Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Miami on Verge of Firing Police Chief; Officers Across U.S. Killed in Line of Duty; Christine Todd Whitman and Miles Taylor are Interviewed about their Advice to fellow Republicans; Gina Kildahl is Interviewed about Her Lawsuit Regarding COVID. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 12, 2021 - 08:30   ET



RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: MPD of the political interference from city hall that unfortunately continues to negatively impact this organization.

So you understand, this all just happened yesterday with him being removed, less than six months after taking the job.

Listen to this one sound bite from some officers who were supporting him staying here in the city of Miami.


SGT. STANLEY JEAN-POIX, MIAMI POLICE: What I hope happens is that, let's be real, he's only been here for five months. He is now outsider. Has he made some mistakes? Yes. For instance, when he talk about Cuban mafia. What I liked was, he apologized.


YOUNG: Yes, John, you heard that reference to the word "Cuban mafia." Apparently, Art Acevedo said out loud, he compared some of the things that were happening here in the city to the Cuban mafia. That was a bridge for some people that was too much. The chief has gone on to be silent right now as this investigation continues.

But now you see the move moving forward. There are people in law enforcement circles who are quite surprised that this happened because he's known for making changes. There were people who said finally, in the Miami Police Department, they were going to see some of the changes that happened across the country when you speak about the fact that this man used to go out and march with Black Lives Matter protesters, they were talking more about having equity with inside the police force, moving women and minorities up. So this was a big shock yesterday.

Now, the assistant chief will now become the chief, as they do a nationwide search. There is a 2:30 news conference with the mayor that's going to talk about all these sort of moving pieces here. But when you think about this force in an international city, this was a shock that a man who has such a national prominence, who left Houston to come here, has now been put out of police chief in less than six months.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I suspect we will hear more about this in the coming hours.

YOUNG: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: Ryan Young, thank you for being there for us.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: There's been a tragic string of law enforcement officers being killed over the last few days. A Georgia police officer, working his very first shift, a Louisiana trooper ambushed in his patrol car, and a deputy in Arizona beaten while jailing a suspect.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is live for us in Chicago with more.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, good morning to you.

As you can imagine, members of law enforcement and their families are grieving after this string of killings.

Let's start in Phoenix, Arizona, with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department. That's where Deputy Juan Ruiz was taking a man into custody. Once he had that man in the holding cell, he removed his handcuffs, which is standard procedure, and that's when the man, who had a warrant out for his arrest, turned on Deputy Ruiz, beating him unconscious. That suspect left Ruiz's body in the holding cell and took off in the deputy's vehicle.

Here's what the sheriff had to say about the men and women protecting their community.


SHERIFF PAUL PENZONE, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: I would hope that members of this community have a more clear understanding of the dangers that these men and women face every day. Deputy Ruiz's family needs more than your prayers. They need to know that you actually care that men and women put on the badge and uniform and sacrifice their lives.


BROADDUS: And even in death, Deputy Ruiz is helping. His family says his organs will be donated, so he's giving the gift of life. It's possible because of him someone will have eyesight, another person may receive his kidney or liver and it's very possible someone could receive his heart. Can you imagine, Brianna, if his family is able to hear Ruiz's heart beat again in the body of someone else because of his act of service?

Let's move now to Georgia. That's where Officer Dylan Harrison was working the first shift with this department when he was killed. Police there say it was following an altercation with a known associate earlier in the day.

And in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where folks are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Master Trooper Adam Gaubert, a 19-year veteran, was killed. His body discovered hours later.


KEILAR: Adrienne Broaddus, thank you for that report.

Big developments expected today in the Gabby Petito case. What we could learn for the first time just ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, the Wisconsin mother suing the school where she says her son caught COVID. She tells her story live, next.



