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Deportation Panic in Texas?; Interview With Reverend Al Sharpton

Aired October 8, 2007 - 20:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: This is an amazing story the OUT IN THE OPEN staff has been following: panic in Irving, Texas, people being warned, people afraid to go outside, drive their cars, pulling their kids out of schools. And what they're most afraid of is what that represents on this, Columbus Day in America.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): On Columbus Day, Christopher Columbus, a bum, a racist? It's got these folks fighting mad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred years ago, they decided to do this stupid holiday.

SANCHEZ: This ain't what we learned in grade school.

SANCHEZ: Panic in Irving, Texas. You saw it first here, and we're staying with it, 300 people a month deported, parents pulling kids out of school. We have got the mayor. We have got angry citizens. The nation's immigration crisis boiling over, like this.

JIM BROSSARD, CUT DOWN MEXICAN FLAG: That is what happened, right there.

SANCHEZ: He tells me he never would have done it if he hadn't been listening to talk radio. Exactly what were they saying on the radio?

BROSSARD: I want somebody to fight me for this flag. They're not going to get it back.

SANCHEZ: Another man of God, another major scandal, the Oral Roberts dynasty being tainted with accusations of lavish spending, cars, jets, $39,000 on clothes. And what about the allegations of lurid text messages to underage boys?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And if you approached him, if you said anything, if you went to human resources to ask for help, they retaliated.

SANCHEZ: OUT IN THE OPEN, following up again on sexism by this man, allegations of having to sleep with bosses to get ahead.

Oh, and black men can use the B-word, but white men can't? We take it to Reverend Al Sharpton to find out if he's taking this one to the picket lines. OK, I'm going to show you this, but only because there's a new report out on Tasers. Are you ready? That's enough. The real explanation on no pain, no gain.

He is grieving for a son killed in Iraq. Now America wants to kick him out. It doesn't seem right. So, it's OUT IN THE OPEN.


SANCHEZ: Did ever notice that when I get Tasered, I revert back to Spanish?

Hello again everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.

It's easy to understand, isn't it, why so many people in this country are so mad about illegal immigrants. They are without question America's new bogeyman. Radio talk show hosts rail about them. Politicians get voted into office by blasting them.

And now, in Irving, Texas, the police are going after them, and they're doing so in such a way that it's causing some to wonder if it isn't just a tad bit too much. It's gotten so heated, the Mexican Consulate is warning people not to go there. Police are stopping people for as little as a faulty headlight and taking them in and then calling the feds to have them deported.

And now panic-stricken parents are pulling their kids from schools there as well. One of the people at the center of this controversy is the mayor of Irving, who's kind enough to join us now to talk about this tonight, Mayor Herbert Gears.

Thanks so much for being with us, sir.

Can you see how this could be a problem here, that this policy can make so many people in your community fear and distrust your police department? And you know what happens when you do that? The bad guys win, right?

HERBERT GEARS, MAYOR OF IRVING, TEXAS: Well, we understand that that's putting strain on relationships that our police work very hard to establish and have for some time in our community, although the complaint that people have with this program should be directed at the federal government. I mean, the city of Irving is not engaging in the national debate. We're not weighing in on the issue of immigration, illegal or legal, or otherwise.


SANCHEZ: Mr. Mayor, let me just interrupt you for a moment to say that I could not agree with you any more. I think you're absolutely dead on. The problem is with the federal government.

But what's going on, or at least the perception in your city is, that your city has taken it upon itself to act as proxies for the federal government because they're not doing the job. And that's why I'm saying, some people fear your police department. Can you understand that?

GEARS: Yes, I understand that some people are experiencing that now, although I don't know that I agree with the reasons.

We work with federal agencies in lots of different ways and the federal government would like to perform this service in all the jails across America. So, we are not deporting people. We have not changed the ways we...


SANCHEZ: Whoa. Wait a minute. Yes, but, Mr. Mayor, if somebody gets -- let me give you an example I learned about in making some phone calls and finding out what's going on in your city.

There was a man who was opening up his garage door. That man ended up being taken and deported because the police believed, believed, erroneously, that he was a burglar. There was a woman who was involved in a traffic accident. The traffic accident apparently was not her fault. She was deported.

So, I mean, for you to say that you're not actually targeting these people, from their perspective, it would certainly look like you are, right?

GEARS: Yes, from some people's perspective, it may be if you misrepresent the facts.

The woman that was involved in the accident, whether it's her fault or not, had no driver's license. And, in the state of Texas, if you're involved in an automobile accident and you don't have a legal license to drive, then you're going to be taken to jail. The fact that she was deported is another issue that's solely belongs with the federal government.


