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911 Calls Played in Arbery Trial; Marty Lancton is Interviewed about the Astroworld Accident; Bracing for Snow as Cold Pushes East; The Biggest Inflation Surge in 30 Years. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 11, 2021 - 06:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Prosecutors in the trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery played a series of 911 calls from two of the men who were charged in his killing. Some made weeks before the shooting. In one call, Travis McMichael reports a suspicious individual in a home under construction. In another, on the day of the shooting, Travis's father, Gregory McMichael, reports a black male running down the street.

Ryan Young is live for us in Brunswick, Georgia.

Ryan, tell us the latest where this stands.


There was a lot of emotion inside and outside the court yesterday. But I can tell you, when they played those 911 tapes, you could hear Gregory McMichael making that 911 call when the chase was happening.


JUDGE TIMOTHY R. WALMLSLEY: Swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


WALMLSLEY: Go ahead and be seated.

YOUNG (voice over): The trial of the three men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery continued Wednesday with the prosecution focusing on police transcripts of interviews with the defendants in the hours after the fatal encounter

LINDA DUNIKOSKI, PROSECUTOR: What is the next question that you asked Greg McMichael?

NOHILLY: Did this guy break into a house today?

DUNIKOSKI: And what did Greg McMichael say in response from line eight to line 13?

NOHILLY: Well, that's just it. I don't know.

YOUNG: Glynn County Police Sergeant Roderic Nohilly was the state's seventh witness. He interviewed defendant Gregory McMichael the day after the shooting.

DUNIKOSKI: What did you ask him?

NOHILLY: Have you ever seen him before?

DUNIKOSKI: What did Greg McMichael say?

NOHILLY: No. No. I've never laid eyes on the guy.

YOUNG: Defense attorneys argue their clients, McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and William Roddie Bryan Jr. were trying to conduct a lawful citizen's arrest. Attorney Jason Sheffield reading from the recorded interview Gregory McMichael gave to Sgt. Nohilly, argued his son Travis only shot and killed Arbery in self-defense as the two wrestled over Travis' shotgun.

FRANK HOGUE, ATTORNEY FOR GREG MCMICHAEL: I think he was. His intention was to grab that gun and probably shoot Travis. That's in my mind, that's what I saw, you know. And with that in mind, if he -- if he had gotten that shotgun and there was any separation between Travis and him, I was going to cap his ass.

And you understood he was describing to you the fight right at the very end of the confrontation?

YOUNG: Former Glynn County Police investigators Stephan Lowrey took the stand to focus on defendant William Roddie Bryan Jr., who filmed the chase and ultimately the killing of Arbery.

STEPHAN LOWREY, FORMER GLENN COUNTY POLICE INVESTIGATOR: Mr. Bryan says, front porch on the house, I looked up, see a black guy running down the road.

YOUNG: According to Lowrey's transcription of the interview, Bryan also sees a truck in pursuit and yells.

LOWREY: Y'all got him? Like a question

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he ever ask the black guy if he was OK?

LOWREY: Not that he told me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he ever ask the black guy if he needed help?

LOWREY: No, ma'am.

YOUNG: According to the transcript, Bryan told Lowrey he had not seen Arbery prior to that incident.

LOWREY: And he says, I mean I'm just hearing stuff that's been happening around the neighborhood.

YOUNG: Outside the courthouse, Arbery's family and supporters discussed the toll the last 20 months have taken.

WANDA COOPER JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: As we stand before this courthouse, I thought this day would never come.

From the very beginning, after we laid Ahmaud to rest, it was very hard because we couldn't find any help. The local authorities, they wouldn't give us any answers.


JONES: And we went for weeks trying to find out what happened to Ahmaud.


YOUNG: Arbery's mother later shared how disturbing Lowrey's testimony had been for her.

JONES: Investigator Lowrey was the individual who called me on that Sunday afternoon, about 6:30 p.m., and told me that Ahmaud had committed a burglary. I listened to Investigator Lowrey today for about -- for about three hours. He did not tell the courts that Ahmaud had committed a burglary. In fact, he said nothing about a burglary that Ahmaud had committed. Every word that describes me right now is just disturbing. Ahmaud ran. Ahmaud was chased. Ahmaud was killed. And then Ahmaud was lied on.

YOUNG: Reverend Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump echoed the family's feelings, laying out the stakes of the trial as they see it.


REV. AL SHARPTON, FOUNDER, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: What has happened in this case is a lynching in the 2021 century.

BEN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: What happens here in Brunswick, Georgia, in the trial of the killers of Ahmaud Arbery is going to be a proclamation, not only to Georgia, not only to America, but to the world how far we have come to get equal justice in America for marginalized black people.

YOUNG: Earlier Wednesday, another neighbor testified, Matthew Albenze, who called the police non-emergency line after seeing Arbery outside a home under construction.

MATTHEW ALBENZE, MCMICHAEL'S NEIGHBOR: We need police out here. There's a guy in a house right now.

