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Northeast Prepares for Blizzard; Manhunt for Dorner Continues; Race Relations & the LAPD

Aired February 8, 2013 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Planes, trains and life at a virtual stand still as folks are bracing for a blizzard tonight. And it is picking up this hour.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Special coverage begins right now.

It is not just snow. The storm surge threatening the northeast could hit historic levels.

And --


UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: He's told us what he intends to do and, so far, he's done it.


BALDWIN: The urgent manhunt for an ex-cop trained for war. And investigators say Christopher Dorner won't stop until he gets more blood.

Here we go. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Let's talk about this blizzard. It is about to bare its teeth. Want to plunge right in. Chad Myers with me in the weather center. Chad, ten seconds, give me the bottom line.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It looks like we have arms or the outer bands of a hurricane approaching New York City. It's not a hurricane, but we will have hurricane winds with this coming up, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I'm coming back to you. We're going to talk today about the dense northeast, tens of millions of people, many of whom lived through Sandy. First, the good news. Skiers who planned trips right before the Valentine's Day weekend here, those folks, you called it right. But as we look at these pictures from Newry, Maine, do keep in mind those winds are going to whip. And before this thing is over, you will have zero visibility, snow blowing sideways, deep, deep drifts, that sort of thing. Want to talk about Boston.

Look at this. This is -- you can't see it, it is Fenway Park. You'll recognize Fenway if there wasn't snow and ice on the lens of this camera here. Snow actually started there right around 9:30 this morning. And we're hearing Boston could break its all time snow record. The all time record set in either 1978 in that deadly winter storm, blamed for dozens of deaths, or more recently in 2003. Take your pick. 27 inches each time. Boston, right now, is under a snow emergency. No on street parking. Schools are closed. Public transit, that goes down, in less than 90 minutes. CNN's Susan Candiotti has made her way to Boston, the flurries are flying. Susan, I see you, hang on. Because I want to go first to Alison Kosik in New York. And Alison, we remember the disastrous situation you had, two winters ago in New York, the great big city essentially shut down. I mean is that the type of scenario, Alison, that we're looking at here? Is that the fear today, right now, in New York?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People are talking about that monster storm of 2010, back in December. That was a biggie. That was when 20 inches fell here in New York City. The big problem with that one, though, was that New York City wasn't prepared for it. Even the mayor back then said they didn't react as they should because they didn't get the plows out ahead of time, they didn't warn the public ahead of time. This is a very different story because, yeah, we are expecting to get anywhere from 8 to 14 inches, that's nothing to sneeze at, but at the same time, New York City is preparing. They've got 250 tons of salt ready to go. Hundreds of plows ready to go. They have got sanitation workers working around the clock. They are on this. They're on this much differently than they were back in 2010, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We can see the guy going back and forth, back and forth behind you, trying to keep those sidewalks cleared as we speak.

KOSIK: Yes, I like that one.

BALDWIN: Yeah. Yeah. And we did hear from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just a short time ago, he finished briefing the media. And so, here is some just some common sense advice from Mayor Bloomberg. Take a listen.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: If you have a tree come down, and there is a power line down, don't go near it, don't touch it. Pick up the phone, Call 311 and they'll tell you what to do and we'll get a professional crew there to remove it.


BALDWIN: So that sounds like some solid advice. Alison Kosik, what else is this city telling its 8 million people?

KOSIK: You know, I think I heard Mayor Bloomberg say tonight's the night to go home, cook a meal, read a book, stay in. That is the thing to do. And don't let this lull fool you. Yeah, the snow is coming down. The wind is starting up. You see this guy here, he's been shoveling this sidewalk all day. Because it is getting slushy, it's getting slippery. But don't let that fool you. Because the real stuff, the real snow is coming around 7:00. That's when you're going to see the blizzard conditions begin here in New York City, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Quickly, Alison, before I let you go, Chad wants to know, was it raining in New York in the last hour?

KOSIK: It is not -- it is kind of hailing. It's this heavy, wet kind of pelting, kind of snow that's coming down. It is accumulating, though, out on the streets.

BALDWIN: OK, Alison Kosik, thank you. We'll come back to you. Keep in mind, I've got Boston standing by. First, I want to go to Chad Myers. And, Chad, just walk me through, you know, what will happen in New York and in New England over the next, let's say 18 hours for now.

MYERS: This is the warmest part of the day. This is when it should be a rain/snow mix. The fact that she has what's called grubble (ph), or almost hale, underdeveloped snow, little pellets almost, maybe the size of - you know, remember those beans that used to be in a beanbag chair, it's about what is kind of coming down, they're about the same weight too. But because that's piling up, that means that from Central Park North, your snow totals will be that 8 to 14. You will get that, especially north of the city, into Westchester County for sure.

