tv Anderson Cooper Special Report CNN September 27, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
demonstrate he performance art in the way that she chooses to. and i think if she chose to do it that way that's her business. >> femme is worldwide avaluable at streaming and downloads at www.femmethemovie.com. thank you both very much indeed. we're following to big stories tonight. mounting concerns tonight that a government shutdown could become a reality in washington just three days from now. the latest on the shutdown showdown that's coming up. but we begin with breaking news. the phone call that's making history. president obama called iran's new president hassan rouhani as he was heading to the airport in new york after his united nations debut. their conversation lasted about 15 minutes and ended more than three decades of silence at the highest level between the u.s. and iran. here's what president obama had to say about it. >> the two of us discussed our
ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over iran's nuclear program. i reiterated to president rouhani what i said in new york. while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, i believe we can reach a comprehensive solution. now, we're mindful of all the challenges ahead. the very fact that this was the first communication between an american and iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history. >> president obama said both men have directed their teams to work quickly to pursue an agreement. after the call ended, rouhani's twitter account lit up. a picture was posted of rouhani on his plane describing the call as historic. and then a message saying obama, rouhani agreed ground should be prepared for solving of other issues including regional
matters. foreign minister tasked with followup to expedite cooperation. the handshake that didn't happen earlier at the up, today's phone call is being scrutinized from he angle tonight. our chief international correspondent jim sciutto is joining us. how did this conversation come about? >> reporter: the white house says they made it clear to the iranians earlier in the week that president obama wanted to have direct contact particularly this handshake we talked about, but that the iranians at the time said, well, diplomacy takes time. this isn't the right time. it wasn't convenient for them. they cited some problems back home in tehran but that the white house left the door open. and that this morning, the white house got a call from rouhani's people saying the president of iran would like to speak to the president of the united states before he leaves the country. obama said i'd be willing to do that. they set up the call. now, just in the last few minutes we've heard some push back from the iranian side saying the call was totally unexpected and that it was the white house who was reaching
out. again it reminds me of some of the backtracking we heard after president rouhani's comments earlier in the week to christiane amanpour acknowledging the holocaust and them afterwards backtracking a little bit, perhaps worried about some of the reaction back home. but it looks like from the white house's perspective that both the white house and the iranians were open to the call and the call happened. >> yeah. and the president's national security adviser susan rice said the idea for the phone call came from the iranians. but we'll leave that aside there. you see a picture of the president in the oval office making that phone call. i understand president rouhani got out a little bit ahead of president obama in breaking the news. >> reporter: he did. i saw this tweet happen. it was a few minutes before the president was going to speak, a little bit of disbelief. i started calling around cnn and other officials saying is this true. before you know it a couple minutes later president obama walks out and confirms it. the other way president rouhani got out ahead was by tweeting the contents of the phone call,
quotes about what they spoke about. for instance, how they said goodbye. president rouhani saying have a nice day in english, president barack obama saying thank you, goodbye, god be with you in farsi. but then those tweets were later deleted, including some more substantive tweets about the contents of their conversation. this one about we're hopeful about what we will see from the p 5 plus 1, contents of the phone call, those tweets now deleted off hasan rouhani's twitter account. we don't know why that is. maybe he's worried he gave too much detail, maybe worried about the white house reaction. the president of iran is new at this so he's probably learning about how far he can go. >> what do you know about how people in iran are reacting to all this? >> reporter: we're hearing excitement. i'm seeing this on twitter, hearsing from friends of mine, dissidents i know in iran as well. i've been going to iran for more than ten years. been there about ten times.
