Return to Transcripts main page


Michelle Knight Voices Support for California Alleged Kidnapping Victim; Two United Flights Almost Collide at Bush Intercontinental; Mark Cuban Reveals His Own Prejudices

Aired May 23, 2014 - 11:00   ET



MICHELLE KNIGHT, CLEVELAND KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: You have absolutely no clue what she went through to say things and say that she was lying or she's doing this.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Michelle Knight, who was held prisoner for almost a decade, voicing her support for another girl that allegedly kidnapped and held for years, you'll hear her emotional response.



MARK CUBAN, DALLAS MAVERICKS OWNER: We were all prejudice in one way or the other.


BERMAN: No secret recording, no V. Stiviano for this NBA owner, no, Mark Cuban's comments sparking more debate than outrage @ THIS HOUR.

PEREIRA: Also, broken ribs, a broken arm, even a broken face, how a climber found himself trapped in the ice.




BERMAN: Hello, everyone. Great to see you this morning. I'm John Berman.

PEREIRA: I'm Michaela Pereira. Happy Friday.

We have those stories and more, right now, @ THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: A young woman allegedly held captive and abused for almost 10 years has been reunited with her family, but questions, they continue to swirl this morning, many people wondering why she didn't just run.

PEREIRA: Those critics have infuriated another very brave, young woman. Michelle Knight was held prisoner for a decade. She was chained to the floor. She was repeatedly raped after she was kidnapped in Cleveland.

You know the story. She and two other women were finally freed from their own "house of horrors" a year ago.

She spoke about the California case earlier today on "NEW DAY."


MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: People shouldn't judge people by what they see and what they hear, because there's a lot of people out there that go through pain, and they can't stop it.

They don't know how to cope with it. They don't know exactly how to go through it.

People shouldn't say anything about what they can't explain, because it may be difficult for that woman, that woman that went through this, and it's very hard for her when people are saying bad things about her and saying that she's lying.

You don't know what went through her head. You don't know what that dude was doing to her. You have absolutely no clue what she went through to say things and say that she was lying or she's doing this.

You're making her life not able to function or heal properly when you do these things to people. You're making people not want to come out, not want to say anything.

You're making people want to sit there and keep it to themselves and go through abuse when you say stupid crap like that.

I need a break.

PEREIRA: So sorry, Michelle.


PEREIRA: Michelle's emotions are so raw. It was very important to her, though. However, she wanted to continue talking about this, because she wants people to see the truth about what happened to her.

She also was very forcible about this notion that people are passing judgment on this woman in the case in California.

BERMAN: This young woman in California has now been reunited with her family, as we said, after almost a decade. Police say she was kidnapped at age 15.

Joining us now to talk about all this is Jeff Gardere. He's a clinical and forensic psychologist.

And, Jeff, we just listened to Michelle Knight there. This struck a nerve.

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely. In some ways she's being re-traumatized because she's over-identifying with this young woman in California, as is absolutely appropriate.

And what she's saying is absolutely true. A lot of people are judging this young woman from California. Let's go ahead and believe what it is that she's saying. This is what's coming from her mouth.

She says that she was traumatized, that she was raped. We know that most likely she was brainwashed. We know there's Stockholm syndrome.

And people don't understand. Well, you know, she had every opportunity to escape, but actually she didn't, when we look at the psychological trauma, when we look at the psychological bondage.

Look, we see this every single day. We see this with pimps and their prostitutes. They tell them nobody cares about you. They lull them into a false sense of security, and they constantly threaten them.

The police said that this young woman in California was actually sexually traumatized, physically traumatized, psychologically traumatized, all of the things that can happen to a young person, in this case a young woman, to get them to feel absolutely helpless and hopeless.

PEREIRA: And you add to that the fact that she was a young woman, new to the country and didn't have a lot of English at her availability. She had trouble communicating in English at that point. It adds a whole other layer to it.

We're going to play a little bit more sound, and we want you to react again, Jeff. Let's listen to more from Michelle Knight.


