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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Speaks Out; Lebanon on the Brink of Civil War?; Atlanta Shooting Death Raises Controversy; Controversial Professor Under Fire; Comedy Club Patrons Speak Out about Racist Tirade; Michael Richards Apologizes to Al Sharpton for Racial Comments; Automotive Black Boxes: Safety Devices or Big Brother?
Aired November 22, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, again.
Somewhere tonight, a Marine could be on the way to Iraq, not for the first time, not even the second. Try the fourth.
ANNOUNCER: The few, the proud, the going-back-for-their-fourth- tour-of-duty Marines -- now their commandant is saying: Enough. Give me fewer missions or more men.
They went in on a drug raid. They ran into a 92-year-old woman instead. But that's not the half of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They was an oncoming, just pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow.
ANNOUNCER: She opened fire. Tragedy followed. Did it all begin with a deadly mistake?
He's been saying he's sorry, but not to the people on the receiving end of this.
MICHAEL RICHARDS, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: Oh. Oh.
ANNOUNCER: So, what's their take, and what do they now want from Michael Richards? We asked them.
And it's watching you, the hidden spy inside your car. Just what can investigators find out about your driving, whether you like it or not?
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Sitting in for Anderson and reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's John Roberts.
ROBERTS: And thanks again for joining us. Tonight, you will see why so many American troops are such a long way from home this Thanksgiving eve. You may also understand why so many people now want them home, and soon. Today, one of the leading authorities in the Middle East, a sane man, a careful man, called Iraq a country on the verge of genocide -- so, all the angles tonight on that, on a U.N. report out today painting a picture of sectarian slaughter in size, scope and cruelty, it beggars the imagination.
Also: a wakeup call from the Marine's new top general. He describes, in so many words, a fighting force now at the breaking point.
Then, there's Lebanon. Marines know it well from the last civil war there. Could it now be on the brink of the next one?
First, though, to Iraq and CNN's Michael Ware.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An overcrowded morgue -- this father pleads for help.
"I came here," he says, "for my son."
Just 17 years old, Mohammed al-Tamimi (ph) left his aunt's house almost two weeks ago, bound for home. He hasn't been seen since. His increasingly dispirited father, Ali (ph), cannot rest, trawling Baghdad's hospitals, jails, army barracks, and morgues.
It's his third visit to this one.
"I have looked everywhere, but I can't find him, "he says. "He's my son. I feel lost."
He's far from alone. These faces, each seeking someone dear, fill Baghdad's central mall. More than 13,000 men, women and children have died in the past four months alone, according to the United Nations, victims of insurgent violence and sectarian death squads.
And this sad place is swamped each morning, prompting a macabre efficiency. Viewing bodies is impossible in the crush, so, a large video screen has been installed with photographs of the dead scrolling slowly past. With many of the images still bloodied, barely recognizable, we agreed not to show the screen.
Inside, women hold worn photographs. As men peer at the screen, a wail rises up, while outside, by hastily made coffins, other grieve, and even more wait.
At home, Ali's (ph) wife, Rahma, can't help but hold a mother's hope her boy will return.
RAHMA AL-JOUBORI, MOTHER OF MISSING SON (through translator): My heart is telling me that he's still alive. I just want him back. I have no other son, except Mohammed (ph).
WARE: His grandmother, however, is sure he's dead. "He's gone," she sighs.
But Rahma can't bear the thought.
AL-JOUBORI (through translator): I'm keeping my eyes on the gate of the house, waiting for him to push through the gate.
WARE: Ali (ph) would keep a similar vigil, but, heavy with mourning, he's forced to return to driving his minibus taxi.
"I had been to go back to work," he says. "It's very hard for me. But what can I do?"
All Rahma can do is pray. Most of the disappeared die at the hands of death squads, for the sake of their faith, a cruel torment for this family. Ali (ph) is a Shia, Rahma a Sunni. For them, the sectarian divide has meant nothing. Now it's the source of their terrible lament.
"Before, we did have this Sunni-vs.-Shia thing," says Ali. "We were the same, brothers living together, playing, eating together. I don't know where all this came from, or where it will end."
ROBERTS: Michael Ware -- Michael Ware joins us now live from Baghdad.
And -- and, Michael, up until that report, these have really been impersonal statistics. We have seen, through this report, how bad it is for these people.
What's being done about it?
WARE: Well, John, obviously, this is the greatest problem plaguing Iraq at the moment.
The U.S. military says it's the civil -- well, the military says it's sectarian violence. Let's face it. You have seen it. For the Iraqis living it, this is civil war. There's very little that can be done. The U.S. military says more people are dying from this now, more Iraqis, than the insurgency itself.