SANCHEZ: Well, what about the guy with the garage?

GEARS: The guy with the garage, you know, you and I don't know the circumstances of that case. If someone is going around and trying to open up a garage door, I mean, if they're breaking in, you might think...

SANCHEZ: But he lived there.

GEARS: ... he would want to the police to at least say, hey, who are you? But the issue is, is that...


SANCHEZ: Mr. Mayor, hold on.


GEARS: If the federal government... (CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Let's be fair. It was his garage door.

GEARS: Well, and how does a police officer know that when he sees somebody tinkering around someone's garage door?

So, all he has to do is ask this person, do you live here? And the difficulty is, is that, if you are detained or encounter an Irving police officer, you're required to be able to identify yourself in some way. It doesn't have to be a driver's license. It can be a water bill, any kind of proof that you are who you are, or that police officer has to make a full custody arrest.

That's the state law in Texas. So, you know, they're doing their normal jobs as police officers. We have seen no increase in arrests, no change in the reasons why people are being arrested or the demographics of those who are being arrested.

The only difference in what's happening in Irving, it's been happening for 12 months, I might add. And the immigrant population supported this issue passionately. If you will remember, we rejected the federal 287-G program, which would have adopted all of our police force to be immigration officers.


SANCHEZ: Let me hold you there for just a moment, Mr. Mayor, because I think we have one of the residents or former residents of your city on the phone now.

I think her name is Claudia. I believe we need to -- we have promised that we wouldn't give her last name because she is afraid. I understand that she's actually moved away from your town now.

Claudia, are you there on the line? Are you afraid of the Irving Police Department?


SANCHEZ: Why are you afraid of the Irving Police Department?


SANCHEZ: She says they stopped her husband one night and deported him.

Why did they stop your husband?


SANCHEZ: So, apparently, Mr. Mayor, she's telling me, and this is a sentiment this we have seen repeated many times from some of the folks we have had conversations with there. And it's not to say that you guys are doing anything wrong. We're just talking about the fear that it represents. Her husband was deported, she said, because his driver's tag on his car was a dealer's tag of some form, and she says as a result they took him in. Didn't really ticket him for that, but called INS -- or -- pardon me -- ICE, and they had him deported. That's her story.

Do you see that being a reasonable story?

GEARS: No. Well, you know, it's probably an accurate assessment of what occurred, although, for whatever reason a person is detained by a police officer in a traffic stop, if they cannot identify themselves in some way, the officer is required to make a full custody arrest. At that point, the officer's out of the picture.

Federal immigration officials are screening all the prisoners in our jail. The reason why her husband was deported was because he's not in the country legally. It's not because he had a traffic offense.


SANCHEZ: So, let's just be clear about this, then. What you're saying is that your police department, with your permission, is going around and anyone who cannot identify themselves, at any time, will be and can be taken in, no matter what they're doing?

GEARS: Our police officers aren't looking for people -- no, our police officers aren't looking for people who can't identify themselves. They have not changed in the way they do their jobs and fulfill their responsibilities, whether it's enforcing traffic laws -- this program has resulted in the deportation of four murderers from Irving, 200 or 300 aggravated assaults. We have crimes ranging from top to bottom.

It's possible that someone winds up being jailed in Irving because of a traffic offense, because they can't identify themselves. That's the law. We're simply enforcing the law. But the policemen on the street have no role with regards to the immigration issue or the status of people. They don't care if someone in the country legal or illegal.


GEARS: They enforce the laws the same way.

SANCHEZ: But let me ask you this question. And maybe you can help us with this. Maybe, if don't have the answer now, you can find out for us later.

How many non-Hispanics have been stopped in your city and asked for identification? Do you know?

GEARS: Well, anyone who's violated a law, anyone who's violated a traffic law, probably 100 percent of them have been stopped and asked for their driver's license. That's what police officers are required to do.


SANCHEZ: Have any of those folks who are non-Hispanics been taken into custody as a result of not being able to show identification? Can you name one case in Irving where there's a person who was taken into custody because he didn't show a driver's license?


GEARS: You know there are, because the people that have been deported, the 1,638 since we began this program 13 months ago, are from 36 different countries, including France last week, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Pakistan. People come from all over the world to move to Irving, which we're proud of that fact, by the way. We have a 40 percent Latino population, 15 percent Asian population.


SANCHEZ: So, in your city, you are going around, checking the identifications of all types of individuals, no matter what they look like or where they may hail from, just to be on the record?




