Return to Transcripts main page
ISIS Leader Allegedly Surfaces In New Video; New Immigrants Transferred To California; Arthur Weakens To A Post-Tropical Cyclone; Four Children Die In Philadelphia Fire; Facebook Tampers With Users' Moods; New Footage Of Sunken Cruise Ship; Autopsy: Palestinian Teen Burned Alive; California Police Officer Caught On Camera Punching A Woman On The Side Of A Highway; Police: Dad Was "Sexting" As Son Died In Car
Aired July 5, 2014 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We have so much straight ahead in the NEWSROOM and it all begins right now.
Hello again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here are the top stories we're following in the CNN NEWSROOM. Angry protesters face off in California over the arrival of busloads of undocumented immigrants. Some of the protesters had this strong message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going stand for it. That's just how it is. Thousands an millions of other people who have done it the right way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: We have the latest on where those immigrants ended up and how Washington is now responding.
Plus, a scene that made drivers hit the brakes. A California Highway patrolman punching a woman over and over again as you see right there. What investigators are saying about that coming up.
And an eerie look inside the sunken cruise ship, "Costa Concordia." It's been lying in the water for more than two years. What's happening to the ship right now, straight ahead.
All right, this breaking news, we have a new video now in to the CNN NEWSROOM, images are surfacing of a man believed to be the secretive leader of the ISIS forces in Iraq. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, appears to be leading a sermon at a mosque in Mosul. Arwa Damon is in Baghdad and is following this story for us. So Arwa,
what do we know about the circumstances of this video being released because we also know that ISIS has been very digital message savvy, but what's behind this?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They have been very savvy when it comes to technology and very carefully crafting their messages. What they have been secret about has been their own identification of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. This video initially posted to an official ISIS Twitter account and the video identifies the man being the name that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is known to his followers.
Ever since he declared the caliphate, this is incredibly significant in that this is the first time that ISIS has actually in and of itself, identifying putting a face to a man who up until now, we had only been hearing audio recordings from.
CNN cannot independent verify the authenticity of the video. We cannot independently verify whether or not this is in fact Al- Baghdadi. But this is the man whose face ISIS right now is presenting to the world. A man who arguably at this stage is the world's most wanted terrorist.
Now, this the sermon that took place in one of the oldest historic mosques in Iraq's second city of Mosul was putting forward a very clear message to those who were gathered there. He was talking about how it was a month of Ramadan, a month of Jihad and how it was a month where they must continue to fight the enemies and the unbelievers.
He was continuously repeating that message to his followers, to take up arms for Jihad. He was also making himself appear as though he was feeling a burden by this responsibility that has been placed upon him, saying that I feel as if it is my duty top your imam, although I may not be the best one among you.
This is an incredibly brazen, bold move at this stage, Fredricka, with all of the U.S. surveillance flying over Iraq, surveillance from other nations as well. The fact that he made this kind of an appearance in Mosul at this critical moment in time.
WHITFIELD: Arwa, during your reporting, we are now learning that the U.S. officials are analyzing this video, its authenticity, its use and how it has been disseminated and conveyed. When we get more on what the U.S. officials are saying about that, we'll be able to bring that to our viewers as well.
Meantime, there are also reports, Arwa, on Iraqi news site today that Prime Minister Al Maliki has fired the head of the Iraqi military. Is there anything you're hearing about that? Whether there is any credence to that?
DAMON: That would be the head of the Iraqi military commander who was in charge of the forces up in Mosul who as we will all remember only too well basically abandoned their positions and refused to fight. This whole re-organization of the Iraqi security forces that the U.S. advisers have been fairly involved in, we have seen Al Maliki firing a number of his generals, trying to put others into position.
The security forces have come under heavy criticism for their lack of ability to stand up and fight against ISIS, especially in the northern part of the country. The Iraqi government now clearly trying to make headway, trying to revamp its own internal structure because as many have been saying, some of the problems that have been facing the Iraqi security forces has been this talk down command.