Now, we know, for example, that, over the past three weeks, coalition and Iraqi forces have conducted 58 targeted raids at death squads. As a result, they have detained eight death squad leaders and more than 180 members. Yet, John, the killings continue.
There was at least 50 bodies that showed up on Baghdad streets this morning. More than 20 of them were blindfolded.
ROBERTS: Steele , when you look at the pattern of these killings, is it -- is it ethnic cleansing, or does it start to lean toward that border into genocide?
WARE: Well, ethnic cleansing, I'm afraid to say, is something that is being uttered here on the ground. Now, again, for a nation that can't accept that -- that Iraq is in civil war, ethnic cleansing is also something that I'm sure it will shudder to contemplate. Nonetheless, the report released today from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq gives some hint.
It says that entire communities have been disrupted to varying degrees, neighborhoods split, people driven out. This feels like ethnic cleansing -- John.
ROBERTS: Michael Ware in Baghdad for us tonight -- Michael, thanks very much.
Consider this. Tomorrow night, there are American fighting men and women spending their second or possibly even their third Thanksgiving in Iraq. Some Marine units are now on their fourth tour of duty -- today, a blunt and candid warning from their new boss: There is too much fighting, too few Marines.
Here's CNN's Jamie McIntyre.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just one week into the job, the new Marine Corps commandant warns, the burden of repeat tours on Marine families is too much.
GENERAL JAMES CONWAY, U.S. MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT: I think we may lose some of those folks. I think that the families, the young Marines, the sailors will say, that's -- that's just more than I think, you know, I'm willing to bear.
And it could have some negative consequences for us in that regard.
MCINTYRE: General James Conway says, something's got to give. Either send fewer Marines to war, or recruit more to increase the size of the corps.
Currently, there are roughly 180,000 Marines on active duty, and, unlike ground troops in the Army, they serve seven-month combat tours, not a year. They're supposed to get 14 months to recover, but the interval is more like seven or eight months, basically because the unrelenting violence in Iraq has prevented planned U.S. troop withdrawals.
The strain is not just a personal hardship. It's forcing the Marine Corps to forgo other critical missions, as it concentrates solely on counterinsurgency operations.
CONWAY: We're not providing to the nation some of the other things that we should be able to do, in virtually any other nature of contingency.
We're not sending battalions like we used to for the mountain warfare training, the -- the jungle training. And we're not doing combined arms exercises that we used to do for the fire and maneuver types of activities that we have to be prepared to do.
MCINTYRE: At his confirmation hearing this summer, General Conway found an ally in Democrat Carl Levin, who will soon take over as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: I believe there is quite justifiable angst in the Marine Corps that the supplemental funding will not keep pace with its needs, especially as the war drags on and equipment is used up.
MCINTYRE: Currently, there are about 23,000 Marines in Iraq, all in Al Anbar Province, one of the most dangerous parts of country. That includes 2,200 reinforcements just dispatched to the area to try to help keep the insurgents in check.
(on camera): General Conway is not ready to make any bold and expensive recommendations to increase the size of the Marine Corps. For one thing, he's waiting to see what new strategy might be in store for Iraq. If it calls for fewer Marines, instead of more, then he thinks he can manage with the Marines he's got.
Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.
ROBERTS: Whatever the new strategy turns out to be, the growing number of hot spots and powder kegs around the world would seem to demand a larger fighting force.
And, in the powder keg department, there is Lebanon. Tonight, members of that country's Western-leaning government are lying low. Some are all but in hiding, after yesterday's assassination of Lebanon's industry minister, Pierre Gemayel. Fingers are being pointed at Syria. Hezbollah is stirring the pot. And the vultures now appear to be gathering.
For the latest, we turn to CNN's Nic Robertson. He's in Beirut.
Nic, is there any clearer idea today, as the sun starts to come up there in Lebanon, as to why Gemayel was gunned down?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the supposition here is, from the anti-Syrian lobby -- and he was part of that political lobby here -- is that it was pro-Syrian elements that were behind his assassination, and those elements killed him, because, at the moment, the government of the Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is trying to push through support for a U.N. tribunal to try four -- four Lebanese security officials for their hand and role in the assassination of the former prime minister here, Rafik Hariri, back in the beginning of 2005.
That's the supposition here. The anxiety has been clear on the streets today, because they were largely empty. It's about eight hours away now from Pierre Gemayel's funeral. His body was carried to his ancestral home outside Beirut earlier in the day. There were hundreds of people on the streets in that -- in that town up in the mountains, just outside the city here -- people angry. And there were volleys of shots fired -- people sad. There were a lot of tears. And the former industry minister's father, Amin Gemayel, who was a president here not so long ago, was calling on the crowds for calm.
But there is anger. And there's deep concern about what's going to happen next -- John.