KNIGHT: And just because you're not chained up and you're not locked in a basement, doesn't mean you ain't trapped. I know exactly what it feels like to be trapped in your own mind, in your own emotional mind, and told that you can't do anything about it. Nobody will care about what you say.

I had that happen to me. And this is the most worst feeling, to feel like nobody cares. Nobody understands.

For a girl like her, the emotional torture is so painful that she chose not to hurt other people, because he may have threatened to hurt her. He may have threatened to hurt the people that she was talking to.

And to have that, a person is not able to break the chain of cycle, not unless they were really, really strong, and they really, really knew that nothing would happen bad, because that's what happened to me.

I was threatened to be killed. I was threatened that nobody cared about me. I was told that nobody in the world would understand or care that if I kill you today, nobody will look for you tomorrow. And that's what you got to think about is how she felt.

She was there. Nobody else in the world was there. They don't know exactly what she went through, and not unless you were walking in her shoes, you have no reason to talk.

I would like to tell her that I love her and I care for her even though I don't know who she is. I never met her. I'm there 100 percent.

And every judgment she makes, make it a beautiful judgment. Make your life beautiful now. Don't dwell in the past. Go for a future. Your life will be so much better.


BERMAN: Now, look, there still needs to be an investigation right here.


BERMAN: And investigators are looking at this case right now, what's happening in California. That much is clear.

But Michelle Knight makes the case, makes the argument, that when people are in captivity like this, things happen to you psychologically.

We have to be willing to accept that your thought process is fundamentally different than it is for the rest of us out here. Chains don't have to be made of iron.

GARDERE: That's why we talk about human bondage, psychological bondage. It's worse than the actual physical chains, because now you are talking about someone's cognition being changed over the years.

Remember, according to the police, she was kidnapped at 15. She was drugged. She was raped. This individual allegedly was grooming her while she was still in the relationship with her mother, taking her side and manipulating her even then.

Put her in a garage. Tortured her in the garage. So we see a lot of the parallels with the young women in Cleveland, so that's why if you have the chance to escape, you don't see it as a chance to escape, because all of the threats and the long-term intimidation wears you down. It's a brainwashing.

PEREIRA: We should point out the 41-year-old Isidro Garcia is held on a million-dollars bail. He's charged with forcible rape, kidnapping and other crimes.

His lawyer, for his part, says the alleged victim is lying. We're going to keep following this story.

Jeff Gardere, thank you for joining us -- GARDERE: My pleasure.

PEREIRA: -- and walking us through this. Thanks so much.

Ahead @ THIS HOUR, another near collision of two airplanes. Wow, are the skies extra crowded? What's going on here?

BERMAN: And then, he fell 70 feet into a crevasse and lived, his amazing survival caught on camera.

This is amazing stuff. This is honestly one of the most stunning things you will ever see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My right arm is seizing up. I can't use it anymore.




UNITED 601 PILOT: 601, do you know what happened there?

OTHER PILOT: You all basically crossed directly over the top of each other.

That's what it looked like from my perspective. I have no idea what was going on up there in the tower. But it was pretty gnarly looking.

UNITED 601 PILOT: I'm guessing you were supposed to give us a left turn?


BERMAN: Yeah, that was pretty gnarly looking, not what you're supposed to see when you're flying two, big planes there.

Those are a couple of pilots talking right there, trying to figure out why two United Airlines jets packed with passengers almost slammed into each other, midair.

PEREIRA: This happened May 9th shortly after the jets took off from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Now, according to the FAA, they were just 400 feet away from each other, top to bottom, and less than a mile apart end to end.

BERMAN: Here's the thing. This is the third near collision in recent weeks after close calls in both New Jersey and Hawaii. That sure seems like three times too many.

So let's bring in our aviation analyst, Mary Schiavo, and David Soucie. David, how does this happen? Three times in just a few weeks, are we just reporting it more? DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, it's partly that. I have to admit it's partly that.

After 2010, they used to have a three deal and you're out, three strikes and you're out for these air traffic controllers.

