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tv   At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan  CNN  August 12, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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>> my favorite thing is there's a drain cover. she picks it up and cradles it to practice. >> reporter: you can see how well all that practice paid off. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> thank you so much for joining me today. i'm carol costello. "at this hour with berman & bolduan" starts now. move over, donald trump. bernie sanders is coming through. he is also exciting voters in a key state. hear where he's now beating hillary clinton as trump calls sanders weak. a rookie officer fired after shooting and killing an unarmed college football player inside a car dealership. but were the officer's actions criminal? they beat us, they blamed us, in their search for answers. that's what inmates are accusing guards of after richard matt and david sweat escaped. hear what the inmates say happened behind bars.
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hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. john berman is off today. if you said a few weeks ago that donald trump and bernie sanders would be the presidential candidates to beat, would anyone have believed you? but take a look at the new polls out in two key primary and caucus states. trump is now out in front in iowa pushing scott walker out of first place. this is the first poll taken since last week's debate. the same deal pretty much in new hampshire, although trump's closest competition there now is jeb bush. his lead softening a bit. now take a look at bernie sanders, moving ahead of hillary clinton for the first time among new hampshire democrats. and sanders has now become one of donald trump's targets. politics reporter m.j. lee is here to talk about this big shake-up, along with cnn's senior political reporter nia-malika henderson. right before the show we were
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saying, look at these polls. throw it back up there. trump is leading in these new polls, by and large, it appears from these numbers that the debate, any problems, any controversies didn't dent him at all, huh? >> yeah. and the thing to remember about new hampshire is that they love outsiders in new hampshire. they love anti-establishment candidates, candidates who will talk about d.c. as if d.c. were the problem, candidates who are sort of the underdogs and not necessarily the establishment and top tier candidates or you wouldn't assume to be. so donald trump and bernie sanders, it doesn't seem on the surface level that they have a lot in common. but they actually do. you listen to the way they talk about their issues and the way that they talk to voters. and they're casting themselves as the true outsiders. they're not happy with the political elite. so it's not actually surprising to see them getting this early boost in a state like new hampshire. >> let's look at the sanders lead now in new hampshire. throw it back up there. sanders at 44%, clinton at 37%,
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nia, overtaking clinton for the very first time. what does that tell you or what does that tell the clinton campaign, i guess? >> they've got a race on their hands and that's what they've always believed. i don't know that they thought it would be bernie sanders. there had been some speculation early on that it would be elizabeth warren. but she didn't go in. so a lot of those folks who would be attracted to an elizabeth warren candidacy are now in bernie sanders' camp. what's odd is that new hampshire has been a good place to the clintons. bill clinton became the comeback kid in new hampshire. and hillary clinton did so well there, it revived her campaign after that iowa loss in 2008. but now sanders is the kid folks are wanting to look at there. he was at 8% in the polls in march. he's steadily gaining on clinton and now overtaking her in the lead there. i think if you talk to the clinton folks, they do say, well, let's think about what the
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broader democratic coalition looks like, doesn't look a lot like new hampshire. they want to see what's happening in south carolina, which is a state that sanders hasn't been to but will go to later this month. and clinton has spent a lot of time down there. it looks more like the obama coalition down there. >> i want to get both of your takes quick on one thing. burden of proof b bernie sanders becoming a target for donald trump. donald trump was asked about the fact that bernie sanders was essentially shouted off the stage at an event by protesters in the black lives matter movement. listen to this when donald trump was asked about it. >> yes, sir? >> would you give your microphone to a protester, like bernie sanders did? >> i would never give up my microphone. i thought that was disgusting. that showed such weakness. the way he was taken away by two young women -- the microphone, they took the whole place over. i felt badly for him. but it showed that he's weak. you know what? he's getting the biggest crowds and i'm getting the biggest crowds. we're the two getting the
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crowds. but believe me, that's not going to happen to trump. >> what do you make of that, nia? >> nobody's going to take a mike away from trump. this is trump as the alpha male, the biggest man on campus there. but he's sort of feeling the burn and it is interesting that these two -- trump is the sort of billionaire populist. and then you've got sanders there who's the socialist populist. >> great to see you both. thank you so much. >> thank you. now we're going to take a look at the other leading democratic candidate running for president, hillary clinton. reversing course, she is now turning over her private e-mail server and a thumb drive to the justice department. s that something that clinton has to this point resists and has resisted doing so for months. it comes after an intelligence official told congress at least
