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THE SITUATION ROOM
ISIS Advance; Ebola Scares; Interview With Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz; Grieving Mother: 'My Son Didn't Have a Gun'; Sen. Rand Paul Visits Ferguson Community Leaders; New Violence Ahead of Ferguson Protest Weekend; Democrats Stumble in Key Senate Races
Aired October 10, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Ebola scares. Are U.S. airlines, cities, hospitals so distracted by false alarms, they will miss the next real infection?
ISIS advance. Its fighters now have Iraqi forces backed up against the wall on an important route to Baghdad and control half of a key Syrian city.
Anger and arrests. After two nights of disturbances in Saint Louis, what will the weekend bring and will the trouble spread to nearby Ferguson?
Plus, police payback? A man is sued after officers broke a window and used stun guns on him, could face time in jail.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're following two major stories. Ebola scares across the country are delaying hundreds of travelers and straining the resources of police and hospitals. The new screening procedures starting tomorrow, the delays could get even longer.
And we're also learning new details about the infected man who died in Dallas. Why did the hospital initially send him home, even though his temperature was 103 degrees?
Also, breaking news in the war on ISIS. Despite U.S. and coalition bombs and missiles, its fighters are making dangerous gains inside both Syria and now Iraq as well.
Using the global resources of CNN, we're bringing correspondents and newsmakers, including a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, right here into THE SITUATION ROOM to bring you all the latest information.
Let's begin with the costly and time-consuming flood of Ebola scares and fears that new screening procedures could make travel delays even worse.
Our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, is joining us from Dulles International Airport right outside of Washington, D.C., and it's one of the airports where some arriving passengers will be screened and questioned -- Rene.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, in less than 24 hours, flyers should expect that tougher new screening measures that we're going to start seeing in New York.
Meantime, multiple false alarms midair. We're talking about concerns over Ebola, one man making a false claim that he had the deadly disease, and it triggered this response.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the man that has said this is an idiot. And I will say that straight out.
MARSH (voice-over): A dramatic scene on a U.S. Airways flight to the Dominican Republic. Four emergency workers in blue protective suits board the plane responding to a disruptive passenger. Witnesses say the man was coughing on the flight and reportedly said, "I have Ebola, you're all screwed."
The man appears to say, it was just a joke. But he was escorted off the flight, infuriated passengers stuck on the tarmac for more than two hours.
MARK DOMBROFF, ATTORNEY: I believe that a court in today's environment isn't going to find it to be a particularly funny comment, no more so than the person on board the aircraft who says, "I have a bomb, only kidding."
MARSH: It's one of many in-flight scares since Thomas Eric Duncan landed in the United States and was diagnosed with Ebola. In the past week, CDC quarantine officers surrounded a sick passenger at Newark Airport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was quite scary.
MARSH: And a woman on an American Eagle flight in Midland, Texas, was checked out after vomiting. None tested positive for the virus. Today in Dallas where Duncan died from Ebola, a congressional panel examined the nation's response.
REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON (D), TEXAS: But it would seem to me that much of what we are worried about right now could have been eliminated because the protocols were in place.
MARSH: CNN has learned Duncan's temperature was 103 degrees when the hospital released him.
Temperature screening for passengers arriving in the U.S. begins Saturday at New York's JFK airport and expands to Chicago, Atlanta, Washington Dulles and Newark next week.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: I have made a request to the president and to the secretary and to the Centers for Disease Control, and I hope that this will be responded to.
MARSH: Well, we saw in that video there with that incident with the man saying that he had Ebola, clearly the flight crew got in touch with authorities.
They made their way on board the plane. But a passenger who is on board that flight tells CNN that at no point did the flight crew isolate the man or give anyone around him a mask after he made the claim that he had Ebola.
That passenger was concerned that they did not do that. We did reach out to the airline, and they say that they followed CDC guidelines -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Rene Marsh at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. -- Rene, thanks very much.
Let's dig a little bit deeper right now.
Joining us, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He's a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. He was at today's congressional field hearing in Dallas, Texas, that looked at the overall Ebola threat.
