updated 5/11/2005 3:37:23 PM ET 2005-05-11T19:37:23

Guest: Ric Robinson, De Lacy Davis, Richard Keller, Susan Kuczka, Constance Collins, John Timoney, Pat Brown, Stu Knight, Don Bell

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight’s top headline:  At this hour, the Secret Service is investigating a report that a hand grenade was thrown from less than 100 feet from the president today, a potentially serious security scare for our commander in chief. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required and only common sense allowed. 


SCARBOROUGH (voice-over):  A dramatic speech before a throng of 300,000 and a weapon believed to be a grenade hurled toward the president, reportedly while he was speaking on stage.  It was called the most secure trip of his presidency.  Now the FBI and Secret Service are digging for clues and asking if the president could have been killed. 

MICHAEL WALLER, LAKE COUNTY ATTORNEY:  Today, we are filing two counts of first-degree murder against Jerry Branton Hobbs III of Zion.  He is charged in the murders of Laura Hobbs, his daughter, age 9, and Krystal Tobias. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Two little girls brutally beaten and stabbed.  Now, unbelievably, the father of little Laura is booked in their murder.  Was this career criminal a ticking time bomb?  And could authorities have stopped him?  We’ll go to Zion, Illinois, for the tragic details of a murder in the heartland. 

A dramatic car chase and a barrage of bullets.  Los Angeles County sheriff deputies open fire on an unarmed man in a residential neighborhood.  Now the investigation begins.  Is this a case of just cause or cops out of control? 


ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

Welcome to our show. 

In a moment, we are going to be talking about the heartbreaking murders of those two beautiful girls in Illinois and the arrests later in the day of one of their fathers in that crime.  And we are going to have much more on that story in just a minute.

But first tonight, startling news from the world, half a world away, in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, a possible security scare that reportedly happened while President Bush was giving a major speech on democracy in front of some 300,000 people. 

Here’s what the Secret Service is telling NBC News tonight—quote—

“After the president departed the country of Georgia, U.S. Secret Service was notified by Georgian authorities of a report that, during the president’s speech, a device described as a possible hand grenade was thrown within 100 feet of the stage.  It was reported the device hit an individual in the crowd and that the device then fell to the ground.  It was reported that a Georgian security officer picked up the device, which did not detonate, and removed it from the area.  At this time, Secret Service has not seen the reported device.  Agents in the crowd are working with the FBI, the State Department and host country security authorities to look further into the report.”

Obviously, a very serious situation tonight, if true.  This would be a major breach of what was billed as extraordinary security for this overseas trip. 

Here tonight to talk about it are Roger Cressey.  He’s former White House counterterrorism official and NBC analyst.  Also, Don Bell, a former Secret Service agent.  We are also going to be speaking with retired Secret Service Director Stu Knight in just a minute.

But, Roger, let’s begin with you.  Obviously, a very serious situation when you have a device that’s reportedly a hand grenade thrown within 100 feet of the president of the United States in a part of the world that obviously has seen assassination attempts before using grenades.  Talk about Georgia’s past, and what it tells us about this possible assassination attempt. 

ROGER CRESSEY, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST:  Well, assuming this device was a real device, we have known for some time that Georgia’s political situation is extremely unstable.  The Rose Revolution is the best example of that, and the security services there are still evolving.

So, assuming this device is real, it would not be that strong of a reach to have some breach in the security in the perimeter security.  And what the Secret Service, the FBI, and the rest of the U.S. authority is going to do is first take a look at this device and, second, try and corroborate the actual report and see, was this an inside job, if it was a real device, or was there some other breakdown in the overall perimeter security? 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Roger, Georgia’s former president, Eduard Shevardnadze, actually had two assassination attempts launched at him, both of them, I believe, using hand grenades. 

I guess the question tonight is, how do you screen 300,000 people in the Republic of Georgia that are coming out to see the president of the United States? 

CRESSEY:  It’s certainly easy to do, particularly in a country where we have not had a lot of history in the past in terms of presidential visits or other high-level delegations.