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five e-mails on that server that clinton used as secretary of state contained classified information. and look at this recent poll. it shows that the majority of americans, 52% leave that clinton's e-mails should be subject to a criminal investigation. most of those saying, yes, it should are probably not surprisingly independents and republicans. let's bring in our legal analyst paul callan for more on this. the clinton campaign has successfully resisted handing this over to this point. a lot of folks are wondering, why now? it's back in the headlines. >> it's back in the headlines because there's sort of a general awareness now that hillary clinton had in her possession literally thousands of e-mails, maybe in the basement of her house, on a computer server, classified information. and the allegation is that that might be a criminal violation of law. remember the general petraeus case when petraeus brought his laptop computer to a place where his mistress was able to see it?
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there are no mistresses involved here. however, the classified information doctrine is the same. there are strict federal laws restricting where you can possess classified information, how you have to protect it and it's criminal to disclose it. >> with that in mind, then, officials have said over and over again when this has come up that hillary clinton herself is not a target of this investigation. so what does d.o.j. want with the server? the clinton campaign says it has been wiped. >> well, i think they want two things. first of all, when you say a computer's been wiped, there are experts who sometimes can look at a -- >> not necessarily been wiped. >> you can get the information back. i'm sure that's what justice has in mind. they want to see what was on that computer. secondly, these secrecy laws are very, very complex, these federal laws. but this is what they require. they say that if you have in your possession classified information and then they subcategorize it, it could be secret, top secret,
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confidential -- there are different levels. if it's the kind of information which a release would gravely damage the interests of the united states, that's criminal activity. and i think they are looking in general to see what information was there and if secondly the information was destroyed, is that evidence of a cover-up of some kind because many times that's the most serious thing that people face. sometimes they eliminate or erase something and it turns out it was important -- >> cover-up is worse than the crime? >> exactly. in fairness, hillary clinton says she was unaware of any classified information -- >> and they say it wasn't classified -- the state department and its intelligence officials, there's a dispute if it was classified. it wasn't classified at the time that these e-mails were sent. that's what makes this even more murky. >> we can't jump to conclusions here until we see all of the information as to which side is right here and whether there was criminal activity by hillary clinton. >> do you think -- and the campaign continues to say that this is not a criminal investigation into hillary
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clinton. justice officials have said that she is not a target of the investigation. do you think that could change? do you think anything that they're going to see on these servers -- in these servers could change that, that she could still be in trouble, talking legally? >> having been a prosecutor myself and a criminal defense attorney, i know that whenever law enforcement is after something that belongs to you, anything can happen if there's something on that computer that they're not aware of, if there's evidence that stuff was erased that shouldn't have been erased. everything could change in this case. so i get back to saying, we don't know enough to reach conclusions. the politicians, of course, will be trading accusations. but until we know what this investigation discloses, we don't know. and in the end, yes, it could turn into something very, very serious or it could be nothing. >> and regardless of how it turns out, it continues to plague her all throughout this early stages of the campaign.
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that is exactly what republicans want. paul, thank you so much. coming up for us, jeb bush blaming hillary clinton for isis and revealing his plan for iraq. but will bringing up his brother's war backfire on him? plus, they threatened to waterboard us, that's just one of the accusations from inmates at the prison where those two other inmates escaped. i'm going to speak live with one of the facility's most infamous inmates. and a white officer shooting and killing a black football player unarmed inside a car dealership. that officer is now fired. will his actions bring charges? why should over two hundred years of citi history matter to you? well, because it tells us something powerful about progress: that whether times are good or bad, innovators with great ideas will continue to drive the world forward. as log as they have someone to believe in them. for more than two centuries we've helped progress makers turn their ideas into reality.