GEARS: As a matter of fact, as a matter of fact, we don't do that. We don't go out checking people for their I.D.s or for to be able to identify themselves. That only occurs in the normal course of police work.

If someone runs a stoplight or is driving and weaving and driving drunk, the number-one reason for arrests for people that have been detained by the federal government, ICE, from our jail is for public intoxication. So, the policeman are engaged in their normal work.


SANCHEZ: Or, in one case, opening a garage door of their own home, correct, Mr. Mayor?

GEARS: Again, you and I don't know the circumstances of that case, because nobody can provide me the name of that individual. And I follow up personally on every single complaint. I have followed up on over 35 individual cases and looked at the records.


SANCHEZ: I get it. You're a good man. And I appreciate...


GEARS: And what we found is the allegations in the beginning...


SANCHEZ: I was just going to say, because we're out of time -- and I do apologize -- but we definitely need to continue this conversation. You're a good man. And I appreciate you taking time to talk to us, and talk to us about a very important problem that you have in your city.

And I know that there's a lot of residents in your town are behind you doing this.

And we're going to continue this discussion, by the way. We're going to be talking in just a minute to somebody else who says that we need to be more aggressive with illegal immigrants all over the country.

But then question becomes, is it something that needs to be dealt with at the federal level, as the mayor indicated at the beginning of our conversation? We're going to get to the root of this.

Here's a question. If a father loses his son in Iraq, should that keep him from being deported? It's a question for all Americans to ponder.

And this is the real deal.


SANCHEZ: Let's talk about Tasers, something I can tell you a little bit about firsthand, news on how they're being used these days, how they should be used.

And, by the way, I will tell you why I did it, Jon Stewart.

Welcome back, everybody. This is OUT IN THE OPEN. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Back to this panic in Irving, Texas, that we have been talking about. This is a very important story for this country. It's part of our national conversation that all of us should be having, whether you're on one side of this debate or the other. Illegal immigrants are on the defensive because they say that Irving police departments are targeting them for removal.

Joining me now is somebody who would be happy with even more aggressive steps being taken around the country. His name is William Gheen. He's the president of Americans For Legal Immigration Political Action Committee. He's good enough to join us with a very nice looking blue shirt.

Mr. Gheen, I would imagine that you would say you're all for what the mayor and police department down there in Irving, Texas, is doing, right?

WILLIAM GHEEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE: Well, I can tell you quite factually, Rick, that well over 80 percent of America's legal citizens support what Irving, Texas, is doing. And that comes from multiple national polls, including Zogby Poll April 2005...


GHEEN: ... showing that over 80 percent of Americans want local police enforcing immigration law, which is much, much more than what the police in Irving are actually doing.


SANCHEZ: But here's the problem. And I understand that. And I certainly understand the polls. And I know that the right place to be on this argument is on your side, because, after all, we have got to go after these guys. These Mexicans are coming into our country, right?


SANCHEZ: I have heard that...


SANCHEZ: I know that argument so well. All I got to do is turn on my radio anywhere in America and I will hear it 50,000 times a day.

But let me ask you this question. Do we really want local police departments doing what should be a federal responsibility, something our government should be doing for us, securing our border and making sure we got the right people in this country and not the wrong people, rather than some police department taking some little old lady because her headlight is out?


GHEEN: Rick, whoa. Whoa. Rick, you keep grabbing these anecdotal guy with the garage and little old lady driving her car.

We have got 500,000 felon illegal aliens that are on the run, 500,000, Rick, that are out there tonight, murdering, raping, assaulting and stealing from Americans that we have to capture these people and get them out.

Illegal aliens are the only ones that need to panic right now, not legal Hispanics, not legal immigrants, not American citizens. Over 80 percent applaud what Irving and the hundreds of cities and counties are doing.

And, yes, it is incumbent upon all elected officials on the state and local level to respect the will of the public and the existing laws, while the White House has been hijacked by these big corporations that want open borders.

The illegals are on the run. They should get the hint. And there's a solution for them. They don't have to be afraid. Just return home to your nations where you are citizens and your families. Vamoose. Arrivederci. Don't let the border gate hit you on the backside on the way out. Take a hint. America wants illegal aliens to go home.

SANCHEZ: You're very expressive.

By the way, I would agree 100 percent that anybody who's had a felonious behavior while they're in this country, if they have committed a felony, if they're that kind of individual, who wants them here? I will tell you who doesn't want them here. Even illegal aliens or immigrants who are living in this country don't want that type of human being.

But there are people who have come to this country, who have provided a job for themselves, who have taken care of their families, whose children are going to school. And we have got to be able to find a process where we decide who stays and who goes. What do you want?