So, Secret Service does not have an established relationship with Georgia authorities.  There is not a standard playbook by which they work with the Georgians.  And that makes it even more difficult.  The extreme availability of weaponry in that area, as well as the very unstable political situation, just makes it ripe for this type of event.  Let’s hope it wasn’t a real device, but, if it was, then this is going to be a pretty in-depth investigation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Don Bell, I guess my biggest question is, why did Georgia authorities wait for Secret Service agents and the U.S. delegation to leave their country before reporting it to Secret Service agents?

It seems to me that once they leave the airspace, they have no idea whether the device that they are going to see when they go back is actually the one that was hurled at the president. 

DON BELL, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT:  Well, Joe, I have no idea as to why the authorities waited until after the party had departed the country. 

The answer to that question must come from the authorities over there.  But, as your other guest stated, in order to screen 300,000 people at a more or less public rally, that’s a very difficult task, and I am sure the men and women of the Secret Service did everything they could do in working with their counterparts there in Georgia and the U.S. government agencies to make sure that the president entered a secure environment.

And, as you know, security is not always 100 percent or foolproof 100 percent of the time.  And I am sure the men and women of the Secret Service did everything they could do to make sure that the president was secure.  And, as your guest also stated, I am sure the Secret Service is working very diligently at the present time and would like to know if this device was fake or real.  If it was fake or real, did it have any type of...

SCARBOROUGH:  But, you know, the thing is, though, the thing is, though, if you can’t—if you can’t secure a location, I guess my question is, if there’s no way—nobody is here saying the Secret Service didn’t do their best.  Nobody is saying the Georgian authorities didn’t do their best.

But if you can’t secure a location, why do you put the president of the United States in an area like this? 

Let’s go to the phone now and talk to retired Secret Service Director, former Secret Service Director Stu Knight. 

Director Knight, thanks for being with us this evening. 

And I will ask you that question.  If you can’t screen 300,000 people in a crowd like this, why do you put the president in a position where he could have a possible hand grenade thrown in his direction? 

STU KNIGHT, FORMER SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR:  Joe, you know, I’m certain that the men and women of the Secret Service felt comfortable in letting the president appear before this crowd. 

If they had any doubts about the screening or the assemblies, they would never have let him appear. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Does this—from the sound of this, how serious does it sound to you? 

KNIGHT:  I don’t know.  It’s initial.  I have a little thing about initial reports of incidents.  And I am sure, as a journalist and as a former member of Congress, you share that. 


KNIGHT:  So, I just want to wait and hear more about it. 

You know, the Secret Service has people on the ground before the president arrives and a few of them are there remaining afterwards.  And we will get a story sooner or later. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Roger Cressey, let’s go to you.  When you have a situation like this, where, again—and, again, NBC is reporting tonight that our Secret Service agents didn’t find out about this incident until, again, the president had already left Georgian airspace.

But when you have a situation like this, where the president is going to Georgia, how much authority do we cede to agents, to security agents, in a country like Georgia or Latvia earlier in the week, or the former Soviet Union, Russia? 

CRESSEY:  Whenever the president travels overseas, you are ceding some authority.  I mean, you have to trust the local security service, in terms of part of the perimeter security, in terms of screening people, because we just don’t have the resources and the manpower to do it like we would do if it was a domestic event. 

There’s always an element of risk involved.  Clearly, the Georgians were embarrassed by this, which is why they did not report this while the presidential party was still in Georgia.  I think the challenge is going to be, the investigation could get very difficult, because the Georgians are not going to want to produce information that is going to be embarrassing, not only to their president, but to their security service. 

So, let’s see how far we get with this investigation, but let’s also keep that in mind. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bingo, Roger.  That’s what I was looking for. 

Thanks for being with us, Roger Cressey, Don Bell and Stu Knight.

That’s my point exactly.  You know what?  The reason why Georgians didn’t tell us about this possible attack on the president of the United States while they were there is because they were embarrassed.  I mean, here you have an agent for the Georgian security service that believes he has a hand grenade thrown within 100 feet of the president of the United States, doesn’t say a word to the president, doesn’t say a word to the Secret Service until they leave airspace.  Why? 

I think because they may be trying to clean up the scene.  Just speculation tonight, but you know what?  Because of their actions, all we can do is speculate.  We may never know the truth of what really happened over there earlier today. 