KEILAR: Two long-time GOP critics of former President Trump offering some surprising advice for fellow Republicans who refuse to embrace Trump's chokehold on the party and his lies about the election. In a "New York Times" opinion essay, they write, rational Republicans are losing the party's civil war, and the only near term way to battle pro-Trump extremists is for all of us to team up on key races and overarching political goals with our long time political opponents, the Democrats.

Joining us now, the authors of this column, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security under former President Trump, Miles Taylor, and former EPA administrator and former Republican governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman.

Governor, to you first.

You know, this is quite a step.


KEILAR: This is quite a step. How did you come to this decision that you would implore other Republicans to support Democrats?

WHITMAN: Because I believe in the Constitution. And it's time that our elected officials remember they took an oath to that, not to a party. And what I have seen is that, unfortunately, Donald Trump has created what I would call a -- it's just a cult. There isn't a party anymore. If you don't have a core set of values, if you don't have a platform, which they didn't adopt at the last convention because he didn't want them to, the only thing that you stand for is whatever he tells you on a particular day. And that is not my definition of a political party.

And this country needs two centrist political parties because I -- I think it's important to mention that we also say that Democrats should look to their left and where they see radical left candidates, they should support a moderate Republican.


It goes both ways. But, obviously, our interest is primarily in the Republican Party to restoring it to what it was. At least id' like to see it to what it was when I grew up, a party that did stand for the average person in the center. It sought balance and it got things done back in those days.

KEILAR: Miles, what -- key races is what you're talking about here. What do you mean by that?

MILES TAYLOR, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT: Well, look, what we want to look at is not every single congressional and Senate rate around the country. What we're focusing on, the governor and I and our organization Renew America movement, is those tip cases, those key races around the country where we think moderate unifying Democrats, if elected, will keep the balance of power in the hands of current congressional leaders.

That's not an easy thing for me to say. I'm a lifelong Republican, but I've worked with Kevin McCarthy and I think Kevin McCarthy cannot be trusted to be speaker of the House.

KEILAR: So current leaders. You think that the speaker should remain the speaker and that Democrats should remain in control of the Senate?

TAYLOR: Well, and, look, I'm a fan of Mitch McConnell. That's not popular on the left. But I do think as long as Donald Trump's allies keep putting withering pressure on Mitch McConnell in the Senate to do things that are anti-democratic, then, no, the Senate needs to remain a divided body for the time being.

And I will say, Brianna, the moderate crowd has mocked the governor and I for putting this out saying, you know, who the hell is Miles Taylor and who cares about the former governor of New Jersey? Well, I'll tell you who cares. It's the millions, not thousands, the millions of disaffected Republicans who switched sides and voted for Joe Biden in 2020. That's the audience we're reaching out to. And the moderate crowd knows that they can't get to 50, they can't get to 50 percent without those millions of disaffected Republicans who feel the same way that the governor and I do. So that's the group that we're tapping into.

KEILAR: Certainly, Governor, a lot of those Republicans, and certainly ones who have dedicated their lives to politics, feel like they're in no-man's-land. So the question is, if you're urging Republicans, moderate Republicans, to -- Reagan Republicans I think they might consider themselves, to swing over to the side of Democrats, do you think that Democrats are doing enough to bring folks in the center into their tent?

WHITMAN: Well, that's what we also say is for moderate Democrats that are unhappy with the pressure that they're seeing from the left of their party, don't go as far as the Republican Party has gone. This is not healthy for the country. So where you can support a moderate Republican, do so over a far left Democrat.

This needs to be both sides coming together. And that's not easy to do. We recognize that.

But I will tell you, and Miles, I'm sure, will back me up, we have had -- the response to the -- to the letter, to the op-ed, I should say, has been really strong of people saying, finally, thank you, yes, we need to do this. Of course there have been the naysayers and, I mean, they're going to -- they're going to say whatever they're going to say and dismiss us. But there are literally, as Miles mentioned, thousands, tens of thousands of Republicans who have left the party. And you can see it in the registration numbers, Republican registration overall is going down. It's the independents and the unaffiliated who are going up. And many of those -- I would guess most of those, are Republicans who just don't feel this is their party anymore. They want one where they can identify that it stands for some principles, that it believes in fiscal conservatism, that, you know, you pick the issues. It -- it believes in the rule of law, and it upholds the Constitution. And we've seen that been blown away under the Trump presidency.