Do you want to take tomorrow 12 million people and take them back to wherever they came from just like that?

GHEEN: No, we don't have to do that.

In the 1930s and 1950s, America did deport millions of illegal aliens. And what we learned historically and what we're learning today in America is, you deport some and many, many more leave on their own accord. They're leaving Irving, Texas. They're leaving Oklahoma. They're leaving Arizona and Georgia and other states that are cracking down.

If we deport maybe 500,000 or a million, another five or six will go on their own accord. And that is the way it has to be, Rick, for a very, very important reason. That is only way we can turn off the flow of illegal aliens in this country, which is numerically endless. They will come and they will come until all is ruined.


SANCHEZ: We're having too good a time. And my producers are already yelling at me.

But let me just ask you this one question, because a lot of economists say, you know what? And we have looked into this -- 51 percent of the people in this country doing drywall, that are doing bricks and doing mortar and doing a lot of the construction work in this country are in fact illegal immigrants in this country.

They say the economy will basically have a serious problem if you get rid of these people. Do you agree? Do you adhere to that principle or that ideology?

GHEEN: There will be some pain for unscrupulous employers that have hired illegal aliens. They will go through some pain and corrections.

But, as we have seen in the states where the illegals are leaving, Americans will quickly fill those jobs. And the great news is, Rick, wages will rise. What has happened here is large companies have paralyzed our immigration enforcement to make more money by depreciating American wages. And if we start to correct that situation, wages rise. We can ensure our better health and safety stuff. But, once again, the illegal aliens must leave and the existing laws must be enforced or America is going to descend into the type of anarchy that a lot of these people are trying to get away from.

SANCHEZ: And a lot of it has to do with not the people who are here, but the people who are asking them to come here are looking the other way when they walk through the gates.

And, on that, you and I, I guarantee, agree.

But let's leave it there. William Gheen, great argument. Really enjoyed having you on. Hopefully, we will have this conversation again in the future. Enjoyed it.

GHEEN: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Beyond Isiah Thomas -- more trouble for the suits at Madison Square Garden, new allegations of racial bias, sexual harassment, and a front office culture of fear. We have got the Reverend Al Sharpton weighing in on this next.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the show that brings it all OUT IN THE OPEN. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Just days after a stunning multimillion-dollar sexual judgment against Knicks coach Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden, there are some new shocking allegations tonight, two women charging the Garden's management with racial bias, sexual harassment, and fostering a culture of fear in the workplace.

Now, let's take a step back and take another look at just what Isiah Thomas had to say in a deposition before his harassment trial, the one where he seems to be indicating a different standard between -- a lot of folks shake their heads when they read this -- between black and white men who use derogatory terms toward black women.

Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Mr. Thomas, you stated earlier that you found it offensive for a white man to call a black woman a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Do you remember that testimony?


UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: You have to say yes.



UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Would you find it also offensive for a black male to call a black woman a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

THOMAS: Not as much, I'm sorry to say. I do make a distinction.


SANCHEZ: Not as much, I'm sorry to say.

Joining us now is the Reverend Al Sharpton. As a matter of fact, he's threatening to picket Madison Square Garden just to get some -- well, I guess to get the straight skinny on this.

What was your reaction when you heard him say that?

AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, I was frankly shocked. I mean, many of us have grown to respect Mr. Thomas.

And to think that he would say something like that, particularly in a climate where many of us have been challenging sexism, misogyny, and racism, was to us very, very disheartening.

So, when Tamika Mallory, who heads the Decency Initiative of National Action Network, said to me she wanted to demand he apologize, or picket, we said we would wait until after the trial. I did wait. She announced it on Saturday with me present.

And Mr. Thomas called me and said that the tape that we just saw was a distortion, and he wanted a week to come and show us that the contents was not what it said.

We will see what he says. But I think that it is alarming at best for anyone to project and leave out there. Like, anybody -- I don't care if you're black, white, or whatever, no man has the right to call women a B.

SANCHEZ: So, if he doesn't officially apologize for saying this, and if you are convinced that there is no tinkering or toying with the tape in any way, you will do what if he doesn't apologize?

SHARPTON: Well, if there's no convincing of the tinkering, the Decency Initiative of National Action Network will begin picketing on opening day of the Knicks game. And I will be with them. And I will ask men to join them.

I think that we cannot have, in New York, where our national headquarters is, a hometown coach that's giving any public kind of sanitizing that men can call women B's based on what race they are.