If you're from lower Manhattan, south toward the Amboise (ph) and even into northern New Jersey, you may actually see -- central New Jersey, you may actually see maybe only 4 to 6 because that's where the rain is now mixing in. You can see it is raining here all the way up and down into Atlantic City. But that snow line, that's the most important part for New York City, where does the snow finally change back over and when does it change back over? Right through Paterson, Newark, that looks like Wayne and Wyckoff, you get up into the higher elevations, above the palisades, all snow. All snow up into Hartford, Waterbury north, this is all going to be snow all day. You're never going to change over to rain here. The snow is going to pile up, it's going to be 20 inches all the way through here and the same story as we get into Boston. It is going to be as we pan across at Boston, you will never get the break that you need to reduce your snow amounts. The snow amounts are going to be coming in, the wind coming off the ocean, it's going to be piling up an awful lot of water through here, to big splashing waves in Boston Harbor. But the snow comes in, and I can easily see that record-breaking near 30 inch snowfall from Boston all the way down to Providence, right through here.

BALDWIN: Easily breaking, I hear.

MYERS: Yeah. Because when a storm gets out here, that's where the low is going to be out here, that pouring wind is just going to pour snow. It's almost going to be like ocean effect snow. You've heard of lake-effect snow in Buffalo.


MYERS: Oceans can do the same thing. The oceans give up steam, give up moisture, and that snow just gets pounded on land and for hours and hours, I mean, I could easily see -- I'm not kidding you, there will be some spot out there, some co-op observer in some town, it could be Cambridge, it could be Lowell, it could be -- it could be anywhere. I don't know yet, but there'll be some number at 40 inches with this storm. BALDWIN: It's incredible. Chad, stand by. In fact, join me if you like. Julian -- Julian Cummings, one of CNN producers is actually roving -- he's driving on the phone now. Here are pictures in Boston. Julian, you got me?


BALDWIN: So here's the deal, just quickly, so we tell everyone, the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, we know, he signed this executive order, so basically you and any of these cars we see, they have to be off the road by 4:00 p.m. today. That said, how is it going?

CUMMINGS: People are on the roads still, but it is definitely thinning out. We were just driving along "The T" -- the green line of Boston transit system, and there was people lining up, trying to get that last train, but it is starting to pick up here, no question about it. First couple of hours it was not really sticking, but it is getting slippery out here pretty fast.

BALDWIN: So you get the sense, though, that people are heeding the warnings to get off the roads.

CUMMINGS: Yeah, I think people -- it is thinning out, traffic is slowly slowing down. A lot of people walking around, but we have seen some wind gusts already, people have been blown around a little bit. And I think people should listen to the governor and probably get off the street.

BALDWIN: I see a plow -- I see the plow there in your picture. I know Boston, the hardy New Englanders I think is how the mayor there of Boston put it earlier. He said, you know, we're ready, we're going to talk to the mayor in just a little bit. But Julian, drive safely, we'll check back in with you here momentarily as we keep looking at some of your pictures here of Boston. And, you know, this coming storm, we have to talk travel. Because this storm here already battering travel schedules, itineraries. More than 3500 flights have been canceled across the country, just in anticipation here of this massive storm. Amtrak also limiting its train schedule in the northeast corridor. So this is basically between Washington, D.C. and the New England area. So heads up if you were thinking you were taking a train. But I want to stay with Boston here, as we mentioned, all time snow record could fall. Chad mentioning maybe one area could see as much as 40 inches. Today the governor of Massachusetts, as I mentioned, banning vehicle traffic starting at 4:00 o'clock. You got to get off the roads. Here she is. Susan Candiotti, braving the elements for us this afternoon. And tell me, tell me, as we talk about driving, this is -- this is -- this executive order, Governor Patrick signed this is for the entire state, correct?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And he is not fooling around. If you read on what he's saying is if they stop you on the road, after 4:00 this afternoon, you will be punished facing up to a year in jail on top of fines. Up to a year in jail on top of fines. So they mean business here in Massachusetts. Unlike the blizzard of 1978, when people recalling for us that they didn't have much warning, people have been warned at this time. I mean the news has been flooding the airwaves for a few days now and people know that they should have been buying provisions and they should have been gassing up their cars and staying - get ready to stay at home now. So occasionally we're still seeing cars passing on that road behind us, but for the most part, it has been like a ghost town in terms of traffic, of course, in downtown Boston. That's Quincy Market. You'll recognize that. Perhaps, a lot of you have been to Boston before. And Faneuil Hall is in that area as well. And aside from people occasionally walking about, because they're still able to, at this hour, you're not seeing very much action out here. Few people walking their dogs and many people telling us that they have stocked up and they are ready to go and others telling us, well, sometime we didn't buy that much, so -- but we have enough, we think we'll be able to get through.