Now, coming up next, the latest shocking developments in—my gosh, friend, in a heartbreaking murder of two innocent Illinois girls.  The man now under arrest, the father of one of the young victims, is in jail, and he just got out of prison.  Could this horrible attack have been prevented?  We are going to be asking some tough questions coming up next in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

And then, 10 deputies and 120 shots fired.  The driver was unarmed.  But some are saying the police acted properly.  We will be debating that in our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown straight ahead. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up next, the story of two children murdered in the Heartland, a shocking story, a father now under arrest.  Could anyone have prevented this crime? 

We are going to have live reports when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.



SCARBOROUGH:  We are looking right now at a tape of a prayer vigil that is being said in Illinois tonight for Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias, two beautiful young girls who were brutally murdered by their father—by Laura’s father, Jerry Hobbs, reportedly.  Mr. Hobbs is in prison tonight.

And this community, the state of Illinois, and, quite frankly, the entire country, wondering just what’s going on out there.  How could two beautiful young girls like this meet such a tragic, terrible end?  There’s a shocking arrest, of course, in the case that everybody is talking about., the murder of best friends, 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias in Zion, Illinois, 45 miles north of Chicago.  Tonight, Laura’s father, Jerry Hobbs, is behind bars. 

We are going to talk about this horrific crime with a panel in just a minute.

But, first, let’s go to Zion, where NBC’s Mark Potter has the very latest.

Mark, what do you have?



Jerry Hobbs is being held in the building behind me, the Zion Police Department.  He will be moved in the morning to nearby Waukegan, where he will have a bond hearing there at the courthouse.  We expect then to hear more details of this case. 

What we know now is that Hobbs faces two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing and beating his own daughter and her playmate; 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias were found dead with multiple stab wounds to the throat.  They were discovered in a wooded nature area.  In fact, Jerry Hobbs himself said that he was the one who found their bodies.

But investigators say they did not believe his story, and after extensive questioning, actually took him to the crime scene.  The state’s attorney says that Hobbs does not deny the charges and allegedly said that he killed the girls because he was first angry with his own daughter over a money issue and the fact that she had been grounded.  Hobbs has a lengthy arrest record, including three assault convictions.

In a case four years ago, he was accused of chasing residents of a trailer park with a chain saw.  And family members say that he was recently released from prison.  He is now back in jail, facing major charges that, if he is convicted, could lead, if the state attorney decides to do so, to the death penalty—Joe, back to you. 


SCARBOROUGH:  NBC’s Mark Potter, thanks a lot.  We appreciate that report. 

Now, as Mark reported, Jerry Hobbs, a man with a lengthy criminal record, is under arrest.  Let’s take a look at the announcement of his arrest from earlier today. 


WALLER:                  Today we are filing two counts of first degree murder against Jerry Branton Hobbs III of Zion.  He’s charged in the murders of Laura Hobbs, his daughter, age 9 and Krystal Tobias—excuse me—Laura’s age 8.  Krystal Tobias, age 9, who was Laura’s best friend. 


SCARBOROUGH:  With me now to talk about the case are criminal profiler Pat Brown, Miami Police Chief John Timoney, and the superintendent of Zion Elementary Schools, Constance Collins.  And, on the phone, we have Sue Kuczka, who is covering the story for “The Chicago Tribune.” 

Let’s start with you, Constance. 

Let’s start by talking about Laura and Krystal, these two beautiful young girls.  Tell us what you know about them. 

CONSTANCE COLLINS, SUPERINTENDENT, ZION ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS:  They are two children who attended Beulah Park School.  They were both second graders, and they were in the same class.  They were loved by all of the children, as well as by their teacher in the classroom. 

Laura was someone who was very—enjoyed acting and enjoyed playing with puppets and doing plays with the puppets.  Krystal was a young lady who enjoyed drawing.  Her teacher said that she was very artistic.  Both of the girls had a sense of humor.  They enjoyed their classmates.  They did a lot together.  They were a very close class.  The children enjoyed going outside to play and running races with their classmates. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, we are looking at right now some artwork of Krystal’s.  We have, of course, been showing pictures of these two beautiful young girls. 

I would guess that, for the other students, for their friends, for the community that loved them, this has got to be an absolutely devastating evening.  How are their friends, the other kids they went to school with, coping with this terrible tragedy? 

