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Major U.S. Cities Grapple With Surge In Shoplifting; Doctor Convinces Unvaccinated Man At Bar To Get COVID Shot; 5-Year-Old Miami Boy Gets To Be Police Chief For A Day. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 07:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: But I want to ask you the most important question of the week, which is --


KEILAR: -- in light of Paul McCartney saying that the Stones were a blues cover band, what team are you on, Michael? Are you Stones or are you Beatles?

SMERCONISH: So, I'll tell you what settles it for me. The brand-new trailer just came out this week for the Beatles' "Get Back." It's a three-part documentary that's going to be released in November. Anyone who invests the three or four minutes to watch the trailer will come to -- come to realize it's the Beatles. I mean, nothing against the Stones, but it's the Beatles.

I don't know why Paul McCartney said that. I thought it was a cheap shot. But in the end, the Beatles win.

KEILAR: Yes. No, that was an incredibly interesting conversation.

I will say in his defense I think he was talking about some of the musical influences of the groups. But there's also this argument to be made that the Stones very much matured, right? That they actually had other influences and there were other songs that were much different than that.

And then, finally -- real quick, Michael -- have you heard the new Adele single?

SMERCONISH: I have and I love it.

By the way, Mick Jagger is 78.


SMERCONISH: Not only is he standing in the bar in North Carolina, he's on stage for crying out loud. It's remarkable.

KEILAR: Yes. SMERCONISH: And McCartney's still at it, too. I love them both.

KEILAR: Yes, it's great.

Michael, I love the conversation. Thanks for being with us this morning.

SMERCONISH: Yes, have a good day.

KEILAR: Coming up, New York City grappling with a surge in shoplifting. Why is this happening and what's the plan to stop it? We're going to speak to New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams, next.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And by the way, Michael Smerconish, correct. The right answer is the Beatles.


BERMAN: So I'm glad he got that right.

In addition to that, on Adele, drop everything and call your therapist. Adele is back.






BERMAN: In New York City, homicides and gun violence are seeing a downward trend from 2020, which is welcome news, but crime is raising in other areas. Many retail stores are reporting an alarming spike in shoplifting. According to the NYPD, there's been a 32 percent increase in the number of shoplifting complaints this year compared to last.

Joining me now is the Democratic candidate for New York City mayor, and former New York Police Department captain, Eric Adams. Thank you so much --


BERMAN: -- for being with us.

You were asked about this shoplifting trend, which is happening in New York City and other cities around the country. We talked about San Francisco yesterday. And one of the things you said is if elected, on day one you would go in and tell police I've got your back.

Do you think they have a sense now that the mayor or politicians don't have their back? ADAMS: Here's what I hear from not only police officers but merchants in stores, like our Duane Reades and Rite Aids -- that when they call the police, they're not getting a response. People are walking into our stores, they're emptying counters, putting it into garbage bags, and walking out.

Security officers are not responding. They're not getting -- receiving a response from police officers. That can't happen. That's the erosion of the foundation of public safety in our city. People may think it's a petty crime but no, it sends the wrong message -- and you're seeing this all over the country.

BERMAN: But is that happening? Are the police not responding because they think that mayors and local politicians don't have their backs?

ADAMS: I'm not sure what it is. I know there's been a great deal of turmoil between legislations that have been passed and how police are responding to crimes.

I'm going to send a strong message I have your back, allow you to do your job. But darn it -- if you don't understand the nobility of public protection you can't serve in my police department. We could have the justice we deserve and the safety we need. They go together and that's the message that must be sent.

BERMAN: So, telling them I have your back -- how would that change, or could that improve the shoplifting problem?

ADAMS: Well, number one, we need to think about approaching this shoplifting problem holistically, and any petty crime holistically. You arrest someone for shoplifting.

We had one case where a person was repeatedly arrested. When we bring them into the precinct, how about having someone there that's a mental health professional. Something there that has services. When they are going to be arrested, let's find out why are you stealing in the first place.

Policing needs to evolve to a new ecosystem -- not just putting people in jail, but let's find out what are the underlying reasons you're doing petty crimes. Those crimes that are gun-related, it's a different conversation. But petty crimes is a social net failure that we must respond to.

BERMAN: I want to ask you about the Democratic Party, in general, and the national political environment.

You did an interesting interview about a week and a half ago where you said Democrats have become too complicated. What do you mean?

ADAMS: Well, because Americans and New Yorkers, in general -- we're not that complicated. We want our children educated. We want to live in our communities gainfully employed and able to provide for our families.

And so, all this theoretical and philosophical -- people saying hey, how about picking up the garbage? You know, how about just doing the essentials. And we're failing to do that.

BERMAN: What's the theoretical philosophical stuff, specifically?

ADAMS: Well, when you start talking about let's just close down a prison without closing the pipeline that feeds that prison. People want to know how do we deal with NYCHA year after year? That's our public housing. How do we deal with it year after year and get the dollars in?

That's why this bill -- the Biden bill -- budget bill is so important. Because we have to deal with the underlying reasons and how we're failing in the social net in our country. And when you become too theoretical about this conversation and not just deal with the basics that people are looking forward to, then you're losing your entire voting base.


