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CNN NEWSROOM

Sunny Hostin Interviews Michael Brown's Parents; FAA to Unveil New Drone Rules and Regulations; Shocking Confession of UVA Dean on Rape, Assaults.

Aired November 27, 2014 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Bottom of the hour. You're watching CNN. Happy Thanksgiving.

You know, today, for one set of parents, the first time without their son, talking about Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. And the parents sat down with CNN's legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, and they shared their reaction to Officer Darren Wilson's account of what happened on August 9th, the day he shot and killed their teenage son, in what Wilson says was self-defense. At one point, Michael Brown's father calls Wilson a murder.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So do you believe that when Officer Wilson first approached your son and told him to move out of the roadway, that your son's first response was, "F what you say"?

MICHAEL BROWN SR, FATHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: No.

HOSTIN: Do you think that's even possible?

BROWN: Nope.

LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MOTHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: No.

HOSTIN: Do you think it's even possible, Officer Wilson is saying that your son reached into the car and tried to grab his gun?

BROWN: No.

HOSTIN: Do you think it's possible that your son told him, "You are too much of a P-word to shoot me"?

MCSPADDEN: I don't even believe any of those words were exchanged at all.

HOSTIN: Officer Wilson said that he had a clear conscience about what happened that day. If he had to do it again, he would. What's your response to that?

BROWN: He's a murder.

That's what that tells me.

HOSTIN: What does that tell you, Lesley?

MCSPADDEN: I hope the Lord have mercy on his soul.

HOSTIN: Has Sybrina Fulton reached out to you?

MCSPADDEN: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

HOSTIN: What advice did she give you?

MCSPADDEN: She gave me some very encouraging words. She wrote me a letter and every day or every other day, she'll send me a nice text. Just letting me know that I have her support and to be strong and as weak as I feel and as helpless as I feel, she sees something else there. And every time I see her, she gives me a hug, you know? And a good conversation. Like, she keeps me grounded on this situation. I can't say. And I do take her advice, because she's been through it.

HOSTIN: And Mr. Brown, tell me, you know, in the wake of Trayvon Martin's murder or death, have you heard from Tracy Martin? Have you heard from other fathers who have lost their sons?

BROWN: Yes, I have heard from Tracy Martin. It's been a few weeks. But I hear from Ryan Davis every other day.

HOSTIN: Jordan Davis' father?

BROWN: Yes.

And Uncle Bobby.

HOSTIN: Oscar Grant's father? Uncle.

And what advice have they given you, other men that have lost their son or nephews?

BROWN: They told me it's going to be hard. Anytime I feel like I need to talk, with doesn't matter what time in the morning it is, I feel like I'm going to explode, just pick up the phone and call them. Just stay positive, keep my head, keep my chin up high, and stay grounded, 10 toes down, you know. And just fight for what we believe is right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin with the interview.

Was the man who helped perform an autopsy on Michael Brown qualified to do it in the first place? Questions swirling about his credentials. CNN tracked him down and this is how he responded to one of his critics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has. Holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED)! Excuse my language, but I got (EXPLETIVE DELETED) e-mails to prove him and I going back and forth, and the fact that he ignores me. He's a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Wow. We will play his entire response for you. That is coming up.

But next, there are serious concerns about the rise of drones. A few have come very close to hitting planes. Hear what the federal government is doing about that.

Stay with me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A new fear is emerging as holiday travel season kicks into gear. New York airports have been the center of dangerous encounters involving airplanes and mystery drones, so much so that a federal investigation is now underway. The FAA has released a report on quote/unquote drone misbehavior across the country. The potential safety hazards are massive. The FAA is expected to unveil its new drone rules and regulations by year's end.

So to Erin McPike, we go.

First of all, what incidents are we talking about with passenger planes?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, you may have heard that there have been three of these near-misses recently, just in New York, of course, where air traffic is the heaviest. But in that new report that you mentioned, the FAA disclosed yesterday that there have been 25 near-misses nationwide, in just the last six months.

Now, there's been a lot of media pressure on the FAA to produce that list in the last few months, because these incidents have been increasing as drone prices drop and they've become more popular. But it's still pretty new territory. That's why this has collision course between industry and safety standards.

And a real concern for industry experts here is that if the FAA doesn't hurry up and set these regulations to prevent more serious hazards, they could end up ruining drones for everyone by keeping them out of consumers' hands for commercial use.

The FAA was scheduled to issue those guidelines over a year ago, almost two years ago now, in order to make them more commercially and widely available. But they've been pushed back until September of 2015. And now there's growing concern that that deadline could move back even more and make the problem more worse and even curb a lot of potential economic growth.