COLLINS:  It has been difficult for the entire school community, as well as the city of Zion. 

We had crisis intervention specialists there in the school today, social workers and psychologists, who worked with all of the classes, went around to talk with the children, to listen to what they had to say, to answer their questions, to see whether or not there were any—there was any grieving which was going on which required additional attention.  The children did remarkably well, considering the circumstances. 

The classroom teacher was there with the children today, as well as a social worker.  And they were able to interact with the students and be there present with them all day long. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Superintendent Collins, thank you so much for being with us. 

COLLINS:  You’re welcome. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And getting us up to date on the scene up there.  It’s just such a terrible tragedy. 

John Timoney, I want to bring you in.

Obviously, you have been in law enforcement for a long time.  You have seen a lot of horrible, difficult things.  I don’t know if I am just getting older and weaker.  I just got to tell you, though, it seems like we are hearing about more and more of these stories, and they get more and more gruesome.  Are our children in more danger today than they were, say, 30 years ago, or are we just focusing on these tragedies more on a national level? 

JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE CHIEF:  Yes, I am not sure which, but, clearly—maybe it’s because of the TV coverage.  I’m not sure. 

But it certainly appears that way.  When you look, for example, down in your home state of Florida, down here, we have had more than a few just in the last couple of years, really horrific cases.  But then, here, these two young girls, this is actually shocking.  But being a family member, it’s doubly so. 

It’s just kind of an awful situation.  But, clearly, the police suspected this guy right away, because they brought this case to closure almost in rapid fashion. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why would you suspect that this father, you know...


SCARBOROUGH:  He is a beast.  But why would he not only kill his daughter, but brutally stab and beat and kill her playmate? 

TIMONEY:  Well, usually what happens in a case like this is, if another person is there as a possible witness and would be able to identify him, you are going to kill the witness also.  And that may be the case.  I am not saying it is. 

But it may be the case that the other poor, unfortunate girl happened to be there, and so he was in a rage when he killed his daughter, and then, of course, also killed this poor witness. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And let me bring in Sue Kuczka.  Sue reports for “The Chicago Tribune.”  She just filed her report tonight. 

Sue, tell me, what’s the very latest that you know of? 

SUSAN KUCZKA, “THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE”:  Well, you know, the big development, of course, was the charges being placed against the father, who had been in custody quite a while. 

We are waiting to see tomorrow what they come out with in court.  We haven’t been given much of a motive.  And I believe the investigators are still trying to get some more physical evidence to actually link this gentleman to the murder of his daughter, although what we are hearing is, he had been rather cooperative, which could be part of an effort to get some kind of plea deal or avoid a death penalty hearing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Sue, Sue, Sue, we keep hearing about money being a possible motive.  What in the world could a grown man have—what kind of money dispute could a grown man have with his 8-year-old daughter that would drive him to stabbing her to death? 

KUCZKA:  Well, that’s hard to fathom, and I don’t know if anybody can really answer that.

But, apparently, Laura had been grounded by the mother in some sort of dispute over money with her.  I don’t know more details on that.  But the mother actually lifted or degrounded her, as they say, on Mother’s Day.  And I don’t know if he was angry about the disciplining of the child.  The prosecutor seemed to say that that probably is not a motive for the murder.  It’s more sort of, it was just coincidental that she had been grounded, and the day that the grounding was lifted, she ends up murdered.  She is not in the house.  And I don’t know if that would have stopped this homicide or not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Brown, you look at this man’s record.  You look at the fact that he was arrested for chasing people around a trailer park with a chain saw.  You look at his other arrests.  Could police, could judges along the way have predicted that this type of behavior would eventually occur? 

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER:  Well, everybody should have known this type of behavior would occur.  Look at how many times he has done odd things and aggressive and violent things.

And what is—really people need to look at is how irresponsible we are about bad behavior, how we actually ignore bad behavior and we reward bad behavior.  For example, why was this man allowed back in the house?  I mean, this man is a career criminal.  What mother is accepting this man back into her life to be around her daughter and leaving him alone with that child? 