SANCHEZ: But you know what's interesting about this. You stop a lot of fellows in New York and you say -- because I have -- and I have talked about you, because I have gotten to know you since we have been doing this show -- and there's a lot of people out there who complain about you, Reverend Al, and they will say, oh, yes, it's a double standard. He went after Imus, and he goes after other guys, but he never goes after people in his own community.

Here's an example of a case where you seem to be going after somebody in your own community because you think they did wrong.

What do you say about that?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, they should check the record.

Not only -- we're the only ones that have raised this issue. I didn't see any of the other groups raise it, and where Mr. Thomas is coming forward to have to deal with this. You had my daughter on. I supported going after Eddie Griffin. I think a lot of people just don't want people to go after people, period.

But let me make it very clear right here, out in the open. We will go after anyone that says something against women, against people based on who they are, including your last segment on immigration. You cannot fight for civil rights for some. You have to fight for civil rights for everybody.

SANCHEZ: I will tell you what. Al Sharpton, my thanks to you, sir, once again for coming on and clearing up what some people have been talking about. And you let us know if you decide that you're going to pull the plug on this. When you're convinced, let us know and we will have you back on.

SHARPTON: Either way. Thank you. We will let you know. Thank you, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right, Al Sharpton.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am confident that, when the real truth is known, there will be no more questions.


SANCHEZ: OUT IN THE OPEN at Oral Roberts University, allegations of lavish spending, private jets, middle-of-the-night text messages to underage boys? Oral Roberts University? Who says? We will tell you. Stay tuned.

Also, a soldier killed in Iraq. Now, why is this man, his father, facing deportation from this country after giving up that?

We will be back.


SANCHEZ: All right, let's see if we got this one right. You ready? Here's the countdown. Tres! Dos! Uno! And everything that goes up, bang, must come down. Where? How? Why? We bring it all OUT IN THE OPEN. We will 'splain.

Every day here on "Rick's Pics" we try and share with you some of the best videos of the day, ones we think you ought to see. This one falls under the category of "get over it."

It was a Columbus Day parade and 10 protesters arrested for blocking the parade route and then resisting arrest. It's a nasty scuffle, but no one was seriously injured, thank goodness, in this case. Look at this, some people poured blood on the street. See it back there?

They say that Columbus was a slave trader who set off centuries of genocide, an oppression against native people, and that's why they were so upset.

Welcome back, everyone. OUT IN THE OPEN proud to bring you this family's ultimate sacrifice to a country. A man's son, his son, his flesh and blood, killed in action while proudly serving the United States in Iraq. That's what he says. But after his son gave everything to this country, this country is now seemingly turning its back on the dad, threatening to deport him. They say he's here illegally. It's the type of story that turns even the worst of stereotypes on its head. The reporter is CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nobody could talk Armando Soriano out of joining the Army after he graduated from high school. This American-born son of illegal immigrants believed serving in the military would bring honor to his family. Then, three years ago the 20-year-old Army private was killed in a convoy accident in Iraq. The pain still haunts his parents. The family living room is a shrine to the fallen soldier. And now, the family is facing yet another tragedy. Armando's father, Enrique Soriano's American dream can crumble any day.

(on camera): (speaking foreign language) How does the rest of your family feel about you being in this situation?

He says, that my son fought and died for this country and it would help him rest in peace knowing that his family was taken care of and that they had the papers that they needed to be here legally.

(voice-over): Enrique Soriano has lived illegally in the United States since 1982, but in cases like this the federal government has often looked the other way and allowed the immediate families of servicemen who have died in Iraq to get legal status.

Enrique's wife is now a legal permanent resident, but immigration officials argue that because Soriano was deported in 1999, and reentered the country illegally, he's not eligible for this form of amnesty.

ENRIQUE SORIANO, SOLDIER'S FATHER: (speaking foreign language)

LAVANDERA (on camera): He says oftentimes he's at a loss for words to explain how he feels, but he feels very sad. It's already hard enough losing a son in this war and then now being threatened to be separated from his family makes it even more difficult. Enrique Soriano doesn't know how much longer he'll be living here in the neighborhoods of Pasadena, Texas. We tried asking officials with Immigrations and Custom Enforcement, but they refused our request for interview, saying it wasn't appropriate for them to talk about his case while it's in the hands of an immigration judge.

(voice-over): (VIDEO MISSING) and that the federal government has the power to keep his family together.

DAVID LEOPOLD, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: This could be fixed tomorrow. All that has to happen, despite the technicalities in the law, is for the department of Homeland Security to do the right thing and to allow this man to stay in the United States.

LAVANDERA: Soriano says he can't imagine being separated from his wife and five children.