A lot of commanders are put into positions as personal favors. So we've been seeing quite a bit of restructuring at this stage -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Arwa Damon, thanks so much. Keep us posted there.
Back in the country, more protests in California over the immigration crisis. For the second time this week, undocumented immigrants were flown from overcrowded facilities in Texas to Southern California, then bussed to a processing center in San Diego.
It was heated in at least Murrieta, California where protesters gathered again Friday where they blocked three busloads of immigrants earlier in the week. This time, the buses steered clear. Not going to that city of Murrieta.
Sunlen Serfaty joining us now from the White House. So, Sunlen, what are administration officials saying about how Murrieta, California's handling it and the kind of protests that have e involved?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, a senior administration official tells me they don't believe this situation should have an impact at this time to their policy. There was an important backdrop to this story that took place here at the White House yesterday. The president attended a naturalization ceremony for 25 new citizens. He watched them get sworn in on the oath of allegiance and he did not make any reference to the situation, the uproar going on in California.
But he did talk about broad immigration reform and how he wants to make this system smarter and more efficient. Now, to the motion though of these powerful protests that are going on in neighborhoods of California, the White House was asked specifically about the anger of the situation and here's what they said at the White House about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's committed to enforcing the law and enforcing the law means that when there are apprehensions to be made at the border, particularly of children or adults traveling with children, we need to make sure that the basic humanitarian needs of those individuals as provided for and that's why the president has asked for resources from Congress to open up detention facilities across the country, where these individuals can be housed in humane conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And Fred, that seems to me that they almost seem to sidestep that question about the anger, not wanting to touch into the emotion of the moment when so many people are seeing these powerful images come out of California -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And then what's the White House's response to how the president might handle this when he goes to Texas midweek? He's been invited to go to the border with the governor, Rick Perry and I'm sure there are others within the state who say we want to show you this scene.
SERFATY: There are lots of invitations, Fred, but so far, the White House says the president is in Texas to fundraise on Wednesday, so there are no side trips at this time. They say scheduled to stop at the border. This first came from an invitation from Governor Rick Perry. He said come to the border, come check out the situation here.
The White House kind of put back to Governor Perry, instead of Republicans sending invitations about border, he said they should be spending their time passing comprehensive immigration reform. The president due in Texas on Wednesday, so we'll see if there's amped up revved up political pressure this week for President Obama to make that side trip.
WHITFIELD: All right, Sunlen at the White House, thanks so much.
Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, Hurricane Arthur weakening to a tropical cyclone. How the storm is still affecting the east coast.
Plus, we're trying to determine what caused that horrific fire in Philadelphia that killed four children.
And a violent beating caught on camera between a woman and a police officer. We'll hear from an eyewitness to the beat down that has gone viral. That's all coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: Hurricane Arthur weakened overnight to a tropical storm and weakened even more to a post tropical cyclone this morning, but not before wiping out power to some 40,000 in North Carolina overnight. The eastern sea board slammed with winds up to 65 miles an hour, and now, waves and dangerous rip tides. Potentially dangerous out there.
Karen Maginnis with us now in the Severe Weather Center and then Alexandra Field is actually at Jones Beach, New York. Alexandra, let's begin with you. Look, that's beautiful. It looks great out there and a lot of folks come to the beach and they're like, forget the storm. It's over with.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think so many people were worried that we wouldn't see anything like this. A lot of people sort of reconsidering those last minute holiday plans, but check this out. Thousands of people just getting out here this morning, enjoying the sunshine at Jones Beach. A lot of them even getting in the water. It is cold, but that isn't really the issue.
Look, the life guards here at Jones Beach tell us that they've had a close eye on the water this morning. They say they are not seeing a problem with rip currents here, but the national weather service is warning people who are heading to the beach today. That they could see problems where they are.
WHITFIELD: Wow, but they do still have to be careful about the rip tides. While it looks beautiful out there and I see people are staying in shallow water, that's advisable and good. What are those life guards cautioning people about? They could end up being very busy because folks say it looks beautiful, but things can be deceiving.