Why—and the other child’s family, why did they allow their daughter to go over to a house with a career criminal living in the house?  Where is our sense of protection for our children?  Where is our sense of outrage over bad behavior?  And, you know, my guess is, Joe, is, if you look back, when this guy went to prison, my guess is, somebody was silly enough to go visit him there. 

I have always told my kids, I say, look, you commit a crime and I know you committed the crime, don’t expect bail from me.  Don’t expect money for a lawyer, and don’t expect me to show up at jail visiting you.  You have committed a crime against society.  See you when you get out and you have done kind of repentance for this whole thing that you have done.  But I am not going to reward your bad behavior by being nice to you and giving you all this extra love and attention. 

This guy probably got it.  And he gets back out.  And what are we treating him like?  A normal father in the neighborhood?  Let’s go leave him around the children and let’s be nice to him?  I think that’s ridiculous. 


BROWN:  And I think that’s our problem.  We are irresponsible. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, you know—and, you know, Pat, I was just thinking, when I heard about this story and I heard about the murder and the friend being murdered...

BROWN:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It hit me.  I was like, my gosh, do I need—every time my children go visit somebody else’s house, do I need to run a criminal background check? 

BROWN:  Well, yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Unfortunately, in the world that we live in today, yes. 

It seems like the answer is yes. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Pat, stay with us. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Because we have got to go to break. 

BROWN:  Right.  OK. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I will let you respond on the other side of this break. 

I would like my other guests also to stay with us, because, when we come back, I am going to ask the question, what could possibly cause a father to commit such a horrendous crime?  And what is next in this terrible case?  Our coverage continues. 

And, later, Southern California deputies open fire, 120 shots in seconds.  Was this necessary or excessive force?  That SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown when we return.


SCARBOROUGH:  Our coverage of the murder of two young girls in Illinois continues.  Coming up next, we are going to be asking, what could have been done to stop this senseless killing, and should this man ever have been let out of prison?  That’s next.

But, first, here’s the latest news that your family needs to know. 



WALLER:  You know, I’ve been in this business for over 30 years.  This is probably the most horrific crime I’ve ever seen.  And I, at many other news conferences, have made the statement that there’s no rational explanation or reasonable motive that can be ascribed to an act of horror like this. 


SCARBOROUGH:  There’s absolutely not.  It seems like we are a country out of control, and we don’t even know how to protect our own children anymore.  That was state’s attorney Mike Waller talking about the horrible murder of Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias, really, one of the worst scenes that he has seen. 

With me now is Lake County Coroner Richard Keller.

Dr. Keller, thanks for being with us. 


SCARBOROUGH:  First of all, before we talk about what you have had to do over the past 24 hours in your job, talk about being a member of this community, what you and other people in Zion, Illinois, are going through tonight. 

KELLER:  Well, you know, certainly, a sense of relief now that someone has been charged or will be charged tomorrow. 

You know, I live in Waukegan, which is close by here.  I have two children, 7 and 14.  You know, there’s that sense of wariness, fear.  Certainly, my daughters felt it.  And I think that it just kind of infected the entire community.

And even with this finding out the perpetrator who did this, I think that, again, we will kind of ratchet up how careful we are with the kids, how much we watch them, just how far we will let them out of our sight when they are playing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Richard, as a father of girls, it had to be even probably more difficult for you to go onto this crime scene, to investigate this grisly murder.  Talk about—again, not too graphically, but talk about what you saw when you went on the crime scene.  And what did these young girls die of? 

KELLER:  Well, certainly, on the crime scene, it was a wooded area that otherwise was a lovely place, you know, birds and flowers and the shrubs and whatnot.

But, you know, the two girls laying on their backs, they were fully clothed.  But it was very obvious, even getting close to them, that they had been murdered, blood over their clothing.  On examination, further examination, we found out that they had multiple stab wounds.  The fatal wounds in particular were to the throat. 

Some bruising, just—certainly, you know, it really did grab me, because you tend to identify with your kids, with your experience.  Despite the fact that I have been in E.R. medicine for 20 years and seen a lot of different things, it comes home with you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Were there any clues, from what you saw, that this was a crime of passion, that this is something that came upon this man all at once and he did something that he wasn’t expecting to do, or that it was planned out, that it was calculated, that it was premeditated? 

