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New Kenya Mall Massacre Video; Government Shutdown Over; Parents Of Alleged Bully Speak Out; Interview with Sheriff Grady Judd

Aired October 17, 2013 - 07:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Before, a post would only be seen by their friends. Facebook says these changes is in line with its competitors and gives teens the freedom to decide how to compress themselves. Critics concerned it will be more challenging for parents to keep kids safe on social media.

Talk about a close encounter. Mike Duran decided apparently to go out on his surfboard on Wednesday looking for a great white shark off Manhattan Beach, California. There you see one, the shark swimming right under his board. He says he wanted to pursue, but didn't know it pursue him. This shark is believed to only be a juvenile measuring between 4 and 7 feet long. I have questions for him.


PEREIRA: We'll just leave it at that. It's interesting video.

CUOMO: Better things to do with your time.

We have for you a CNN exclusive. We all remember and it's a horrible memory at that, when terrorists attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, happened just last month. The only way to understand what happened at that time was stories from the survivors. But now CNN has accessed some of the mall's surveillance videos.

Of course, what we're about to show you, there are parts that are graphic, frightening, and painful. If you have kids, make a decision for yourself. But right now we want to bring in Nima Elbagir who is live in Nairobi. She has the latest. This is the first time we get to see what's actually was going on inside that mall. Right, Nima?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Chris. It is a really excruciating watch, but I think it's also a really important one because this is the first time that we get a sense of what was actually going on, on that Saturday in September here in Nairobi. Take a look at it, Chris.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): A first look at a nightmare as CNN has obtained surveillance video of the horrifying moments inside the Kenya mall massacre that took at least 67 lives and injured hundreds. Watch as unaware shoppers suddenly run for their lives. A wounded man tries crawling to safety but the gunman returns. Outside, helicopters circle and you can hear the gunfire that's coming from al Shabaab attackers combing the hallways. Civilians run and crawl to wherever they think they can to survive.

Some hide in the stairwell, others in stores. A body on the mall floor is shot repeatedly. At a mall restaurant, staff and customers cower behind the counter as a plain clothes police officer tries to protect them. Security cameras on the roof catch the attackers walking towards the children's cooking competition, opening fire just beyond the camera's view.

In the supermarket, the massacre continues. Surveillance video shows the hostage roundup has begun. A mother and her two children push an injured child in a shopping cart. A bloodied teenage girl follows. Her hands in the air as a gunman point the way. Hours later they're released.

Back inside, the hostage takers are spotted on the phone. Authorities believe they're receiving instructions from outside the mall. One of them appears to be looking for surveillance cameras and there are even long periods of time where the attackers appear relaxed.

At one point, taking turns for prayers. This is just a fraction of the surveillance video recorded as most of it is too horrifying to broadcast, only the first day of a four-day nightmare for Kenya.


ELBAGIR: The agony of those four days, Chris, still weighs very heavily here. Even three weeks on, 25 people still remain unaccounted for -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Nima, thank you for bringing us this story, very difficult indeed.

PEREIRA: What was so interesting, we talked so much about the agony, the frightening moments, the nightmare, but when you see it, it hits it home all the more, those images really difficult to watch. You feel the terror that they must have been feeling. You feel just a fraction of it.

CUOMO: Feel for the families of the injured and those who were lost. It makes you appreciate even more what it took to survive and make it through it. It also reminds you about something. We're trying to deal with what kind of people would do this. There is no honor. There is nothing righteous. There is no fair fight. They were the ones who were armed and it's a reminder. This is a cowardly act.

There is no honor to terrorism. And that video, as difficult as it is, is a reminder, for the reasons we hear, this is why, this is what count of fight is going on. You get to see the actions there. It is not honorable about it at all. But again, it was difficult. You make your own choices about what to watch and what not to watch.

We are going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back we have a story you'll not see anywhere else. A bullied 12-year-old girl takes her own life. We've heard stories about this but this time it's different. There are charges this case against children. We talk to the parents of one of the girls accused of driving this young girl to kill herself. How do they explain this depraved social post saying their daughter didn't give a blank about this child taking her own life?