Congressman, thank you very much for joining us.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Are you satisfied with the measures being put in place here in the United States to prevent the spread of this disease?
CHAFFETZ: I would like them to go further, I would like to go faster, but I think they are moving in the right direction.
But having these extra screenings we were told in these five airports, will cover about 94 percent of the people coming from the countries that have been most affected. I worry about the other ports of entry, and I also worry about the transfer of knowledge from the Centers for Disease Control to the people on the front line, the customs and border patrol agents.
I know they're regularly trained on these types of things, but to know specifically what you're looking for in Ebola is very tough.
Sometimes, as we heard testimony today, the symptoms won't show up for 72 hours. In fact, CDC says you should be tested, then tested later 72 hours because sometimes it's that much of a delay before it actually shows up.
BLITZER: So what else needs to be done in your opinion?
CHAFFETZ: I think you're going to need to cover more airports and I do think the country should look very closely at the fact of just denying people who have been in these most affected areas. Maybe we should deny them entry into the United States for the next 60 days or so and give them that period of time, say if you've been to one of those countries, you're just not coming back to the United States of America.
The Centers for Disease Control said that that would exacerbate the problem. I don't understand why that would be the case.
And several of us -- myself, Mark Sanford, others, questioned and wondered why wouldn't you just actually prohibit them from coming to the United States of America?
We've got to be very careful with this.
BLITZER: This is a serious problem, clearly.
Let me get your reaction; Representative Duncan Hunter, your Republican colleague in the House of Representatives, he said earlier this week that there have been at least 10 ISIS fighters, terrorists that crossed into the United States from Mexico.
Earlier today, he clarified his remarks to CNN's Stephanie Elam. I want you to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: The question is, is the administration parsing language when they say that no actual ISIS fighters, meaning guys in black pajamas with black flags and AK-47s have gotten across the border.
What I would say is what you have are people from terrorist countries, state sponsors of terrorism, that have, in fact, gotten across the border and have been caught in Mexico by the Mexicans, that have gotten caught at our border by Texas trying to cross. And I would categorize those four men that were caught from Turkey, they were self-proclaimed PKK members, that's a terrorist organization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. So I want you to react because you've been briefed on what's going on.
First of all, do you believe his initial statement that there have been 10 ISIS terrorists who actually crossed the border into the United States?
CHAFFETZ: I'm not personally and directly aware of that. What I am personally and directly aware of is that there were four terrorists, people tied to the PKK, came out of Turkey, flew to Mexico City, came north with coyotes. They successfully got across the border.
Once they were across the border, the four split, two and two, and they were eventually captured. And thanks to some good work that happened from our border patrol folks. But those four people were headed to New York City. They are tied to the PKK.
And despite what Secretary Johnson says, they are tied to a terrorist organization. The State Department recognizes the PKK as a terrorist organization. He tries to say that, well, these people are fighting ISIS. They're not part of ISIS, clearly not part of ISIS, but terrorists nonetheless and he says we're going to deport them.
They should be prosecuted for coming into the United States illegally. They're -- Wolf, over the last 351 days, we have caught people coming across the border from more than 150 different countries. It is a very porous border and we have to pay serious attention to it.
BLITZER: And I just want to clarify, the PKK, these are Kurds. The State Department regards the PKK in Turkey as a terrorist organization.
But the PKK, as you know, they are fighting ISIS right now, right?
CHAFFETZ: I don't buy the idea that just because they're the good terrorists that this is a good thing for the United States of America.
Why were they going to New York City?
Keep in mind, there was no specific plot that's been uncovered. I don't want to overstate the problem. But I think it's naive to also say we don't have a problem on the southern border when these four people, tied to a terrorist organization, I call them terrorists, did successfully come across our southern border.
It would be naive to think that we don't have a problem there. Wolf, we had nearly 60,000 kids walk across the border unimpeded. So to suggest that a terrorist, a person with ISIS would never do so would be naive. It would be irresponsible to say that the border is now secure. It's not.
BLITZER: Well, would you -- do you have any reason to believe those four PKK guys who came illegally into the United States through the border with Mexico were plotting some sort of terrorist operation in the United States?