KELLER:  Well, you know, some of that is difficult for me to comment on.  That’s certainly the focus of the police investigation. 

I can say that there were multiple wounds, not a single wound, just—you know, certainly, there was obviously some emotion involved, and not a terribly cold, calculated thought process. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much for being with us, Doctor.  We greatly appreciate it tonight.  And our thoughts are with you and your entire community tonight. 

KELLER:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let’s bring back our panel.

We’ve got Sue Kuczka of “The Chicago Tribune” on the phone with us, along with criminal profiler Pat Brown, and also Miami Police Chief John Timoney.              

Chief Timoney, walk us through this investigation.  You heard the coroner talking about the crime scene.  You are trying to nail this guy, get him—get the death penalty nailed on him.  What are you looking for on the crime scene to make it look premeditated? 

TIMONEY:  Well, first of all, my sense is, it’s a distance from the residence, which means he would have had to walk there, which may prove some kind of intent of doing some kind of damage when he gets there.  He also—he leads the police to the body in a wooded area.  That, I guarantee you right away, must have raised the suspicions of the police officers involved.

And then, usually, in a situation like this, since he has got nothing to hide, he is going to be talking.  And when somebody tries to tell a lie, you can bet that the next time they make the next statement, they will start to conflict one another.  And it looks like, in pretty short order, they had this guy, if you will, on the radar screen, and, you know, just confronted him, I guess, with his conflicts.

And it looks like, according to reports, that he is at least cooperating as far as admitting what he did. 


Pat Brown, where do we go from here?  How do we—how do we seek out these type of killers that are living around us, that are living in our communities, that are living in our towns that we allow back into our homes, as you said, back into our neighborhoods, back into our children’s lives? 

BROWN:  Well, as I said, we need to get responsible and really understand that we should not accept levels of bad behavior.  And we do as a society. 

When a person commits a crime, usually, they get their hands slapped, and the judges let them off over and over again.  And we don’t have strict enough penalties the first time around to say, look, we don’t tolerate this.  And you do something, we’re going to nail your for it.

This guy, you were asking, what kind of father would do this?  Well, this guy has never been a father.  What kind of—a person who is a father doesn’t commit crimes and go to prison and leave his children without someone there to care for them.  So, he has never been a father.  And we shouldn’t even call him one.  And that’s probably—immediately, you say, well, he just is one and we accept everything, accept him back in.  And we tend to ignore and minimize the things that these kind of people do. 

The other thing to point out is that this man happened to kill his child and her friend.  But I guarantee you, he could have been walking down that path and some other child could have come along, and he might have killed them just as well, because he was getting his rage out.  There really is no reason he killed these children.  The reason for him is:  They annoyed me.  They got in my way.  They caused me irritation, and, therefore, I had the right to kill them, because it was their fault. 

He is going to victimize the children and say, they drove him to it.  Well, he could say that about any child.  So, any of these guys in your neighborhood, we ought to know about them and we ought to be aware that, if our children are out there playing in the park, going to people’s houses, walking in certain areas, that they are going to be—possibly become victims of these kind of people.  We have to watch them more carefully. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  All right. 

Thank you so much, Pat Brown.

BROWN:  My pleasure, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Richard Keller, Sue Kuczka, and, of course, Chief Timoney, as always, we appreciate you being in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Coming up next, a big police shoot-out in Los Angeles, over 100 shots fired into an SUV.  The driver lives to tell about it, but now it may be the cops who are facing the heat. 

That’s next in our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown.



SCARBOROUGH:  Early Monday morning, 10 L.A. sheriff’s deputies opened fire on a white Tahoe, riddling the vehicle and nearby homes with 120 bullets. 

Now, earlier, the deputies responded to a call that there had been gunfire and were told to look for a white SUV.  While talking to Walter Hayes, the driver of the white Tahoe, Hayes drove off, and the deputies gave chase.  After being blocked by police, Hayes began to back his Tahoe up toward the police.  Big mistake.  That’s when sheriff’s deputies opened fire. 

Now, were they doing their job or were they endangering not only Hayes, but also the entire community? 

With me to talk about it is De Lacy Davis of Black Cops Against Police Brutality.  And then he’s also an East Orange police officer.  And also Ric Robinson, a former state police director and author of “Cop: The Truth Behind the Badge.”

