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CNN NEWSROOM

Reward Grows in Prosecutor Killings; Veteran Cop Arrested in NYC; Kevin Ware Says He's Fine, Wants Another Call from First Lady; Sanitation Workers Still Fighting for Jobs.

Aired April 4, 2013 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Right now police, they're trying to find out why a 37-year-old man shot and killed a West Virginia sheriff who was just eating lunch in his car. Well, Eugene Crum became the sheriff back in January and was cracking down on drug dealers. The suspect is identified as Tennis Melvin Maynard. He was shot in the chest after fleeing the scene and is recovering in the hospital. CNN confirmed he spent time in a state hospital for mental health issues at some point within the last couple of years.

Well, the reward fund is now growing even bigger in the search for those who killed two Texas prosecutors. Just last hour, Governor Rick Perry announced that his office is putting up $100,000 reward on top of another $100,000 offered by the Kaufman County Crime Stoppers. Perry says he is confident that somebody is going to come forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY, (R), GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: We cannot react with fear. We got to react with resolve. And our local state and federal authorities are pursuing every lead, exhausting every line of inquiry in a relentless pursuit for those responsible for these crimes. We have full confidence that this investigation will lead to the conviction of whoever perpetrated these insidious crimes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Our own George Howell is in Kaufman, Texas.

First of all, George, why is the governor so confident that they're going to find these guys, these killers?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, the governor is certainly confident in the team. It's a multi-agency team looking into this case. Also confident with the strategy. During this news conference we saw that they will start putting up billboards. We saw a mock-up inside the building. The mock-up shows, of course, Mark Hasse and Mike and his wife, Cynthia McClelland, shows their pictures, phone number to call. The governor is confident rather that people will call in and continue to give tips in this case.

Investigators are not giving any insight, not giving us any indication as to which direction they're going, whether they have a lot of information they're just not sharing or whether they don't have anything at all, it's unclear.

But we do know that they are getting, Suzanne, a lot of leads in this case. Flooded with leads. And that is good news.

Also during this news conference, for the first time, we heard from the new interim district attorney for Kaufman County, Brandy Fernandez. Given the environment out here, you can imagine it's a difficult role to fill since Mike McClelland's death. But I asked her, what is it like to step in and take over that job.

Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRANDI FERNANDEZ, INTERIM KAUFMAN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Whenever a prosecutor takes office, whether it be a district attorney or assistant district attorney, we take an oath to serve the community. And I'll tell you that every prosecutor in this office is stepping up to the plate to uphold that oath. And I'm going to be here beside them. And they've all agreed to stay here beside me. Granted, we're unnerved a little bit, but we're going to stick to our oath. And we're showing up to work every single day to fulfill that oath, serve this community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: And also important to note that Brandi Fernandez herself also will have 24-hour, around-the-clock security as many other prosecutors we're learning are doing in the wake of these murders. Brandi Fernandez will fill that role for the next 21 days until Governor Rick Perry appoints a new D.A. for this county.

MALVEAUX: I can only imagine how nervous she is in that position she has now. George, I know there is also, of course, people thinking about Mike McClelland and his wife, Cynthia, memorial service is being held. What can you tell us about that today?

HOWELL: Well, we know that a lot of people will be there. Governor Rick Perry leaving this courthouse to attend that service. And Brandi Fernandez put it best in this news conference. She said, when you think of Mike McClelland, especially this particular office, a small, close-knit office, she still expects Mike to walk in the office with cookies. She described him as a leader of the office. A lot of people really looked up to him in this office, even in this community. People describe him as a stand-up person, a person a lot of people knew and respected. You can bet a lot of people will be there to remember him and his wife.

MALVEAUX: Yes, a tribute to both of them.

Thank you very much, George. Appreciate it.

A New York cop now busted for allegedly leading a group of armed robbers, actually stealing money, marijuana and cocaine from drug dealers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: North Korea cranking up the tough talk another notch today, directly accusing the United States of actively pursuing a nuclear war. U.S. officials say they have reason to believe that the North Koreans will soon launch a missile off their east coast, possibly as a test, possibly as a show of force. Well, the Pentagon says U.S. military missile defense systems and people are on their way to Guam right now. It's an island that North Korea calls a possible target.

Tonight, 6:00 eastern, Wolf Blitzer's going to host a special edition of "The Situation Room," focusing entirely on what is taking place, the crisis in North Korea. You're not going to want to miss that.

And calling all tech fans in Menlo Park, California. That's right. Facebook announcing its new home on android. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing a hoodie, of course, as he usually does, telling reporters moments ago live and streaming on the web while Facebook is not making its own phone, it looks to be providing a new type of phone service. It is basically a bunch of apps called Facebook home. More and more folks are using Smartphones to get on Facebook, checking in an average now we are told 14 times a day.

So, living together. Is that the new engagement ring? Now a new study finding almost half of women in the U.S. lived with a partner first before being married. And what's really interesting is that unmarried couples who live together also stay together longer and more of them are having children. Put it in to perspective here. In 1995, only 34 percent of first unions were couples who, well, lived together. Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics talked with more than 12,000 women from 2006 to 2010.