in all my trips there, the thing that struck me about iranians even during the most tense times between the u.s. and iran, people on the street would tell you, we remember better times with the u.s. we want better connections with the u.s. many of them would say i've got relatives in u.s. so it doesn't surprise me that you're hearing this. this is a country that's been really cut off from the outside world, and they want to be reconnected. and they know we have disagreements. but i think they're very happy to see the president of the united states recognizing their own president. >> i'm sure they are. thanks very much, jim sciutto reporting. history clearly was made today. but what comes next? joining me now, mike duran a senior fellow at the saban center for middle east policy at the brookings institution here in washington, also joining us our senior political analyst and former presidential adviser david gergen and our chief political correspondent anchor of the cnn's state-of-the-union candy crowley. candy pretty historic day for u.s.-iranian relations. how do you think today's news will be received in washington
and beyond? >> reporter: certainly i can tell you that in washington you will hear grave doubts about whether this is a man trying to fool president obama. you are already hearing because as you know we're in the midst of a big budget showdown here with the government may be shutting down on tuesday. so from republicans we're hearing a lot of well, gee, he'll negotiate with the president of iran but he won't negotiate with republicans. so that was sort of the immediate reaction. there's a great deal of caution. certainly you don't want to tamp on the hope but there are a lot of folks saying, let's see what happens next. >> david, you worked in the white house for what, four presidents. and there were obviously not good relations with at least three of those presidents, next on i think he still had deep the relations when he was president of the united states. but what's your take on this apparent thaw that's unfolding right now? >> well, it's interesting you call it a thaw, wolf. because there's a sense that this was almost like the thaw we
saw way back when in the cold war when two bitter enemies began talking to each other, a president of the united states who actually made a speech and be broadcast to the russian people. it was celebrated by the russian people. there's no question as candy says, that in the political circles in washington there's going to be extreme skepticism about this. and the president's going to be under heavy pressure not to drop any sanctions before he's got a hard deal, whereas the iranians are going to be pushing very hard you've got to make the first move, mr. president. you've got to drop the sanctions first. he's going to be caught ins kroir has on that. i think if you look at the country as a whole, the u.s. public as skeptical as they are as much as they hate the iranians for what happened back when our americans were taken hostage, just as in the cold war i think people would like to see this resolved peacefully. certainly the alternatives are not good. >> because ever since that revolution in the late 70s, '79 when american diplomats were
held hostage as you remember for 444 days, the iranians -- iranian regime has called the u.s. the evil empire, if you will. so how does what happened in '79 play to today's decision for this conversation to go forward? >> i'm not sure if you're directing that to me. >> to david. go ahead. >> i think the memories of '79 are still -- for people who lived through that are certainly fresh. jimmy carter lost the white house over this issue in part. but the films that have been made here recently have also renewed people's understanding of what happened in sort of the drama of it all. and so i don't think it's gone away. and ahmadinejad was so crazy and so crazed and promised the destruction of israel. there are a lot of jews in this country who are not going to forget at all. they are extremely skeptical of this. >> and i'm sure the israeli
government is going to be coming here next week. he's pretty skeptical as well. mike, you say this conversation is exciting but you remain cautiously pessimistic your words. what do you mean by that? >> i mean if you look at the last 30 years of relations, whenever we've had moments of excitement like this it's never panned out in the end. this is a little bit different in that clearly something is going on in tehran. clearly there's a desire to negotiate with us. and so we would be remiss if we didn't really try to test it and see where it goes. but i'm concerned about the -- i'm concerned about the enthusiasm. i saw something like this when i was in the white house in 2006. and i'm asking myself this a replay of it. the nuclear file was going from the iaea up to the security council and the iranians wanted to stop it. we got thousands of messages. that's an exaggeration. we got tens of messages from all
these different interlocuto r s asking us to negotiate with the iranians. we put down a proposal and said we'll suspend if you suspend. the effort to take it to the security council if you'll suspend the enrichment and reprocessing. the minute we actually asked for something tangible from them, all these statements that something wonderful could happen just disappeared immediately. so i want the president to take this very, very slowly. very, very carefully. and as david said, not to make any concessions until we have a total package deal. the iranians are going to look to turn this into a phased process whereby we'll lift sanctions before they give us anything. an i think that would be a big mistake. >> candy, as you know the prime minister of israel will be meeting with president obama at the white house on monday. netanyahu addresses the u.n. general assembly on tuesday. i imagine the phone conversation the context between the u.s. and iran will be front and center during those meetings. >> reporter: it's hard to
imagine they'd talk about much else. but obvious lit peace talks are going to be up there as well. but even when there was just sort of talk about a little handshake between iran -- the iranian president and president obama, israel the prime minister's office put out a statement and said don't trust this guy. here's how he's acted in the past. we all know it's too late. and we also know that there is a difference of opinion between israel and the u.s. about how far iran is along the road to acquiring nuclear weapons. so i imagine it will be a lively conversation. this is not somebody they trust. but there's some serendipity going on here. and israel obviously has to be a major part of the at least bringing in on the conversation for president obama. but you have really a population, many of whom have read about the hostage crisis in school books. it's history to them. we have a new president in iran.