That's a house under construction.

YOUNG: Albenze testified the owner of that property had shown him surveillance video of a person who matched Arbery's description in the house previously.

JASON SHEFFIELD, ATTORNEY FOR TRAVIS MCMICHAEL: And you even tell the Glynn County Police, this guy, meaning the man you're seeing on the property on February 23rd, has been to the house multiple times.

ALBENZE: That's what I said on the call. But that -- it might have been in the heat of the moment. And, you know, I can't say who it was, that guy or just somebody that looks like it is what I probably meant to say.

YOUNG: The prosecution has said that surveillance video did show Arbery at the site several times previously, but he always left without incident. This time, though, when Arbery left, it sparked a chase with the McMichaels and Bryan that led to his death. Albenze testifies he regrets any of his actions that may have led to Arbery's death.

SHEFFIELD: And that, of course, it still weighs heavy on your heart?



YOUNG: Now, Brianna, you're seeing more emotion from the family every single day of this court proceeding seems to be taking a toll on them. Those civil rights leaders who were here believes there should be more attention paid to this case because of how things are being set up, not only from the failures of law enforcement in their opinion, but what's happening in the court right now. It will be interesting to see how the next few days play out because, obviously, the defense is going to have to mount a definite response to what they've been hearing over the last few days in court.


KEILAR: Yes, some pivotal testimony there.

Ryan, thank you for that.

And, ahead, we are going to speak with Ahmaud Arbery's mother, who you saw there in Ryan's piece. That's going to be in the 8:00 a.m. hour.

So, overnight, Travis Scott's lawyer blasting Houston city officials for blaming the artist for what happened at Astroworld.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: House Democrats move to censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar over what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez called his fantasy murder video.



KEILAR: It's been almost a week since the deadly Astroworld Festival in Houston, and the finger pointing has only intensified. One point of contention centers on who was responsible for stopping the show before things got out of hand. Houston's police chief says that falls on the performer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF TROY FINNER, HOUSTON POLICE: The ultimate authority to end a show is with production and the entertainer, OK. And that should be through communication with public safety officials.


KEILAR: Rapper Travis Scott's attorney shooting back at those pointing the blame their way and blasting inconsistencies by Houston city officials.

Joining us now is Marty Lancton. He is the president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Marty, first off, what do you think of what Travis Scott's lawyers are saying here, blasting this blame game that's going on?

PATRICK M. "MARTY" LANCTON, PRESIDENT, HOUSTON PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 341: Well, here's what I can tell you is that I know that there's an investigation, and I think that, you know, what happened is probably going to be looked at from all different directions. And what I won't do is discuss things that I am not aware of. And I think that that's appropriate when we look at this tragedy because this is a tragedy.

KEILAR: It certainly is a tragedy. And the police chief says, as you heard there, that it's on the entertainer to stop the show. We learned that Houston PD did tell festival personnel to shop the show.

You know, do you have an idea of where the failure or failures were here? Because Travis Scott's position appears to be that he didn't know about these fatalities until well after the concert ended.

LANCTON: Well, listen, I can say in the public safety realm and what we do as a business, seconds matter, communications matter. I think you've heard that through a number of people that have said many statements. Communication is absolutely critical and it's key. Tragedies are not always something that you can prevent and sometimes you actually can prevent them. And I think that we'll get to the bottom of exactly what happened and why.

But where we come in, as the Houston Fire Fighters, is that we want to ensure that in an emergency, in a tragedy, we can provide the necessary resources, the logistics to get to the people that are injured or hurt. Our job is to save lives.

What I can tell you, from our perspective, is that the Houston Fire Department, the firefighters and the paramedics in the third largest municipal fire department had no command and control presence on the inside of the venue. That is absolutely a problem, in my opinion. And what that means --

KEILAR: All right and --

LANCTON: Go ahead.

KEILAR: No, sir, I -- sorry. Go on. You said what that means. LANCTON: What that really means is that whoever put the event on hired

a third-party medical company experts, quote-unquote, to handle any emergencies that are happening on the inside. And from the information that I've been provided from a number of reporters, that they've -- they hired a company that in -- in their plan basically says that if something goes wrong, we're basically going to call 911, we're going to call the Houston Fire Department.

The problem is --

KEILAR: Yes, and, so, look, to be clear --


KEILAR: You're -- you're looking at those communications failures because there was only cell phones.


There was no radio connection, right, between those, as you say, quote-unquote experts, and firefighters.


KEILAR: I mean there should have been. Clearly there should have been. So who at the city level, this was approved by the city, who at the city level is responsible for that?

LANCTON: Well, I can tell you that anybody -- any time you hire a third-party medical company and you do not provide the responding agency in the event of a tragedy, in a mass casualty incident, which is what happened at Astroworld, there is a failure. I know that our firefighters, there were four of them that were outside the perimeter monitoring six radios in sort of a support role, if you will. And what they asked these medical people is, do you have a radio so we can communicate if something goes wrong? And what they were given instead was a list of cell phone numbers.