New York police officer with 17 years on the force, well, he is now in jail.

Our legal analyst Sunny Hostin is with us to explain.

We know his name, we haven't seen a picture yet, but give us a sense of who this guy is and the bizarre charges here.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN ANALYST: Well, his name is Jose Tajada and he is a 17-year veteran of the NYPD, New York City Police Department. He has been indicted on three counts. And they are very, very strong charges against this particular officer. He has been accused of selling narcotics and most importantly robbing drug dealers to do so and providing a drug crew, a violent drug crew, with NYPD equipment so they could pretend to be police officers in carrying out these alleged crimes. Very, very sad day for the NYPD here.

I will say though that this comes on the heels of a multi-agency investigation. The NYPD was involved in investigating their own. And we have some sound from the commissioner of the NYPD Police Department.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY KELLY, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: -- he is accused of being involved in three robberies. The targets were drug dealers for the most part. Obviously, it's sad and disappointing any time a police officer is arrested. But this officer has been on modified duty for three years. So this investigation has taken a long time to come to fruition. And it's still not over. But it is what it is. And the officer has been arrested -- suspended, and we'll see what the outcome of the trial is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOSTIN: And Officer Tajada is not the only one to have been charged in this case. Two other NYPD officers were convicted of these crimes.

I'm standing as you see in front of the federal courthouse here in Brooklyn. Officer Tajada will be arraigned today at 2:00 p. m.

What is going to be a fight is that the government wants him held pending trial. They say he is a danger to the community and that he is also a flight risk because he has property in the Dominican Republic and visited there 10 times over the past ten years.

MALVEAUX: Sunny, real quickly here, why are the feds involved in this case?

HOSTIN: Well, it's called a Hobbs Act violation. There was sort of interstate involvement here. When you have this amount of money, we're talking about 250 kilograms of cocaine, $1 million, interstate commerce drug trafficking. The feds get involved in that kind of case.

MALVEAUX: All right. Sunny Hostin, good to see you as always.

Kevin Ware says he's doing just fine. This man from the NCAA Louisville team broke his leg, had his bone actually sticking out of his leg just a few days ago, over the weekend. But the one thing that he wants now, he says, is another call from the first lady. We're going to explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: All eyes on Atlanta today. The final four begins in just two days. That is right here in the Georgia Dome. Louisville taking on Wichita State in the first game, happening on Saturday. And Michigan squares off against Syracuse in a final game. The winners play for the -- all the marbles on Monday.

That story line leading back to the horrific injury to Louisville guard, Kevin Ware. Ware, you'll remember, he broke his leg so severely that the bone pushed through his skin and brought his teammates and coaches to tears, shocked everybody who had a chance to watch that. Well, Ware underwent surgery. And two days later returned to his hometown Atlanta to watch his team compete in the final four.

Ware told our Rachel Nichols that he will return to play. His mother was at his side as he described the injury.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all, tell us about the leg. How much pain are you in right now?

KEVIN WARE, INJURED LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'm actually fine really. It might hurt here and there. The actual part where the bone came out. But I've been fine. I've been trying to walk as much as I can, you know.

NICHOLS: Listen to what you just said, you know, the part where the bone came out.

(LAUGHTER)

I mean, this is surreal. Can you describe for me what it was like when this happened to you, what you first thought? Take me through that moment.

WARE: I guess I landed completely wrong. Honestly, I felt like it hurt like I thought it was a cord that went across. But it turned out to be my knee, you know. Coach gave me one of those looks like somebody just saw a ghost or something like that. And I'm looking at him like, you know, confused. I looked down at my leg, and it's kind of like my arm. I see my sneaker on, but my leg is like this, so I just go into automatic shock.

NICHOLS: Did you realize that was your bone sticking out of your leg?

WARE: I did, but my first instinct was like I can't start crying, I can't do this right now. I'm thinking in my head, what can I do? I'm yelling, I'm telling him, you got to win this game. I don't care what y'all do, win this game. I'm going to be good. I'm going to be OK.

NICHOLS: Have you seen picture of this, video of it?

WARE: I've seen a picture, quick glance of it. I turn away from it. I kind of feel like me trying to get back on the basketball court, that would just stop me from getting where I need to be. I don't want to see the video, don't plan on seeing the video, honestly.

NICHOLS: You don't think 20 years from now you're going to see what everybody else is talk about something.

WARE: Never want to see the video.

NICHOLS: You've seen the replay, what Kevin doesn't want to look at. I guess this was probably in slow motion, right, you were out of the room watching the game when he got hurt?

LISA JUNIOR, MOTHER OF KEVIN WARE: I was at the friend's house, we were watching the game. It had happened, and when I looked at the TV, all I saw was the team on the floor, laying on the floor, peopling looking distraught. I'm trying to figure out who got hurt. When they showed the replay of it and then I heard somebody say I think he broke his leg, I just lost it.