FIELD: Yes, absolutely. They certainly can and especially considering the fact that Arthur came up the coast, made land fall in North Carolina. That can whip up these rip currents. Let's take a look at what Arthur did over the last couple of days.
FIELD (voice-over): From North Carolina all the way up to the north east, high winds, big waves, drenching rain and now powerful rip tides. Arthur lost force while heading north, but it was enough to leave a mark, 100-mile per hour winds and 35-foot waves were reported at the peak of the storm when Arthur made landfall Thursday night over North Carolina.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are just absolutely getting slammed right now by Arthur. You could see the wind gusts rally pick up here and the rain is just coming down.
FIELD: Though Arthur had more bark than bite, North Carolina took the brunt of the storm with some damaged and thousands left in the dark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emily blew a lot harder than this one. This one we are really fortunate. We didn't have a lot of weather this time.
FIELD: By Friday, the Category 2 hurricane was downgraded, but churned deep into the Atlantic, and today, Nova Scotia is feeling its effects.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How was that vacation going so far?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was going pretty good until a few hours ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tough conditions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, not too bad, but you know, you can't -- you're kind of stuck inside. You can't really do anything outside.
FIELD: The first hurricane of the season coinciding with the busiest travel week of the summer busted some holiday plans. Prepared for a wash out, Boston moved up its annual 4th of July celebration. The fireworks went off a day early. In Washington, D.C., the fast moving storm cleared up just in time for a Friday night light show.
But there are big concerns about what's left in Arthur's wake along the eastern seaboard, possible rip currents. The National Weather Service calls the spurts of back-flowing water, the worst danger at the beach.
GOVERNOR PAT MCCRORY, NORTH CAROLINA: Even though many of the beaches are open and we're still evaluating some of the outer bank beaches, please, listen to lifeguards. Look at the warning flags.
FIELD: Bottom line, those currents are powerful, really no joke, even for strong swimmers. Here at Jones Beach, life guards say about 80 percent of their water rescues are because people have become caught up in those rip currents.
WHITFIELD: Yes, it can happen. I've been caught up in that before. It's scary, too, because you feel that pull, but you've got to swim you know, kind of across just in line, parallel to the coast. All right, Karen Maginnis, you can tell us more about what's next with this storm. I mean, it's still kind of out there even though it's not a named storm, right?
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is and we're not seeing anything that looks like a Category 2 hurricane that we saw three days ago. To see three days' worth of a hurricane, actually two and a half, is really kind of remarkable. We have lots of flooding damage. We had some wind damage to some of the homes, especially right around coastal sections of North Carolina. Down east in Maine, also into Massachusetts, but this is it. This is all that's left.
It is post Tropical Cyclone Arthur and the winds associated with this is 60 miles an hour. The National Hurricane Center says we're done with this system. No more reports. No more advisories coming out on Arthur. It is pretty much done, except it is impacting New Brunswick. For the most part, Nova Scotia was affected for maybe a couple of hours, but some regions across Maine did pick up as much as 8 inches of rainfall.
Also, in Massachusetts, we saw, 5, 6, 7 inches of rain there. This wasn't without its consequences, but for a Category 2 hurricane, really kind of remarkable -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Wow. All right, Karen, thanks so much. Thanks to Alexandra at Jones Beach as well. Appreciate that. Thanks. We'll check back with you -- Karen.
And this sad news to report out of Philadelphia. A fast moving three alarm fire has claimed the lives of four children. Steve Patterson with our affiliate KYWT has the details from southwest Philly. What is the scene?
STEVE PATTERSON, KYW REPORTER: We saw young families just kind of coming down this way. We saw them crying in agony and we couldn't figure out why. We had an interview with the fire commissioner who told us what had happened and as we got word from officials that four children had died in the screaming increased. We can still hear it in the alley way behind me, but you see the devastation. Eight row homes damaged. At least five completely destroyed.