CHAFFETZ: There is no specific terrorist plot. I want to be crystal clear.
What I'm concerned about is at least one of them self-identified as being associated with the PKK. They're on the State Department list as a terrorist organization. And that is what is worrisome.
For Secretary Johnson to say nothing happened like that, I just -- I really -- we've got to be very careful with the words we select. But that did happen, and it happened on September 10th, a day before the anniversary of our most horrific event.
BLITZER: He did acknowledge today, the secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, at a forum here in Washington, that four PKK guys did cross into the United States from Mexico and that they were apprehended. But he's making it clear, the Department of Homeland Security is
making it clear, there's no indication that 10 ISIS terrorists actually crossed the border. That was the original allegation made by Duncan Hunter.
And I guess that's the nuance, right?
CHAFFETZ: I'm not aware of anybody specifically tied to ISIS. I am aware of people that have crossed the border. And these are just the ones we know of, just the ones we caught, came from Syria, they come from Iran. They have come from Iraq.
These are just the ones we caught. So to Duncan Hunter's point, we've got to be very careful that these state sponsors of terrorism, we have caught people associated with them. Again, not necessarily ISIS related, but again, from terrorist nations with ties to terrorist organizations like the four PKK, that's the concern.
I'm not trying to be hyper about it, but we have also got to be very vigilant in understanding the threat.
BLITZER: And the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government and by the State Department, just want to make that abundantly clear as well.
Let's talk a little bit about the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service, they announced they're creating a new independent review of the Secret Service.
Are you satisfied with that?
CHAFFETZ: No. These are four very accomplished people.
But what I would love to see is truly people from the outside that have experience in the military. I think maybe the FBI, specifically people who have wielded a gun before and had to be in that sort of enforcement type of mechanism, the private sector.
There are a number of things we need to do. We need to look at the leadership, the culture, the training. Those are the types of things we need to be looking at in depth.
And the committee, I can tell you the United States Congress, we're going to look closely at what happened in the 2011 shooting at the White House, what happened in Cartagena. You haven't heard the end of that. We're also going to get to the bottom of what happened with the fence jumping incident, as well as the incident in Atlanta with the man with a gun next to the president.
BLITZER: Have there been any other incidents that have not yet been reported?
CHAFFETZ: Yes, oh, absolutely. What worries me is that in December of 2013, the inspector general's office put out a report, and they had agents and officers who were able to check boxes asking them, have they ever personally witnessed or heard of or are they aware of incidents that were a threat to the president's safety, to national security, the White House, et cetera.
Over 1,000 times the box was checked to say yes, they've actually seen or heard this for themselves. And so there are other incidents out there.
But we've got to -- I have got great confidence in Acting Director Clancy. He has the trust of the president, which is paramount. I think he's the right person temporarily for that job. But I think the new director really truly probably should, Wolf, come from the outside.
If you're going to change the systemic problems in the Secret Service, you're going to need to bring somebody in from the outside. If you want different results, you're going to have to put in somebody different.
BLITZER: Very quickly, because we're out of time, do you believe the president and the first lady, the first family are safe right now?
CHAFFETZ: I think they're safer now, given the highlight over the last couple of weeks. The more I have seen, the more worried I have become. But you've got to pray for those men and women who are on the front lines protecting the president. Never, ever, can anybody get to him, ever.
BLITZER: Representative Chaffetz, thank you very much for joining us.
CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: By the way, for more on what you can do to help in the global fight against Ebola, go to CNN.com/Impact, some good ideas to do that there.
Still ahead, breaking news in the war on ISIS -- while TV cameras focus on the fighting near the Turkish-Syrian border, CNN is told ISIS fighters have Iraqi troops up against a wall in a key area right near the capital of Baghdad.
Later, disturbing new details in the case that started when police broke out a car window and used a stun gun on one of the passengers.
BLITZER: Right now, ISIS fighters are closer to conquering another key city, despite a barrage of U.S.-led airstrikes. And we're learning more about the terror group's advances against coalition forces.
Let's bring in our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He's got the latest -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a very worrisome situation developing in Anbar Province.