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the complaints are first reported in "the new york times." the allegations include inmates being beaten, even plastic bags put over their heads during interrogations. one prisoner said an officer grabbed him by the throat, lifted him out of a chair and slammed his head into a pipe. there were even threats of waterboarding. cnn hasn't been able to independently verify these accounts. but let's discuss this. joining me now is michael alec who serveded 17 years there for murder. thank you for coming in. these are some serious allegations, when i started
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reading this account by "the new york times." do you believe them? >> hearing you talk about them -- when i first heard the waterboarding, i thought that's not possible. but hearing what you just said, slamming against the pipe and the plastic bag over the head, i had it happen to me and i've seen it happen to other people -- >> under what circumstances? >> under these definitely. if i was in that facility right now, i would be terrified to be alone with an officer because of this very reason. i had a little bit something going for me because i had had some media attention so they knew they couldn't really do that to me. but they did do it to some extent. if they were doing that to me, i could only imagine that they would be doing to other people. but the waterboarding is going too far. i don't think they're going to do that. >> but this type of brutal interrogation, taking someone into a broom closet, threatening them, putting a plastic bag over their head, are these guards capable of that -- >> yes, absolutely. >> why? >> i had an officer put a knife
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to my neck once for not following a rule when i was having my id taken when i got to the facility. i stepped over a line and i guess i was giggling and he took me into a room and put a knife to me neck and said he could cut my neck right then and it would be my word against his and nobody would believe me. i was terrified. i was shaking. i went to the yard and called my parents, i called the superintendent. the superintendent came down. it was christmas eve. they woke him up at his house. he came to the facility. it was a huge deal. but they do that. >> in this circumstance, more than 60 inmates have filed complaints with this, complaints over this. are these complaints -- are these unusual? does this happen often? >> the terrible thing about this is that there are inmates who do organize these things. they'll go to the yard -- >> in terms of organize, make it up? >> yes. and they'll say, everybody --
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and they'll bring the forms and hand them out and say, you say this, you say this and we'll all get together and say this. and unfortunately those instances make it harder to believe to the boy who cried wolf because these things actually do happen. i was always telling them, when you do this, you're really working against yourself. >> with that in mind, michael, what's your gut instinct about this situation? >> i think they're probably a little bit -- using a little bit more power and coercion than normal and even normal is probably too much. but i don't think they're waterboarding. >> you don't think they waterboarded -- >> no. >> but the inmates' claims aren't necessarily fabricated? >> no. >> will these guards will held accountable? >> no. >> why not? >> because it's your word against theirs. there are cameras all over the place and if there's an allegation against an officer,
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there should be footage of it. if there's not footage, if the camera is broken or the film is missing, the inmate is deemed the winner. >> but there aren't cameras in broom closets -- >> exactly my point. they will take you to someplace where there are no cameras and there may not be any proof of you going in there, there may be no camera on the door that you're going into and it's your word against the officer. you will never win against that. >> 60 complaints filed and there's a lot of attention. we'll see exactly what happens. michael, thank you very much. coming up for us, fired for exercising poor judgment. that's the way they put it. stunning new details about the actions of a rookie police officer before he shot and killed a college student. and his brother sent the u.s. to war in iraq. but jeb bush blames hillary clinton for iraq's decline saying that she stood by as things got worse. is this good strategy?