Firefighters still holding the scene working on hot spots. We've seen some flare ups this morning as they continue to do their work. But the video from earlier as we got word of a tragedy, four children killed in this massive fire that broke out sometime before 2:45 this morning. This is the 6500 block of Gesner. Fire officials, we're not sure what address or how or what led to the fire, but once it started, it just started rip ping through each one of these row homes and spreading to each one until again, it got to about eight homes and then we heard about the deaths. Four children we're told are from one family. We're not sure what that family has been provided.
We know the Red Cross is on scene at this point and along with those four children killed, four other people have been confirmed injured. We're not sure what the status of those folks are as well. But including that number, eight homes damaged, four children killed, four more people injured and 42 people displaced. We were there when the commissioner finally gave word that tragic news about the children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DERRICK SAWYER, PHILADELPHIA FIRE COMMISSIONER: This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia. Tragedy. We lost four children today and I want everybody to understand that fire is everyone's fight. Not just the fire department. It's everyone's fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Heartbreaking. Our thanks to reporters Steve Patterson there in Philadelphia.
Coming up, a secret mood experiment conducted by Facebook on its unknowing users. No wonder there's a lot of anger on this one. Now, Facebook is offering sort of an apology, but what's stopping the social media giant from doing something like this again? That's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: All right, Facebook is under fire for a rather creepy experiment. Say you're in a good mood, open up Facebook, scan your news feed and your mood darkens. You could have been one of Facebook's 700,000 guinea pigs. It turns out Facebook has been allowing researchers to manipulate users' news feeds to hide either a good news like maybe a newborn baby pics or bad news. They did it to see whether it affected the emotions of the users themselves.
CNN technology analyst, Brett Larson, takes a look at Facebook's troubles and whether this could become a worrisome trend -- Brett.
BRETT LARSON, CNN TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: Hi, Fred. It was quite a week for social networking giant, Facebook. It came out late last week they were conducting a user experiment on over almost 700,000 users without telling them. It was a social experiment to see if negative or positive comments made you have a negative or positive reaction and what they did find is that exposure to these emotions, just reading in these emotions in your news feed did actually give that outcome.
If you were reading a lot of negative posts, you tended to have a more negative reaction to what was going on around you. Obviously, a lot of backlash about this. The primary backlash is the people involved in this study didn't know. Facebook has come out and said it's part of their user agreement, you agree to use the site, it's part of the user experience.
They're just trying to better the experience for all of the Facebook users around the world. The publisher of this study has come out saying they're a little regretful for involving all these people without telling them. There was no informed consent and also Facebook coming out this week sort of saying they're sorry about it, sort of giving an apology at one of the speaker's conferences.
One of the high ups there at Facebook issuing a sort of half apology and some interesting stuff we're learning about this, what's interesting is this is the standard for a lot of these websites. All these web sites, they want to know how we feel. They want to know what we're doing, they want to know more about us so they can customize that user experience and make us want to come back to those web sites more and more.
We're just kind of scratching the surface on this, this emotional based advertising. Advertisers want to know what kind of mood you're in so they can better approach you. Maybe they want to pitch you a vacation, sell you something that's going to put you in a better mood or maybe you're in a bad mood and they want to sell you something that's going to improve your mood or sell you a vacation package that will better your day.
They want to know these things about you. All in all this is just kind of the standard as we go forward. It's been happening for years and the retail space and the brick and mortar stores, they are laid out to manipulate how we shop, so pay attention. Keep reading those end user agreement to see what other things they are learning about you -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much, Brett.
Coming up, frozen in time. New images of the underwater interior of the "Costa Concordia" that sank in 2012. Now, upright and about to be towed away.
Then you're going to want to see this video. A whale capsizing a boat near San Diego. Pretty insane images there. Wow and terrifying, too. All that, next.
WHITFIELD: New video coming in to the CNN NEWSROOM. Images are surfacing of a man believed to be the secretive leader of the ISIS militants in Iraq. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi appears to be leading a sermon at a mosque in Mosul. Mosul is one of the Iraqi cities captured by ISIS fighters and the second largest city in the country. The U.S. has mobilized hundreds of advisers to help the Iraqi forces.