BERMAN: I want to ask about education here in New York City. As you know, the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced he is going to do away with the current gifted and talented program, which you have to test into at age four, which is a thing. And a lot of people will look at that saying --

ADAMS: Right.

BERMAN: -- age four? You're taking a standardized test to figure out the entire rest of your educational career?

ADAMS: Right.

BERMAN: But, on the other hand, it's something that a lot of families in this city and a lot of people think should exist so that their kids can be -- can be pushed and educated the way that they deserve to be.

Where are you?

ADAMS: Well, we're having the wrong conversation. Number one, we should allow all children to opt out taking the test. That's number one.

Number two, we need to expand. The gifted and talented program was isolated to only certain communities. That created segregations in our classroom.

And then we need to test our children throughout their educational experience, not only at age four, age six, age 10. Let's continue to test them as well.

But we're focusing on the gifted students. They're going to be alright. How come we're not focusing on those children with dyslexia, learning disabilities? We should be testing them periodically. That feeds our prison population. Fifty-five percent of Rikers inmates are -- have learning disabilities.

BERMAN: If you win and he gets rid of the gifted and talented program, which he says he is, will you put it back in place?

ADAMS: He can't get rid of it until next year. There's nothing to put back in place. He can't get rid of it until next year.

There's a new mayor next year. That mayor must evaluate how he's going to deal with the gifted and talented program. There's nothing to put back in place because the next mayor must make the determination.

BERMAN: And you won't get away it -- go -- get rid of it?

ADAMS: No, I would not. I would expand the opportunities for accelerated learners and those children who are having barriers because they learn differently. We don't talk about them enough.

BERMAN: Eric Adams, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

ADAMS: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, an unvaccinated man walks into a bar. A doctor convinces him to take a shot. This is not a joke. It is awesome and you'll want to hear what happens next.

KEILAR: And President Biden's climate initiatives on the chopping block. What activist and Grammy award-winning singer Carole King has to say about it ahead.



KEILAR: A vaccine-hesitant man walks into a bar and so does a doctor. No, it is not a joke. It is, perhaps, serendipity.

Let's talk now to that doctor, Duane Mitchell. He is the director of the University of Florida's Clinical and Translational Science Institute. And Mark Hall, who recently got vaccinated after hesitancy to do so. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being with us this morning.



KEILAR: OK, Mark -- first, to you. What was it in this 3-hour conversation that Dr. Mitchell said that made you decide yes, I am going to get this shot?

HALL: Aside from answering probably a million questions that I had and my own reluctancy about it, it was just a genuine conversation. I feel like a lot of times throughout whatever -- social media or Google, or what you want to find or try to find the answers to, you don't always get three hours to sit with a very knowledgeable physician. And basically, I held him hostage at dinner and just -- he answered all the questions genuinely and sincerely, and it just made a big difference as far as what I walked away with that night.

KEILAR: I don't think Dr. Mitchell minds that you held him hostage with your questions. The payoff was great.

Dr. Mitchell, what do you think it was about this conversation that worked?

MITCHELL: You know, I think it was just a genuine respect for each other's positions. It was clear Mark had questions, had opinions -- but at the same time, was open-minded about hearing additional information. And we just had an -- really, a debate and an exchange of ideas with mutual respect for each other.

And I think, in the end, it was just communication with the goal of really understanding the other person's point of view; not necessarily trying to convince or persuade them of anything different that ultimately made a difference.

KEILAR: What was the specific thing, Mark, that made you say OK?

HALL: So, honestly, we sat there and we were getting ready to go. And I mean, every negative conversation around the vaccine -- you know, protein spikes, and you just name it -- and the adverse side effects -- I'd asked all the questions. I mean, I literally exhausted all of my answer -- or questions and he had answered everything -- every single thing to an extent to where I understood it on a simple level but also on a scientific level using his expertise.

So, I always tell everyone I'm a general contractor. I work with my wife in a business called NU Skin. So, we -- if you ask me questions about that I can give you answers and I'm very knowledgeable about that. But about the vaccine, I didn't know. So when asking a doctor, who that's his field -- that's his expertise -- you kind of walk -- I walked away from that interaction going OK, well that answered my questions.

And asking him personal questions about if he got the vaccine and his family, and just genuine, sincere responses. And again, it was just that back-and-forth that really kind of solidified our conversation at the end.

And I got up and said all right, well, if you give me the shot, fine -- I'll do it. And I thought it was a joke. I was literally just going to push the envelope there if you will. And he stood up -- done. Stuck his hand out and we shook hands, and I went oh, gosh, I just signed up for something I'm not sure I'm ready for. But knowing all of the information that I knew walking away from three, I knew I was ready at that point.


KEILAR: But Dr. Mitchell, you kind of doubted -- like, maybe I'm not really going to hear from this guy, right?

MITCHELL: Yes. I -- we shook hands, exchanged information, and I said if you're really interested, give me a call. I'd love to make this happen. And I walked away thinking maybe there was a seed planted and maybe down the road this might result in him ultimately deciding to be vaccinated.