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jeb bush trying to show that he does in fact have the fire in his belly to win the presidency as he lays out his strategy to defeat isis. in a big foreign policy speech, bush slammed hillary clinton for supporting or standing by and supporting the withdrawal of u.s. combat troops from iraq and for giving the terror group a chance to advance. listen here. >> where was secretary of state clinton in all this? like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then
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joined and claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by american and allied forces was thrown away. in all of her record-setting travels, she stopped by iraq exactly once. >> but of course it was jeb bush's brother who signed the security agreement that called for u.s. combat troops to be out of iraq by 2011. clinton's team is firing back. her top foreign policy adviser said jeb bush is trying to, quote, rewrite history and reassign responsibility. this is definitely not over. so let's discuss with the former caa director james woolsey. thanks for coming in. >> good to be with you. >> jeb bush, you heard him there. he's beginning to lay out his foreign policy vision. in doing so, he's bringing up iraq, blaming clinton and obama for iraq's decline. is that risky? can't that backfire on him given his family name? >> well, maybe neither of the
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two presidential candidates, jeb bush nor hillary clinton, were really instrumental in the very bad decision to pull out of iraq early. that was first signaled by president bush and then implemented by president obama. and it was a terrible decision. it has led to not even having forward air controllers that can spot enemy in syria, let's say, and permit accurate bombing. and so it was a terrible decision, i think. but neither of the presidential candidates were really the key people in it. >> with that in mind, you think it's fair game, they can bring it up and keep their hands clean, if you will, in terms of it being a weakness or an achilles heel for either of them? >> it looks like given other things going on in the presidential campaigns that nobody really cares about being fair that much. whether it's a game or not, i don't know. i do a better job getting inside
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the head of dictators and terrorists than i do inside the heads of american politicians. >> quite a statement, sir, that's for sure. some of what jeb bush has suggested in this big foreign policy speech is he suggested a no-fly zone along the syrian border and embedding u.s. troops inside iraq. but by and large, bush's approach as outlined -- there could still be more details he could lay out -- so far, it doesn't seem much different from current operations, does it? >> well, i think they could do a lot more from the air in terms of no-fly zones and in terms of strikes. on a typical day there for a long time and maybe still, they were caught saying that they were using airpower but they were flying three, four, five, six sorties a day. and back in the clinton
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administration, we were flying hundreds of sorties a day. quantitative situation and see exactly what's happening. i think we could do a lot more from the air, especially with forward air controllers as candidate bush has suggested. >> and the front-runner right now, donald trump, his approach against isis has been getting a lot of attention. he basically says he wants to take isis out by taking out the oil fields in iraq and putting u.s. troops on the ground there then to protect the oil. how realistic is that in your view and also going forward, what are your key questions on foreign policy from these -- from all of presidential candidates? >> it's not only unrealistic, it's a bad idea. we don't want to steal the mideast's oil. what matters is the price of the oil, not whether it comes from canada or the united states or iraq. and i think where it comes from is a balance of payments question. but the real issue is the price
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of the oil and to do that better, to keep prices low, say, down around $40 a barrel or so, we've got to have a competitor for oil in transportation. and for some people, that's electricity. for others, it's methanol. for brazil, it's ethanol. we need competitors for oil to keep the price down. that's the key issue, not what mr. trump is suggesting. >> what's the key question for you going forward? what question do you want answered on foreign policy from these candidates? >> i want to see whether or not we have either candidate embodying pretty much what president reagan did, which was like his republican predecessor, teddy roosevelt, he spoke softly most of the time but carried a big stick. and by handling things that way and also the way democratic
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presidents have in the past, harry truman is one of my personal all-time favorites, we could have a very strong foreign policy but not go ordering people around and not looking as if we're trying to run the world. but we've also got to get our military funded adequately. this system they've got now for the budget is absolutely awful. and it's taking our military down to unprecedented low levels. we've got to turn that around right away. >> that is something we've heard jeb bush and other republican candidates have brought that up as well. director woolsey, thanks so much. >> good to see you, thanks. coming up for us, off the job, texas officials say poor judgment led to the firing of a rookie officer after he shot and killed an unarmed teenager. new details ahead on the deadly confrontation. and too much homework, first-graders spending almost 30 minutes every single night on school work.
