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911 Tape from School Shooting in Georgia; Manning Wants Sex Change; Hannah Anderson Speaks Out; Barack Obama Speaks on Higher Education

Aired August 22, 2013 - 11:00   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Bet you didn't see this one coming. Yesterday Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking military secrets. But today he says he has a new name and its Chelsea Manning.

Also ahead the California teenager whose disappearance captivated the nation, got herself back in the spotlight live on TV, first thing this morning. We have part of that interview for you and some of her answers to probing questions.

And a phone call from the lieutenant governor to a Texas police station, and you better bet the political rivals are screaming over this one, abuse of power.

But was he simply trying to help a relative in trouble or was it in fact much more than that?

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the LEGAL VIEW. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Thursday, August 22nd.

I want to get you first up to this story. We're hearing the dramatic 911 tape from that school shooting in Decatur, Georgia, detailing the harrowing moments as a disturbed young man went into the front office and turned a bookkeeper, a mere bookkeeper, into a go-between for the suspect, a 20-year-old named Brandon Hill, and an entire police force.

Want you to listen to part of this harrowing call, see the amazing way this woman, Antoinette Tuff, was able to carry herself despite the fact she was absolutely terrified.


911 OPERATOR: DeKalb police, what's your address and your emergency?

ANTOINETTE TUFF, SCHOOL BOOKKEEPER: Yes, ma'am. I'm on Second Avenue in the school and the gentleman said tell them to hold down. The police officers are coming and he said he's going to start shooting, so tell them to back off.

911 OPERATOR: OK. One moment.

TUFF: Do not let anybody in the building, include the police. Do not let anybody in the building, including the police.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Stay on the line with me, ma'am. Where are you?

TUFF: I'm in the front office. Oh, he just went outside and started shooting.


TUFF: Oh, can I run?

911 OPERATOR: Can you get somewhere safe?

TUFF: Yeah. I got to go. He going to shoot. He's coming back. Oh, hold on.

911 OPERATOR: Put the phone down.

TUFF: Oh, my. OK, he said that he's getting the police to tell them to back off for you, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell to stop all movement.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop all movement now.

TUFF: Stop all movement now on the ground. Stop all movement on the ground.

OK. Well, let me talk to them and see if we can work it out, so that you don't have to go away with them for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm already in trouble.

TUFF: No, it does matter. I can let them know that you are not trying to harm me or do anything with me or anything. If you want -- but that doesn't make any difference. You didn't hit anybody.

So -- OK. Let me ask you this, ma'am. He didn't hit anybody. He just shot outside the door. If I walk out there with him -- if I walk out there with him, so they won't shoot him or anything like that? He wants to give himself up, is that OK? They won't shoot him?

911 OPERATOR: Yes, ma'am.

TUFF: He said he just want to go to the hospital.


TUFF: We're not going to hurt you, baby. It's a good thing that you've giving up. We're not going to hate you.

911 OPERATOR: Ma'am, you're doing a great job.

TUFF: It's going to be all right, sweetie. I just want you to know that I love you, though, OK? And I'm proud of you. That's a good thing that you're giving up and don't worry about it.

We all go through something in life.


TUFF: No, you don't want that. You're going to be OK. I thought the same thing. You know, I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me, but look at me now. I'm still working and everything is OK.

You said Michael Hill, right?


TUFF: OK. Guess what, Michael? My last name is Hill, too. You know, my mom was a Hill.


TUFF: He said what are you all waiting for? What's taking them so long to come on?

911 OPERATOR: OK. One moment.

TUFF: She says she's getting to them now. They're coming. They're coming. So just hold on, Michael. Go ahead and lay down so they -- go ahead and lay down. Don't put the phone -- OK. You just got your phone? OK. That's fine.

Tell them to come on. Come on. OK. He just got his phone. That's all he got is his phone.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay on the ground.

TUFF: It's just him. OK. It's just him. Hello?

911 OPERATOR: Yes.

TUFF: I'm going to tell you something, baby. I ain't never been so scared in all the days of my life.

911 OPERATOR: Me neither, but you did great.

TUFF: Oh, Jesus.

911 OPERATOR: You did great.


BANFIELD: Oh, Jesus is right.

Believe it or not, the students are back in their classrooms this morning. Our Martin Savidge is also there live this morning. He's in Decatur, Georgia. Martin, I've been watching you report this story, and I've watched your career for two decades. I've never seen you as rattled as I saw you when you first heard that tape, when you first heard how this woman behaved.

I don't want to get into your head on that one, but I think a lot of people feel the same way. What's the mood like there?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think we were all, you know, deeply touched, the emotions that you hear of this woman's genuineness.