This is just to the west of the capital, Baghdad. And this area really matters because of its proximity to the capital. I'm told that ISIS forces are still advancing there, despite a number of Iraqi forces trying to push them back. U.S. officials saying that these Iraqi forces are now backed up against a wall, in danger of being cut off.
Meanwhile, in Kobani and Northern Syria, ISIS advancing there as well, and in both places, despite enormous amount of American airpower.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): ISIS militants now in the very center of Kobani. Undeterred by the U.S.-led air campaign, ISIS fighters are advancing and now control almost half of the city, even as coalition warplanes unleashed another day of punishing airstrikes, making Kobani now the second-most bombed target in Syria or Iraq. U.S. officials continued to warn that Kobani and many other cities may still fall.
TONY BLINKEN, U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There will be situations that are tragic, like Kobani. There are other Kobanis in Syria and in Iraq as we speak. Kobani is getting a lot of focus because it's on the border. The world can see it.
What we can do is bring to bear our airpower with other countries, intelligence, training and equipping these forces. But they have to be the ones on the ground.
SCIUTTO: Kobani is, say U.S. officials, very visible, but not very important strategically. Anbar Province, just to the west of Baghdad in Iraq, is the opposite, largely invisible to outsiders, but crucial to the safety of the capital.
There, Iraqi forces are on the defensive, backed up against the wall, said senior defense official, with some units now in danger of being cut off. And ISIS, said another defense official, continues to make gains.
With the campaign facing grave early challenges, the U.S.-led coalition today gained a crucial ally. Turkey announced it will help train and equip the moderate Syrian rebels, an agreement reached with the U.S. after days of very public divisions between the two NATO allies.
Turkey is also considering the possibility of deploying ground troops, one crucial piece still missing from the broader campaign against ISIS.
MARIE HARF, SPOKESWOMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: I know they talked about ground troops and we're having a conversation with them about what that might look like and what role they can play broadly, including that.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SCIUTTO: One problem the U.S. has in that battle for Anbar
Province is not a lot of visibility. And that is because there are no U.S. military advisers embedded with the Iraqi units that are fighting ISIS out in Anbar.
Now, around Baghdad, there are U.S. advisers embedded with those units. I'm told that what those advisers have found -- and there are seven teams of 12 advisers each with those units around the capital -- I'm told that they believe those units are more capable, so that Baghdad defensible at this point.
The trouble, Wolf, of course, as those ISIS units get closer and take over more territory around Baghdad, makes it much easier for them to launch attacks.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto reporting for us, thank you.
CNN is also on the ground getting a close-up look at the battle against ISIS as the terror group seizes more territory and threatens more lives.
Let's go straight to our senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon. She's on the border between Syria and Turkey with more.
What's the latest there, Arwa?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that battle is certainly intensifying. Those who are trying to keep ISIS from fully taking over Kobani, well, they won't be able to hold out indefinitely.
DAMON (voice-over): "God is great," a voice cries out in Arabic in this video exclusively obtained by CNN.
Within seconds, another explosion. Both believed to be coalition airstrikes. "Long live the YPG," a man in Kurdish shouts. The YPG, the Kurdish force, is fighting pitched street battles against ISIS. And there is one brigade of Free Syrian Army rebels alongside it.
But neither have the weapons or numbers of fighters needed to sustain this house-to-house battle. Despite coalition airpower launching increasing strikes on ISIS targets deep inside Kobani, according to fighters on the ground, almost half of the city is now under ISIS' control.
ISIS is receiving reinforcements from their stronghold of Raqqa and, as we witnessed, moving with ease in the open terrain around Kobani, ferrying their fighters around on motorcycles. At the unofficial border crossing that was the gateway for the flood of refugees, a handful wait.
These men don't want to be interviewed. "There is nothing to say," they tell us. "Everything is lost." The Turkish military won't allow them to cross back into Syria,
but they can reach the fence and their relatives, camped out on the other side, to drop off bread. Twenty-two-year-old Adnan's (ph) father is still in Syria. Like others, he refuses to cross into Turkey because authorities won't let him bring his car with all the family possessions.
"There is still hope," Adnan he says. "We don't know, but the coalition is striking. So maybe they will be able to go home."
