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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe Resigns; Ben Carson Criticizes Media; Sexting Scandal Rocks Colorado High School; Officers in Court After Killing 6-Year-Old Boy. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired November 9, 2015 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] JONATHAN BUTLER, GRADUATE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI: Yes, it is officially over. We're still -- we still need to work with the curators to work on measures for shared governance because we do need more voices from student, faculty and staff on who -- on who our president becomes, on who our system officials become because we can't have situations happen like this again. We need to be able to have more voices in those conversations and not just the curators. So, that's the next step as we move forward, is that this is the beginning. We still have a lot of healing that needs to happen on campus. But this is a great first step towards change. And I really hope that people on other campuses take heed to this moment and really start advocating for the students, faculty and staff.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Jonathan Butler, thank you so much. We really appreciate you being on.
And this breaking news happening right now, the University of Missouri president resigning his post.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tim Wolfe stepping down, saying that he takes responsibility -- full responsibility for the frustration and inaction on that campus. It will be interesting to see what kind of dialogue exists now going forward and who the next person to take that job will be.
BERMAN: Because the students have made clear that they want a big say in that.
31 minutes after the hour. Ben Carson, he is running to be president of the United States. But apparently thinks questions about his past are sick, even stupid. Choice words for CNN. And why Donald Trump not exactly coming to Carson's defense.
BOLDUAN: Also ahead, why did two police officers chase down and open fire on a father and his son. They're due in court. Those police officers due to appear in court this morning as we get word that one of the officers knew the victims.
[11:35:57] BERMAN: New criticism this morning from Ben Carson. The Republican candidate for president is renewing his attacks on the media amid several news reports that look into or ask questions about stories he has told in his youth.
BOLDUAN: A CNN team went to interview some of the people Carson has talked and written about often from those stories in his youth. They weren't able to find anyone so far to corroborate. A key part of Carson's narrative he talks about and has campaigned on, that he was violent as a teenager until he then turned to religion, which then transformed his life.
Well, Carson now in the face of all these questions and the criticism, he says he is facing unfair scrutiny. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CARSON, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no question I'm getting special scrutiny because, you know, there are a lot of people who are very threatened and then, you know, they seen the recent head- to-head polling against Hillary and how well I do. And they're worried. There's no question about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Joining us now to discuss, Brad Woodhouse, former communications director for the DNC; and Doug Heye, former communications director for the RNC. A perfect pairing.
BERMAN: Let's communicate.
BOLDUAN: Let's communicate.
DOUG HEYE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely.
BOLDUAN: First off, is that true, do you think Ben Carson is facing unfair scrutiny, more scrutiny than any other candidate? Second off, I mean, he says it helps him. He says he's raised $3.5 million over the last week. Do you think that's true?
HEYE: Well, look, he's obviously receiving more scrutiny right now than any other candidate or any candidate has before. That's what happens when you're in first place. It's a good thing. If you're in first place, you're going to get more attention. You're going to get more scrutiny. That's what comes with the process. At the same time, beating up the media while probably not popular, john and Kate, with you, is something very popular in the Republican base. It works very tactically, it can help raise money but it's not a good long-term strategy.
BERMAN: We can take it. We have broad shoulders.
BERMAN: Kate can take it.
Kate can take it for sure. I'm getting a little thin-skinned here.
Brad, you know who else doesn't think it's necessarily unfair to ask questions about Ben Carson and his past?
His closest adviser, Armstrong Williams came on CNN this morning and he essentially said, no, this is a good thing. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, FRIEND & BUSINESS MANAGER FOR BEN CARSON: I think it's a very good thing that Dr. Carson is being vetted, that Dr. Carson is being tested, that Dr. Carson is having to answer to these questions. Because in my opinion and the opinion of many others it's best Dr. Carson address these issues early on and get them out of the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Do you think he's told that, Brad, to Dr. Carson right now, this is part of the vetting process and what it means when you're the front-runner for a nomination?
BRAD WOODHOUSE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I think it's clear they're playing both sides of this. To Doug's point, they're going out and raising money. I mean, the Republican base loves nothing more than Republican candidates attacking the mainstream media. But I got news for Ben Carson, there ain't one person I know of worried about Ben Carson in a general election. I think this being thin-skinned, not being able to prove elements of his biography, the very biography he's used to rocket himself to the top. I'm not worried about him. I just find it laughable how Republicans, Ben Carson being the latest example, just think they don't have to answer tough questions in debates on, on the campaign trail.
BOLDUAN: I will say this -- and, Doug, I want to get your take on this. Carson is now saying it's time to move on, folks. I don't want to answer any more of these questions. Let's talk about the real issues. Some of his opponents are not missing the opportunity to hit on this over and over again. Just listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You talk about stabbing someone and it got stopped by a belt buckle, which, you know, belt buckles don't stop stabbing. They turn and twist and things slide off them. It's pretty lucky if that happened.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is, of course, his burden. It's absolutely his burden. I heard him say he's been more scrutinized than anybody in this race and it's unfair. Is he kidding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Is he kidding?