we have a president in the u.s. that basically ran on talking to one's adversaries, that that's how you got someplace. you have an iran that really needs economic help, and you have in the u.s. a country that's so tired of confrontation. be it iraq or afghanistan. so there's a lot going on here that i think gives people the hope that david is talking about. but then there are other voices that you're hearing, mike, that this does not comport with some of the things that we've seen from iran in the past. and in fact, there's been no change in policy in iran yet. so it's hard to get overly excited about it. >> mike, going forward, though, if the iranians are serious about stopping their nuclear program, how do you make sure that they are taking in what president obama says transparent and verifiable actions? >> well, that's the $64,000 question. what's going to happen here is we're going to get to very
detailed negotiations very quickly. and the iranians are going to -- the iranians are going to want to get as close as possible to a break out capacity as they can. and our experts and the israeli experts are going to be saying they're too close, the iranians are going to be saying that they're very far away and it's verifiable. we've got cameras in the facilities watching the centrifuges, we're monitoring all of the enriched material. and if our experts and the israeli experts think that what the iranians are demanding is too close to a break out potential that they're just a turn of the key away from a bomb, with all this enthusiasm it's going to be very difficult for the president to break away and say, you know what, i'm turning my back on that deal. that's what i'm worried about. i'm worried about accepting a bad deal. >> thanks very much. david, stay with us. we've got more to discuss. candy crowley and david are going to stay with us. president obama's blunt
message for house republicans. the ball is back in their court tonight. are they bluffing or will they really let the government grind to a halt? also ahead, there's breaking news on syria we're monitoring. the united nations security council is meeting right now to discuss the proposed resolution requiring syria to destroy its chemical weapons. there could be a vote tonight. (music plays throughout)
there's breaking news. a unanimously approved resolution right now before the united nations security council, all 15 members of the security council voting in favor of a resolution cosponsored by the u.s. and russia that will require syria to destroy eventually its entire chemical weapons stockpile to become a member of the chemical weapons
convention. you see ban ki-moon there speaking. john kerry the secretary of state will be speaking. we're going to have much more on this story coming up. once again, unanimously approved, 15-0, all members of the security council including five permanent members have approved a resolution and the plan for syria eventually to not only identify and allow inspection of but eventually destroy its chemical weapons. stand by. we'll go to nick payton walsh shortly. there's another big story we're following right now. it's as raw as raw politics get. three days and a few hours, that's all that stands between passing a spending bill or a government shutdown president obama today called on house republicans to stop grandstanding and get to work. >> the house republicans are so concerned with appeasing the tea party that they've threatened a government shutdown or worse unless i gut or repeal the
affordable care act. i said this yesterday. let me repeat it. that's not going to happen. i realize that a lot of what's taking place right now is political grandstanding, but this grandstanding has real effects on real people. if the government shuts down on tuesday, military personnel, including those risking their lives overseas for us right now, will not get paid on time. federal loans for rural communities, small business owners, families buying a home will be frozen. so any republican in congress who's currently watching, i encourage you to think about who you're hurting. >> earlier today, the senate passed a spending bill stripped of the republican-backed revision to block money for president obama's health care law. that vote sent the bill back to the house with the clock ticking. midnight monday is the deadline. here's where things stand. house speaker john boehner has said the house won't send a bill back to the senate without amendments. and senate majority leader harry
reid says the senate won't accept anything but what's described as a clean bill. david gergen and candy crowley are still with us, our chief congressional correspondent dana bash is joining us from capitol hill. dana, we had thought the house might accept the senate funding bill averting a shutdown of the government and move their fight with the president over to raising the debt ceiling in a few weeks. but that's not necessarily the case right now. what's the latest? >> reporter: just as happens so many times in the past weeks and months and frankly even years, house republican leaders tried to kind of manage their restive caucus and were unsuccessful in doing that. their hope a couple of days ago was to say don't fight on this one, guys. let's fight on the next one just around the corner the debt ceiling. they said no, in fact i'm told because they were being egged on by senator ted cruz saying you've got to fight on this government spending bill. so what's going on now is john boehner is effectively trying to negotiate within his own caucus,
trying to figure out what the sweet spot is for them to be able to vote and accept a spending bill that has some attachments, i'm told it's not going to be clean. that's not going to happen. probably will have some things dealing with oebd care, maybe delaying it for a year, maybe revealing the medical device tax, maybe getting rid of what sarah palin lovingly called the death panels. we're not sure what it's going to be but are going to meet tomorrow to try to finalize it. >> candy, you'd think in a situation like this we're so close to a government shutdown there would be some back channel negotiations going on between the white house and the speaker, other so-called adults would be involved in make sure there isn't a government shutdown. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that nothing is going on behind the scenes in terms of here's plan d if this whole thing explodes and the clock is about to strike midnight, here's what we're going to do. i hear nothing about cross-party
negotiations to avert this. s so i will say i have seen in the past that congress will pass a one-day c.r. or a two-day c.r., that kind of thing. so that's still possible. but at the moment there does not seem to be any kind of here's our plan that we go to when all else fails. >> in the old days and you remember this, david, ronald reagan and tip o'neal would get together and fight and fight but then they'd make a deal. do you see the president and the speaker right now doing anything along those lines? >> not quite yet, wolf, but i think they will before it's over. for starters, wolf, isn't it interesting an illustration of how upside down the world has become that a president at the podium today was speaking so warmly of our enemies like iran and past days about russia and speaking so harshly about people across the aisle? in his own country? that's really where our politics has come to. it's very, very unfortunate.