BALDWIN: That's obviously a huge issue. But can people legally use the smaller type of drones right now? MCPIKE: They can, but there really are only two ways to operate these

smaller drones. They're under 55 pounds. And that's either getting a special permit to use a drone in one of six government testing sites across the country, or getting an exemption to use one for a business purpose. Hollywood recently got that exemption. And you might see them at big weddings. Photographers can use them in some cases.

But all of this recent activity encouraged a really small bipartisan group of Senators to send a message to the FAA to get moving. Ron Wyden, a Democrat Senator from Oregon, where three of those six test sites are, he was the ring leader for this group. And in this letter to the FAA this week, they write, "These delays forced those manufacturers and operators, who play by the rules, to sit on the sidelines while they wait for approval, while others chant signs and operate without any certification from the FAA, which raises serious concerns about public safety" -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: All right. Stay on it for us.

Erin McPike, thank you very much.

In Washington, coming up, is simply admitting to rape enough punishment for the crime? It might be, according to woman in charge of taking some of these rape complaints at the University of Virginia. More from this shocking interview. We'll talk to this student who really pressed this dean at the University of Virginia. Pretty incredible. That's coming up.

Plus, we're also hearing how and when Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, has been hiding for months since he shot and killed Michael Brown. According to his lawyer, it's not a matter of if, but when this officer leaves the Ferguson force.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A pretty shocking confession from the woman in charge of taking rape and sexual assault complaints at the University of Virginia, just days after this explosive report in "Rolling Stone" magazine.

CNN's Joe Johns sets up the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SHOUTING)

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protests and angry accusations. The fallout from an explosive article in "Rolling Stone," recounting in graphic detail the alleged gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psy (ph) fraternity house two years ago of a female student named Jackie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLE ERAMO, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF STUDENTS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: I can tell you that I spoke to 38 sexual assault survivors last year. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: This is Dean Nicole Eramo, who heads UVA's board that investigates sexual misconduct allegations. A few weeks before the "Rolling Stone" article, Eramo, in an interview with a student reporter, indicated that no student has been expelled for rape or assault since 1998, not even the ones who have admitted their guilt to her in informal sessions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERAMO: I feel like if a person is willing to come forward in that setting and admit that they violated the policy when there's absolutely no advantage to do so, that that does deserve some consideration. That they're willing to say that I've done something wrong and I recognize that, and I'm willing to take my licks and deal with it. That's very important to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Dean Eramo also put the responsibility of filing a formal complaint on the victim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERAMO: They're not looking for expulsion or they're not looking for that type of a sanction. They're -- they're looking to be able to look into the eyes of that other person and say, you wronged me in some way, and they're generally feeling quite satisfied with the fact that the person has admitted that they've done something wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Listen to the student reporter press Eramo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CATHERINE VALENTINE, STUDENT REPORTER: Do you not think it's damaging for sexual assault victims to see the person who sexually assaulted or raped them on campus?

ERAMO: I think it absolutely can be.

VALENTINE REPORTER: So why are they allowed to stay on grounds?

ERAMO: Because I think we are trying to balance the rights of the individual who's being accused as well as the rights of the complainant, and sometimes that's very difficult.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Scores of former and current students have written letters, supporting Dean Eramo.

And despite the way her case was handled, Jackie, the woman at the center of the storm, has stepped back into the spotlight to show her support as well, writing, "Dean Eramo has truly saved my life. If it were not for her, I don't know if I would by alive today."

(on camera): We reached out to Dean Eramo today. She works in this building behind me on the UVA campus. We were told by an aide she would not make herself available for comment. The aide would not take our telephone number and said the dean would not call us later for a conversation on the phone.

Joe Johns, CNN, Charlottesville, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: All right, Joe, thank you so much.

And here she is. You heard her voice. Here she is, that UVA student reporter, Catherine Valentine, joining me on this Thanksgiving.

And you did an excellent job, my dear, pressing the dean. That was a tough job, you did it phenomenally. So bravo to you.

Let me get your thoughts on that interview in just a second. But I've been to UVA many times, and I think those who are not familiar with the university, can you talk about how the sense of honor, and Thomas Jefferson is pervasive, and how that's in the air and part of the culture at the university?

VALENTINE: Of course. And I'm actually -- (AUDIO PROBLEM) -- adviser. If you lie, cheat, or steal, you do not remain on grounds. And I really think from the time the first -- the time -- (AUDIO PROBLEM) -- the time we graduate. I really think it is so incredibly important. It really defines your time at UVA.

BALDWIN: Your Skype went in and out, but basically, lying, cheating, stealing, unacceptable, you're out. So given that fact, we hear you pressing the dean in this interview, and we're learning that lying, cheating, and stealing is one thing, but the bar is apparently very different when it comes to sex assault.