Ric, let’s start with you.  Were these police officers who fired over 100 shots into this SUV being excessive in their use of force? 

RIC ROBINSON, FORMER STATE TROOPER:  You know something?  They had a suspect that was blasting through people’s front lawns at 70 miles an hour.  He was going down alleys.  He had no regard for human safety or human life. 

When they finally got him boxed in, that’s when they hoped they had him contained.  When he threw it in reverse and went after the officers, that’s when they opened fire.  When you do the math and the number of the officers who were there, we are really not talking about individually a lot of shots being fired.  They did what they had to do for their own safety and for the safety of the public. 

SCARBOROUGH:  De Lacy Davis, were these police officers just trying to protect themselves or were they being excessive in their use of force? 

DE LACY DAVIS, FOUNDER, BLACK COPS AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY:  I am not sure who they were trying to protect, but I know, as a police officer and a firearms instructor, certainly, there were too many shots fired.  You’re talking about an average of 12 shots per person.  We’re talking about five homes that have bullet holes in them.  You’ve endangered the lives of the residents.

ROBINSON:  Actually, De Lacy, that hasn’t...


DAVIS:  Please let me finish.  Please let me finish. 

ROBINSON:  Go ahead.  Go ahead. 

DAVIS:  You also had crossfires.  You had them shooting from three different angles, which endangered the officers.  So, I have a concern about the training, the tactics that were being used, the shooting policy.  And we are talking about the risk to the community vs. the benefit of apprehension, and we are talking about a man that wasn’t armed. 


DAVIS:  So, my question is, why fire?

ROBINSON:  Now, I will tell you one thing. 

Now, De Lacy, as a matter of fact, there’s been no confirmation that those homes were hit by the officers.  There were at least 10 shell casings, .40-caliber, that were found at the scene, the shots fired.  The suspect that took off probably threw the gun out of the vehicle.  You and I both know that.  We have seen that.

DAVIS:  No, we don’t both know that.  You are rewriting history. 


ROBINSON:  I don’t know what happened because the investigation hasn’t been completed.  But you are talking about homes being hit.  We don’t know that the officers did that.


DAVIS:  First of all, let me help you out.  I am from the black community.  And I can pick up the phone, as I have, and call into Compton, California, and speak with... 


ROBINSON:  This isn’t a black or white issue.


DAVIS:  Let me finish my point. 

ROBINSON:  Now you let me finish.


ROBINSON:  This is not a black or white issue. 

DAVIS:  We called into Compton to speak to residents.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold it, gentlemen.  We have got to stop.  We have got to stop. 

ROBINSON:  There were black officers on the scene.  There were white officers that were on the scene.  It is not racial.

SCARBOROUGH:  De Lacy, De Lacy, let me ask you this question, yes, because there were black officers.  There were white officers on the scene. 

I want to ask you, if you are a police officer and an SUV is moving towards you after you have been in hot pursuit with him for some time, do you fire at the automobile or do you allow that SUV to continue coming towards you and your fellow officers? 

DAVIS:  First of all, I have been trained and I train my officers to step out of the path of the vehicle. 

ROBINSON:  If you can get out of the way. 

DAVIS:  Let me finish my point, please. 

I am still an officer.  And the reality is, all you’ve got to do is move out of the way.  I have moved my vehicle and I have stepped aside many times, because you don’t get bonus points for killing unarmed people. 

ROBINSON:  If that vehicle would have fled the scene, if that car would have gotten away and run down some kid down the street.... 

DAVIS:  If.  If the car had exploded...

ROBINSON:  You’d be talking right now about, why didn’t those police officers take more appropriate action?


ROBINSON:  They did what they had to do under the circumstances.  You can’t always just jump out of the way.  Now, maybe you can.  Maybe, De Lacy, you can jump out of the way, but we can’t expect 10 officers to always be able to jump out of the way. 


DAVIS:  They shouldn’t have exited their vehicle.  That is what the training teaches.  The training teaches to use vehicle as a shield. 

ROBINSON:  They were boxing them in.  They did box them in.

DAVIS:  But there’s no reason to jump them out of your vehicle.  If it’s boxing...

ROBINSON:  He was trying to run them down. 