But if this video posted by ISIS is an indication of what potentially awaits them, home may not be what they remember.
DAMON: Wolf, there's a lot of anger and frustration amongst the Kurdish population on both sides, because even though they are grateful for what the coalition has done so far in terms of those airstrikes in and around Kobani, they do feel as if they should have been launched before ISIS was able to gain a foothold into that city.
And that rhetoric coming from the U.S. administration about how insignificant Kobani is, well, that causes people to question what the U.S. and its allies' true aim is when it comes to what they're trying to accomplish in Syria -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Arwa Damon on the border there between Turkey and Syria, be safe over there, Arwa. Thank you.
Just ahead, what Ferguson's mayor and police are now saying about preparations for what could be a long weekend of new protests.
Also, disturbing new details in the case that started when police broke out a car window and used a stun gun on one of the passengers. Now the man is facing jail time on a drug charge that's years' old.
BLITZER: ... insisting her son did not have a gun and fire on police. What's the latest over there, Jason?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The shooting has rekindled long standing feelings that have existed in this community. Myers got into an altercation with an off-duty St. Louis police officer on Wednesday night. Police say Myers fired at the officer first, they say firing three time. The officer then, returning fire, 17 times. The medical examiner saying that Myers may have been hit as many as eight times.
Now of course, the Myers' family does not believe that narrative that police are -- that police are putting out there. They believe that Myers was not armed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SYREETA MYERS, MOTHER OF VONDERRIT MYERS: It's the worst pain
ever. Should no parent have to put they kid away. Kids is supposed to bury they parents. He was my only child. My only baby. He was my baby. And they took him away from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: His mother there who I spoke to just about a few hours ago. So you can see still grieving, still heartbroken over what happened.
I can tell you that police say they've recovered a 9 millimeter from the scene out there in terms of what happened. The investigation is still ongoing because of what has happened there. There were protests that we saw last night but a number of protests that were planned for the weekend, even before this shooting.
The Myers family is calling for peaceful demonstrations. We'll have to wait and see what happens tonight and this weekend -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jason Carroll, thanks very much.
Joining us now, NAACP member -- board member John Gaskin and our CNN law-enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, the former assistant director of the FBI.
I want to get to all of that in a moment, John, but first, the meeting that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky had today. I believe you were there. He met with leaders of the NAACP, other African-American community leaders in Ferguson. How did that meeting go?
JOHN GASKIN, NAACP BOARD MEMBER: It was a very productive meeting. We were honored that the senator made time for America's oldest and largest civil rights organization on the ground. Took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us, and cultivate some conversations around what he can do in Washington to support the NAACP, as well as some various things that he can do from a legislative viewpoint to help prevent things that have happened around police brutality racial profiling of the militarization of police departments. So it was a very productive meeting.
BLITZER: I spoke with him after the meeting. He was also pleased. He was especially pleased, because he thinks he potentially could be making some in-roads in the African-American community politically as he gears up, potentially, for 2016 and a Republican presidential run.
Here's the question: what does he need to do? What do Republicans in general need to do to win over more African-American support?
GASKIN: Well, they have to do what Senator Paul did today. Make time, show that they care about our issues, show that they want to hear from us. They want to show that they have a plan for education, they have a plan for our economic engines within our community, that they want to create jobs, that they care about the issues that are important to us.
And so, you know, I believe that the senator made a statement by branching out and having a conversation like we did this morning. But in the meeting, he mentioned that the Republican Party over the years has somewhat neglected the African-American community, almost given up on that voting bloc.
And so if, hopefully, the Republican Party in general can learn from, you know, what the senator is trying to do.
BLITZER: Meanwhile, Tom, everyone's bracing this weekend for potentially not only protests but maybe violent protests. What are the police -- what is the mayor of Ferguson -- what do they need to do to calm things down?
FUENTES: I don't know if they're going to do anything. We've already been told that the police from St. Louis County are going to be in charge of the crowd control and handling the protests over the weekend.
So I think that, you know, the lack of credibility of the mayor and the chief of police in Ferguson wouldn't help, no matter what they did at this point. I think it's going to have to be the St. Louis County and the state police that handle this.