And Taliban militants are claiming responsibility for an attack on hundreds of oil tankers outside of Afghanistan's capital of Kabul. In all, more than 400 trucks went up in flames. The Taliban said they attacked the trucks because they were transporting fuel for NATO forces.
Also, overseas, Pope Francis spent a busy day in Southern Italy despite recent health concerns. Crowds were thrilled to see the pope today as he rode through the streets, waving. Pope Francis seemed strong and stood as he greeted onlookers. The 77-year-old has had to cancel many events, but the Vatican denied reports the pope has been ill.
Wow. And this is real. Seems like something out of a movie or something. You could see the terror on that photographer's face. So, this is what happened. A blue whale surfaced, capsizing the boat as you saw everyone turning on its side off the coast of San Diego. On the other side, this is what they saw, the mouth, wide open of a blue whale. The photographer and the other person were not injured, but they were rescued after another boater called for help. Extraordinary there.
All right, it has been more than two years since the "Costa Concordia" cruise ship sank off the coast of Italy, claiming 32 lives. Now, Italian authorities have released dramatic new underwater footage of the ocean liner. Matthew Chance has a look.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are remarkable new images of the stricken "Costa Concordia." Italian police released a footage recorded by their divers, giving us an unprecedented glimpse of the sunken ocean liner. Its giant hull, twice the size of the Titanic's, struck rocks off the Italian coast in 2012, with 4,200 passengers and crew on board. Thirty two of them lost their lives.
Inside the ship, the divers record an eerie snapshot of that horror. Through the murky water, smashed doors and seating areas could be made out. Even a bar or reception desk, what was meant to be a pleasure cruised that turned into a nightmare.
Finally, the divers reached the ship's central atrium, some of which is now above the water line. In the days ahead, the first attempt will be made to re-float the vessel and tow it to shore, but with the ship's Italian captain accused of causing this wreck and abandoning his ship, controversy surrounding the sunken "Costa Concordia" looks set to remain. Matthew Chance, CNN, London.
WHITFIELD: Wow, what a remarkable view.
In a tense situation right now in Jerusalem, days after a Palestinian teenager was abducted and killed. An autopsy shows the teen was burned alive and hit in the head and that has sparked outrage. Clashes broke out in the streets between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces after his funeral yesterday. Senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, is in Jerusalem with the latest.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, more details are emerging about the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khedair, that Palestinian boy who was found dead in a Jerusalem forest three days ago. According to the Palestinian public prosecutor, forensic tests, a report has been issued, which found he had burns on 90 percent of his body. He received a strong blow to the right side of his head.
But the doctors say they found traces of smoke in his lungs, indicating that he was breathing as he was being burned to death. Israeli police say they're still investigating this case. They hesitate to point either to family dispute or nationalistic reasons, but as far as the family's concerned, there's no doubt about it. This was a revenge killing for those three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, there's a lot of talk in this part of town about the beating of a young man, cousin of Mohammed and an American citizen, caught on video where two Israeli policemen brutally beating and kicking this young man while his hands were tied behind his back. This incident adding more fuel to the fire that's burning in the part of Jerusalem -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Ben Wedeman.
Coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM, the police officer caught on video beating a woman on the side of the highway. Was it excessive force? We talked to the eyewitness who caught it all on camera.
WHITFIELD: Video of a California Highway Patrol officer beating a woman on the side of the highway has gone viral and captured the attention of the nation. By all accounts, we need to warn you, that for some, this story just might be too disturbing to watch. Here is Sara Sidner with the video and the man who caught it all on his cell phone.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Video from a California freeway shot by a driver stunned by what he was seeing unfold. A woman being punched over and over and over again by a California Highway patrolman.
DAVID DIAZ, EYEWITNESS: You see it, heard it, it was like, thump, thump, thump, and then you see her head bouncing, bam, bam, on the concrete.
SIDNER (on camera): How many times did he hit her?
DIAZ: I've seen 11 on the video. He took more shots that than, I think around 15 shots, to her head.