But Mark is a man of his word. Two days later I got a text and he said we want to make an appointment to make this happen. And so, I was surprised but it was really gratifying to really see him and his family come to an informed decision that clearly, is the best for protecting them going forward.

KEILAR: So, maybe most importantly here, what were you guys drinking?

MITCHELL: Oh, I was eating a lot.

HALL: He had brussels sprouts.

MITCHELL: I had brussels sprouts.


KEILAR: There's no, like, magical elixir? No magical cocktail that was important to this?


MITCHELL: No, no. I think brussels sprouts was the key.

HALL: The brussels sprouts got it. That was the -- that was the icebreaker. He ordered brussels sprouts and I looked over and went that's on you, man. I'm not touching those.


KEILAR: Brussels sprouts. Well, you know, good for something, I will say.


KEILAR: Dr. Mitchell and Mark Hall, thank you so much to both of you.

HALL: Thank you.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

BERMAN: That's wonderful.

So, a 5-year-old boy who survived a fire that killed his mother is getting some special treatment from the Miami Police Department. Officers went beyond the call, making him chief for a day.

CNN's Ryan Young has the story.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Miami's newest police chief.

POLICE OFFICER: You've got to salute him.

YOUNG (voice-over): Like any good commander, he checks in with the troops. T.J. Mack was bestowed the department's highest honor for a day, enjoying the full privileges of running the department.

POLICE OFFICER: The helicopter ride will be the first thing to give you an aerial view of your city, Chief.

YOUNG (voice-over): It was a dream come true for this 5-year-old who loves superheroes.

YOUNG (on camera): You having a good time, so far?


ANGEL LANKFORD, T.J.'S GRANDMOTHER: It's amazing, yes, because it's like a dream for him.

YOUNG (voice-over): Chief Mack is a fighter. You can still see the burns that cover much of his body.

Back in April, T.J.'s mother was able to shield her son as they escaped the fire consuming their apartment. And sadly, T.J.'s mom died from her injuries, leaving the little boy without his mom and a long road to recovery.

LANKFORD: It brings joy to my heart because just watching him every day knowing that his mom's not here -- trust me, it hurts.

YOUNG (voice-over): The Miami Police Department is creating long- lasting memories touring his home city, visiting the aquarium, meeting the Miami Dolphins, and getting one special ride.

POLICE OFFICER: It's the feeling that we've been wanting to accomplish. Someone said that police departments were there in the bad times and this feels good to be there in the good times as well.

YOUNG (voice-over): The 5-year-old chief has already been through so much with 17 percent of his body burned and more than likely, many surgeries ahead. But he's already had a special moment in blue.

LANKFORD: It's amazing. God is good.

YOUNG (voice-over): Ryan Young, CNN, Miami, Florida.





ADELE: Singing "Easy On Me."

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: She is back. That was Adele's new single "Easy On Me," off her forthcoming album "30," which is going to be out next month.

Now, the video alone has already amassed over 15 million views -- probably 10 of them by me -- and that leaves fans in a sea of emotions, which is very much the point, isn't it?

We're joined now by Anthony DeCurtis who is the contributing editor at "Rolling Stone." Sir, thanks for being with us this morning.

I just wonder, what do you think of this new single?

ANTHONY DECURTIS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, ROLLING STONE (via Skype): Oh, it's terrific. It's just what everyone would want from Adele. I mean, I think there are certain artists that you want to reinvent themselves every time and there are certain artists that you want -- you have a very specific thing that you're expecting. And I think Adele hit that sweet spot yet again.

KEILAR: I actually -- you know, one of our members of our floor crew said well, how am I going to get married and divorced in time for November 19th to prepare for this album dropping?

DECURTIS: Yes, exactly. There's a sense in which her ability -- there's something about her voice and certainly the way she uses her voice that achieves a kind of emotional depth. And I think that's right here in this song and in the video as well. The video opens with the same sort of setting as was used in the "Hello" video. And so, she's very consciously evoking her past in this single.

And so, I don't know that on this album we're going to necessarily see any great aesthetic departures on Adele's part, and I don't think that's a bad thing.

KEILAR: It seems like it's something people need. I mean, you mentioned the video and the song, of course, but even how she shared this on social media where you see her --


KEILAR: -- connection to the song.


KEILAR: I think that really resonates with people and that's something maybe unique to Adele.

DECURTIS: Well, everyone has been going through and, in many ways, is continuing to go through a very difficult time with the pandemic. I mean, for a singer whose main theme, in a certain way, is kind of isolation. She's kind of coming out at a time where people I think are going to be very receptive to hear what she has to say and will receive it and will feel it.

So, this single, I think portends good things. KEILAR: What do you think it -- this album is going to bring about

when it comes to her evolution as a person? You know, her divorce, her continuing path in motherhood, even her -- what I have found so fascinating and refreshing, quite honestly, is she's talking about her physical transformation here in the last couple of years.

DECURTIS: Yes. Well look, as the album title indicates, she's 30 years old now. She's an adult woman and she's lived an adult woman's life.