BLITZER: What are we bracing for, John, in the next 48 hours?
GASKIN: Well, I hope that things will remain peaceful, that things will not get out of hand. That people will protest but do it in a way that reflects positivity on the life of Michael Brown and his family.
And so we -- you know, we want people to protest. We want people to get out and about and make their voices heard and obviously bolster their message. But we want people to remain peaceful, be respectful of people's properties within the neighborhoods and the communities in which they'll be. And hopefully, you know, abide by the laws that have been set forth within the communities.
BLITZER: The Michael Brown parents, they released a statement today, calling on people to protest, quote, "peacefully and lawfully" this weekend, saying that they understand the powerless frustration felt by people of all walks of life regarding their interactions with law enforcement. But this potentially -- I keep asking you this question, John, because you're there. You know what's going on. How worried should everyone be that outside agitators could come in and create some violence?
GASKIN: Well, that should be a concern from what we saw early on. And Wolf, you've covered this all the way through. Early on what we saw when this story first broke, or what we were seeing in the heart of Ferguson, that should be a concern.
But I certainly hope, amongst the volunteers, amongst the protesters that have come to town. I hope that there's leadership among those groups, on those buses, that can keep that down and convey to the protesters within their groups that this is serious, that we want to make sure that these protests remain positive, remain peaceful, remain nonviolent. And certainly, make sure that no one with any side agendas try to come on and hijack this movement.
BLITZER: John Gaskin, thanks very much for joining us. Let's hope it's peaceful, these protests this weekend.
Tom Fuentes, thanks to you, as well.
Just ahead, a man who's suing police after officers broke out a car window and used a stun gun on him, now facing, potentially, jail time.
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(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: An arrest warrant has now been issued in Hamden,
Indiana, against the man accusing the local police of using excessive force. The warrant for Jamal Jones is for a 7-year-old marijuana offense. Jones and his partner are suing the city and the police after an officer smashed their car window during a traffic spot. A teenager in the car recorded the exchange on video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA MAHONE, SUING OVER EXCESSIVE FORCE: If you pull out a gun -- there's two kids in the back seat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
MAHONE: No! Don't mess -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE). No!
JAMAL JONES, SUING FOR EXCESSIVE FORCE: I'm not the operator of the vehicle. If you do that -- I'm not -- I'm not the operator of the vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to open the door?
MAHONE: Why do you say nobody is going to hurt you? People are getting shot by the police.
JONES: Damn! Owwww!
MAHONE: That was crazy.
Horrible. This is a horrible thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We see the video. We're joined by Dana Kurtz. She's the lawyer for Jamal Jones, the man who was in that car.
Dana, thanks very much for joining us. I guess a lot of folks are asking why didn't he simply get out of the car when the police asked him to get out of the car?
DANA KURTZ, LAWYER FOR JAMAL JONES: Ask that question again, Wolf. I couldn't hear you.
BLITZER: All right. Why didn't he get out of the car? When the police asked him to roll down the window and come out of the car, why didn't he get out of the car?
KURTZ: He was afraid. The police, when they initiated the stop, were already aggressive from the beginning, which is why Joseph, the 14-year-old in the back seat, started videotaping it.
BLITZER: What was he afraid of?
KURTZ: He has...
BLITZER: Tell us what he was afraid of.
KURTZ: Violence from the police, violence from the police, from what they've seen across the nation, as well as the fact that these officers were already aggressive. You hear on that three-minute video, and that's only three minutes. In fact, Joseph's video is 14 minutes. Not only Jamal but Lisa asked for a supervisor to come to the scene, stating they would get out of the car if a supervisor would come to the scene.
BLTZER: Didn't the police call backup, other police officers were there?
KURTZ: They did call backup. At no point in time did Jamal know there was ever a supervisor or did the officers indicate that they were getting a supervisor. Lisa on that 911 call that she called twice requesting a supervisor and that she's afraid, and people were getting shot by the police.
BLITZER: Does the law require -- isn't the law, and because the police officers say it is the law, that when an officer tells someone to get out of the car, the individual must comply?