I absolutely said that at the beginning when I got the information, not finger pointing. I got the detailed information from the firefighters that were a mile away staged and listening to all of this chaos happen.

And what I can also tell you is that the four firefighters that were on the outside that were listening to this took it upon themselves when they started to hear radio traffic and self-initiated a Houston Fire Department response and upgraded it to a mass casualty incident. If you don't have radios to communicate in an emergency, I don't know that cell phones are very reliable when you have 50,000 or 60,000 people, especially when you have people that are dying.

KEILAR: Yes, look, we've all been to a concert. You try to upload something to social media, or something, you can't. That's just the fact of it when you're around that many people with cell phones.

Marty, there are so many questions still to be answered here. So I'd love it if we could stay in touch and hopefully get some more answers.

Marty Lancton, thanks.

LANCTON: Thank you very much, Brianna.

KEILAR: Prices for everyday items are skyrocketing. How inflation is hitting Americans and putting the pressure on President Biden.

BERMAN: And a CNN exclusive. What the January 6th committee is now interested in at least five people from the Mike Pence inner circle.



KEILAR: The Dakotas and portions of Minnesota are bracing for their first significant snow of the season. This is a storm that is pushing cold air across the center of the country. It is heading east. And it's expected to send temperatures plunging.

So, let's get right to meteorologist Chad Myers.

What are we looking at here?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Brianna, I hate it when you change your clocks and also dig out your snow shovel in the same week.

KEILAR: Right!

MYERS: I mean, really, something's wrong there. But it will be a windy storm as well. And that's what a lot of people will see will be the wind.

This weather brought to you by Servpro, the number one choice in cleanup and restoration.

So let's get to it. Look at these wind gusts. We're going to have winds of 70 miles per hour and blizzard conditions across parts of the Dakotas. And we even have those high wind warnings and they're going to be with us most of the weekend.

Now, the storm does move to the east and it does cool down the East Coast. So we're not only talking about the Dakotas. There will be snow in western New York and upstate New York, all the way even into Watertown could see some snow. There's the head of the comma. Here's the tail all the way down here with thunderstorms. Even storms into New York for tomorrow night. So we'll watch that. Some of these storms could be strong with wind gusts as well.

This is a wind maker for sure. We're going to see rain, wind, and snow. And you see that snow all the way even into parts of Ontario coming off the lakes. The cold air is on its way. Certainly it's winter. You're almost -- it feels like winter here. Temperatures are going to be well down below where we should be this year -- this time of year. Sunday in New York City, a windy, gusty, very wind chilly 49. But it's going to feel more like 35, Brianna. KEILAR: Dang, that is too cold, Chad Myers.

MYERS: Too early.

KEILAR: All right, too early for that cold. Thank you, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: All right, huge economic news. Inflation at levels not seen in 30 years.

CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins me now.

Romans, what's up?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, everything, basically. Inflation, a hallmark of this post pandemic recovery, John. Many shoppers have already been preparing for higher prices during their holiday shopping sprees.

Consumer prices rose 6.2 percent since last October. That's the biggest increase in 30 years. Even when you strip out those volatile sectors like food and energy, prices still rose 4.6 percent. That's the most since August 1991. Everything from steak, to eggs, milk, and flour all jumping since October last year. Cereal, 5 percent more expensive. Baby food prices rose nearly 8 percent. Gas prices up nearly 50 percent. Used car and truck prices up 26 percent and change.

Inflation is the downside of an economy bouncing back from the pandemic crash. Demand is surging again. And where there are choke points in the global supply chain, goods can be scarce.

It's not something Americans or the White House are happy about. The president vowing that fighting inflation is now his top priority.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people, in the midst of this economic crisis, the recovery is showing strong results. But not to them. They're still looking out there. Everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more. And it's worrisome.


ROMANS: Both the Biden administration and the Fed have said that these price hikes are temporary. But, you know, that's cold comfort if you're buying gas or groceries this week. And the White House has limited options, frankly, to rein in inflation. That's the job of the Fed. There are those who say maybe the Fed needs to be removing stimulus a little bit quicker here.

Now, remember, prices fell last year because demand collapsed as COVID shut down business. Now demand is back big time. And, John, supplies simply can't keep up.

This is expected to go on into the first part of next year, maybe second half of next year. That's what the Treasury secretary has said, you'll start to see prices cool off again.

BERMAN: And they better hope politically and also economically.


BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you very much.


SpaceX launched four astronauts to the International Space Station, kicking off a six-month stay.

KEILAR: And, an emotional breakdown, sobbing on the witness stand. Kyle Rittenhouse defending his actions that killed two people and wounding a third. But did the jury buy it? Our legal experts will weigh in.


KEILAR: A successful launch for SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one, zero, ignition, and liftoff.


KEILAR: The four astronauts on board are now on their way to the International Space Station for a six-month stay.


And CNN's Kristin Fisher is joining us now to tell us about this.