BERMAN: He has a bridge to sell you, if you know what I mean.
BOLDUAN: Got a question, though, on this. How risky is it, how far can the other candidates go? As you said, it's a winning strategy, at least short-temper to blast the media. They say you're asking legitimate questions and that could becoming at them soon.
[11:40:19] HEYE: I think so one of the frustrations a lot of Republicans have is we are haven't heard enough specifics from what our top-tier candidates, Donald Trump and Ben Carson. I want to know where they are on tax reform. I want to know where they are on growing the economy, creating jobs, increasing wages. We haven't heard a whole lot of that.
Ben Carson's life story, whether we know all the details or not, is obviously very inspirational. But we need to know what his prescription is to fix the problems in the country. We need to know that of all the candidates. And the debates have been somewhat helpful but we certainly need to hear more. That's where you'll hear a lot of Republican candidates say, wait a second, you need to answer these questions. If you're a candidate who's not leading the polls, you want the candidates who are up front to get as much scrutiny as they get attention.
BERMAN: Brad, I want you to take your partisan hat on, put your strategist hat on.
BOLDUAN: I don't think he can.
WOODHOUSE: I'll try.
HEYE: That's never happened.
BERMAN: OK, We have a Republican debate tomorrow night, Brad. What should these other candidates do with Ben Carson on this stage tomorrow night?
WOODHOUSE: Look, I think they should actually -- I agree with Doug. I think they should not get into these issues in the debate. I think it's a great place for the media to get into. I think they should challenge him on substance. I mean, this is someone who doesn't have a public record. He's never run a state. He's never served in elected office. You need to scrutinize what he's saying today about his plans. And the CNBC debate, he didn't even know the details of his own economic or tax plan. And I think that that would be where I would go if I were one of the other candidates.
BERMAN: Brad Woodhouse, Doug Heye, thank you for communicating with us today.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys. (CROSSTALK)
HEYE: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Such good communicators.
BERMAN: 41 minutes after the hour right now. We have new details on a really serious story.
BERMAN: A sexting scandal rocking a Colorado high school. Hundreds of naked photos, collected like trading cards, and hidden on these cell phone apps. Ahead, why some teenagers may now have to register as sex offenders.
BOLDUAN: And a 6-year-old little boy shot and killed. Two police officers are now charged with murder. What happened in the moments before the shooting? New details as the officers head to court this morning.
[11:46:48] BOLDUAN: A teen sexting scandal that's rocked a high school, shamed a football team, and stunned a community. Canon City is a town of less than 20,000 people in the Rocky Mountains south of Denver. And this school is now dealing with more than 100 students in its small school trading hundreds of nude photographs. The football team ended its season with a painful forfeit after many of its players were implicated in the scandal. The high school principal says the community is beyond shocked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET MEULI, PRINCIPAL, CANON CITY HIGH SCHOOL: This cuts to the core of who we are and what we're about, and that's the part that kind of hurt us, is, you know, we never, ever would have thought anything like this would be going on to this magnitude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, is with us. CNN's Ana Cabrera joins us live from Canon City.
Ana, on the soccer fields, parents in New York, this is all they were talking about. I have to believe the volume there is simply enormous.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The community here has really been shaken. And they say it's been an eye-opening experience, especially for parents who had no idea things were happening on their kids' cell phones. Here's why. A lot of these pictures were being shared and then saved on secret apps. That may look like a calculator app or a media player on your kids' cell phone, but then when you open it and type in a password, it provides access to a lot of hidden pictures. Officials say they're very early in this investigation, but they've already confiscated three cell phones they've determined contain hundreds of pictures involving hundreds of students here at the school that shared either partially nude photos or photos of students in their undergarments. These are students as young as eighth grade.
Now, we did talk to one student who says that she was asked to send lewd photos a couple of years ago. It's been going on for some time. She said she never did send any pictures, but she noticed it's becoming more and more common amongst her peers. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CANON CITY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I think it's become the norm not just our school but throughout all of society. We see these things on the TV and, like, the Internet of, like, girls sending pictures of themselves and everything. And it's just become something that, like, everybody was doing so nobody really saw something really bad about it. Like, I personally just knew morally that it was wrong but I didn't really know, like, legally to the extent of how wrong it was because nobody ever told us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, talk about a learning experience where these students and these school staff and administrators. Officials here are saying that, you know, they're going to be doing a lot more education and talking about to raise awareness of these apps and that this is not OK.
In the meantime, the district attorney will decide whether any criminal charges could be filed. It could include felony charges that could lead to some students having to register as sex offenders -- John and Kate?
BOLDUAN: Just amazing, Ana.
Ana is there on the ground.
Let's bring in Paul Callan for some legal analysis here.