KURTZ: If it is a lawful order to get out of the car, yes. But officers should give citizens a reason as to why they were requesting someone to get out of the car. That was never given in this case. And in fact, Jamal had given police in this instance his identification. I think that's something a lot of people are missing here. He gave them his ID, that was on his ticket. And the police refused and they escalated the situation to what is an excessive force and violation of his constitutional rights.
BLITZER: So, what's the most important lesson people should learn from this case, from this case involving your client? The police stop your car. Apparently, they weren't wearing seat belts. That was the reason the car was stopped, right?
The police come over, they ask for the driver's identification, the registration. Then, they ask for some identification from the passenger in the front seat, your client. He apparently was resisting their request to do what they wanted to do, roll down the window and get out of the car.
So, what's the most important lesson you learn from this?
KURTZ: Well, first of all, it was only Lisa who was not wearing her seat belt, and she admitted to that. Jamal was wearing his seatbelt. And Lisa and Jamal in this instance I think did the right thing, they called 911. They requested a supervisor, they requested assistance by police -- the same people that are supposed to serve and protect.
So, who do you call when you're being abused by the police? The only people you can call are the police. And in this case, you know, these officers had had prior instances. Really, the issue here is the Hammond Police Department needs to take action to ensure that its officers are not engaging in this kind of conduct. That's why we're seeing this across the nation, is because higher-ups are not taking action to ensure that messages are sent to their officers, that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.
BLITZER: All right. Dana, thanks very much. Dana Kurtz is the lawyer for Jamal Jones, the man in this particular case. That -- she's suing now the police and the city for unruly police behavior.
All right. Thanks very much for that, Dana.
Just ahead, with just over three weeks until the election, some Democrats in tight races are stumbling towards the finishing line. Will their mistakes cost their party control in the Senate?
BLITZER: With just over three weeks until Election Day, some prominent Democrats are trying to recover from some rather embarrassing stumbles and races their party must win in order to keep control of the U.S. Senate.
Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is keeping track on what is being done as far as damage control is concerned.
What's the latest?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Democrats are defending so many competitive seats that they have no room for error, especially unforced errors, especially so close to Election Day.
BASH (voice-over): Democrat Kay Hagan is striking back with this new ad.
AD NARRATOR: Hagan has a 98 percent voting attendance record on the Armed Services Committee.
BASH: A rapid response from her Republican opponent.
AD NARRATOR: The Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on new global threats. Senator Kay Hagan, absent.
BASH: The neck and neck North Carolina Senate race is consumed by an issue reported by CNN's Ted Barrett, that Hagan missed a key Senate briefing earlier this year on threats to the U.S., including ISIS, attending a fundraiser instead.
THOM TILLIS (R), NORTH CAROLINA SENATE CANDIDATE: Senator Hagan put a cocktail fundraiser on Park Avenue ahead of a classified briefing where these threats were being discussed. BASH: This after news that she acknowledged missing 27 out of 49
Armed Services hearings for other Senate business. The reality is that lawmakers often missed briefings and hearings for lots of reasons.
Hagan aides note she did attend a key hearing last month, asking a critical question.
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Do you see the presence of radicalized Westerners fighting with ISIS, and the Khorasan as a threat to the U.S.?
BASH: And Hagan's GOP opponent, Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House, has missed so much work to campaign, two local papers called on him to resign.
HAGAN: I've chaired numerous counterterrorism hearings.
BASH: Still, Hagan's absence from an ISIS-related briefing strikes a sensitive cord since gruesome beheadings have made ISIS a very real voter concern.
It also speaks to be resonant voter issue of 2014, Washington not doing its job and it is playing out in campaigns all across the country.
Democrats are using it, too. Listen to what Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes told me about her opponent, GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: Unlike Mitch McConnell who has been absent from nearly every committee meeting for the past five years --
BASH: Grimes is trying to deal with another big 2014 issue, Democrats dragged down by an unpopular president but she got twisted up over a basic question. Did she vote for Barack Obama?
GRIMES: I was actually in '08 a delegate for Hillary Clinton and I think Kentuckians know I'm a Democrat through and through. I respect the sanctity of the ballot box and I know that the members of this editorial board do as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you're not going to answer?