And what's really scary right now is the effort to undermine the public's confidence in the elections. The past election, 2020, was not only free and fair, but it was accurate. We know that. Multiple, over 60 lawsuits, have proven that, heard by judges, some even appointed by Donald Trump who said there's no evidence of fraud there. But what this is, is trying to set up the ability in 2022 or 2024 to undermine the results. If they don't get what they want, then they'll say it's fraud and they'll try to undermine it. And that's not how our democracy works.

KEILAR: Governor, Miles, thank you so much.

Look, we've heard from a lot of Republicans who said they wouldn't vote for Trump, and they actually penciled someone in or wrote someone in. Will they go for a Democrat? We'll see if your calls have any impact.

Thank you to both of you.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

KEILAR: And here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:30 a.m. ET, Nancy Pelosi news conference.

2:00 p.m. ET, White House press briefing.

2:30 p.m. ET, Gabby Petito autopsy results.


KEILAR: Another Facebook whistleblower coming forward. What her memo says about, quote, blood on her hands. BERMAN: Plus, President Biden's struggles now affecting Democratic

candidates in other races.


Stay with us.


BERMAN: Time now for "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Jon Gruden has resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders for using homophobic, racist and misogynistic language in emails while he worked as an analyst for ESPN. A "New York Times" report reveals how Gruden denounced women being hired as on field officials and teams drafting openly gay players.

KEILAR: Texas Governor Greg Abbott banning all state entities, including private employers, from enforcing vaccine mandates. This order marks a significant reversal after Abbott previously gave private businesses the choice on whether to mandate vaccines.

BERMAN: Today, a Wyoming coroner is set to give an official update on Gabby Petito's autopsy during a briefing with reporters.


Petito's death was ruled a homicide, but little has been made public about how she died or about the state of her body when it was fount.

KEILAR: And another Facebook whistleblower is offering to testify before Congress. Former data scientist Sophie Zhang says that she felt like she had blood on her hands after working for the company. She alleges Facebook doesn't do enough to tackle abuse of its platform in countries outside of the United States.

BERMAN: And a record-breaking run on "Jeopardy" is over.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you have to say good-bye to Matt Amodio, with an unbelievable 38-day winning streak. That is one for the books. It has been an honor.


BERMAN: Matt Amodio won more than $1.5 million total. He's just the third "Jeopardy" contestant to break the million dollar mark. His 38- game streak is second only to Ken Jennings, who had 74 straight wins.

KEILAR: That's still quite a gap, 38 to 74.

BERMAN: It is. But 38 is tons. I mean that guy, whoo.

KEILAR: See him all day long, every day. All right, so more on these stories all day on CNN. And check out the

"Five Things" podcast. You can go to or wherever you get your podcasts.

A Wisconsin mom is suing the school district that her child is in after she says her seven-year-old son got COVID from a classmate who was not wearing a mask. Gina Kildahl says her son wore a mask to school every day, but her school district does not mandate masks for students or staff. The lawsuit says by bringing students back to class around unmasked staff, reinstituting extracurricular activities and allowing potentially contagious visitors and volunteers into the school without masks, School District of Fall Creek and the Fall Creek Board of Education threw students into a COVID-19 snake pit. That by removing their COVID-19 mitigation measures, they are needlessly and recklessly endangering the health and safety of their students.

And joining me now is Gina Kildahl, the plaintiff, and her attorney, Frederick Melms.

Thank you so much, both of you, for being with us.

Gina, just tell us a little bit about your son, how he's doing, and how you believe he got infected.