DIAZ: Punching. Not just jabs. These are hooks. Those are lights out punches. Those aren't like taps. SIDNER (voice-over): The highway patrol report says the woman posed a danger to herself and other drivers because she was walking within traffic lanes at times and when she was asked to stop, she continued ignoring the officer's command and ultimately she becomes physically combative, it says.
ASSISTANT CHIEF CHRIS O'QUINN, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: The tape only shows a small part of what transpired. There were events that led up to this, until all that's collected and put into perspective, we aren't going to be able to make a determination.
SIDNER: The eyewitness who goes by the name David Diaz, says he saw exactly what led up to it, before he started recording.
DIAZ: When you see the video, the first thing you hear is me laughing. The reason why is, before we got the video starting, they were playing, like a ring around the rosy behind that red truck. It's a grown man and grown women running around the truck. Kind of like a Benny Hill moment, right?
SIDNER (on camera): She's avoiding him?
DIAZ: She's avoiding him. Almost like when we laugh when someone runs on the baseball field.
SIDNER (voice-over): He says she did eventually started walking towards the officer, and that is when the takedown began.
DIAZ: He grabs her. She kind of like resisting, in terms of natural reaction, and then he then grabs her, throws her to the floor and then gets on top of her, which then you would think, OK, he's going to wrap her up, call it another day in Los Angeles. But no, this wasn't the case.
SIDNER: The CHP says the woman who carried no ID was taken to the hospital for a physical and mental evaluation.
O'QUINN: The report indicated that the individual was not injured and the officer didn't notice any injuries on the individual.
SIDNER: Diaz has a hard time believing that, after seeing and hearing this --
DIAZ: She didn't put up any restraint. She did what anyone else would do when getting pounded, to go like this, to go like this. And now saying, she's restrained? It's an excuse. Giving too many excuses. No more rationalizing this. We need to stop this. That's why I posted the video.
O'QUINN: We're going to make a determination as to what transpired in this situation, and we will do the right thing.
SIDNER: The officer involved has been put on administrative duty while the case is investigated. Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: Wow. Disturbing indeed to watch that. Let's bring in our legal guys. They are here, Avery Friedman and Richard Herman, Cleveland and New York. You there? Richard, I always try and keep up with you. You're in New York, yes.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm in Vegas.
WHITFIELD: See what I mean? Vegas. Let's talk about this. The eyewitness said wait a minute, this just seemed uncalled for. Anyone would try to defend themselves, but then of course, the highway patrol is saying while this officer is on administrative duty, they're going to look into whether this was justified or excessive force. So, Avery, what are the components that chips would be highway patrol would be looking into to determine whether this was right or wrong?
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: First of all, patrol did the right thing in putting the officer on administrative leave. Secondly, they have to do a regular investigation. This is very serious because in my judgement, at least based on the video alone and you need much more than that, it strikes me as excessive force. You don't need to in order to accomplish the objective of controlling a particular suspect or offender, you absolutely do not need to go that far. But again, you need context. That's what the patrol's going to be investigating.
WHITFIELD: And Richard, what we know at least from the fact finding of this is that she was not armed. So, how will it be justified if this is the kind of force or this is what you use even if somebody is not on, how do you determine whether they really were a threat.
HERMAN: Well, Fred, courts are loaded with excessive force cases. When injuries come as a result of these, we don't know if this person was injured as a result of this attack by the police officer.
WHITFIELD: According to Sara Sidner's report, she was told this person was not injured, but --
WHITFIELD: The eyewitness said hard to believe.
HERMAN: You heard the officer speak of that earlier, we need to see what led up to this and what resulted. You can't just look at a snippet. We don't know what happened before and again, excessive force, lot of cases of excessive force -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: OK, Avery, Richard, thanks so much. We're so glad you're able to chime in on that one. We want you to stick around, too, to talk about another case, very shocking in Georgia. This involving a dad there in this picture with his son, the son dies in a hot car. And now, he's facing murder charges. Let's talk about that preliminary hearing that was jaw dropping to so many that just took place. We're going to look into this case.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Shocking new details in the case against Justin Ross Harris. The Georgia man charged with felony murder in the death of his son, Cooper. The toddler was left in a hot car for seven hours last month in what Harris claims was a tragic mistake, but prosecutors say Harris led a double life. They allege he sent explicit photos and texts to several women including on the day his son died and did internet searches on living child free.