i think what candy is saying, what dana is saying we're very likely to have a shutdown early next week or maybe a brief postponement. but i must tell you from my perspective a shutdown may be a good thing. that it could be shock therapy when we need it. because the real issue is not the shutdown. the real issue is whether we can get things resolved before the debt ceiling. i think if we have some shock therapy that wall street is going to come in like gang bus terse and put pressure on to get a resolution. there's going to be real pressure because you could have a financial meltdown if we have a debt ceiling breach. and there's going to be a lot of pressure from back home. at that point i think that maybe john boehner and the president taking a lead, i think he has the opportunity to negotiate as he said he is willing to over the shutdown questions fiscal issues relating to shutdown, i think that negotiation is possible. >> they've got to do something to avert a shutdown. as you're right, candy, potential u.s. bailing out of its financial obligations, raising the credit worthiness of
the dollar and the u.s. economy if you will. the ramifications of that are even much more enormous. >> reporter: so we are told by i economists as well as by the white house. and i think in some ways president despite his saying i am not going to negotiate over this debt ceiling. this is money already spent. there are no negotiations just raise the debt ceiling so the u.s. can continue to borrow money. but then they go on -- white house officials go on to delineate all the horrible things that would happen. and it would derail the economy and upset the world, other world economies, et cetera, et cetera. so it is hard to believe that having raised those stakes so high that the president would say, well, i'm still not going to deal with them. so i think that there's more of a possibility for negotiations there because i think everybody agrees they don't really want to know what would happen if the debt ceiling was not raised. >> so dana, what happens this weekend, monday leading to that midnight deadline monday night?
>> reporter: well, what happens tomorrow is the house will come in, republicans will meet at noon to try to figure out and finalize what their game plan is on their spending bill, what they're going to add to it. unclear if they're going to vote tomorrow, meaning saturday, or sunday. the senate is gone. they're not planning on coming in until monday. they might come in earlier if they have to but they're not coming in until monday which is really just hours before the shutdown deadline. it is very possible as candy pointed out that if they are down to the wire they could pass a one, two-day, week-long stopgap measure but there doesn't seem an appetite right now to do it. we'll see what happens when the clock strikes midnight. one other quick point i want to make about the debt ceiling which is muff more important economically, perhaps, but when it comes to those core conservatives in the house, that is the issue that they really care most about philosophically. many of them were elected on a promise to do away or at least chip away at the nation's debt. well, for them to vote in any way to raise the debt ceiling,
meaning allowing the government to borrow more money from their perspective is anathema. that's why it's so much harder to convince them. they are small maybe but incredibly powerful as we have seen so many times. >> what a potential nightmare unfolding here in washington. dana bash, candy crowley, david gergen, guys, thanks very much. for more on this story go to cnn.com. up next, the breaking news we're following. a crucial vote in the united nations security council approving a resolution just minutes ago requiring syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons. more details. we're going live to the u.n. stand by. plus who's policing the houston police? she was raped in her own home. she claims the responding officer stayed for only about ten minutes and collected absolutely no evidence. the police chief fired him, but he got his job back. our special report. that's coming up as well. neil and buzz: for teaching us that you can't create the future... by clinging to the past.