SORIANO: (speaking foreign language)

LAVANDERA (on camera): He says if he does get deported that he really has no other option. He feels like he has to try to come back. He's crossed illegally twice before and he'll do it again to be with his family.

(voice-over): And to be near his son's gravesite where Enrique Soriano comes once a week to find peace.


SANCHEZ: Wow. What a story. Eddie Lavandera joining us now. Sometimes I wish people could listen to the conversations we have when we're in commercials, because I was having a conversation a moment ago with the mayor of Irving, when we went to break. And you know what he and I were talking about, he said, Rick, I wish we didn't have to be doing this, but the federal government doesn't leave us options. Nobody's screening, nobody's creating a process or standard where we say, these people should be able to stay and these people need to go.

A guy like this, he gave his flesh and blood, he gave his son. Shouldn't there be a process for letting a guy like that stay?

LAVANDERA: What's also part of the problem is that it's very inconsistent. There have been a number of cases where there have been gentlemen like this who have been deported, other cases where they haven't been deported. So, there is no hard and fast rule.

SANCHEZ: Exactly. Exactly.

LAVANDERA: And it makes it difficult for a situation like Mr. Soriano, who now goes out, tries to find work every day, but he does not know if he's going to be coming home to the government there in a wagon ready to take him to Mexico.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, he's got to live with this now. First of all his son is dead and now he's got to have in the back of his mind, any moment now they're coming to get me and they're going to take me out of this country.

LAVANDERA: Well yeah, he lives with that fear every second of the day.

SANCHEZ: Wow. Ed, thanks so much. Great story. Interesting. Gives people something to talk about.

Look at how easy it is to get people to act on their anger about the immigration crisis in this country. In fact, all you've got to do, it seems, is get a talk show, right?

About a week ago a talk radio show was railing against the Reno, Nevada, restaurant that was flying the Mexican flag above the U.S. flag. Jim Brossard happened to be listening, said he'd never seen this place before. Made him so angry he went to the restaurant, he pulled out a knife, he ripped down both flags, and took his American flag home with him. A few days later he told me he'd never seen the restaurant or the flagpole until he happened to be listening on the radio to somebody talking about it. What else will people do if they hear out the radio? We'll be bringing that question OUT IN THE OPEN, here as well.

And then these pictures you've been seeing all over the world. U.S. track star Marion Jones showing off five Olympic medals, three gold and two bronze after the 2000 summer games in are Sydney, Australia. She doesn't have them anymore, though. CNN confirmed this afternoon that Jones has now returned the medals now that she's admitted using performance-enhancing drugs when she won them.

Here's what else we're going to have for you tonight, scandal at one of the biggest dynasties in the Christian right world.

Then, tasers? Killers? Or just victims of bad publicity? A study out today declaring tasers safe even though one tase victim has died. We'll bring this OUT IN THE OPEN with a little breakdown for you.


Welcome back to OUT IN THE OPEN, I'm Rick Sanchez. Tonight, one of the most famous names in America is being called out in a brewing scandal. Oral Roberts is an institution of religion and higher education to be proud of in this country. But, it now may also stand for something else and here's why.

Three professors are suing the university and its president, Richard Roberts, for firing them because they feared that they would be blowing the whistle on the school and on the Roberts family.

Let me break this down for you as best I can. Let me take you through some of the allegations that are being raised because some of these are very serious that Richard Roberts used university and ministry money for personal gain. That he remodeled his home 11 times in 14 years. That they spent $29,000 or more on a Bahamas trip for his daughter and her friends so they could go there, using school money, allowing friends, nonacademic scholarships, allowing friends to essentially go to the school for free.

And then they're also looking into his wife. That his wife is accused of spending $39,000 a year on clothing, running up $800 cell phone bills. And this is the one that some people are having their eyebrows raised as a result: sending lewd text messables to underage males at the school.

Joining me now is Gary Richardson. He's the attorney for the three fired professors. Gary, here's the deal. Most Americans are tired of people who call themselves Christians, but don't act Christ- like. And that is at least on its face what this looks like. The question is, are these allegations true at this point? How can you convince people watching this that they may very well be?

GARY RICHARDSON, LAWYER FOR FIRED PROFESSORS: Well, I think the reaction that they had to the fact that my clients reported these things to the board of directors, or the board of regents, kind of gives us an idea of whether or not they're true. You know, my clients did not present them as being truth, they presented them to the board of regents because the information was given to them, that was taken off of the sister of Lindsay Roberts' computer.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, apparently she was doing -- this is interesting, for our viewers to know -- she was apparently doing what you would call maybe be a institutional audit, for lack of a better word, just to see where they might be a little vulnerable. So she prepared this report and somehow -- how did the professors, how did your clients get their hands on this thing?