We were discussing this morning, when you're looking at, at least 100 kids, hundreds of nude photos, however many cell phones are involved here, this is a legal disaster this prosecutor has on their hands.
[11:50:15] PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's enormous. I know that one of the prosecutors has stats to warn parents that nearly 39 percent of high school kids engage in the sexting activity. So it is a staggeringly high figure.
To put it in perspective, if you went to the pre-Internet age, young men, adolescents, what were they doing? They were looking at a "Playboy" magazine hidden under a bed someplace. Now, of course, technology has advanced and they are getting the pictures of girls in high school.
(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: But that is a felony, Paul, and if you send in a picture of a nude person under the age of 18, under 16 in these cases, that is trafficking child porn.
CALLAN: You bet it is.
BERMAN: Or possession. So what --
BERMAN: So what do you do to 200 kids? You put 200 kids on a sexual registry?
CALLAN: It's such a serious felony, too. But you have to hope that the prosecutors would have some discretion and understand that these are kids.
CALLAN: Well, they have enormous -- they have complete discretion. Prosecutors are not required to charge at all if they find exceptional charges.
Now, let's be clear about the law, also. If you're over the age of 18 in Colorado, it is a felony and prosecuted in the criminal system. And if you are under 18 and you do it, you in the juvenile system and you can be handled in a number of ways not involving jail and not involving a permanent mark on you.
BERMAN: And you could have seniors who are 18, easily sending the pictures of 16, 17 and 18 year olds.
BOLDUAN: And down to as young as 8th grade. What happens from here?
BOLDUAN: I mean, do they all need to, first off, hand over the cell phone so they are still not in possession of child porn?
CALLAN: Well, it is a wakeup call for the adults that you have to stay up with the technology. They have a vault technology now where the girl can send a picture from her vault into another vault so that the parent picks it up, and they can't see it there.
CALLAN: And it is often the guys who do it. But the parents have to stay up with the technology and stay one step ahead of the kids.
BERMAN: Know the law.
Paul Callan, great to have you with us.
BOLDUAN: Know the law.
Ana Cabrera, thank you as well. BOLDUAN: Interesting to see what happens. Honestly, what a mess
BERMAN: A 6-year-old child, a little, boy killed while buckled into the passenger seat of his father's car. The two officers charged with his murder are expected to be in court this morning. Did they know the boy's father?
[11:57:02] BOLDUAN: Breaking news out of Louisiana. Two officers charged in the death of a 6-year-old boy. They just wrapped up their first court appearance.
BERMAN: Our Nick Valencia is joining us from Louisiana with the latest.
Nick, what happened?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That court appearance just ended moments ago. The sheriff of the local parish coming out here to give the media the paperwork. We want to tell you that bond for each one of the officers charged in the death of that 6-year-old, Jeremy Mardis, has been set at $1 million. Further conditions to this decision by the judge is home incarceration via electronic monitoring to be approved by the court, surrender of any and all firearms of any kind pending the orders of the court. They have to give up the badges and any police officer certification.
Many unanswered questions in the community since this shooting happened a week ago. The biggest questions, of course, is how the police got involved in the first place and why they would pursue Chris Few, the father of the 6-year-old boy who was shot and killed. Also, why they would use lethal force if Few was unarmed. At least 18 rounds were shot into the car, and five of them hit the little boy in the head and chest, killing him. No firearms for warrants for this Chris Few, the father of the child.
Initially, earlier in the investigation, the marshals here in the community said that there was a warrant out for Chris Few, and that ended up not being the case, according to the lead investigator here the Louisiana State Police Department.
Also, adding further confusion, and making the case more bizarre is what we learned yesterday from a source with knowledge of the investigation is that one of these marshals, one of the officers who has been charged in the death, knew the victims prior to the shooting. How well he knew Chris Few, and how well the extent of their relationship is all part of the investigation by the Louisiana State Police, but certainly, it is fueling speculation in this community of about 5,000 people.
I should tell you, John and Kate, within the last hour, this area of the detention center where this proceeding took place is a circus. We've had, one by one, members of the community come up to us alleging wrongdoing, and talking about unfavorable encounters with either one or both of the officers, and some of them have pending civil law suits against one or both of the officers.
We've been looking into the history of these officers and we have not been able to find any conviction of a crime. But we can tell you that back in 2001, one of the officers, Derrick Stafford, was indicted on two counts of aggravated rape. That case was dismissed. But many people in this community are scratching their head and don't understand how little boy could be shot and killed and why police would have pursued his father in the first place -- John and Kate?
BOLDUAN: Nick Valencia.
Nick bringing us the breaking news, the first court appearance for those two officers. Bond set at $1 million each for those officers in the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy there in Louisiana.
Thank you, Nick.
And thank you all for joining us AT THIS HOUR.
BERMAN: "LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
[12:00:08] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. And welcome to "LEGAL VIEW."