PEREIRA: Plus we know the government shutdown affected so many people. We'll have a chat with insiders within the Republican Party to talk about their impressions of how things went, where they can go from here, essentially what went wrong. We'll break it all down, coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. As the deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling was about to pass, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it, quote, "a time for reconciliation." Is it or is it time to figure out what went wrong, who put us here and how to make sure this doesn't happen the same way again? Let us discuss.

We have with us Ben Ferguson, a conservative CNN political commentator, host of "The Ben Ferguson Show," and Miss Ana Navarro, a CNN political commentator, Republican strategist. Thank you to both of you for being here this morning.

Ana, the question to you both, what are you saying within your party this morning? What is the takeaway from this, Ana, what do you think it is?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we have to get past this, learn how to work together. This spectacle that we as Republicans have put on for the American people in the last two or three weeks where there's been so much internal division and it's been so public has not been helpful. I don't think it's something that Americans want to see in their government.

It's certainly been painful, I think, for Republicans. For me it's been painful to see. I think we've just get over it. We've get through it. We've got to learn how to work and live with each other and except diversity and what should be a big tent Republican Party.

CUOMO: It's a big idea, Ben, but you only had a third of the House Republicans vote for this deal. You have the concern about past being prolonged as we go into this next set of negotiations. What about this minority that has a lot of sway over the party? Where are they in their mind coming out of this situation and into the next?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think they know that now the American people are not okay with a government shutdown moving forward. And last night was a victory in the sense that, yes, the government is back up and running. But they kicked the can till January and February and the only reason why we picked those dates from Democrats, Republicans I talked to is many members of Congress, including those that were working with the president, did not want to have to come back early from their Christmas break. If you think about how dire the situation is, the fact that the date that they were deciding to kick the can to made sure that they guaranteed themselves a vacation, I think tells you how not serious they are about fixing this problem long term. And I hope that you see the leadership at the White House, President Barack Obama come immediately to the table with the Republicans and other Democrats and say we're not going to wait until the last minute.

We'll start talking now. We'll have retreats. We'll use Camp David. We're going to move immediately so we make sure this doesn't happen. But I'm worried that this is going to be the same exact conversation in three months.

CUOMO: All right so then we get into this conversation how we do it. Kate just interviewed a congressman. He says I don't think we'll be able to get it done in two months. I don't believe there is going to be grand compromise. You haven't started the damn thing, you just embarrassed the whole thing and you're saying I don't think we can get this done. You have John Boehner, the speaker, saying we fought the good fight. Ana, is that the right message? What was good about any of this?

NAVARRO: You know there's nothing like positivism at 7:40 in the morning, Chris. Of course there's -- there are things that can happen. I have a high comfort level at the fact that it is Patty Murray from the Senate and Paul Ryan from the House that are working on this. These are two workhorses, not show horses.

You haven't seen Paul Ryan out there talking about this and hogging up TV. This is a guy who works behind the scenes. He's a wonk, a policy guy, a numbers guy. So I think these two are going to start today. We're going to see them start meeting today, have breakfast today and get this going. Will there be a grand bargain as we define it? We don't know. Maybe. Hopefully.

Will there be small concessions and some bipartisanship and some compromise? I certainly hope so and expect that that will be the case. And I for one, Ben, I'm delighted that it is after the holidays because it may give them a vacation, but it will also give us a vacation, including the American people. Only thing worse than doing this in the middle of October would be doing this 12 days before Christmas.

CUOMO: Guaranteeing coal in every stocking, Ben. Paul Ryan is going to be a big voice on the committee, voted no on this deal. What do you think has to get done for this to be done the right way? And by right way I mean no tactics like this, in the next set of negotiations, what must be on the table?

FERGUSON: First of all, there has to be a spirit of actually negotiating instead of the president coming out and saying I refuse to negotiate, I will not negotiate, I'm going to get everything I want, you get nothing. That's part of the reason he's never been able to pass the budget. You have to look at the core of what this bigger issue is and why do we keep coming back to this? It's because the American public, we are forced to pay taxes. They have more money coming in now than ever before, yet they are not doing their main job which is to have a budget. If you want to stop the insanity, you've got to come to the table and say, here is a one-year budget, not a 60-day budget, not a 90-day budget, because the continuing resolution as we've seen over and over again, it is a horrible plan.