So what would happen is, when something like this would happen, they would try to hide it They would be very quiet about it.

But after that, they decided it's much more beneficial, instead of punishment, to learn from it and share this with other people, so in some cases, yes, but I think this is beyond that.

There's more happening and more happening because of overcrowding. There's more pressure on every single one of these controllers, and there's more airplanes in the sky than there ever has been.

PEREIRA: Let's pick up on that.

Mary, so is this a question of too many planes in the sky or too much traffic right around those airports?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, no really. That's not going to change. We have to have a system, and we have a system that right now and a system that's coming that can handle the traffic.

What is occurring and the office of the inspector general looked at this question very deeply, and they found it's not just a question -- David is partially right. As always he's right.

But they did find that, separating for the increased reporting, that these air traffic control mistakes, near misses and near midair collisions are dramatically on the rise. In one year alone, there was a 50 percent increase.

And what they found out is this being this kindler, gentler FAA where nobody gets fired and nobody gets disciplined means, it means there are no consequences. And that's, for example, why the controller in the Hudson River midair is back on the job, despite terrible lapses in judgment and performance.

So I think it's a combination of things. But the FAA has got to get tough on these underperforming controllers so we can get better ones.

BERMAN: It seems like that is necessary if we are going to keep seeing three every few weeks here. David, we're lucky to have you with us right now. You just had a very, very interesting meeting. Really unprecedented in some cases. You were up in Canada, you were meeting with president of the international civil aviation organization. This is the group that oversees, you know, commercial flight worldwide and you were talking about flight 370 and some of the changes that should be made going forward.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Right. One of the things I thought was very interesting out of the conversation is that they've decided, they've worked with this group called IATO, which is another acronym you have to learn, but what they're doing is they're looking at what is going to happen, what has to move forward, how are we going to get flight tracking immediately and what's the quickest way to do it that airlines will do it that's affordable. So there's 11,000 airplanes that already have this equipment on them but now Inmarsat is says they can provide this flight tracking to prevent a 370 from happening and getting lost again. Now they really put pressure on them because by September they have to their final recommendations and they are expect by the end of the year to have flight tracking on all 11,000 aircraft.

PEREIRA: Mary, that's something we talked about with you. All of us, all of our aviation experts have talked about the need for this. The fact it's almost onboard. It couldn't come soon enough.

SCHIAVO: That's right it couldn't come soon enough. And it's important that ICAO and IATO are onboard with this. Because initially, the initial reports they put out is they weren't going to require until -- unless a plane was manufactured after 2020, which means current fleet wouldn't have the same requirements. But this new schedule is vastly improved. But the important point here is each nation, ours, Europe, Malaysia, each country has to adopt their own regulations. Even though IKO(PH) recommended it, we have to keep pressure on our government, just as everyone else does, to make sure it's made into our laws and then it's required of our pilots and that's how it works. IKO(PH) can only beg but the nations have to act.

PEREIRA: You put the call out right there, Mary Schiavo. We appreciate it. David Soucie, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us.

BERMAN: Coming up for us, racism or just straight up honesty? Another NBA owner reveals his personal prejudices. So should he be condemned or congratulated? That's next.


MARK CUBAN, DALLAS MAVERICKS OWNER: We're all prejudice in one way or another. If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it's late at night, I'm walking to the other side of the street. If I'm on that side of the street and there's a guy that has tattoos all over his face, white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere, I'm walking back to other side of the street.

PEREIRA: Let's talk about the conversation that Mr. Mark Cuban stirred up. The Dallas Mavericks owner since apologized for some of those comments you heard. Tweeting quote, In hind sight I should have used different examples. I didn't consider the Trayvon Martin family and I apologize to them for that. However, he is standing by the words and substance of his interview.