Today they are trying to get things back to normal. That's the whole goal here and they did that. Students are back in the classrooms.

There are counselors that are inside the building that are available for the students and the staff that feel they have a need, but so far it's been working out very well and, of course, everyone is singing the praises of Antoinette Tuff, the woman who was in the front office that probably saved all of their lives.

BANFIELD: And what about the suspect? What do we know at this point about what he's actually going to be facing?

She was so kind to him, calling him baby, you're going to be OK, and we all have our problems. He's got some big problems.

SAVIDGE: Right. Michael Hill has a lot of problems that he does face. He has some serious charges that he's been hit with, and then on top of that, we already know that he has a history of mental issues.

And, in fact, now, the public defender's office here in DeKalb County says that he has been assigned public defenders that specialize with mental health issues. His first court appearance, September 5th, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right, Martin Savidge, great job in covering this. It could have been such a different story and I'm glad it worked out the way it did.

I want to bring in HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, who served 26 years with Washington's metropolitan police department where he helped to develop that department's hostage negotiation program, very specific kind of training.

And, also, forensic psychologist Dr. J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner, aka "Dr. Buzz," he runs a mental health court advocacy program, working with people who are mentally ill and have been arrested as well.

All right, Buzz, I want to begin with you. When you heard Miss Tuff, and not just the words that she used, but the demeanor that she had, the vocal intonation that she used with him, you know, I want to think how would I behave in a situation like that, but is it a case of either you have it or you don't have it, and she has it?

DR. J. BUZZ VON ORNSTEINER, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: She definitely has it. It's wonderful to listen to it and also this is in hindsight because it was so successful.

We all have a need when we are faced in these kind of situations to fight or flight. We want to leave and there was a period she said maybe I can hide under the desk or get away.

And then she realized there was no point. She had to face it. She actually was a fighter and she went in there and she was a great negotiator.

The real key for me was when he started talking on the phone and whoever was talking to him, his mother or caregiver, said, you should have been on your medication, you really need to go back to the hospital.

And then right there, Antoinette heard medication, hospital, you want to commit suicide, there was a real rapport going on there, plus the operator. So there's four people in that dynamic, including Michael Hill.

He was ready to talk to her, and she was ready to reciprocate. And she was ready to negotiate. A real caring person, a real people person, a real individual who loves people. And you could really hear that in her voice.

She also was so open about her past life, that her husband had left her after 33 years.

BANFIELD: It seemed more about him. When she talked to him, it seemed more about him than it did all of us and the children.

Every one of us might say, please, honestly, I have children. These children are so young. Please, you're not doing the right thing.

But instead, she spoke about him which I thought was incredible.

ORNSTEINER: It was great.

BANFIELD: Mike Brooks, on the outside of those walls -- I'm talking about what happened on the inside of those walls, but on the outside of those walls was a phalanx of heavily armed officers.

And I could figure out whether they had access to the real-time conversation that was going on. Please listen to this part with this in mind, Mike. As he was willing to give himself up, he changes his mind and gets up and wants to get a phone or a glass of water.

And I'm wondering, oh, God, if they burst in at that moment they may not know that and shoot him dead.

Listen to this and I want to ask you about it after.


TUFF: He said, do you want him to go out there with his hands up or do you want him to here.

911 OPERATOR: Stay right where he is.

TUFF: OK. She said stay right where you are.


TUFF: Can -- he wants to know if he can get some of his water right quick.

Yes, Michael. You -


BANFIELD: So, Mike Brooks, that's why I wanted to know. Are these SWAT teams privy to this kind of information that quickly?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Command and control can be. You know, there you have the communications division of DeKalb County police and fire department right there, so you're going to have a supervisor who's relaying the information on what's going on.

You can -- because they can listen to it, and you know, it takes some time once you get containment, Ashleigh, to go ahead and get that communication set up so they can get the direct feed in and get a -- possibly get a negotiator on the line with -- to talk with the woman directly. But we had that dispatcher who also did a fantastic job.

But I tell you, that's one of the most critical times during a situation like this, this negotiated surrender. And she did a great job as being the go-between during this negotiated surrender, letting him know -- letting them know exactly what was going on inside there so there were no mistakes.

BANFIELD: All right. Mike Brooks, thank you for that. And J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner, thank you as well.

And we have something great tonight on "AC360." We've got a very special reunion that's actually going to happen. We really encourage you to tune in.

The 911 dispatcher who was on the other end of that telephone call is going to meet that very brave school keeper -- bookkeeper who is credited with stopping another school shooting, a potential massacre.