The stores are closing now, Brooke. So it may be too late. And, really isn't smart to go out.

BALDWIN: Yeah, time to hunker down, certainly. And again, we're looking at these live pictures, thank you, Julian Cummings, of our crew there, driving around Boston, giving you a better idea of the road conditions and again, just a reminder, you have to be off the streets according to the governor in two hours from now. Quickly, Susan, just you've been standing in the snow, and we thank you for it, how much has begun to accumulate, what kind of snow is it?

CANDIOTTI: You know, Chad described it very aptly, like little pellets. And having covered a gazillion hurricanes by now, this is like that, when the water is coming at you, except obviously it is heavier. And it is a heck of a lot colder, too, as you can imagine. But it is sticking. If you pick up a handful of it, it is a wet snow. And it is accumulating. And it is really more or less a dusting, I would say, less than an inch at this point.


CANDIOTTI: But certainly, it is accumulating.

BALDWIN: OK. Susan Candiotti, be safe. We'll come back to you as well. And just a quick reminder to all of you, we will be talking about this blizzard all through the evening. In fact, I hope you join me. Because I will be anchoring special live coverage as the peak of this blizzard hits the northeast starting at midnight tonight. I will be up, with you, all the way through 5:00 a.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.

Meantime, the manhunt for an ex-cop accused of murder covering a huge swath from California into Nevada, even into Arizona. But today, it's concentrated in California's Big Bear lake region where this truck, this dark gray Nissan truck, belonging to Christopher Dorner, was found in this remote area just about -- here it is -- -- just about 100 miles east of Los Angeles. That truck, you can see the charred remains, it was set on fire. Dorner, meanwhile, nowhere to be found. Time is of the essence for scores of police who spent all night long searching the area's mountains. Keep in mind, as we talk -- as we talk snow in the east coast, the snow is in the west coast as well. Big winter storm moving in here in Big Bear. Snow is following -- falling. SWAT teams are fanning out to search for this guy who used to be one of their own. Now accused of killing three people in a vendetta for what he says was his unjust firing from the Los Angeles Police Department. But they admit, they could be searching for a ghost.


SHERIFF JOHN MCMAHON, SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA: There has been time to get out of here, but we're not sure if he has in fact left. There is a number of places up on the mountain that we haven't got to yet that we're continuing to search.


BALDWIN: CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Big Bear. He has been digging on the search here for Christopher Dorner. And I want to bring in Miguel Marquez because, from what I understand, actually, Paul Vercammen in the midst of the snow, is stuck. So, we're going to come back to Paul. Miguel Marquez, talk to me, I know you're outside a police station in Hollywood. Where does the whole thing stand right now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fear is pervasive throughout all of southern California. The whole place is on lockdown, I can tell you. Just minutes ago there was a lockdown put on the L.A. County detention center in downtown Los Angeles. A lockdown on a jail facility, amazingly enough. Somebody thought that they saw Mr. Dorner outside the facility, the entire facility went on lockdown, sheriff's department is going to hold a press conference to tell us what in the world was going on down there. Helicopters overhead.

We're in Hollywood, at a station here, the police station here. This place is on lockdown. They had a street shut off. They had police cars on either side. This station was mentioned in that 11-page rant, that manifesto that Mr. Dorner put out on Thursday, that we got on Thursday. But substations, stations, even the headquarters for Los Angeles Police Department, extra security today across everywhere. Thousands of police fanning out not only in Big Bear, but along roads and anywhere where there might be a sighting of Mr. Dorner, to check cars, shut down roads, go house to house, see if anyone has seen anything. It is an unbelievable situation out here. It started on Sunday when he killed a young woman and her fiance. The young woman was the daughter of a police official mentioned in that manifesto. He said he was going to target not only police, but their families. He talked about targeting Asian cops, Hispanic cops, black cops, lesbian cops. The guy basically said everyone is a target. He then went and shot a police officer -- a police officer in Corona, California, in Torrance, California, in the truck found in Big Bear. It is not very clear he's in Big Bear, though. A lot of police officials say I talked to say they don't really know ...

BALDWIN: It could be a trap.