NICHOLS: This is your baby.

JUNIOR: Uh-huh.

NICHOLS: You're his mom. I'm a mom. I can't imagine what that must have felt like for you.

JUNIOR: The time spent suffering and anguish waiting for a phone call was enough that I thank God it wasn't longer.

NICHOLS: Your coach, Rick Pitino, came straight from the game --

WARE: Straight from the game.

NICHOLS: -- and he brought the trophy.

WARE: And honestly I don't even remember. I was on so much medication, you know. I saw the pictures of them putting the trophy by my side, and me sleeping with it. I was very proud.

NICHOLS: You got phone calls from everyone.

WARE: From everyone.

NICHOLS: But the first lady, Michelle Obama, called you, and Rick Pitino said you're the coolest guy he knows.

(LAUGHTER)

He said, the president calling you, OK, fine, what he calls sports people, but Michelle Obama?

WARE: I'm sad. I honestly don't even remember speaking to her. But that's what they were telling me, she called.

NICHOLS: Please call me back.

WARE: Please.

(LAUGHTER)

If she called, please, call again. I really would appreciate it. It's an once-in-a-lifetime thing, you know. I know the president kind of picked us to lose to Indiana in his bracket --

(LAUGHTER)

But I forgive him. When I speak to him in the White House, I'll forgive him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: All right. He wants another call. That's all right. Ware's coach, Rick Pitino, says he believes Ware is going to be back on the court as early as next season.

It's been 45 years since Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated while fighting for the rights of sanitation workers. Those workers, they are still fighting for their jobs, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: The reverend Martin Luther King was assassinated 45 years ago today, and you might recall he was in Memphis, Tennessee, fighting for better pay for sanitation workers. He marched with those men, whose wages were so low they needed welfare to supplement their income. Well, the next day, King was killed. Now, four decades later, their struggle for jobs continues. Memphis sanitation workers, they are battling the city government to prevent private companies from taking over their jobs.

Lee Saunders represents the Sanitation Union. He is president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and joins us from Memphis.

Very good to see you. Thank you for joining us here.

You were elected last year as the union's first African-American president. It was something that surprised all of us that it was a first, that it's taken that long for that to happen. But you say the main problem now, the big problem here, is the move for government jobs to be privatized, and it's really threatening the workers' livelihood, sanitation workers. Can you tell us how?

LEE SAUNDERS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES: Well, privatization is affecting members, not only in Memphis, Tennessee, but all over the country. But unfortunately, here in Memphis, the mayor is looking at privatizing sanitation workers' jobs. He's looking at privatizing the custodian workers jobs at the school districts. We think that's the wrong move. And we'd like to sit down and discuss these kinds of issues and work out some kind of agreement that benefits our members and benefits the communities and community in Memphis, Tennessee. Unfortunately, the mayor is not respecting the collective bargaining process, so we've got to make our voices heard, and we've got to organize and mobilize and educate our communities here in Memphis to talk about the issues that confront working families in this city.

MALVEAUX: I want viewers to know, we're seeing pictures of the rally that happened today, part of that movement that you're a part of here. King pointed to discrimination, obviously, as a motive to those held back at that time. Do you think this is about a fight with big business and profit now?

SAUNDERS: Well, I think it's a battle with the 1 percent who have a lot of wealth and power in this country. They are trying to gain more wealth and power at the expense of the 99 percent, who are trying to play by the rules every single day, put bread on the table, send their kids to school. The gap between those that have, in the 1 percent, the gap, the wealth gap, is growing, is growing enormously. And that's unacceptable in this kind of country. That's unacceptable to what Dr. King was talking about. We've got to have every opportunity. Every American has got to have the opportunity to move toward that American dream and have an opportunity to put bread on the table every single day and make ends meet if they are playing by the rules. That's a difficulty that's occurring right now, not only in Memphis, but across this country, where the unevenness that exists between the wealthy and working families, it's just so great that we've got to stop it. We've got to make our voices heard.

MALVEAUX: Tell us here, because we're seeing these beautiful pictures of Martin Luther King and the sanitation workers, 1,300 of them who marched with king back in 1968. Several of those men, they are still on the job today. Can you tell us, we know they were inducted into the Labor Hall of Fame in Washington just last year? How are they doing?

SAUNDERS: Well, they are doing fine. It's amazing to me that we have eight sanitation workers here who are still performing their duties. Their ages range from 70 to 78. It's not an easy job, make no mistake about it. It's a tough job. And to have them still on the job providing essential public services to the citizens of Memphis is extremely important. And they need to be recognized for their service. And that's why we're fighting the mayor right now and urging him to get back to the table, bargain with us, and treat us as equals so we can resolve the problems.

MALVEAUX: All right, Mr. Saunders, thank you very much for joining us today. We appreciate your time, and wish the best to you, as well as those workers, those who marched with King so long ago.

Thank you. Appreciate it.

SAUNDERS: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: That's it for me. Don Lemon is going to take it from here. CNN NEWSROOM continues.