RICHARDSON: Well, Lindsay's sister Stephanie Cantese asked a young student to do some work on her computer and he downloaded the hard drive, he says, to preserve it and I think it will show that he looked at it and he became quite concerned at the material, which are pictures of things that we haven't talked about, and will not talk about tonight, as well as information that basically was -- were things that we need to be concerned about at ORU and how we're going to deal with these things, when and if they should come up. So, our clients took them to the administration first.

SANCHEZ: According to Mr. Roberts, God has told him that he doesn't really need to pay too much mind to this because it's just intimidation. It's interesting that he would just not say, I believe it's intimidation, he's saying that God has told him this. What's your take on that?

RICHARDSON: Well, he also said that, as I understand it, God had said it was extortion. And you know, if it was extortion, why would they turn the material over to the board of regents? You see the inconsistency there? It doesn't take sense, it's illogical. A lot of people say God told them things that we know, based on what we understand about God...

SANCHEZ: I'm just thinking, the reason, the reason, the reason I ask that is I think most people at home would be listening to this and going, you know, if somebody accused me of something, I'd just say, I didn't do it. I wouldn't call a news conference and say, God told me to say I didn't do it. Seems like you're putting it in the wrong court.

Let me ask you about the situation with his wife. That seems awfully interesting. Not just the money, but about these phone calls to these underage males who apparently had free cell phones. What do you know about this?

RICHARDSON: Well again, that's what her sister had put on her computer, had it documented. And that's all we know, is that it came off of her sister's computer, about things that they need to be concerned about and maybe one day might have to deal with. So, that's where that information all came from.

SANCHEZ: OK, let me ask you this because it's an important question anytime you do a story like this, and I think journalistically it's important, as well. Is there anything that these professors, your clients, have as an ax to grind against the university that would cause them to bring the suit, other than the fact that they had this information? Is there anything else out there that we don't know about, sir?

RICHARDSON: If there is, I absolutely do not know about it. And I know, of course, that Dr. Swails, tenured professor, been there 15 years, almost, they didn't even tell him why they were firing him. They came in with two security officers, wouldn't even let him take anything from his office. And ushered this man -- you know, I wouldn't treat a lawyer in my law firm that way. I mean, I just wouldn't.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, I know.

RICHARDSON: You treat a tenured professor that way, wow.

SANCHEZ: Gary Richardson, counselor, thanks for taking the time to talk to us tonight, sir.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: And we want to let you know that CNN's David Mattingly has spoken to the three professors and you can see his exclusive interview if you want more on this story tonight on AC-360.

LARRY KING LIVE is coming up in just a couple of minutes. Larry, who you got tonight?

LARRY KING, LARRY KING LIVE: We got a good one. The former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox. He has written, Rick, an extraordinary book and he lays it out about everything including the end of his first marriage, the meetings with world leaders, dealing with George Bush, both as governor when they were both governor of Mexico and he was governor of (INAUDIBLE)-- and George Bush was governor of Texas. To both being presidents of their country.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, it seemed at the beginning of the Bush administration that these two fellows are going to be the best of friends and somehow it didn't end up that way, did it?

KING: No, that changed dramatically. So we should -- it should be very interesting, top of the hour -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Larry, we'll look forward to it as usual.

KING: Thanks.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't do this to me. Don't tase me! Ow! Ow! Ow!


SANCHEZ: You know, we're seeing more and more of these videos with people being tasered, sometimes it's important. But are there long-lasting health consequences as well? We know a little bit about this here on OUT IN THE OPEN, so we're going to break this down for you.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back tonight. Tasers are in the news. A new study says that they my be safer than you thought. As you may remember, I know something about tasers. I tested one for the benefit of the viewing public at CNN. For the millionth time, let's take a look.


I'm about to receive 50,000 volts of electricity. Do it.

Oh! Ya! Ya! Ya! Ya! Oh! It hurts.


All right, enough of that, stop showing that, OK? I didn't want that on there, my producers made me show it. Here's the point, though. I did that report in the wake of the Brian Nichols Atlanta courthouse shooting and here's why. OK, Nichols is seen here, he overpowers his guard, she was about 5'2" by the way. Takes her gun, which was on an open holster. Then he shoots and kills a judge, a court reporter, a deputy sheriff, before he finally escapes and he's caught on surveillance video.

Had that guard been carrying a stun gun or a taser, those folks might still be alive. That's why I did that story. It was the day after it happened, as a matter of fact.