At a hearing Thursday, the judge ruled Harris will stand trial. Our Victor Blackwell picks up the story from here.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What was Justin Ross Harris allegedly doing while his 22-month-old son, Cooper suffered in the back of this scorching SUV?
DETECTIVE PHIL STODDARD, COBB COUNTY, GEORGIA POLICE: He was having up to six different conversations with different women. The most common term would be sexting.
BLACKWELL: Stunning claims of raunchy text messages, suspicious internet searches and a plan to kill his son.
STODDARD: Evidence is showing us right now that he has this whole second life that he's living with alternate personalities and alternate personas.
BLACKWELL: Harris shackled and sullen as Detective Phil Stoddard with the Cobb County Police Department detailed X-rated messages allegedly exchanged the day Cooper died including with a then 16-year-old girl.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Were photos being sent back and forth between these women and the defendant during this day while the child is out in the car?
STODDARD: Yes. There were photos of his exposed penis, erect penis being sent and there are also photos of women's breasts being sent back to him.
BLACKWELL: No visible reaction from the 33-year-old wife, Leanna Harris, who sat with her family and supporters in a packed courtroom.
RANDY MICHAEL BAYGENTS, BROTHER OF JUSTIN ROSS HARRIS: He was a loving father. He loved his son very much. We went on family vacations together and he was a good dad.
BLACKWELL: But just five days before Cooper's death, Detective Stoddard says internet searches revealed that Harris watched videos online about the dangers of being trapped in a hot car. And that Harris visited a web forum devoted to the child-free lifestyle.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: So you don't have evidence that he actually typed in a Google search or Reddit search or anything for child-free.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: True. UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: We're getting so far afield from the events of June the 18th. This has nothing to do with those events whatsoever. The status of his marriage and his fantasy life has nothing to do with the events of June 18th. Judge, this isn't relevant to anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, this goes to his state of mind in the two weeks leading up to the death of this child.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: So this occurred within two weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Yes, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Overrule the objection.
BLACKWELL: The detective also testified the couple had financial problems and took out life insurance policies on Cooper.
STODDARD: They had two policies on Cooper. The first policy was a $2,000 policy through the Home Depot.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: The second one, was this something back in 2013.
STODDARD: Yes, November 2012 is when he signed up for it.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Was it something he still had at the time of the child's death?
STODDARD: That's correct.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: And how much was the policy?
STODDARD: It was a $25,000 policy.
BLACKWELL: Stoddard laid out the strange way he saw Harris reacting the day Cooper died.
STODDARD: He started off trying to work himself up. We are watching him on the cameras. He's walking around. He is rubbing his eyes. You know, trying to -- looked like he was trying to hyper ventilate himself. No tears. No real emotion coming out of him except for the huffing.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: And through the time you're talking with him about his son and his son's death, did you ever see any tears coming from him?
BLACKWELL: Even more bizarre how witnesses say Leanna Harris reacted at the day care when she was told that Cooper was never dropped off.
STODDARD: In front of several witnesses, all of a sudden she states, Ross must have left him in the car. They were like, what, there's no other reason -- explanation excuse me, Ross must have left in the car. They try to console her. They're like no. There's a thousand reasons. He could have taken him to lunch or something. We don't know yet and she's like, no.
BLACKWELL: Then another shocker.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Were there any injuries to the child's face?
STODDARD: There were.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: What were those?
STODDARD: The way it's explained, there were several marks on the child's face that would have come from the child or a scratch being made while the child was alive. And then not healing, not scabbing over or anything like that and just -- soon after he passed away.
UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Were there any injuries to the back of the child's head?
STODDARD: Yes, there were abrasions to the back of the child's head.