ROBERTS: Nic, the remaining members of the anti-Syrian bloc in Lebanon's government are becoming increasingly concerned that they may fall prey to violence. Are -- are those concerns well-founded?
ROBERTSON: They appear to be very well-founded.
Pierre Gemayel was gunned down in cold blood while he was in his car driving through the city. It was an unarmored vehicle. And the other ministers are very concerned about their security. They're now holed up in the house of -- well, many of them are holed up in the house of the former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
His son, Saad Hariri, is the majority speaker in the parliament. And he's hosting all these ministers. I was there while -- I was there tonight. They're very quiet. They're very concerned.
And, when you ask them what they think is going to happen in the next few days, they really don't know. They're very concerned that one of them could be next on the target list, for exactly the same reasons Pierre Gemayel was gunned down -- John.
ROBERTS: Are they -- are they concerned that the government could fall in the next week or two?
ROBERTSON: Well, if there were more than two more ministers killed, then, the -- the prime minister, Fouad Siniora, his government would effectively collapse. And, certainly, the Hezbollah party here has been calling on Fouad Siniora to form a unity government.
They had been planning to hold street demonstrations to make that happen. It would seem to be within their -- within their aims to bring down this government. And killing more ministers would do that -- John.
ROBERTS: Yes, there were pro-Hezbollah demonstrations planned for tomorrow, our time, today, your time, independence day there in Lebanon.
Are those still going to happen, with Gemayel's funeral taking place?
ROBERTSON: It appears that they're not.
What Hezbollah is saying at the moment is, they want to give a -- they want to give a period of a few days of calm. They want to read the situation, it appears. But there's a strong feeling that, if there is a massive anti-Syrian turnout at the demonstrate -- at the funerals today that turns into an anti-Syrian demonstration, then, it seems, in all likelihood, that Hezbollah really won't waste a lot of time calling people out onto the streets in the coming days...
ROBERTSON: ... in a pro-Syrian demonstration of support -- John.
ROBERTS: Demonstration, counter-demonstration.
Nic Robertson for us in Beirut tonight -- Nic, thanks very much.
So, given what Nic just reported, here's the "Raw Data."
Under Lebanese law, the government must dissolve if eight ministers out of 24 leave office, voluntarily or not. Earlier this month, as Nic mentioned, six Cabinet members allied with Hezbollah stepped down. Those departures, along with Gemayel's murder, leave the country's present government just one minister away from a constitutional crisis.
Now some other "Raw Data" -- 250 baggage handlers, two dozen drums of dangerous chemicals, one hellacious nor'easter -- oh, and tens of millions of people trying to get somewhere for the holiday.
The baggage handlers for Northwest staged a brief work stoppage today at the airline's Detroit and Minneapolis hubs. Minor delays followed that.
Two dozen drums of industrial solvent, give or take, flew off a jackknifing big rig on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, not far from LAX Airport. Traffic was jammed for much of the day there.
And the storm that flooded a good chunk of the Eastern Seaboard today in the Mid-Atlantic region seems to be sticking around a while.
For the latest on that now, let's head down to Atlanta and CNN's Jacqui Jeras.
Of course, Jacqui, all of us here in New York wondering if the balloons are going to fly tomorrow, and if the parade here is going to be rained out. What's it looking like?
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, I think you're definitely going to be seeing the rain in the morning, John.
And the wind, the threshold really iffy -- 23 miles per hour, that's the criteria for those balloons to fly. And I think winds are going to be between 15 and 20 miles per hour. So, it's going to get really close, something we will have to watch very closely in the morning.
And, boy, what a system, couldn't have come at a worse time, still affecting travelers at this hour from Florida, all the way up into the Northeast -- even southern New England, up into parts of Connecticut, feeling the effects of this storm system at this time. This is our flight tracker system, showing you all the planes that are in the air at this time, about 4,300 right now. That is down from the peak today at around 7,100.
We still have only a handful of delays, but the number of minutes, still quite abundant -- JFK, New York City, one hour and 15 minutes, more than two hours yet at La Guardia. Newark is now pushing three hours, and Philadelphia just over an hour delay.
More delays are possible, especially in the morning tomorrow across parts of the Northeast, but the Southeast looking so much better here -- your Thanksgiving in the nation's midsection, just beautiful. It doesn't get better than this, this time of the year. And the Pacific Northwest will continue to see active weather, not just today, not just tomorrow, but even through the weekend.
We will watch for much better conditions by late in the day on Friday into the Northeast. And, for those of you traveling on Sunday in the Northeast, at least feel better. Though you may be sitting in the airports a lot today, it looks great on Sunday -- John.
ROBERTS: Well, Jacqui, we wish that you had better news for us for tomorrow, but we like you anyways. Thanks.