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breaking news. only moments ago the united nations security council voted unanimously 15-0 to approve the resolution requiring syria to relinquish control of its chemical weapons stockpile. nick payton walsh is joining us from the u.n. right now. 15 votes in favor, unanimous vote on this resolution. how did it go down? what happens now? >> reporter: now we are hearing from u.s. secretary of state john kerry in the unanimous decision i think mostly expected after moscow and washington appeared to go through the road blocks they had. we heard from the u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon saying the peace process to try to get the civil war will continue. they expect the syrians to keep their end of the bargain and
allow fair access to inspectors. the point, though, this resolution doesn't authorize military force if syria is set to be in violation and does least issue of how you would decide if syria was in violation a little bit fuzzy, wolf. >> it only speaks of consequences, it doesn't necessarily authorize military force, right? >> reporter: absolutely. that's not on the trigger at all. it does say that future deliberations on whether syria's veelted or not should occur under the chapter 7 part of the u.n. charter which could permit it but it's not in there. >> nick payton walsh, thank you very much. let's get caught up on some other stories we're watching right now. gary tuchman joins us with a 360 bulletin. >> reporter: wolf, in florida today the family of marlon brown who was killed after he was run over by a police car requested that state officials conduct an independent investigation. that's according to our affiliate wctv. brown's death was ruled an accident and the officer who drove the car was not charged.
a kenyan intelligence official says the terrorists who carried out the nairobi mall attack or their associates rented a small store inside the building for about a year. that's likely how they got their weapons into the mall without notice. at least 67 people were killed in the attack and the mall left in ruins. a new jersey judge has ruled same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the state starting on october 21st. but that date could be delayed on appeal by the governor's office. the judge said legal civil unions in the state are preventing gay couples from getting federal benefits. and we humans are responsible for at least half climate change in the last half century. that according to hundreds of scientists in a new united nations report. they say driving our cars, deforestation and other activities are linked to global warming. wolf, back to you. >> gary tuchman, thanks. up next, why houston police officers who are removed from the force due to misconduct of the job are most often reinstated against the wishes of
the police chief. also ahead, this one's a head scratcher. a wheelchair-bound athlete is told by para-olympics officials she's not disabled enough to compete. my interview with victoria arlen is coming up. a simple question: out and e how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed much is the official retirement age. ♪ the question is how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years. ♪
officers were fired or suspended for misconduct, two-thirds who appeal to an arbitrator got their jobs back. that's the highest rate in the nation. randi kaye tonight takes a look at two such cases. cases where police officers were fired from the job and then managed to get reinstated. >> reporter: sound asleep in the upstairs bedroom indira heard a loud knock then a strange man wearing a mask came flying through the door. it happened here in june 2011. the man pounced on her, bound her hands with plastic zip ties and raped her. all while her 4-year-old daughter lay screaming next to her in bed. when it was over, the man escaped in indira's car, take with him jewelry, cash and electronics. help came from her cousin who found and untied her. indira called houston police. officer allen sweat responded to the call. indira says he stayed less than
ten minutes, ignoring key evidence in her home. >> his job was to say, you know what, i don't want anyone in the bedroom or whatever this incident happened because there was evidence in there. and he didn't even do anything. my whole family arrived to the house and they were just looking around, stepping on the evidence. and that's evidence that was lost because of his negligence. >> he never interviewed your cousin who found you and untied you. he never examined the dresser drawers that the attacker had emptied? >> no. >> he never found the broken window the attacker had come throughout the plastic ties he used to restrain you, never examined those. he didn't examine the condom wrapper or crumpled tissue your attacker had used. >> no, he didn't. >> reporter: instead, officer sweat wrote in his initial report that no evidence existed at the crime scene. >> in his report, he said he sat down on the sofa and he wrote the report. he never wrote anything while he was in there. >> and there was no sofa. >> there was no so fast that's the funny part. >> reporter: officer sweat was fired for negligence and
disregard for a victim. end of story, right? wrong. as is often the case at the houston police department, he appealed, and his case went to arbitration. the houston police union, which represented sweat at the appeal, argued his failure to search for and remove evidence does not amount to gross negligence. the arbitrator ruled in favor of officer sweat who got his job back, including back pay for the months he was fired. the arbitrator said simply "the police chief did not have just cause for indefinite suspension" reduction the penalty to a 90-day suspension. sweat's not the first one to get his job back, either. in fact, two-thirds -- you heard right -- two-thirds of police officers who are fired or suspended get their jobs back or their penalties reduced. that is the highest rate in the nation. houston police chief charles mcclellan would not speak with us on camera, but his spokesperson told us that while the chief doesn't like the fact