All right, Dr. Vincent Di Maio is a retired chief medical examiner from San Antonio, Texas. He's with us tonight talking about this on VITAL SIGNS.

You know what's interesting? The day after that happened, I decided to make some phone calls and I found this academy in south Florida that specializes in training guards. And what they said to me was, Dr. Di Maio, it's crazy that anyone in a jail or in a courthouse would be walking around with a gun. It's ridiculous. We should get rid of all the guns in those courthouses and jails and just use stun guns or tasers. Are they right?

DR VINCENT DI MAIO, FMR MEDICAL EXAMINER: I think they're absolutely right. I mean, you know, worst that can happen if they get hold of the stun gun is somebody's going to get stunned.

SANCHEZ: Exactly.

DI MAIO: With a gun, they're going to get dead. And I'd rather be stunned than dead.

SANCHEZ: At the same time, though, there is a correct way of using these things. You know, what I learned from these guys, they did it to me for about three or four seconds. And by the way, "ya, ya, ya, ya" translated means, "stop, stop, stop, stop" in Spanish.

A lot of these guys are holding the thing and just continuing to keep it on the person, when what I learned was you're supposed to hold it for three or four seconds then give an oral command. And if the person doesn't respond to the command, then you stop -- or then you do it again. Right?

DI MAIO: Right. The whole thing is it's training. It's like anything. You just don't hand an officer a device and say, just use it. You have to train them in the use, tell them what the right techniques are, and then see that they apply it that way. And if they don't apply it that way, then you discipline them. It's as simple as that.

SANCHEZ: You know what happens at these academies, too? And this is one of the reasons I did it. The guy who was teaching the academy said everybody who graduates from my course has to be stunned at least three or four seconds, so they know what it's like before they use out somebody else. Do you think that's a good idea, good training technique? And then they got me to, of course, be a guinea pig on it, too. You think that's a good idea, though?

DI MAIO: I think it's a good idea because the officers now know, you know, what's happening and how the individual is feeling when they get stunned.

SANCHEZ: But it hurts like hell.

DI MAIO: Yes. But, would you rather be hurting like hell than being shot?

SANCHEZ: No, you're absolutely right. But, I want to know this, though, because what they told me was I was getting 50,000 volts of electricity going through me for that small amount of time. How long would they have to hold that on you for you to have a heart attack or perish? And what would cause that?

DI MAIO: Well, in theory, if you've got a good heart, they can exhaust the battery.

SANCHEZ: Really? DI MAIO: Right. The problem is, this, you know, 40,000, 50,000 watts sounds really dramatic, but that's not what kills you. What kills you is the amount of current or amperage. And the amount of current that's actually being delivered is maybe .15, .20 of what's necessary to kill you. And it's not accumulative. When you get the current it goes in you and immediately goes out. It doesn't stay in. and so you doesn't build up. All you're going to do is you're going to have sore muscles if they keep pulling that trigger.

SANCHEZ: Got it. Well, I did have some burns. And by the way, I'm glad you straightened that out for us. Take, that Sanjay Gupta. He and I have had a lot of arguments about this. Dr. Vincent Di Maio, thank you, sir, for talking to us tonight.

DI MAIO: OK. Glad to help.

SANCHEZ: Time now for some of "Rick's Pics" as we've often bring you, we've got some explosive, literally, big bang videos for you tonight. Here it is. You ready? Put it up, Will.

This is the scene at the Kodak complex in upstate New York, Saturday. What's going on? One -- yeah, that's about all I got to, there. These buildings were part of a series of implosions over the last few months, because in the digital era, Kodak just doesn't need big buildings like that anymore. Incredible stuff, isn't it?

All right, we've got another one for you, now. Three, two, one -- that's what I call a series of explosions, and now bye-bye. This one shook up downtown Baltimore, yesterday. The old Pleasant Street parking garage near Mercy Medical Center taken out to make room for hospital expansion, folks.

Next, presidential candidate Mitt Romney walks away from a hard question. Was it the right answer, though? This one's telling. And we want you to see it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you arrest me and my doctors if I get medical marijuana?

GOV MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not in favor of medical marijuana being legal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so, will you have arrested?

ROMNEY: Hi, how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well you answer what he said. You're not going to answer his question, governor?


SANCHEZ: The question is, "will you have me arrested," he didn't answer the question. And for that, the governor's getting a little bit of heat, but not too much. All part of what happens on the campaign trail.

I'm Rick Sanchez, thanks so much for being with us. Hasta manna. Larry's next.