ROBERTS: A drug raid takes the life of an elderly woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH DOZIER, NIECE OF KATHRYN JOHNSTON: ... that old lady down like a dog. They didn't have to do that. It's one old woman in that house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: That's one side of the story. The police have a much different version to tell. That's coming up.
Also tonight: free speech or a firing offense? A university divided over a lecturer who says the 9/11 terror attacks were an inside job.
And you probably don't know this, but there may be a black box in your car, tracking every move that you make.
This is 360.
ROBERTS: In Atlanta tonight, investigators are trying to piece together a bizarre shooting that left three police officers injured and a woman dead. That woman was 92 years old, and she did some of the shooting. Was she the victim of mistaken identity? CNN's Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the scene just after 7:00 Tuesday night. Atlanta undercover narcotics officers arrived with a search warrant, expecting to find the same guy they say sold them drugs at this home hours earlier. Instead, they got 92- year-old Kathryn Johnston. She was locked and loaded.
ALAN DREHER, ASSISTANT ATLANTA POLICE CHIEF: The female inside began shooting at the police officers. The officers returned fire, and, as a result, Ms. -- Ms. Johnston received fatal injuries.
KAYE: Police aren't saying yet how many shots were exchanged. That's still under investigation. But before Johnston was killed, police say she shot three officers, one in the leg, one in the arm, and one in the leg, face, and chest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it was an oncoming, just pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow.
KAYE: In a neighborhood just southwest of downtown known for trouble, Johnston's niece says she bought her aunt a gun so she could protect herself.
SARAH DOZIER, NIECE OF KATHRYN JOHNSTON: Yes, she has a gun. And I went and got her a gun permit. Now, they didn't have to shoot that old lady down like a dog. They didn't have to do that. It's one old woman in that house.
KAYE: Her niece believes Johnston was startled and acted in self-defense. But police believe otherwise. The assistant chief says drugs were recovered from the home. And they're still looking for the man they say took part in the undercover buy earlier in the day. It's unclear at this point if Johnston had been at home during the alleged buy.
DOZIER: They kicked her door in, talking about drugs. There are no drugs in that house. And they realize now they done the wrong house. They went, and they killed her.
KAYE (on camera): Police still insist they had the right address, and that officers had no choice but to fire back.
The assistant police chief says officers weren't wearing uniforms, but bulletproof vests clearly marked with the word "police." He also says officers announced themselves before forcing open the front door, even though the warrant didn't require that.
(voice-over): The three officers are on administrative leave with pay, while Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard looks into their actions.
PAUL HOWARD, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: So, as far as we have been able to determine at this point, the police followed the law.
KAYE: They may have followed the law. But, still, the victim's family wonders what kind of law allows police to shoot and kill a 92- year-old lady in her own home.
DOZIER: I'm as mad as hell. And somebody's going to answer to that.
KAYE (on camera): The three wounded officers have all been released from the hospital. Because of the ongoing investigation, police won't release anything about their history on the job. But we have been able to learn that two of the officers are white, one African-American.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.
ROBERTS: Coming up on 360: Are certain subjects so widely discredited and so inflammatory that they simply should not be taught? That's the question at a state university caught in a battle over 9/11, conspiracy theories, and whether taxpayers should be footing the bill to teach them.
Plus: Michael Richards' racist meltdown. Meet two young men who were on the receiving end.
This is 360.
ROBERTS: Nine-Eleven conspiracy theories, should they be taught? Should you be paying for classes that teach them?
ROBERTS: A guest lecturer at the University of Wisconsin is gaining worldwide attention. He's teaching a class on Islam. It includes a few lessons on his 9/11 conspiracy theory.
He believes that the attacks of September 11 were an inside job, a sinister plot by the U.S. government -- strong words, followed by strong outrage.
CNN's Keith Oppenheim reports.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twice a week, Kevin Barrett heads to class...
KEVIN BARRETT, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON LECTURER: Hello.
OPPENHEIM: ... teaching what would seem like a pretty benign subject, "Introduction to Islam."
BARRETT: The message of Islam is that you absolutely have to submit.
OPPENHEIM: But a description he wrote under his department photo suggests something not so benign. It reads, he enjoys gardening, music, and bringing down fascist regimes in his spare time.
And he isn't talking about other countries. Kevin Barrett believes the U.S. government itself probably orchestrated the September 11 attacks.
(on camera): What would have been the incentive for the Bush administration to have allowed for the death of 3,000 people?
BARRETT: To trigger a war that had been preplanned. It was a new Pearl Harbor.
OPPENHEIM (voice-over): In academic articles, Barrett writes, 9/11 was a planned excuse for war, "intended to set the American empire in stone for at least 100 years, perhaps even to found a new imperial 1,000-year reich, like the one the Nazis dreamed of."