GINA KILDAHL, SUED SCHOOL DISTRICT AFTER HER SON GOT COVID: My son is doing very well. Fortunately, he was asymptomatic from COVID.

I am concerned about long-term effects that COVID could have on his health, whether or not he had symptoms. But I do believe that he contacted COVID from school. There were several emails and calls that went out, sending different amounts of children home, and when he was finally identified as a close contact, he was tested positive within three days. And my husband and myself, neither one of us were tested positive. We tested negative several times.

KEILAR: OK, so, according to your lawsuit, your school does not enforce mask wearing, right?

KILDAHL: Correct.

KEILAR: That's not enforced for students or for staff.

KILDAHL: Correct.

KEILAR: That's not in line with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and also CDC guidelines. What are you hoping to achieve with this lawsuit?

KILDAHL: I am just hoping that they will start masking and take some responsibility to keep our kids safe at school. On my school's website, on all of their board documentation, they say that they want to provide a safe place to learn. And I think that to do that, especially with the delta variant out there, they need to start masking kids. And it's very hard for small children, especially, when they're getting picked on, to not pull those masks down. Universal masking is what our county health department suggests just so that all the kids are on the same playing level.

KEILAR: Picked on because you mean they're getting picked on for wearing masks?

KILDAHL: Correct.

KEILAR: Frederick, what are the legal grounds here?

FREDERICK MELMS, ATTORNEY FOR CLIENTS WHO SUED SCHOOL DISTRICT AFTER THEIR SON GOT COVID: Yes, well we've got a couple of different arguments. The first is that the school is effectively creating this risk of infection which provides them the responsibility to take some mitigation measures and try and protect the students. The second claim we're making is effectively that's due to a special relationship between the school and the students, they have that responsibility as well. And, finally, we're arguing that the school is effectively hosting a daily super spreader event by holding classes and they have a responsibility to the community to try and mitigate the number of infections within the school.

KEILAR: So key to this would be proving that Gina's son contracted COVID in the school. Clearly there was exposure, but there could always be doubt. I'm sure someone opposing your lawsuit could say, oh, there was community spread, it could have been somewhere else.

How do you prove that her son was infected in school?


MELMS: I've already been speaking with experts in the field and they feel pretty confident they'll be able to write a report or to testify, depending on how everything goes, that the infection was most likely at the school.

KEILAR: Frederick, Gina, I want to thank you both. I know there's a lot of parents who are going to be watching this case very carefully. And I do want to note, we reached out to the school and they did not have a comment.

Gina Kildahl, Frederick Melms, thanks to both of you.

KILDAHL: Thank you.

MELMS: Thanks. Thank you.

KEILAR: Nancy Pelosi warning Democrats of difficult decisions they'll have to make. You'll hear from her later this morning on CNN.

BERMAN: And for the state that made "The Sopranos" famous, a campaign ad full of naughty words.





BERMAN: So, there are ads and then there are ads. In New Jersey, they have their own style of political ads here. I want to show you a digital ad put out by the Democrats about the Republican candidate for governor. I'm going to let the ad explain itself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who this guy is?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Jack Ciattarelli, the GOP candidate for governor.

He once led an effort to ban swearing.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aww, that's kind of nice.






BERMAN: Jack Ciattarelli is New Jersey's Republican candidate for governor and he really did back $500 fines for cursing when he was a local politician 27 years ago.

KEILAR: I just really enjoyed watching all of those women curse. What does that say about me?

BERMAN: That's the -- well, that's the thing, as I was watching, I was laughing. And I'm like, oh, should I be laughing? Is this funny? I can't decide if it's appropriate or not. It's a digital only ad. So it's not like it's airing during Saturday morning cartoons or something.

KEILAR: No, but it's incredibly -- I mean, look, it's incredibly effective and it's getting a lot of attention. And it's fun.


BERMAN: Well, if you -- if you support swearing, right? I mean I think it's incredibly effective.