DAVIS:  Would you let me make the point?

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, hold on a second. 

De Lacy, I want to ask you, now, they have been chasing this guy over


DAVIS:  At 30 miles an hour. 


ROBINSON:  Seventy.  Seventy.

SCARBOROUGH:  He got up to 70 miles an hour in places.  It varied between 30 and 70. 

They corner him in this neighborhood.  They obviously think he is a risk.  They think he is a danger.  Do you really think that police officers should allow him to back up, to get out and, again, just sort of clear out of the way, so he can get out and have them chase him across the other half of L.A. County? 

DAVIS:  Again, Joe, what I am saying to you, I talk about tactics.  If the vehicle is appropriately boxed in, it can’t drive past the cars that have boxed it in, number one. 

Number two, all of those officers, as you can see on the tape, exited their vehicle.  And that’s questionable.  They are shooting at each other, as we saw an officer get injured as a result of the poor police tactics, which is reflection of poor police training.  And this is the third case that we’ve seen in California.

ROBINSON:  You and I both know there are never perfect investigations. 

DAVIS:  We are not talking about perfection. 

ROBINSON:  You can’t get perfection.    

DAVIS:  We are not looking for perfection.  We are looking for professionalism. 

ROBINSON:  Those officers did what they had to do for their own safety and to stop that vehicle.  You’re talking about 120 shots.


SCARBOROUGH:  Ric—let me ask you this, Ric.

ROBINSON:  Yes, sir. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Fifteen seconds.  Does it change anything that this gentleman ended up being unarmed? 

ROBINSON:  He may have thrown—he used his vehicle as a weapon. 

DAVIS:  Cut it out. 

ROBINSON:  And that’s what makes all the difference in this.  They had to stop the vehicle.  He was trying to kill those officers.  He showed by going 70 miles an hour through people’s lawns he would do whatever it took to get away. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, De Lacy Davis, Ric Robinson, thanks a lot. 

Greatly appreciate it. 

And, of course, the SUV was being used as a weapon, and we don’t know if he ended up throwing a gun out of the car at some point.  I am sure we will know more in the coming days. 

Now, coming up next, my take on the big fight on Capitol Hill regarding judges, nominations to the Supreme Court, and possibly some decisions that could affect your life for years to come. 

It’s my SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY “Congressional Memo,” coming up in just a minute.


SCARBOROUGH:  With Washington on the brink of political war, now seems like the right time for a reality check in the battle over federal judges.  And that’s the subject of tonight’s “Congressional Memo.”

Now, as you know, political partisans are warning us that the Constitution’s very existence depends on the outcome of the Senate’s judicial filibuster fight.  The stakes are high.  If the president gets his way, two conservative Supreme Court nominees will be confirmed later this summer.  And decisions like Roe v. Wade could be overturned. 

Republicans claim every nominee deserves an up-or-down vote.  And Democrats are claiming that doing away with the filibuster threatens the very Constitution itself.  So, who is telling the truth?  Well, by judging their own words and deeds, neither are. 

You know, Republicans have been claiming that judicial nominees deserve an up-or-down vote.  But when Bill Clinton was president, the Republican Senate buried dozens of Mr. Clinton’s selections by never letting them out of committee.  So, all these judges may not have been filibustered.  They also never got that up-or-down vote that Republicans now claim to be so important. 

Unfortunately, Democrats are just as shameless on this point as their Republican peers, because, during the Clinton years, Democratic senators, like Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy railed against judicial filibusters.  But now Senator Leahy and his Democratic allies are claiming that, well, blocking judicial nominees is the essence of constitutional checks and balances.  How Republican, how 1999, how hypocritical. 

A pox on both their houses.  Let me tell you something, friends.  I loved the filibuster in ‘93 and ‘94, because they sidetracked Bill Clinton’s most extreme ideas.  I hated the filibuster in ‘95 and ‘96, when it did the same thing to the GOP legislative agenda.  It took me until the turn of the century to figure out that the Senate’s check on majoritarian instincts was the genius of our founding fathers when it came to checks and balances. 

It’s why we are a constitutional republic, instead of a pure democracy.  Democrats and Republicans need to remember that as they debate the so-called nuclear option. 

We’ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


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