He believes the Twin Towers were knocked down by explosives planted in advance.
(on camera): Most people, I don't think, believe that those buildings came down because there were explosives put in the buildings ahead of time.
BARRETT: And that's because most people haven't looked at the evidence. But the evidence is widely available. And I urge your viewers to look at the videos of these buildings collapsing.
OPPENHEIM: Most people, when they hear that, would think that that's crackpot stuff.
BARRETT: Until they actually look at the evidence.
OPPENHEIM (voice-over): He says his evidence includes questions about why the U.S. military never intercepted the hijacked planes, and how unlikely it is 19 men with box-cutters could pull off the sophisticated attacks. Others call that nothing but speculation.
SCOTT SUDER (R), WISCONSIN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: It's offensive not only to America, but it's offensive to the victims of 9/11.
OPPENHEIM: Scott Suder is one of 61 Wisconsin legislators who signed a resolution demanding Barrett be fired, arguing, Barrett's ideas have no academic merit.
SUDER: To teach those students on the taxpayer dime, this has become a nationwide embarrassment for Wisconsin.
OPPENHEIM (on camera): Are you teaching political ideology?
BARRETT: Not in my class. But, on my blog, I sure am.
We now have, in the university...
OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Barrett says he doesn't discuss his personal writing in class, but does quote others who question the official explanation of 9/11.
PATRICK FARRELL, PROVOST, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON: Clearly, people read into that whatever they like.
OPPENHEIM: University officials don't like the kind of attention Barrett is bringing, but they're backing him.
FARRELL: None of his apparent ideology has found its way into the classroom. And that was the gist of our discussion over the summer, and has been in every discussion he and I have had.
OPPENHEIM (on camera): Are you sure that's true?
FARRELL: Am I sure that's true? I have not through the class. I have never even been to the class, no.
OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Barrett showed us his lecture notes. They do present mainstream ideas about 9/11, but also quote other academics who claim the CIA has been funding al Qaeda for years, a claim the CIA, of course, has denied.
Some of Barrett's students say they haven't made up their minds yet.
(on camera): You're thinking twice about it?
JAMES THEESFELD, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON STUDENT: Yes, I'm thinking twice. There's some influence. But I don't know enough to -- to -- to vote one way or the other, really.
AARON ZWICKER, SOPHOMORE, UNIVERSITY OF UNIVERSITY: It's scary that we could lose a good professor like Professor Barrett, who I consider to be my best lecturer right now.
OPPENHEIM: Why is he?
ZWICKER: Because of stuff that he hasn't really talked that much about in class.
OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Still, the university is under intense pressure. More than 1,000 alumni have spent e-mails opposing Barrett. Some say they'll stop donating.
BARRETT: An example of the ego...
OPPENHEIM: But for now, the university is standing up for the right of Barrett and any professor to teach controversial ideas.
Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Madison, Wisconsin.
ROBERTS: And still to come tonight, so-called black boxes in automobiles. It may seem like a good idea, especially in an accident, but they could be used against you.
And later, a 360 special. We take you beyond the front lines in the war on terror. Stay with us.
ROBERTS: The two young African-American men who were the target of Michael Richards' racist tirade last Friday are speaking out. Kyle Doss and Frank McBride are talking about what happened at the Los Angeles comedy club on Friday and how they're dealing with the aftermath.
I spoke to both of them, along with their attorney, Gloria Allred, earlier today.
ROBERTS: Kyle and Frank, you came into the Laugh Factory in quite a large group, I understand, which of course, can be a little bit disruptive, making some noise, getting some seats, ordering some drinks.
Michael Richards was on stage. Who started this whole thing, you or him?
KYLE DOSS, TARGET OF MICHAEL RICHARDS' RANT: It was him. Right when he got in there, he said look at the stupid, loud Mexicans and blacks gong up there. So he said the first initial thing.
ROBERTS: So he was derogatory right off the top. Do you think, Frank, he was trying to be funny at the beginning?
FRANK MCBRIDE, TARGET OF MICHAEL RICHARDS' RANT: Maybe -- maybe in the beginning, it could have been a joke. But I never -- I never heard it.
ROBERTS: So that's when you started the dialogue back. What did you say to him?
DOSS: "My friend doesn't think you're funny." Then, when he said that, he looked at me and flipped at me and said, "F you," "N" word.
ROBERTS: Now -- now, this wasn't you sort of casting aspersions on his entire act. This was just what he was saying to you in terms of look who's just arrived. You're saying that's not very funny?
ROBERTS: Were you surprised at the way he reacted?
DOSS: Completely surprised. I was shocked. I was in total awe. I didn't know what to do. I was just, like stuck, paralyzed.
