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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Jury Selected in Freddie Gray Death Case; New Allegations of Cover-up in Chicago Amid Calls for Emanuel to Go; Britain Debates Attack on ISIS. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired December 2, 2015 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:3319:] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're continuing to follow our breaking news out of Baltimore. A jury has been selected in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter. He is one of the six officers charged in the April death of Freddie Gray. Here is the makeup of the jury that we've just learned about. There are three African-American men on the jury, five African-American women, three white women, one white man. Then also when you look at the four alternates selected, three white men and one black man.
The reason we talk about race here is this is a racially charged case. And this is what caused such unrest in the city.
Joining me now to discuss from Baltimore is CNN's Jean Casarez; as well as Baltimore defense attorney and CNN legal analyst, Andrew Alperstein.
Thank you both for joining me.
First to you, Jean.
You've been following this from the very beginning. You've been in the courtroom. Tell me what happened inside.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I want to tell everybody that we believe opening statements are happening right now. We do know the elected state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, has entered the courtroom. So we believe that it's happening as we speak. And as far as the jury, this took from Monday, Tuesday, today is Wednesday, it was very streamlined. There was 125 jurors, we believe, that had that individual questioning. They made it on at that point today. They selected the jury, as you said, two-thirds are African-American. One-third is white. As far as the alternates -- and there are four alternates -- three of them are white. One is African-American. But here's what's interesting. There are peremptory strikes which are strikes at the very end that attorneys on both sides can do for whatever reason they want. And the defense struck all African- Americans. And the prosecution struck three whites and one African- American. And so that paved the way for the trial to begin.
Also want to tell you that both sides carried in big poster boards today. The defense showing the route that that police van took on that day. And William Porter is facing very serious charges. Manslaughter, 20 years maximum. Could spend decades in prison. Second-degree assault, also 20 years. So this is extremely serious for him.
[11:05:29] BOLDUAN: And, Andrew, tell me, what do you think of the jury makeup? What sticks out to you?
ANDREW ALPERSTEIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is a fairly typical composition of a jury in Baltimore. Normally you'll see about two- thirds African-American and one-third white. Usually, I'll get two to four whites on there. The striking process was significant. I mean, everybody obviously knows there's a racial undertone would be an understatement, right?
ALPERSTEIN: You know, to see -- to see basically strikes just completely on almost racial lines, I was a little surprised by that. I will tell you, interestingly, jean was just talking about the alternates. So it's four alternates. That's a little more than we normally see. In a longer case, usually something will happen to a juror. Somebody gets sick or can't come back or just doesn't come back. The first three alternates in order are all white. So it's an interesting dynamic. If it really is about race, as the lawyers seem to be implying by their actions, you know, the balance could shift quickly depending on what happens with people.
BOLDUAN: That's an excellent point.
And as you point out, Jean, it could be moving right on to opening statements as we speak. So we'll be watching this very closely.
Jean, great to see you.
Andrew, thank you so much.
Coming up for us, just in, for the first time since firing Chicago's top cop, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, he now is responding to calls that he also should be the next to go. What he says about his future amid allegations of a cover-up in the death of a teen who was shot 16 times in that city.
[11:41:26] BOLDUAN: The city of Chicago is on edge this morning as protesters claim a police cover-up followed the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Yesterday Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, he fired the city's police chief, calling him a distraction, and now new questions are emerging about another video that could offer insight into what happened that night. The manager of a nearby Burger King claims police deleted about 90 minutes of surveillance video, but the city's prosecutor says that that video had not -- has not been tampered with.
CNN's national correspondent, Ryan Young, is joining me from Chicago with more.
Ryan, what is the latest you're hearing about all of the questions surrounding now this surveillance video?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, everyone wants to talk about the surveillance video, and of course there's that portion that is missing. You know, they said they did a forensic audit of that video, and they don't believe anyone tampered with it, but there is a picture circulating of an officer looking at the screen, and that's what this manager claimed that someone maybe deleted several files from the inside.
We also went to this Burger King, stood on the outside and from the direction of the cameras. It doesn't appear that it would even capture the shooting that took place of Laquan McDonald. Nothing that would be better than the dash cam. Could it have captured something on the other side of the Burger King, maybe something that may have happened in the parking lot or when he decided to run through that parking lot on the way where he was finally shot 16 times. That's a question that we won't be able to answer.
There have been several people who have said the system there was malfunctioning before this ever happened. And there were other gaps in videos from days before. So it doesn't appear, at least, that there was something that was tampered with. Of course, the state's attorney talked about that just a week ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANITA ALVAREZ, COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY: At this point, we don't know whether or not, you though, there could be any other evidence obtained from them. It doesn't appear that they've been tampered with, and did not reveal, you know, any of that kind of evidence. However, the investigation will always continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Look, obviously, we're still asking all of the same questions. We want to know what may have happened with this video. They said they did an independent audit. We also want to know why there was no audio on those dash cam takes. It was turned upside down and that's why it didn't capture audio. These are all questions asked as to whether or not there was a cover-up. Of course, we'll continue to check -- Kate
BOLDUAN: Ryan Young on the ground for us. Thank you so much, Ryan. You're on it.
So was there -- as Ryan says, there's a lot of questions surrounding it -- was there a cover-up by the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago's mayor's office? If there was one, over the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald? That's what "The New York Times" editorial board is writing about today. They write this: They call it a "cover-up that began 13 months ago when McDonald was killed." Also, Illinois' top prosecutor has called now for the Justice Department to step in and investigate the city's police department after all of this.
Joining me now to discuss is Washington bureau chief of "The Chicago Sun-Times," Lynn Sweet.