MARQUEZ: ... If he's gone on the lam, if he's left that area. He does seem to know a lot of their tactics there. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Miguel Marquez, thank you so much for me in Hollywood. We mentioned Paul Vercammen has been working the story for us in the snow here in Big Bear. We have a little bit from what Paul's been reporting. Paul.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A number of law enforcement officers are also going in and around on snow cats. They have gone door to door, they hit at least 400 homes or so they said last night. They warned the people in this area not to open their doors unless they know who is knocking or unless it is a uniformed law enforcement officer. Now, let me tell you a little bit about the snow and these conditions. In one way, it hinders the search, but if you look behind me, they expect 6 to 8 inches of snow today. One thing that could help them, I was talking off camera to a member of the search party, and he said the freshness of the snow could help because that way they could easily detect the tracks.

BALDWIN: Paul Vercammen there at Big Bear. We'll talk more about this manhunt under way. Talk to a former SWAT -- member of the SWAT team in L.A. who can walk us through sort of the mindset of these officers as they're looking for him. Meantime, Don Lemon joins me live with a different angle on this whole story. One that he's been hearing on urban radio, we're talking racism and police. Plus, continuing coverage of this monster blizzard, thousands of flights canceled, roads becoming dangerous, we are all over it.


BALDWIN: 40 million people in the path of this incoming storm. These are live pictures of Boston. Just about an inch or so accumulating right now. I know the pictures it looks like a little bit more than that. That will change in a matter of hours. Chad Myers talking moment ago that this could be record-breaking that there is even a possibility that in parts of New England they could see 40 inches of snow. So we're talking snow, we're talking wind, maybe coastal flooding here, in just a moment. But we've got to get -- we have to get back to the story out of southern California. They're looking for this basically accused cop killer, and as authorities are trying to hunt down this former police officer, accused of targeting police officers. There is a different conversation across urban radio today about racism and about police. And Don Lemon, you were on the air, what, this morning.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stumbled upon it on the air, just by doing -- do radio hits.

BALDWIN: Just your weekly ...

LEMON: We're (inaudible) on the air...

BALDWIN: Weekly radio hits.

LEMON: Yes, you do -- you do the same thing.

BALDWIN: Sure. Yes. And so on this show ...

LEMON: take some calls. Yeah. Yeah.

BALDWIN: What are people saying?

LEMON: It's not -- and let me preface this by saying it is not just on the radio. It is online. All you need to do is go to, and I'll tell all the viewers, go to ...

BALDWIN: Read the comments.

LEMON: ... look at the viewer comments. Go to the "L.A. Times," look at the viewer comments. And so, that one of the comments that I saw, there are Facebook pages, we are all Chris Dorner, it's a Facebook page. One of the common treads, "I read the manifesto. And this is not a crazy man. He is quite sane. People need to read and think. Don't be reactionary like a sheep. Read what he wrote. Look at the details. Process some of it. Be discerning instead of just reacting. I have a lot of questions about the LAPD!." So let's get back to the radio.

BALDWIN: Take us back. Take us back to what he wrote.

LEMON: Right. He says when -- what started him -- the process of losing his job is when he said - when he agreed that he did see his partner or a member of the L.A. Police Department kicking ...

BALDWIN: Kicking.

LEMON: ... a suspect. And so he said he, I guess, betrayed the blue wall of silence by doing that. And that started the process of him losing his job.


LEMON: And that he -- so this all happened, he, as part of the reason to clear his name and get back -- which is an odd reason. But let me just also preface this by saying, this conversation that we're having is about what happened before the violence. Anything that happened after the violence and the murders, the violence -- nothing -- there is no condoning that.

BALDWIN: Zero justification.

LEMON: No justification for that. But there are people, especially minorities, on urban radio, especially African-Americans and Hispanics, this story shows that now, just like the O.J. Simpson's story, just like the Rodney King story, that people -- there is a distinct difference in this country, the way people view race, the way people view news stories, the way we filter things, because there are people who support him. There are people who say I had a problem with my job. I had a problem with police officers, especially with stories that concern police officers, there are people with a general distrust of police officers, especially African-Americans and Hispanics and they see that -- they believe that he had a beef, a legitimate beef, but now he's gone off the deep end and he's doing it the wrong way now.

BALDWIN: So prior to him going off the deep end, a lot of these callers, and this isn't just talking about LAPD, this is, you know, different municipalities across the country.

LEMON: Across the country.

BALDWIN: They're saying he's not so crazy.

