved it that for John. We got him on the (Accela) now, back and forth. No more flying.

VELSHI: Well, when you're in the northeast corridor, it's one of the reasons I like to take the train because your bag's with you the whole time and you know where to get it.

ROBERTS: 1 million pieces of luggage in a three-month period? That's incredible.

VELSHI: We'll keep track of it.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Ali.

VELSHI: All right.

CHETRY: Here's a story coming up you can't miss, we're following the latest on this breaking story out of the University of Memphis. Word that a student, possibly one of the university's football players, shot and killed leaving his dormitory last night.

ROBERTS: Yes, apparently, the university was put on lockdown almost immediately. Classes canceled there today and the investigation ongoing. So we'll be following this story for you but we'll be back in a couple of minutes.


ROBERTS: Conflicting reports, what a graphic new tape from "Newsweek" is telling us about the Blackwater shooting in Iraq.

Recall alert. The expanding meat recall, and finding out why it didn't happen sooner. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you just have one patient, it's very difficult to point the finger at one particular product.

Plus revenge of the nerds, meet the college computer geeks putting themselves on the auction block for dates. On this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning to you. And welcome back and thanks for being with us on this Monday, the 1st of October. I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: And I'm Kiran Chetry. We start off with breaking news and news of a University of Memphis student shot on campus.

ROBERTS: Yes, apparently he was killed on campus late last night. The Associated Press reporting today that he was shot in the chest while he was in his car. School officials say an initial investigation indicates the shooting was not an act of random violence, instead directed specifically toward the victim. Local television reports say football players at the scene of the shooting said the victim was a member of the University of Memphis football team. Campus police say classes there have been canceled today. We're trying to get more information on this for you from either police or university officials but so far, nobody talking about this. Kiran.

CHETRY: And a bizarre and sad story of a woman who died in police custody at an airport. It was in Phoenix, Sky Harbor Airport. Carol Anne Gotbaum of New York was taken into custody. Police say she became enraged when she was late to her flight and not permitted to board. They say that she fought with security officials before being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed. Police say they had her in a holding room where she was going to be cited for misdemeanor, disorderly conduct. They say that when they came back to check on her five to 10 minutes later, she was dead. So, the question this morning was what exactly happened? Alina Cho joins us now with more details on this story.

Hi, Alina.

ALINO CHO, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Hi there Kiran. Good morning.

You know, a lot that we still don't know this morning. We can tell you that an autopsy will be performed later today on the body of Carol Anne Gotbaum but it could be up to 90 days before we get the results.

Now, all of this started on Friday afternoon at Phoenix Airport. Gotbaum was not allowed on her U.S. Airways flight to Tucson because she apparently got to the gate too late.