that an independent arbitrator can overturn his decisions, it is state law. ray hunt is the president of the houston police officers union. >> in our system, we have arbitrators who are outside people who have no dog in the fight, they simply are arbitrators. they may be a college professor, they may be a leader in the community. they listen to the facts and they make a decision as to whether or not the discipline was fair. >> what's more important, protecting the police officer or protecting the sit zens? >> both. police officers are here to protect the citizens but police officers also have rights and their rights have to be upheld. >> reporter: but what about these officers? they were caught on surveillance video beating an unarmed 15-year-old suspect back in march 2010. the teenager had been involved in a burglary and was on the ground on his stomach, his hands at his head. chief charles mcclellan fired the officers. guadencio saucedo and -- they
both got their jobs back. >> the houston police department isn't exactly known for disciplining officers. but when they do, the arbitrators and you fight tooth and nail to overturn that. why is that? >> i would disagree with that, too. our police officers are disciplined every time they violate a policy or a rule. we don't have just slaps on the hand in the houston police department. >> this is randall. >> reporter: randall callanan is a houston civil rights attorney. >> so is the system broken in your opinion? >> someone who will beat in open daylight with all these other officers around and all these witnesses, beat a defenseless person who's given up totally should not be on the houston police department. >> reporter: back at indira's home, growing concern. if things keep going in this direction, who will they count on to protect her community? >> whenever somebody has any problem, they're not going to want to call the police anymore because they're not doing their jobs. how can we trust them in the future? who can we really trust?
>> reporter: randi kaye, cnn, houston. in reporting this story, randi tried to talk to the arbitration board and the national association of arbitrators but was unsuccessful. although houston's police chief refused to speak to us on camera, randi requested an interview with someone else in the department but no one was made available. joining us now to talk a little bit more about this, mark geragos the criminal defense attorney, and cnn legal analyst. mark, when you hear the details of the rape case that randi just reported on, the negligence just sounds sickening. how is it on an officer like that can get his job back? >> what they do and what happened i think in this case they said, look, he wasn't adequately trained. therefore you can't blame him. the irony of this is that it opens up the department itself to liability whereas the officer himself doesn't get -- nothing basically happens to him and the taxpayers are going to end up footing the bill, number one,
and number two, the case is going to be irreparable damaged so that you never get any justice for the victims. that's the irony i guess in a horrible irony in this case. >> an expert we spoke to for the story this, story, believes that a big part of the problem is that the police union has what, a 50% say in who the arbiters are? what's your take on that? >> well, part of the -- again part of the problem is, you're dealing with politicians at almost every level here. and the police union endorsement is vital to anybody who's running for office. i mean, you don't see anybody running against the police union. and therefore they carry an awful big stick in addition to as you say the fact that they've got a 50% shot at selecting who's going to be there. >> let me just reiterate that it's the houston police chief that's handing down these punishments on his own officers that are then being reversed or reduced. here's the question. can a police chief be wrong in
two-thirds of these appeals? i mean, how hard is it to discipline a police officer? >> well, i think it points out precisely the problem if you want to police the police and the chief himself in 66 or 67% of the cases has himself reversed, he's essentially become neutered. and then how do you run a department where you know all you have to do is challenge the chief and two out of three times you're going to win? >> you point out that while houston has the highest rate in the country of reversing or reducing punishments for police officers, it's prevalent in a lot other other cities as well, including your hometown of l.a. >> absolutely. in l.a. i've got a case right now in utah in fact where the west vail police department, there was a shooting, there was all kinds of problems with the narcotics department. they disbanded it. and then the city just rehired five of the seven officers. so this happens all across the country. it's a real problem.
and unless we do something to fundamentally change it at that level you're going to continue to have cases where there's excessive force or where the investigation is compromised and there's nothing you can do about it and ultimately like i said before, the taxpayer ends up holding the bag on these things. >> do you have any thoughts on how to fix this? >> yeah. i don't think this should be a completely unionized situation. i think that at a certain point in cases of excessive force or in cases where there's a competency of the officer involved that the chief has got to have some more plenary power in order to be able to implement and run his department. >> mark geragos, thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf. coming up, a young champion para-olympic swimmer is told she can't compete because there's not enough proof that the condition that left her legs paralyzed is permanent. i speak with a very brave victoria arlen. that's next.