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causing behavioral and even health problems and stressing parents out at the very same time. cnn's digital correspondent kelly wallace is here with me right now to discuss. every kid hates homework. let's lay that out there. >> exactly. >> how much homework does the study say they're getting? >> they looked at first-graders, kindergarten through grade 12. first-graders were getting 28 minutes of homework a night. and the standard is really ten minutes a night. that's nearly three times as much homework as the recommendation. and the recommendation is the so-called ten-minute rule. think of it this way. it's ten minutes of homework per grade. ten for first grade, 20 for second grade up to 120 minutes for senior year of high school. but clearly this study found that even kindergarteners not recommended to get homework were getting about 25 minutes a night. way too much for little kids. >> is this new or is this just being addressed now? >> i've talked to experts who
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say we've been complaining about homework for years. but what's new here is the volume of homework. and also the mindset that kindergarteners have to do homework so that they're ready for first grade. seventh grade has to be ready for eighth and ninth grade. where the research is mixed about how much homework is effective for student achievement. >> that's what i was going to ask you. we also hear often that other countries are out-educating our children. leads me to wonder, is the standard off or is there too much homework? who's getting it right? do kids just need to accept it or is it too much homework and it's not benefiting them? >> it's a little bit of both. part of it is what kind of homework. if it's interactive homework where they're out exploring and learning, that's exciting. as opposed to worksheets that mean nothing to them. studies show there could be impact between homework and
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achievement but more for middle school and high school. and if kids have four, five, six hours of homework a night which has been reported in some communities, that is completely ridiculous. >> so it is actually hurting them in some way. what do parents do about it if it's not going to change? >> parents can do a couple of things. number one, make sure there aren't distractions. how much are your kids looking at nour smartphone or listening to music -- >> or watching television. >> exactly. monitor that. if you find as a parent that the homework is taking them too long, go to your teacher. but don't do it in an accusing way. say, hey, it's taking my son 40 minutes for homework that should take 20 minutes. can you work with us? and give kids ownership over their homework. let them decide when and how and where to do it. and don't step in as parents and try to do the homework for them or correct it. kids need to take ownership of their own work. that leads to motivation and that will allow them to problem-solve when they're
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older. not calling mom and dad to solve their algebra problems. >> i should probably admit, thank you, mom, for doing half of my essays as a child. >> right? >> i'm not a good example of the study. kelly, great to see you. coming up for us, face-off in court. tom brady, roger goodell in front of a judge at this very hour. will the star quarterback have his suspension reduced? what's happening there? made a simple tripvere chto the grocery storeis anything but simple. so finally, i had an important conversation with my dermatologist about humira. he explained that humira works inside my body to target and help block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to my symptoms. in clinical trials, most adults saw 75% skin clearance. and the majority were clear or almost clear in just 4 months. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers,
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at this hour, the deflategate scandal heads to a federal courtroom. new video in to cnn of quarterback tom brady and nfl commissioner roger goodell, almost looks like they're twins right there, arriving at the courthouse. brady is battling his four-game suspension over his alleged role in deflategate. the judge in this case asked that both parties settle the issue out of court. but reports show that neither side is budging. so they are back in the courtroom. joining us now for a little bit of insight on this is cnn's rachel nichols. what are we expecting in court today? >> reporter: we're expecting some good old-fashioned arm-twisting by a federal judge. tom brady and roger goodell have been entrenched here. neither side wants to settle. both sticking to their guns. and this is a judge described by
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his colleagues as a settlement judge. he tells them it is better for them to craft a nuanced compromise than for him to come in with a hammer. that is what he will be telling these guys as they sit across from each other today. but it is tough because roger goodell feels like if he gives any ground, he is ceding not just in this case but his authority overall as the nfl commissioner because this will be used as precedence. and tom brady is saying, if i give at all, i'm not just giving a game or two or three r o four of suspension, i'm saying, i'm a cheater. and i don't want to do that. so it is going to be tough for this judge to get them to the middle where he wants them to be. >> honestly sounds like there is no middle ground at this point. goodell says he's going to enforce this four-game suspension. brady's legacy is on the line here. he doesn't want to say he's a cheater. any chance this is going to be reduced? how is this going to turn out? >> reporter: with lawyers,
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there's always a middle ground. someone can always come up with some sort of language. but it is tough because there's a couple of issues here. there's, does the nfl commissioner have the power to do what he did? even if he does have the power to act as, quote, judge, jury and executioner, can he railroad someone the way the nfl players association and tom brady are accusing him of? they're basically accusing the nfl of making up evidence as they go along for changing the rules as they go about what brady should or shouldn't have been allowed to do. meanwhile on the other side, you've got the nfl saying, hey, you guys agreed to this, you agreed to roger goodell being the overall lord of discipline here and we don't want to give on that either. so there's lots of different nuances to this case. maybe you give on one issue and you don't on the other one. but since this is all public, that's the other wrinkle of this. neither side wants to give up any face here, too. >> seems when it's as public as it is, nuance is not something that is going to be appreciated by either side. >> reporter: right.