There's not a CEO in America that could run the company the way the government is being run right now. They've got to be real about that. Otherwise, we'll be right back here on another morning just like this one, not that long from now, mark my words.

CUOMO: I love having you both. Ben Ferguson, Ana Navarro. At least we can agree we have to know that Republicans have to ask for what they want to negotiate. That must negotiable. The Democrats have to come to the table willing to talk as well. Hopefully they'll do better next time. I think they have to. Thanks for being on NEW DAY to both of you.

Take quick break here, when we come back a shocking story, a 12-year- old girl takes her own life. Two other young girls in middle school facing charges that they drove her to it. We'll talk with the parents of one of those girls, coming up. You listen and then you decide.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. The 12-year-old Rebecca Sedgwick killed herself after more than a year of brutal bullying. Now two girls age 12 and 14 have been charged with aggravated stalking, a felony, in connection with her death. We're going to talk to the sheriff about those arrests in just a moment and see where the case is.

But first the parents of the 14-year-old, still in police custody, agreed to go on camera for the first time. I spoke to them yesterday by phone. Here's what they had to say.


CUOMO: To the best of your knowledge, is your daughter a bully? Do you think she bullied this girl, Rebecca.


CUOMO (voice-over): Vivian and Jose who do not want their last name revealed are the parents of a 14-year-old girl identified by police as a cruel online bully, accused of contributing to 12-year-old contributing Rebecca Sedgwick's suicide.

VIVIAN: My daughter's not that type of girl to do something like that.

CUOMO: Police arrested two girls they say are behind the bullying. But Vivian and Jose say there's no way their teenager relentlessly taunted Sedgwick with hurtful messages like you should die and why don't you go kill yourself, repeatedly on social media. Sedgwick reached her breaking point last month, jumping off this abandoned cement silo.

The sheriff said the arrests happened so quickly in part because of this disturbing comment allegedly posted on Facebook by Jose and Vivian's daughter. Yes, I know I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself, but I don't give a blank.

How do you explain the Facebook message?

VIVIAN: It went out around 1:00. There's no computer in her room. The only other thing she could have used was my cell phone. My cell phone is always with me.

ACOSTA: How careful were you to know where your daughter was?

VIVIAN: I always check her Facebook. I know her password, you know. She never once, you know, bullied this girl online.

CUOMO (voice-over): But the bullying may have gone beyond Facebook. Other social media sites including Twitter, Instagram, AskFM and Kick have all been cited by Sedgwick's family.

(on camera): You don't know what your daughter's activities were on those sites, if any?

VIVIAN: I never come across those websites that they're saying my daughter was on. The only one that she had was Facebook.


CUOMO (voice-over): As the investigation continues, the sheriff says Jose and Vivian could soon be faced with charges, too.

(on camera): What do you think of that? Is that fair?

VIVIAN: I don't think it's fair for me and my husband to be, you know, punished for something they're saying that my daughter did and my daughter's being punished for something that she didn't do.


CUOMO: It's also very important to note that both Vivian and Jose agreed that the girls responsible for this should be punished. The parents of those children should be punished. That brings us to who did this? What do we know?

Let's bring in Polk County sheriff at the heart of this story. Good morning, Sheriff Grady Judd. Thank you for joining us.

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: Good morning, Chris. How are you?

CUOMO: I'm doing well. Sheriff, as you hear there, the parents say their daughter did not do this. Her account must have been hacked. She didn't send that message. They never heard about any bullying. How confident are you the two girls who have been charged are the girls at the center of this situation?

CUOMO: Chris, we're absolutely confident. You see that's part of the problem. Unfortunately they're just in absolute total denial. This bullying has gone on since last November, both in person at school and over the cyber world. As you can see, they don't think she did anything wrong. We've got legions of evidence and witnesses. We've got witnesses that said she's had a proclivity for bullying girls all the way back to elementary school. There's a problem. There's a significant problem and it started at home.

CUOMO: So your confidence is 100 percent?