ROBERTS: How did you feel, Frank? Because when you look at the video of that, it's like he's taking out a hatchet and he's assaulting you.
MCBRIDE: That's exactly how he was. I mean, right away there's a lot of emotions that ran through us, and it was shocking.
ROBERTS: So do you see this as being a societal issue or a legal issue here? I mean, are you looking for some kind of compensation?
DOSS: Both. I felt threatened, you know. I felt completely embarrassed, not only me; my family does, also. Like I said before, my mom was calling me, asking about this, and I have a little 4-year- old cousin asking me why is this man saying this, and what does this stuff mean?
ROBERTS: So you feel that he owes you something beyond an apology?
DOSS: Oh, yes. Of course.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, to that end, Gloria Allred, world famous attorney, has taken on this case. Gloria, what are you looking from this?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, first and foremost, John, we want Mr. Richards to be fully accountable and to take responsibility for the harm that he's inflicted on my clients and others who were there that night.
And we are challenging him today to do that by contacting me. And if he does contact me, we can arrange a meeting where he can sit down, face to face with my clients, and listen to the pain that he has inflicted on them, from them. And then he can apologize to them and acknowledge what he has done wrong.
ROBERTS: Does he need to apologize with his wallet, Ms. Allred?
ALLRED: Well, we'd like him, first of all, to sit there and apologize, face to face, man to man. We think he should do that in the presence of a retired judge. And the retired judge can make a recommendation as to whether he thinks compensation is due, and if so, in what amount.
My clients have pledged to accept whatever the retirement -- retired judge recommends, and we think that Mr. Richards should do likewise.
But this is not just about hurling the "N" word, maybe 10 times, as a verbal missile, targeted at my clients. My clients felt intimidated. There was a potential for a threat of violence.
ALLRED: They didn't know what was going to happen next. They were being singled out. And everyone in our state, John, has a right to be free of that kind of threat.
ROBERTS: Yes. As Kyle himself was articulating.
We're going to talk to Al Sharpton in just a couple minutes. He received a phone call at 11 p.m. New York time from Michael Richards apologizing. Richards apologized on Letterman, hasn't contacted you. Do you find that a little strange?
DOSS: I find that a lot strange, because it's already -- what, Wednesday going on Thursday, and this happened on Friday and it's going on Thursday. I feel like if this tape didn't get out, there would be no apology. There will be no public apology. But this tape did get out, so he felt like he had to apologize.
ROBERTS: So Frank, are you questioning his sincerity here?
MCBRIDE: I'm questioning his sincerity, because he could contact the Laugh Factory if he needed to get in touch with us.
ROBERTS: Right. And of he sat down and apologized, said, "Look, I'm really sorry," whatever explanation he wants to give for it, would you accept that and move on?
DOSS: It wouldn't be that easy, because you have no idea the feeling of this. Like I'd rather be -- I'd rather be hit and spit on than have that done to me in that manner in front of strangers and friends. It was just the worst thing that could ever happen.
ROBERTS: Well, we're going to certainly keep talking about this. Kyle Doss, Frank McBride, Gloria Allred, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
MCBRIDE: Thank you.
ALLRED: Thank you.
ROBERTS: In fact, Richards continues to apologize for his racial rant, reaching out to some prominent civil rights leaders. Up next, the Reverend Al Sharpton tells us about his conversation with Michael Richards.
And a special hour of 360, U.S. troops fighting the war on terror. The emotions they face. We take you beyond the front lines.
ROBERTS: Today, not so funny comedian Michael Richards was working the telephone, making his apologies to civil rights leaders after his racist tirade. Among the calls, the reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
I spoke to Reverend Sharpton earlier tonight about his conversation.
ROBERTS: Reverend Sharpton, Michael Richards called you about 11 a.m. this morning. Did he telephone you to apologize or to consult with you on what he should do going forward?
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: He apologized when he called me. He also said when I told him I don't think anybody, any national leader or anyone else can accept an apology on behalf of a whole race, he then said what should I do?
And I told him that I think he ought to think, and we ought to talk about ways he can deal with the whole exposing of lingering racism in the country and try to make some good come about of this. This is not about accepting an apology. I can't do that. No one can.
ROBERTS: The other day, he appeared on "David Letterman" and you said that you did not accept the apology that he offered on "Letterman". What was the basis for that?
SHARPTON: I told him today, and I said in the statement I released that the "Letterman" show is fine. I respect Letterman, but that is not the venue to aim at the people he offended. That is not a show geared toward African-Americans, nor is it a show where he's confronted by African-Americans.
He should do something in black media where blacks can really ask him and have dialogue with him, where this deep-seated racism comes from.