a writer and a performer. ther, i'm also a survivor of ovarian and uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick... and then i got better.
international olympic committee told victoria arlen. she was in a vegetative state for three years because of an autoimmune disorder and woke up with paralyzed legs. the committee says it doesn't have enough evidence of a permanent impairment in arlen's case, something she says is based on the fact that she has a shred of hope, a shred of hope that she may one day walk again. i spoke with victoria arlen earlier. >> victoria, tell us how you ended up in a wheelchair and unable to walk. >> i developed a rare neurological condition called transverse myelitis. on top of that i got another neurological condition called adam which stands for acute disseminated encephomyelitis is affected my spinal cord. >> the international paralympic committee ruled you were ineligible. what was that like to be pulled
from the meet? >> it was so frustrating. it didn't make any sense. it was so last minute and so unexpected. we hab talking with the ipc and working on getting me re-evaluated all year and they hadn't questioned me until i was already in montreal and ready to compete. so it was heart-breaking. and to be penalized for having hope was really sad. >> sad indeed. committee says you failed to provide what they called the conclusive evidence of a permanent eligible impairment. based on a doctor's report that you submit, what did you say to that complaint that they had? >> well, it was frustrating because we had over 75 panels of medical documents, scans, mris, you name it, we had documenting beyond reasonable doubt my condition and the severity of it and my disability. and the fact that they took one portion of that and twisted it around and used it against me was really disheartening. >> it must have been
heart-breaking indeed. >> and it made no sense. >> well, just because there's a glimmer, a glimmer of a chance your condition may one day improve, which could be the case for a number of athletes, you're not allowed to compete. is that the explanation they gave? >> that was all the explanation we have was that there might be a chance with medical breakthroughs and with the miracle that i could walk again. and they penalized me for having hope for that. and if i didn't have hope i wouldn't be here today. and a lot of people with spinal cord injuries, there is hope with all the breakthroughs in technology. it's really frustrating that was their only reason. >> what's the status of your eligibility right now and what would you like to see happen? >> i would just like to have this not happen to any other athletes. and as of right now it's in the hands of a higher power. and they're in control of it now. it's out of my hands. and i'm just moving forward. and there's a lot more going on in this world. so i refuse to be bitter or let this break me. i've been through too much to
let this bring me down. >> so you obviously hope someday you might be able to walk again, i assume, right? >> i would love to. that's been a dream of mine since i got in the wheelchair. so i'm working hard at that as well. and that's the top of my list. >> well, we're hoping the same thing, absolutely. good luck. you're a wonderful woman, victoria. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> she really is a very impressive young woman. good luck to her. "the ridiculist" is next. people don't have to think about
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time now for "the ridiculist" or as i like to call it when anderson's not here, the reblitz you list. last week anderson drew your attention to a song by a band called man man from their new record on ony pond. as anderson discovered, the song was inspired by none other than yours truly. i received many honors throughout my career, but perhaps none as satisfying as being the inspiration for an indy rock song. let's listen to some of it. it's called "end boss." ♪
>> evil gets what evil wants, yeah. i actually have that cross stitched on a pillow on my bed. i think they really encapsulated my personality with those lyrics. the front man says "just picturing wolf's calm face, kind eyes, smiling gray beard shooting pool in a barrio bar with a baby dancing in his belly with a lemon-flavored vodka city gets to me." i've always suspected duran ran duran's "hungry like a wolf" was about me. the frontman wears a tunic emblazoned with multiple wolf blitzer heads. even though i was the subject of this song which i believe by definition makes it more of a situation room story than an
anderson cooper 360 story, anderson ran with it. >> i know three things. one, if i was in charlotte, north carolina tonight, i would be going to the chop shop to see man man on tour. two, i would steal that tunic during sound check. three, we finally have an answer to a question that a young balloon boy posed many, many years ago as he awaited his interview with wolf blitzer. >> say hi to the wolf. his name is wolf. >> hi. >> who the hell is wolf? >> i'll tell you. he is an enigma. a muse and forever in song as a vodka-swilling baby eater he shall be remembered. >> all right, anderson. i also know a few things. one, if i was in tucson tonight i'd go to the man man concert at club congress and i bet i'd get in for free. two, i know that a band called cryptic murmurs once wrote a song about you. maybe you're just a little bit jealous because my song kind of kicks your song's butt.