BERMAN: Mark Cuban is rich. Mark Cuban is loud. Mark Cuban is opinionated and he is also well known. He's making a point about racism in America. He was talking about the prejudices that everyone has, himself included. The question now is do these prejudices, which he admitted to, and does that statement make him a racist? We're joined by Marc Lamont Hill and sports attorney Domenic Romano. Marc, you know, I asked this question coming in, Mark Cuban said this, he had this conversation. Does he deserve to be condemned or congratulated here?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am never one of those people that rush to congratulate people just for saying things in public that some might find offensive. Just because you say it publicly doesn't mean you should be congratulated.

I do appreciate his candor and his honesty. I like to know how people stand on issues. I wish he had used different language. I don't think he is a bigot. And I don't think he is engaged in bigotry. Bigotry is about hatred, it is about denial of access and resources. I also don't think he is a racist. I think he said something that is disturbing.

I think if you do run from black kids in hoodies, or cross the street whenever you see black kids in hoodies that might be informed by racism. And there's no equivalency between a black kid in a hoodie and white guy with tattoos all over his body and a bald head. They're not opposite sides of the same coin. He chose very poor examples.

PEREIRA: It could be informed by ignorance as well. But the one thing it has done, Marc I know you will agree, because we talked about it on New Day, John you were there having this conversation, it has brought up that whole thing again of the importance of having discussions about race.

Domenic, it's a tough one. No matter when you talk about it, where you talk about it, it always is fraught with, it can be fraught with land mines. You have to be careful what you say. You want to be sure that you're honest but also want to make sure to respect other people's feelings. How do we go about it?

DOMENIC ROMANO, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: You have to respect Mark Cuban's intent. He intended to start a dialogue. He intended to get people talking about the subject. But I think -- he's right. People can be educated. People can change. They can in certain cases they must. However, actions have consequences. You can have bigoted views but just not as an example setting owner of a major sports franchise or as a mayor of a major city.

BERMAN: I think Mark Cuban has proved his own point here and the point you just made, Domenic, people can be educated. I think Mark Cuban said something that he probably wish he didn't say, because it was clumsy talking about kids in hoodies, which is now a loaded statement in our society because of what happened to Trayvon Martin.

But Marc, do you agree that this is part of a larger discussion that we should be having which is what Mark Cuban says?

HILL: We absolutely should be having the discussion. I'm glad that he brought the conversation up. I'm glad that he mentioned it. I'm glad that we can push back. Mark Cuban is open to the dialogue but he also open to the push back, he has to be open to being critiqued on what he said. Again, the Trayvon Martin thing makes the hoodie thing such a hot button issue. It makes it terrible choice of words, but I'm glad we can have the conversation.

I don't want the NBA to punish Mark Cuban. I don't want him to be disciplined. I appreciate his honesty. And if we overpunish or overdiscipline Mark Cuban, what we push bigotry and prejudice to the underground where people are afraid to say what they believe and then they operate in secret. The issue here also is that Mark Cuban doesn't have a history of enacting his prejudice's in the boardroom or in the corporate world. It is not like he's denying black people access to jobs, he is not denying people access to housing like Donald Sterling.

These are two very different cases. I'm happy Mark Cuban had the conversation. I'm not going to coddle him, but I am going to challenge him.

PEREIRA: All right, Marc Lamont Hill, Domenic Romano. Always a pleasure to have both of you with us @ THIS HOUR. Thanks so much. Have a great weekend.

BERMAN: Coming up for us, Donald Sterling's comments, the racist comments we have all heard now, again and again. They could be changing more than the NBA. Could they have an effect on the national football league? How some United States senators are now hoping that the fallout from the NBA situation will cause the Redskins to finally change their name.

PEREIRA: Then, do you think your life is stressful? What's the bigger culprit? Your job or your home life? We are going to tell you which one research say is to blame, ahead.


BERMAN: Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has been under pressure for years to change that team name. Critics say Redskins is a slur and insulting to native Americans so now lawmakers are turning up the pressure. Fifty senators, all Democrats, signing a letter urging the NFL commissioner to punt the Redskins name into history.

PEREIRA: Well, good luck selling idea to Roger Goodell. Jim Corbett, of USA Today, asked him a pointblank question earlier this year about that very issue.