Lynn, it's great to see you.
"The New York Times" editorial board wrote strongly about this. Not only did they call it a cover-up, they also said that Mayor Rahm Emanuel "demonstrated a willful ignorance in how he's handled it."
Mayor Emanuel has spoke out for the first time since firing the police chief yesterday. He spoke out this morning. And here's how he reacted -- here's how he responded when he was asked by a reporter about his handling of this whole thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:45:02] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This video has been out there. This incident was over a year ago. Why do we have to wait for a blue ribbon panel? Change the policy now. Can't you do that?
RAHM EMANUEL, (D), MAYOR OF CHICAGO: You are reflecting the immediacy of cable television. So let me, if I can --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I think I'm reflecting what the community is asking for.
EMANUEL: No, you're asking a question that is out there, but -- well, first of all, there's a set of rules, and then there's also a culture. And I would argue to you and disagree that hiding. I don't think there's anything about what I've done about hiding. I've taken responsibility, and I'll continue to take responsibility in making the sustained changes on a systemic problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That's Mayor Emanuel speaking out for the first time since firing his police chief.
Lynn, you've covered Rahm Emanuel from Congress to the White House to Chicago. What do you make of what he's saying, how he's responding to all of this?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, actually, even before Congress.
BOLDUAN: That's right.
SWEET: So we go back decades on this. So what I'm seeing is he was parsing, splitting hairs. He knew what the -- he knew what the gist of the question was, why didn't you act faster on this? Because there were several points in this sad story where you would think the city knew or should have known that that video did not jibe with the official explanation of what happened. Even if they weren't ready to put that out to the public, you could not not react to the problem where you knew enough of how bad it was that you recommended to your city council that you pay $5 million to the parents of Mr. McDonald without even having to file a lawsuit. So I think the phrase "willful ignorance" is very apt in this case because the mayor was not served by the people around him who are his advisers and staffers and other consultants in how this was handled and, of course, his own instincts which usually have been good, failed him on this one.
BOLDUAN: And your paper has been all over this as this came out. I mean, you mentioned "The New York Times" editorial right there in terms of the "willful ignorance." They had no problem coming out and saying that this was a cover-up. Do you think -- are you guys ready to say that it's a cover-up? Do you think it was?
SWEET: Well, "The Chicago Sun-Times" editorial board did call for the resignation of Chief McCarthy just hours before he was fired. I think right now I don't want to jump to a conclusion of cover-up because there might be legal distinctions here. So let's stay with just the level -- the threshold, a lower one, of willful ignorance. And that, I think, is what has happened here. Because the city council members, 50 of them, could have asked more questions when they had this unusual settlement put before them. The corporation council could have waved flags for the mayor. The mayor could have internally have done what he did yesterday, put in some kind of an advisory committee to fix a problem he saw. He didn't have to wait until all this came to a head.
BOLDUAN: What happens now? I mean, we're all stuck in this moment of the chief is fired. Folks are calling for Rahm Emanuel to step down. What happens now, Lynn?
SWEET: Well, despite Rahm's protest about the immediacy of cable tv, this is about life in the big city. He canceled his trip to Paris. I don't know why he didn't say so yesterday. It just was impossible to think he would have gone to the climate conference, even though it's an important issue.
SWEET: He is not going to resign. He said that this morning. He has to figure out a way to build trust and confidence. One of the most famous quotes of Rahm Emanuel -- you may know what I'm about to say is -- you never let a good crisis go to waste. Well, usually the mayor had been managing other people's crises, other people's messes. This is his own. And now we have to see what he can make of this, how fast he can make of it, and whether or not he can go on and govern in a city that is weighed down with massive problems dealing with schools, pensions and other financial problems.
BOLDUAN: Even before this horrible story came about and this horrific death of this teenager came about.
SWEET: And other victims of violence in other parts of the city.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. Exactly right.
Lynn, it's great to see you. Thanks so much.
SWEET: Thank you.
[11:49:38] BOLDUAN: We're also following breaking news out of Baltimore. We'll continue to follow that. A jury has been selected in the trial of police officer William Porter. He's one of the six officers charged in the April death of Freddie Gray. Opening statements, right now, under way. We're going to take you there live.
BOLDUAN: Right now a fiery debate going on in the U.K. over whether to strike ISIS terrorists inside Syria. British lawmakers there are battling over the decision, a fight expected to go on for more than 10 hour. And it's no secret that these types of debates in parliament can get heated. Listen here. Here's a bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I know that some suggest that military action could in some way undermine our counter-extremism strategy by radicalizing British Muslims. So let me take this head on. British Muslims are appalled by Daesh --
CAMERON: These women-raping, Muslim-murdering medieval monsters, they are hijacking the peaceful religion of Islam for their warped ends.
UNIDENTIFIED HOUSE OF COMMONS MEMBER: The prime minister's attempt to brand those who plan to vote against the government as terrorist sympathizers both demeans the office of the prime minister --
UNIDENTIFIED HOUSE OF COMMONS MEMBER: -- and, I believe undermines the seriousness of the deliberations that we are having today.
UNIDENTIFIED HOUSE OF COMMONS MEMBER: If the prime minister now wants to apologize for those remarks, I would be happy to give way to him to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:55:30] BOLDUAN: Very serious debate going on there.
Britain is already part of the U.S. coalition, the U.S.-led coalition conducting the air strikes on ISIS in Iraq only.
I sometimes wish they could have those types of debates here in the United States in a very similar way.
Thank you for joining us AT THIS HOUR. "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield is going to be starting right
after this with much more on the breaking news coming out of Baltimore.