LEMON: Right. That the LAPD historically has a problem with racism. Had a worse problem with racism years ago, especially 20 years ago when the Rodney King story happened, and probably worse before that, and then it was cleaned up. No police department in the country is perfect. The LAPD is not perfect now. And people are still saying the LAPD has a problem with racism now. And police departments across the country have a problem with racism now, and the way they treat people of color. So Chris Dorner, they believe, is now sort of -- a person who they believe in this story can help bring that out, and that we should be talking about that as well as the victims in this story and the hunt for Chris Dorner.

BALDWIN: We should say the L.A. police chief, Chief Beck, was asked yesterday sort of about some of the allegations Dorner makes in the manifesto, and this is what he said about him yesterday.


CHARLIE BECK, LAPD COMMISSIONER: You're talking about a homicide suspect who has committed atrocious crimes, and if you want to give any attribution to his ramblings on the Internet, go right ahead, but I do not.

If you read his manifesto, this is a very -- LAPD is a specific target, but all law enforcement is targeted. This is a vendetta against all of Southern California law enforcement. And it should be seen as such.


BALDWIN: Calls him cowardly.

LEMON: Yeah, he does. Calls him cowardly. But yet, and still, again, this conversation is no way justifying what he has done.

BALDWIN: What he's done, absolutely.

LEMON: But it is also something that we need to talk about, and also something that is not -- that is being talked about online, being talked about on the radio, but is not being talked about in media coverage. And I have to say, even other journalists, because I made a similar point yesterday, that it appears from his manifesto that he is, you know, he wasn't crazy when he wrote his manifesto. And someone, another journalist from a major news organization, wrote me and said, confidentially, "your coverage of the LA fugitive story makes me proud to be a black journalist. Yes, what he's doing is wrong, but your points are right, Don. Praying for him and the victims. Obviously, this is confidential, a confidential message because of where I work. Peace and love."

BALDWIN: Once they catch him, it is a conversation we need to have. LEMON: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Don Lemon, appreciate it.

And back to the blizzard here. Blizzard 2013. It is on its way. Live pictures here from Boston. The snow is starting to fall. Folks are being warned. We're covering it from every angle.

Coming up next, the craziest video we have seen so far.


BALDWIN: Snow has started to fall here. Live pictures of our roving crew here in the streets of Boston. Some people out and about. See those cars parked? We're going to talk to the mayor in a little bit. He's going to say got to get these cars off the road or you will be towed. And in just about an hour and a half, according to the governor of the great state of Massachusetts, he says no one can be driving on any road in the state of Massachusetts. So this historic blizzard has millions of people on edge. Many of you, and we thank you for it, you're chronicling your preparations through social media. George Howell, you've been sort of looking through all of our I- reports, videos, photos. What are people sending us?

HOWELL: Well, I want to talk first of all, Brooke, about this video, that we're seeing. This is our senior weather producer, Dave Henin (ph). He's on the road --

BALDWIN: Dave on the road.

HOWELL: He's on the road. Yes, I-93 headed into Boston. They're at a weather conference up there.


BALDWIN: Of all places a weather conference.

HOWELL: Of all places, of all times, right?

BALDWIN: At least you got all the guys up there.

HOWELL: But yes, so you get a sense of what it is like on the roads headed into Boston. So sort of a mess. Going to get a lot worse here in the next 48 hours.

BALDWIN: What else do you have?

HOWELL: All right. Want to show you this image here. Look at this. This is from one of our I-reporters. This is in Queens. So look at this. You see the cars already coated, road -- plenty of snow on it. This is going to be different than what you would see, Brooke, in, you know, Manhattan, where you have more traffic, you'll see a little less snow on the ground. And, you know, looks nice now. But give it a few hours, maybe not so much.

BALDWIN: So much will be changing. What else? HOWELL: All right. Look at this. Logan Airport.

BALDWIN: Oh, wow. Logan Airport?

HOWELL: Have you ever seen anything like this? It is amazing.

BALDWIN: A lot of flights affected already, delays, cancellations, I know Amtrak, nothing happening between Washington and Boston. What else?

HOWELL: Right. Right. So the other image I want to show you is this. This is an I-reporter who showed us what is happening inside stores. Everybody has been buying up food, been buying up water, trying to get ready for this thing. And the shelves are empty in a lot of places.

BALDWIN: They're preparing. People always grab the milk and the bread ahead of time. George Howell, thank you, come back if you got some more.


Meantime, we will be up, maybe not we, we, but I will be up all night long from midnight until 5:00 a.m. to take you here through the storm, so if you have power, please tune in. I'm sure we will be getting many, many more photos and videos from you. Again, this is CNN I- Report, so just go to

Coming up next, the urgent manhunt for the former police officer accused of killing cops. As the search intensifies, we are talking with someone who used to work at the LAPD.