That's all going to happen right here on CNN, very excited. "AC360" begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. I hope you'll have a chance to watch.

Another big story breaking today, Bradley Manning says he now wants to live as a woman, and that everybody should call him "Chelsea" from here on in.

The U.S. Army soldier was sentenced yesterday to 35 years in prison. The crime? Leaking thousands of pages of classified documents to the Web site, Wikileaks.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence joins me now. So many questions about this. This was a statement that was read on NBC's "Today" show this morning, Chris Lawrence.

He's making a lot of requests of the military, aka "taxpayers." How many of these requests are legitimate and can be honored? And what are the requests?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, yeah, he's asking, number one, he wants to be called Chelsea, referred to as a woman, and he says he wants to get hormone therapy as soon as possible, and that last one is going to be a big sticking point, Ashleigh.

Let me read to you a little bit of the statement that was read by his attorney for Bradley Manning.

"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.

"Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."

Although him coming out so publicly is new, the basis is not. When I was in the courtroom, the defense used this as a basis to argue for leniency.

They were the ones who introduced that photo of Bradley Manning in a wig and makeup. They were the one who is brought on the mental health expert who is testified that he had gender identity disorder.

So the argument has been building for some time. This morning it went entirely public.

BANFIELD: And just very quickly, I'm not familiar with the inner workings of Ft. Leavenworth, but is it also a female brig, or if he wants that as well would he have to be transferred elsewhere, go out of the military system into some other kind of incarceration?

LAWRENCE: It's all male. The Army does not provide any hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery. He'll have to sue the Army to get that or at some point possibly petition to have Manning transferred to a federal prison where inmates have received hormone therapy in the past.

BANFIELD: It's all very complicated and complex all at the same time. I think there will be some developments you're going to have to follow.

Chris Lawrence, thank you for jumping on that so quickly. Appreciate it.

Want to take you now to California, where Hannah Anderson has given her first television interview, all of this after being abducted and then reunited with her father.

She explains the relationship with the man who abducted her, James DiMaggio. She answers some critical questions even to her critics, and why she went on social media at all.

All of that coming up in just a moment.


BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Hannah Anderson is speaking out. That teenager has now spoken publicly about her abduction by that family friend, James DiMaggio. This happened on the "Today" show this morning.

She was explaining phone calls and letters, all of those strange and curious communications between those two, leading up to the abduction and the murders and, in fact, that were listed by police in those warrants.

She gave an emotional description of her little brother, Ethan; she also spoke about her mother, and talked about all of the public reaction, much of it negative, to her abduction. Plus, she explained the reasons for posting pictures and talking online. Have a listen.


HANNAH ANDERSON, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: The phone calls weren't phone calls. They were texts because he was picking me up from cheer camp and he didn't know the address or, like, where I was so, I had to tell him the address and tell him that I was going to be in the gym and not in front of the school just so he knew where to come get me.

The letters were from like a year ago, when me and my mom weren't getting along very well. Me and him were talking about how to deal with it and I'd tell him how I felt about it and he helped me through it. They weren't anything bad. They were just to help me through tough times.

He had a really big heart, and she was strong-hearted and very tough. She knew how to handle things.

You are who you are. You shouldn't let people change that. And you have your own opinion on yourself and other people's opinions shouldn't matter.

I connect with them through Facebook and Instagram. It just helps me grieve, like post pictures and to show how I'm feeling.


BANFIELD: A lot of people have been talking about this story. I want to bring in forensic psychologist Dr. J. Buzz von Ornsteiner again.

OK, Doctor. First of all, I need to ask you, is it fair for so many people out there who have online and elsewhere been criticizing this 16-year old -- let's not forget she's a teenager -- criticizing her because of oddities and inconsistencies and maybe online behavior?

Is it fair reaction for those people to have?

J. BUZZ VON ORNSTEINER, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: No, it's not fair. She's a 16-year-old girl. She's been in an emotional crisis. She's grieving. Let her make some choices and let her react in a way that can allow her to gain some emotional control. She's 16 years old. You know, I might act differently as an adult. She doesn't have learned experience. Cut her some slack.

BANFIELD: The first thing I thought was I need to ask Dr. Buzz about Hannah and how she was this morning in this interview. But then I started to think -- I think I need to ask you as well about why there are all of these critics and haters.

What is the story?

What is going on with these people?

ORNSTEINER: Well, first of all, with social media and the media in general, you're not -- it's going to be a 70 percent of people who are really going to like the person and have great empathy.

There's always going to be a 30 percent to 25 percent to 10 percent who are going to have negative views. That's the way of the world.

BANFIELD: And they're just seizing on these inconsistencies and thinking I smell a rat?