To come up out with what he came up with, with the vehemence he did, this is deep seated. This is not something that's just handled with a night -- with a night talk show.
ROBERTS: So you believe that it is deep-seated racism within him, despite the fact that he said on "Letterman", "And the amazing thing about it is, I'm not a racist."
SHARPTON: Well, I said that to him today on the phone. I mean, no one comes up with the tirade he gave, talking about 50 years ago, you'd be hanging from a tree, and you don't talk to a white man like that, and other things. This is not a slip of the lip. This is some deep-seated stuff. Where does it come from?
What is frightening to me and many African-Americans, is here is a guy that we were comfortable sitting in the living room, watching, those of us that watched the show. This was Kramer. This isn't some guy in the '30s down in some southern rural city with overalls with juice pumping out of his mouth, using racial terms. This is Kramer.
And to think that someone that America was comfortable with had these feelings that he was harboring is not a good thought. And we need to do something about making sure we get rid of this in everybody.
ROBERTS: What was your feeling about his sincerity? Is he honestly sorry and wants to make amends? Or is he trying to save his career?
SHARPTON: I don't know. I mean, I give him credit for calling me and the others he called. Whether it's a ploy or whether it is him really coming to terms, time will tell, and his actions will tell. And we'll see.
ROBERTS: Attorney Gloria Allred has gotten herself involved with the guys who were involved in this incident when the whole thing touched off, saying that she wants a judge to sit down with them and with Michael Richards, hear the story and figure out how much money Michael Richards owes these two gentlemen.
Do you think that's the way forward here?
SHARPTON: Well, again, I don't know the legalities. The individuals involved certainly have to address their individual insult.
But he also offended more than them. And I think that Mr. Richards owes it to this country, who he became a star of. He owes it to a broader community that he offended. He just didn't offend two people. He said he owes them something. He owes more than that. And he ought to do what is necessary to deal with all of that.
ROBERTS: Well, if anything -- if anything good comes of this, if it possibly can, perhaps it started a conversation. I know that you've said that there are some ways in which this country has shown how far it's come on race relations and that this shows how far we have yet to go.
Reverend Sharpton, thanks very much.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Appreciate it.
SHARPTON: All right, Mr. Roberts.
ROBERTS: We've got "The Shot of the Day" coming up, a real lift. But first, Joe Johns in Washington joins us now with a "360 Bulletin".
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Hi, John.
O.J. Simpson says she collaborated on the controversial book "If I Did It" just to make money. Simpson says it was an opportunity for his children to get their financial legacy, although he admits any financial gain was blood money.
In the book, Simpson was going to describe hypothetically how he would have killed his ex-wife Nicole and her friend002C Ron Goldman. Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp cancelled plans to publish the book and air a TV interview after a firestorm of criticism. Investigators in Massachusetts say it could take days to determine the cause of a powerful explosion at a chemical plant near Boston. The blast happened in Danvers and was felt as far away as 20 miles. Some residents say the explosion felt like an earthquake. Nearly 90 homes were damaged, many destroyed. Only 10 people suffered minor injuries.
President Bush pardoned the national Thanksgiving turkey at a White House ceremony today. Flier has a new job. Tomorrow he'll be an honorary grand marshal of Disneyland's Thanksgiving Day parade.
And there's a new Guinness world record for the largest rubber band ball. The ball weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, is five and a half feet high and measures 19 feet around. It was made out of more than 175,000 rubber bands.
Twenty-six-year-old Steve Milton says he worked on the ball every day and had help from his son and stepson. The previous record ball weighed over 3,000 pounds -- John.
ROBERTS: You had to have a lot of free time to put that together.
JOHNS: Sounds like the ultimate rubber band man.
ROBERTS: Joe, check out our "Shot of the Day" here. Just up the street from here, at the Time Warner Center, Garfield, the Energizer bunny and others getting a little bit light on their feet, hundreds of people braving the cold to do it.
Tomorrow being Thanksgiving, that means the Macy's Day parade, and that means floats. That float this year, three new giant balloons, including Snoopy with a makeover.
Rain and wind, unfortunately, are in the forecast. It may ground the balloons if the wind gets up above 23 miles per hour, but it will not stop the parade. It always goes on, rain or shine or wind.
JOHNS: That would be awful. Let the parade go on.
ROBERTS: It would. Thanks, Joe. And I know you'll be around next hour for news updates, but I'll see you later and have a good Thanksgiving.
JOHNS: You too, John. Bye.
ROBERTS: And up next, more of the weather that could be turning your holiday into a Thanksgiving turkey.
Plus, airliners have black boxes. Now your car might have one. We'll show you what they keep track of and why some people worry that they're putting Big Brother in the driver's seat. Next on 360.