JUDD: Yes, sir, 100 percent. No doubt at all. We have an incredibly good case or certainly we wouldn't have brought criminal charges. Bullying is not against the law. What is against the law is stalking and aggravated stalking. When you torment a fragile girl until she jumps off the top of a tower and kills herself, as you can see, that's worthy of criminal charges. We're very confident.

CUOMO: Also looking at the second part of that, as horrible as this is for whatever reason it was, someone so young to feel they had to take their own life, do you know at this stage that this was the precipitating factor? That this wasn't about someone who was in pain for other reasons? That this behavior, this bullying, was the source of the pain?

JUDD: Yes. We've made it abundantly clear from the very beginning that this contributed to her jumping off of a tower.

COUMO: And charges for juveniles always controversial, always very sensitive. I want to hear why you feel it was demanded in this situation and, and going after the parents, which a lot of people have called for in the past. You're actually trying to do it. Please speak to those two decisions.

JUDD: Well, let me talk to the people across the United States. If your child was bullied, tormented, over and over and over for months, and people said things like you should drink bleach and die, why don't you go kill yourself, nobody likes you, and your child jumped off of a tower, wouldn't you want those responsible held responsible? And that's exactly what we did.

We looked out for this child, her family because they're victims and we want every child to know and every parent to know that if your child is a victim of a crime, we're going to enforce those laws. We haven't brought charges against the parents at this point because there are no criminal charges we can bring.

We're still investigating this case. If we can determine through our investigation that the parents have criminal liability, we'll charge them as well.

CUOMO: Do you believe that that's a change we need to make in this country's laws, that when kids do extreme bullying, the parents are held criminally responsible? JUDD: When you have children that you morally have a responsibility to make sure that they're raised right, I can tell you that a child can do an individual act, and you can't keep up with them every second of the day. But this was a case of bullying and stalking that went on for months and months. There were interventions that were completed by the school system. They worked very hard in this.

But yet, guess what happened? The parents were in total denial. The child goes on and on and on and continues the bullying. The baby jumps off the top of the tower. And I was there that morning. I saw that 12-year-old child dead at the base of that tower. If others had the opportunity to see what I saw and see the investigation that my great detectives put together, they would insist on criminal charges as well.

CUOMO: If we hadn't seen it so many times in the past, it would be almost impossible to believe that this could happen among children, but sadly we know it does. Let me ask you about the school, though, quickly, sheriff. You said they did good work here. I'm suspicious of that because of what we've seen in the past.

Schools that don't seem to do the right thing, don't seem to do enough for various reasons. In this situation do you have confidence this school did what they could for this child? That they did alert these parents who say they never heard from the school? Do you have better information?

JUDD: Yes. Absolutely, Chris. Here's what occurred. The 14-year-old who is the primary taunter, whose parents you talked to, convinced one of our victim's, Rebecca's, friends to turn against her. She actually instigated a physical fight. The school suspended our fighters, which was our victim as well as one of the suspects.

Later on in another incident they changed their classes around. When this went on, the victim's mother took Rebecca out of school for the end of the year. Then the school system actually put her in a different school this school year. Yet the taunting went on. That's when it moved over to the cyber world.

So the bully stayed after her even after the mother and the school system were able to significantly break the physical contact. The school was responsive and I can tell you why. We had a fragile child. We had two bullies that stayed after this child and terrorized and tormented her online telling her nobody liked her. She should go kill herself. Ultimately, that's what she did.

CUOMO: Sheriff, thank you so much for taking the time. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this investigation. There's no question that the only way this will stop in this country, if there's a better coordinated response among law enforcement, parents and schools. So thank you for taking initiative here. We'll follow the investigation. We appreciate you being on NEW DAY, sir.

JUDD: Thank you, Chris. We will stay with this family to help them. Bullying needs to stop at home, not with us. But when it rises to the level of crime, if the parents don't take care of it, then we will. CUOMO: Understood. Thank you, sir. Let's get back to Washington and Kate -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY, Senator John McCain, He said the government shutdown and the near default is one of the more shameful things that he has seen in his time in Washington. He's going to join us at the top of the hour to talk about the road ahead.