GRIMES: Again, I don't think that the president is on the ballot, as much as Mitch McConnell might want him to be.
BASH: Now, a senior Democrat source tongue firmly in cheek told me this is evidence that Grime is a disciplined candidate. But when discipline appears evasive on a rudimentary question, Wolf, that may no longer be an asset.
BLITZER: Dana, stand by. Gloria Borger is with us, as well, our chief political analyst.
Why was she evasive? Why could she simply answer --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: That's a good question I --
BLITZER: Not a tough question. Who did you vote for?
BORGER: I think she is an inexperienced candidate. She is clearly trying to stick on the message, as Dana points out. But she just seemed not to be -- unable to answer a question. She knew this might get her in trouble.
There's an easy way to answer it. You say, look, if she voted for Barack Obama, I voted for Barack Obama. I'm disappointed. Bill Clinton is more my type of Democrat than Barack Obama is. I was for Hillary -- whatever you want to say.
But answer the question because the public doesn't like to feel the whole -- that you are not telling them the truth.
BASH: The name of the game, to both parties, in addition to being outside of Washington is authenticity.
BASH: People really crave authenticity, and if that kind of answer is what she gives on a question about who did you vote for, that's not the authenticity they are looking for.
BLITZER: But the big picture: is it really going to have an impact in Kentucky?
BORGER: Well, you know, look, no. I mean, Mitch McConnell is a big favorite. Clearly, this is something he can jump on easily. But he would jump on anything.
Look, he -- he's tough and he is up in the polls. And -- but it's just that, this is where inexperience shows when you are a candidate.
BLITZER: And from downside from her perspective, Grimes, reporters are going to keep asking her that question. She's going to have to answer it all of the time now.
BASH: I'm guessing she's going to have an answer the next time somebody asks the question, but it still doesn't -- the problem is that she is -- I'm trying to figure out a way to say this in a diplomatic way. She is disciplined to a fault. I interviewed her --
BORGER: She's new.
BASH: -- as you saw.
She's new, and I get it. Listen, I mean, I'm often on the side of, if I were running against Mitch McConnell, who was known to be one of the toughest campaigners --
BASH: -- I probably would be in the bed with the covers over my head. I mean, he's a really tough guy and she is a tough woman. She really is. She's a tough campaigner.
But she is incredibly disciplined to the point where she is maybe losing the humanity that voters really want.
BLITZER: We all assumed she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012. But what if she voted for John McCain, what if she voted for Mitt Romney and she says, you know what, I voted for them? I don't know. I assume she voted for the Democrat --
BORGER: But that might actually help her in that state. I mean, look, you just have to tell the truth when you are a candidate. If somebody asks you a question, I think the problem is she wasn't prepared for this question. You can try and prepare a candidate, go through all of the questions you think they will be asked and then something pops up and it is up to the candidate to be able to think on your feet.
BLITZER: Let's go to North Carolina, Kay Hagan, how much trouble do you think she's in because she missed that classified Arm Services Committee hearing to attend a fundraiser in New York?
BASH: Look, the fact they put out an ad already and this became an issue that really blew up yesterday and the day before, it really tells you that they want to make sure that they stop any kind of bleeding because of this. And obviously because of where we are on the calendar. We are just a little more than three weeks out from the election. They can't afford any missteps, especially given the fact that this is the race that if any Democrat were going to be in real trouble, it was supposed to be North Carolina, she's a first-term Democrat, North Carolina was won by President Obama the first time around but he lost the second time around and she is still slightly ahead of the Republican.
So, this is the one that they absolutely want to keep in. I mean, they want all of them, but particularly this is one, they'd been happy with how it's going. They don't want to rock (INAUDIBLE).
BORGER: This is one of the dangers of incumbency. You know, politics 101, you go and you look up how many votes did they miss, what did they do, what did -- you know? And so, you know, clearly, this is something that is being raised in other campaigns against incumbent candidates. Why weren't you doing your job?
BLITZER: All right. Gloria, Dana, guys, thanks very much. Have a great weekend.
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