ROBERTS: A rough day to be out and about on the eastern seaboard. What's it going to mean for the Thanksgiving Day parade? A quick update now from CNN's Jacqui Jeras in the weather center.
ROBERTS: Fine. We'll just get them to move that parade to Kansas City, and everybody would be all right. Jacqui...
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Just delay it a couple hours.
ROBERTS: Yes, thanks very much. Appreciate it, I think.
Tens of millions of cars on the road this weekend and most of them have airbags, something to be thankful for. But those very same cars, maybe yours, could also have one of these, a little black box that helps the airbag do its job. And that, say some, is a very mixed blessing.
You see, this device keeps track of what happens before an accident and records it in memory, whether you like it or not, for investigators, and even prosecutors to see.
Once again, here's 360's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was after midnight and Edwin Matos (ph) was on his way home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a nightmare to me.
KAYE: He was driving his 2002 Pontiac Grand Am down this Florida stretch of road when the unthinkable happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was only a shadow. It was a split second.
KAYE: Matos' (ph) car slammed into another car that was backing out of a driveway. Inside, two teenage girls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would give my life for the life of those two girls.
KAYE: He was too late. The girls died instantly.
(on camera) What Matos (ph) didn't know that night is that he wasn't alone in his car, well, not exactly. Inside, attached to the airbag system, was one of these. It's an event data recorder similar to the ones used in airplanes. EDRs, they're called, record 10 seconds before a crash and less than one second after a crash.
Today, more than 40 million cars on the road have that device inside them. It could be in your car.
(voice-over) Car manufacturers say they need it to monitor the airbag system, and guess what? If you try to tinker with it, your airbag won't work. Even worse, the information hidden inside the recorder could one day be used against you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The airbag saved my life. The data recorder sent me to prison for the rest of my life.
KAYE: These days, Matos (ph) is known as inmate number 518122. He's serving 30 years at this Florida maximum security prison.
At his trial, the data recorder served as a silent witness to the crash. The device said Matos (ph) was driving over 114 miles per hour.
(on camera) Were you driving 114 miles per hour?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. If I was driving 114 miles per hour, this conversation never would happen. I would be dead.
KAYE: In fact, the state's own witness estimated Matos' (ph) speed between 80 and 90. His accident reconstruction expert put it at 60.
Matos (ph) says he remembers driving 50, which he admits was still 20 miles over the speed limit.
(on camera) When did you first find out that the data recorder was in your car?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When my attorney told me.
KAYE: You paid for your car, and no one ever told you about this data recorder?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
KAYE (voice-over): Is this a matter of privacy versus safety? Are car owners' hands tied?
Robert Strassberger (ph) represents the largest car manufacturers in the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The event data recorder will never harm you.
KAYE: Try telling that to the people event data recorders have helped convict. Like Michelle Zimmerman. Her passenger, a close friend, died when Zimmerman hit an icy patch and crashed.
At trial, the EDR said she was going nearly 20 miles an hour over the speed limit. State accident reconstructionists initially said she was not speeding, but Zimmerman was still convicted and sentenced to prison. Like Edwin Matos (ph), Zimmerman is working on an appeal.
(on camera) How reliable would you say these are?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Event data recorders are reliable, but they are not the be-all and end-all.
KAYE: Are EDRs, are these event data recorders routinely checked to make sure that they're calibrated and working correctly?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once they go in the vehicle, there is no maintenance required.
KAYE: Manufacturers don't think they need to be checked over those years?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
KAYE: Are these incapable of making an error? Is that what you're saying?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not -- I am not saying they're infallible.
KAYE (voice-over): Infallible or not, EDRs have been used in cars since the mid '90s. Today, nearly two thirds of all new vehicles come with an event data recorder.
How do you know if you're driving around with one? If your car is a 2004 or newer, the EDR is supposed to be listed in your owner's manual. When was the last time you read one of those?
(on camera) So why put this warning about this device simply in the owner's manual? Why not post it somewhere where the driver will actually see it, or have the salesman actually tell them about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the salesman should have information about the new vehicle. You can ask the new car salesman.
KAYE: But why not, right under where it says "air bag", put "event data recorder"?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's up to the individual manufacturer to do that.
KAYE: Would you be in favor of another form of disclosure, besides just in the owner's manual, given the fact that most people don't read the whole manual?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't answer these questions.
KAYE (voice-over): But questions are all people like Edwin Matos (ph) have about what privacy rights experts consider to be spies riding shotgun.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Bowling green, Florida.
ROBERTS: That's going to do it for me. I'm John Roberts in for Anderson Cooper.
Up next, though, Anderson is back with the work of a remarkable group of young filmmakers. They have brought back stories from some of the farthest and most surprising corners of America's war on terror. "Beyond the Front Lines". It's next.
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