VALENTINE: It is. I actually interviewed the dean in September, so the "Rolling Stone" article, as you know, just came out, but the reason I did the interview, Dean Eramo spoke to a group of support officers, of Honor Support Officers in August, to -- and she was trying to promote who's got your back, the university's new sexual assault awareness campaign, the bystander intervention campaign, and in that meeting with support officers, she mentioned that no student in her time here has been expelled for sexual assault. She also said that she was, was relieved because students were beginning to admit guilt. And she saw that students were feeling remorse about that. And I raised my hand in that meeting, because I was -- I was confused. And I followed up with an interview with her in September.

BALDWIN: I could understand the confusion. I mean, what was going through your mind as you're asking her? And it was a great, a great follow-up question, to the notion that if people are -- you know, you bounce if you lie, cheat, or steal, but, you know, if you admit and come forward in saying, yes, I'm guilty, you know, of sex assault, you can continue walking among victims on grounds. VALENTINE: Yes, it was -- it was very surprising to hear that. And

you know, I've had two months to really digest that interview and I really think that Dean Eramo's comments are a reflection of bad policy. And I think with the university -- the Board of Visitors decided, as you know, to adopt a zero tolerance policy in light of the "Rolling Stone" article. And I think that's an incredible -- an incredibly important decision moving forward.

BALDWIN: So they're saying the status quo is no longer acceptable. And UVA, it's a phenomenal university. And this is not just UVA's problem. This is a problem at universities across the country. But it was that "Rolling Stone" article that, bam, I mean, a very high- profile piece.

So we know that the university has suspended fraternities for two months, Greek culture, a huge part of the university, but you know, that's really only one month, because you guys are off on holiday break for one month. How -- is that enough for people? What are students saying about that?

VALENTINE: The students are saying quite a bit. I think that the decision to suspend fraternities was important. I think she needed to do something, and that was at least an initial reaction. You know, it was a change that she was able to make immediately at the school. But I also think it's important to note that universities -- there are, I believe, 87 universities on the list who are under investigation for violating Title IX. And many of those universities do not have a Greek system. So you said yourself, that this is not just a problem at UVA. This is a problem at schools across the nation. Even schools that do not have Greek systems. But I completely understand why Tracy Sullivan felt the need to suspend fraternities in light of the article.

BALDWIN: We're going to stay on this. We'll also follow your reporting, Catherine. And I hope that, at least, because this has been out in the open, that young women and, in some cases, young men, feel like they can come out and speak about it and their issues are heard loud and clear.

Catherine Valentine, thank you so much for coming on, on Thanksgiving.

VALENTINE: Thank you so much. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

BALDWIN: Thank you. You, too.

Coming up next, Thanksgiving, winter weather is slamming parts of the country, snarling holiday travel plans for millions of families. But, a-ha, a little bit of good news for you on this Thursday. What is in store, next.

Plus, we now know the details of Officer Darren Wilson's life in the days and weeks after Michael Brown was shot and killed. He left his lawn half mowed, he went into hiding, and he got married. Hear how he pulled it all off, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: The rain, the sleet, the snow. It has come and it has gone. Treacherous holiday conditions now on the upswing after a fast-moving storm barreled up the east coast.

So Chad Myers gets to talk about something pretty decent for a change.

Hey, Chad. Happy Thanksgiving.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I grabbed the short drumstick and here I am.

It's cold across the northeast. But at least the snow is gone. If you're traveling today, it won't be as slick, especially after sunset, as it was last night. As soon as that sun last night, Schenectady, Albany, up into Vermont, boy, things that were slushy got really, really icy. Today, a little bit better.

Low pressure moves away from us. We have a pretty decent forecast for tomorrow. I don't think that the sellers, the merchants are going to be complaining that they didn't sell any winter coats tomorrow on Black Friday, because it's going to be cold enough. I think the hats and the scarves and the gloves will all be headed out the door as presents.

I just hope that -- I know you're not doing it and I'm not. I hope you're not going to sit out there or camp out waiting --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: People do it!

MYERS: I know.

BALDWIN: It's a family tradition for people. They've done it for years and years and years. And some of the deals, they're insane!

MYERS: And that's OK in Los Angeles, where it's going to be 80.

(LAUGHTER)

That's OK. I can deal with that. You know, maybe I'll even tailgate a little bit.

BALDWIN: People are warriors.

MYERS: But Minneapolis, Chicago into Michigan, I'm not sure I'm in for that.

Tomorrow looks pretty good. It's going to rain across parts of California Saturday and Sunday. Those are the only trouble spots, California, the only trouble spots heading home from Thanksgiving or back from Thanksgiving.

BALDWIN: That sounds kind of nice. I'll take L.A., in the 80s, thank you very much.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Mr. Myers, thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Yeah. And we'll talk tomorrow about the Black Friday weather.

Thank you, sir.

MYERS: Happy Thanksgiving.

BALDWIN: Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We continue on. Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin, wishing you, of course, a happy and safe Thanksgiving.