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>> nuance is lost here just like it is in television. rachel, thank you so much. you do not want to miss this week's episode of "the seventies." here is a little preview for you. >> you look to the horizon that you want to move toward and that horizon was here in l.a. >> that's where the record companies were and lots of sun. >> the way i got to california is just really simple. i got there in a '57 chevy by skipping finals that year in college. >> virtually no one was from southern california. they're all drawn to the light and the light is the troubadour club. >> from disco to punk and everything in between, this week on "the seventies," thursday at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. we'll be right back. so you think this chip is nothing to worry about? well at safelite we know sooner or later, every chip will crack. these friends were on a trip when their windshield got chipped.
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exercising poor judgment, those words coming from arlington, texas, police chief describing why he fired an officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager. this all stems from the deadly confrontation between christian taylor and a rookie police officer during a suspected burglary at a car dealership. you see some of the surveillance video here. the police chief says that officer brad miller broke protocol when he approached taylor on his own without communicating with other officers. the chief also revealed that the teenager did not come within seven feet of officer miller and
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had no physical contact with any officer on the scene before officer miller fired the first of four shots. christian taylor's family has been demanding answers since his death asking why deadly force was ever used. joining me now is elissa simmons, president of the naacp chapter in arlington. this news coming out from the arlington police chief, it's very serious. this man is now fired. you've met with the family. how are they reacting to this news that the officer has been kicked off the force? >> well, i spoke with the family this morning. and they're reacting how you would anticipate. it doesn't bring christian back. right now, that's their position. they're planning a funeral. and that's where they are. >> and that's understandable. the grieving process still obviously ongoing and made only
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more difficult because of the circumstances of how all this went down and all the questions i'm sure they still have. what are their outstanding questions now? are they hearing anything from the police? are they communicating with the police? or are they helping them out? >> well, of course the police department did communicate with the parents yesterday in advance of his decision. so they're appreciative of that. and the naacp, we are supportive of the chief's decision. we believe it is the appropriate decision in this case. and we look forward to criminal charges being filed. >> that's obviously a huge question in this situation -- will criminal charges be filed? what are you hearing -- the police chief says this case is now going to go to the district attorney. the district attorney will consider what to do moving forward. you want to see criminal charges. what does the family want to see happen to this officer?
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>> well, right now i've asked them that and, again, they said we are in the funeral planning process, but they would like changes. if changes are appropriate with regard to training, diversity training, tactical training they would like those things to occur. >> now, the police chief in his announcement last night, he also gave -- tried to give a little more detail into what was happening before the shooting took place. he said that christian had told officers that he was at the dealership to steal a car. the family has said they don't know why he was acting the way he was, what he was doing there. are you getting in i better understanding of why christian was there? why he was acting the way he was? >> i can't speak to that and i have not pressed the family for that information.