BLACKWELL: After three hours of stunning testimony, Judge Frank Cox denied Harris bond the defense maintaining.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not criminal negligence. It's a horrible tragedy and an accident.
BLACKWELL: Victor Blackwell, CNN, Murrieta, Georgia.
WHITFIELD: Let's bring back our legal guys, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor in Cleveland and Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor in Las Vegas. All right, Avery, let me begin with you first. Justin Ross Harris, I mean, this was a preliminary hearing, but it almost felt like a trial underway. His defense attorney was there you know, objecting to a lot of the material that the prosecution was bringing up, but in your view, how did the defense do in terms of trying to justify where their client is at this point?
FRIEDMAN: Well, the defense lawyer did everything he could to try to neutralize it with the exception of putting his client on, which would have been suicidal in terms of incriminating him. But the reality is there isn't much he could do. To me, Fredricka, the facts are so compelling here, the fact that when the day care or child care facility was contacted and the mother found out, this is incredible.
When you drop your child off, the facility's going to call you. Where's the mother in all of stuff? When they found out the child wasn't at the facility, what did he do? And what possible explanation is there for Mr. Harris not calling 911? I mean, all the evidence that surfaced at that probable cause hearing is to terribly compelling, I can't fathom what a sensible defense in this case would be.
WHITFIELD: And in fact, Richard, we heard the police officer talking about how the day care workers heard the wife say when they said the child wasn't there, that you know, he must have left the baby in the car and that that was the response as opposed to a host of other possibilities that could have been entertained like, maybe he and the child are out to lunch.
So, Richard, does that lay some groundwork in your view that potentially, Leanna herself might be facing some charges or at least that kind of suspicious response opens the door to further investigating of her.
HERMAN: Well, the case is still being investigated, Fred, and when she said that comment, that's coupled with her own searches about this. Her statement to him when she saw him, did you say too much and you know, it's just, her comments at the eulogy, which were just mind blowing, I think she's going to be indicted next. There's no spousal privilege here, so maybe she's going to cut a deal against the husband.
I'll tell you, Fred, this district attorney has taken so much incoming from the community and they put on an overwhelming case here for intentional murder. They didn't have to do that. These are bare bones probable cause hearings and the DA put on an intentional murder case. This is a potential death penalty case. No bail for him. It's overwhelming.
Avery, they got to, he got an e-mail from the day care center that day and that didn't trip his memory that the child was in the car. The stench was overwhelming in the car --
FRIEDMAN: That's what's so compelling.
HERMAN: It was a horrific death. It was a horrible, painful death.
WHITFIELD: And the markings on the child indicating that the level of suffering that this child endured in that hot car, which also leads one to wonder, Avery, whether torture, a type of charge involving torture might be involved here, particularly since the some kind of internet search was done. We still don't know by whom exactly, but an internet search was done about the consequences of a child or animal being left in a hot car.
FRIEDMAN: Think about that. The idea of researching the idea of how hot it has to be in order to kill a child in the car, it is mind boggling, every time --
HERMAN: Five days --
FRIEDMAN: Every time you start thinking that you have faith in humanity, you see this sort of thing and you wonder how can human beings actually do something like this?
HERMAN: We know five days before this, Fred, he viewed a video online about animal's torturous deaths.
WHITFIELD: Hard to believe. All right, Richard, Avery, thanks so much. Always love your brilliant legal minds.
HERMAN: What did you do to Joan Rivers, Fred?
WHITFIELD: I know. Darn.
HERMAN: I think she staged that.
WHITFIELD: You think so? I've been wondering about the points of view of a lot of people. Was that a stunt?
HERMAN: It was a stunt.
WHITFIELD: OK. You guys call it like you see it? Thank you. I guess I'll get a no the next time I ask for an interview with her. All right, thanks so much. Avery, Richard, always good to see you.
Coming up next hour, kids suspended from preschool. Are we setting them up for failure? We take a look at what some are calling the school to prison pipeline. That's coming up when the CNN NEWSROOM returns right after this.