ORNSTEINER: Well, it's human nature on one level and also who knows what these individuals are going through themselves, that they feel they have to attack this young 16-year-old girl, who's just had her mother and brother killed.

I actually think she's doing a great job. She wants to stand for her truth. She wants to set the record straight. She wants people to know this wasn't a romantic involvement, that the texts she received were routine and that the letters before had no romantic intent. But he was there helping her mother, helping her get along with her mother.

BANFIELD: They seem like logical explanations for what many people seized on as unusual.

ORNSTEINER: But some were suspicious.


BANFIELD: Many people have been -- and then there's many who are very supportive of this family.

The victims of this crime have not even yet been buried. Those funerals have not yet happened and yet Hannah has been very public online, on the "Today" show.

You're the doctor. Is it a healthy behavior for her?

ORNSTEINER: You know, what I say is grief is highly individual. She's a 16-year-old girl. I'm a baby boomer. I look at things quite differently. Let her go where she needs to go to gain some emotional control. She's been through a horrific experience. And she is damaged by critics and you do become hypersensitive.

Allow her to grieve when it comes to the point of her funeral. So she wants to set the record straight right now so she can grieve, so she can move on. And of course she's a 16-year-old girl, groomed from social media and also in a world of reality shows. She may be more comfortable with the television and social media than we as adults would be.

BANFIELD: With grown-ups. Listen, the critics out there point to the fact that we do treat teenagers sometimes as adults in the criminal justice system and maybe therefore that's where the skeptics come in with their sleuthing.

But Dr. Buzz, thank you. It's been really hard to sort through this story on so many levels. Thank you for that. I appreciate it.

We're also following the live action right now on the road, because that's where the president has taken to on a bus tour, the road trip for higher education.

Look behind him. See those students? They are the people he's speaking to, but you, too, voters. We'll explain why he's on the bus tour, what the message is, or maybe what the greater message is coming up.


BANFIELD (voice-over): Live pictures for you now, the president on the road, a two-day bus tour. He is in Buffalo right now, talking about the rising costs of college.

You've got a program right now to start rating colleges on their tuitions, their graduation rates, their debt and earnings of their graduate, and the percentage of their lower-income students attending and linking those ratings to the government's distribution of federal aid. Let's listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've got to say it's not always Washington's highest priority, because rather than keeping focus on a growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs, you know, we've seen a faction of Republicans in Congress suggest that maybe America shouldn't pay its bills that have already been run up, that we should shut down government if they can't shut down ObamaCare.

That won't grow our economy. That won't create jobs. That won't help our middle class. We can't afford in Washington the usual circus of distractions and political posturing. We can't afford that right now.

What we need is to build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America. Focus on that, a good job with good wages, a good education, a home of your own, affordable health care, a secure retirement --


OBAMA: -- bread-and-butter pocketbook issues that you care about every single day, that you're thinking about every single day. We've got to create more pathways into the middle class for folks who are willing to work for it. That's what's always made America great.

It's not just how many billionaires we produce but our ability to give everybody who works hard the chance to pursue their own measure of happiness. That's what America's all about.


OBAMA: Now, there are many things that are more important to that idea of economic mobility, the idea that you can make it if you try, than a good education. All the students here know that. That's why you're here.

That's why your families have made big sacrifices, because we understand that in the face of greater and greater global competition in a knowledge-based economy, a great education is more important than ever. A higher education is the single best investment you can make in your future, and I'm proud of all the students who are making that investment.


OBAMA: And that's not just me saying it. Look, right now the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about one-third lower than the national average. The incomes of folks who have at least a college degree are more than twice those Americans without a high school diploma.

So more than ever before, some form of higher education is the surest path into the middle class.

But what I want to talk about today is what's become a barrier and a burden for too many American families and that is the soaring cost of higher education.


OBAMA: Everybody knows you need a education. On the other hand, college has never been more expensive. Over the past three decades the average tuition at a public four-year college has gone up by more than 250 percent -- 250 percent. Now, a typical family's income has only gone to up 16 percent.

So think about that. Tuition has gone up 250 percent. Income gone up 16 percent. That's a big gap.

Now, it's true that a lot of universities have tried to provide financial aid and work-study programs and so not every student -- in fact, most students are probably not paying the sticker price of tuition. We understand that. But what we also understand is that, if it's going up 250 percent and your income is only going up 16 percent, at some point families are having to make up some of the difference or students are having to make up some of the difference with debt.

Meanwhile, over the past few years, states have been cutting back on their higher education budgets. New York's done better than a lot of states, but that fact is that we've been spending more money on prisons, less money on college. And --