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what we do know is that if this child was committing a burglary, if he was dui, arrest him. if he was committing a burglary or crime, arrest him. if he were ill or sick, get him help. but at what point do you make the decision to shoot him? >> alisa simmons, thank you for your time. with all of this happening, the family is planning a funeral, the officer is now fired and the case is now before the district attorney. much more to come on this. alisa, thank you so much. another big story we have been following, the st. louis county police have released new surveillance video. they say this tape right here shows a teenager pulling a gun from his waist band just before officers shoot him. this disputes claims made by the family of tyrone harris who said that he was unarmed before his confrontation with police. officials say the 18-year-old
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began firing at an unarmed car carrying detectives. all of this taking place near the protest marking the one-year anniversary of michael brown's death. meanwhile, police believe this is are a photo of harris so from his facebook page showing him holding two guns. harris is in the hospital in critical condition a that confrontation with police. he is facing four counts of first degree assault among other charges. coming up for us, a historic moment in cuba for the first time in over 50 years. the american flag will fly high at the u.s.'m bu.s. embassy the. up next, we'll take part in the poet who will take part at the ceremony, the same man who read a poem at president obama's second inauguration. ma i canning more history ahead. h the eighth grade girls. but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, filler paper and folders just one cent.
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happening now, the obama administration is making final prep russians for friday's historic ceremony in cuba. secretary of state john kerry will do the honors, raising the u.s. flag over its embassy in havana for the first time in more than 50 years. poet richard blanco will also be on hand taking part in the historic ceremony. blanco made history at president obama's second inauguration you probably remember when he became the first immigrant latino and openly gay poet to be chosen as a presidential inaugural poet.
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he'll be making history once again this time in havana and richard blanco is joining me from miami. it's great to see you and especially on this moment that you're about to undertake. you were launched into the national spotlight, as we discussed, when you were asked to read a poem at the president's second inauguration. now you're back in the spotlight for another major moment. what do you want to convey in this moment when you take the stage, if you will? >> it's just a dream come true. so i a maizing. you know, for all my life i've sort of always had these two pieces of my life come together and finally they're coming together. >> how do you ask this of a poet? are you prepared? is it already written? where are you in that process? >> it was written quite a few weeks ago. it's one of the most complex and emotionally complex poems i've
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ever had to write but certainly it's been done, i've been rehearsing it and i can't wait to be there and read in the that moment which is just going to be for me so emotional, for so many reasons i can't even begin to tell you. >> what's the theme? can you give us any hints? >> sure, you know, the 90 miles between the u.s. and cuba have always been sort of a berlin wall, in a way, and so it takes -- the poem takes that as a -- as a metaphor. but it's divided us but it's also in a way united us so seeing how that division is now a moment of coming together at the same time. so that's kind of what the poem is taking off, the sea that means so much to both the -- both our people and especially to the cubans in the united states and the cubans on the island. so it's -- it's a very evocative poem and i think it brings in a lot of the life story much like
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the inaugural poem -- little slips of family and real people and real -- the lives of real people and what that's meant emotionally for us for these decades. >> as someone who was born to parents who fled the fidel castro regime, you know very well this decision by president obama to reopen the embassy in havana to normalize relations. it's been met with a healthy dose of criticism. folks saying the cuban regime has shown no progress regarding their human rights record and offering citizens political freedoms. is there any hesitation for you in taking part in the the ceremony? >> you know, i think it's an emotionally complex issue and it took me several weeks to wrap my head around it but at the end of the day as an artist and what i feel my role is is to open up more of an emotional conversation. there's been what i call an emotional embargo, not just an economic embargo and what i see
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what's happening i think is really this is isn't like one side wins and one side loses, this is an emotional truce. it's the idea we're at least going to begin to talk. certainly there's changes that we all have to keep an eye on and keep advocating for, especially my generation in particular to make sure that what happens we move forward, move in the right direction. but it's the beginning. certainly it's an end of one era but it's the beginning and more work to do. more talking to do and i say it's like a married couple who may be leaving in the same house but haven't talked to each other for years. >> and they begin that conversation, they can start talking again. >> finally they're going to talk. >> richard blanco, thanks so much for your time. >> thank you. thank you all for joining us at this hour.


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