'This Week' Transcript: Mayor Bill de Blasio

ByABC News
December 7, 2014, 9:53 AM

December 7, 2014 — -- Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on December 7, 2014. It may contain errors.

ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on ABC's This Week, new details this morning about that daring rescue attempt. U.S. special forces swooping in to try to save an American held captive by al Qaeda. How the operation went down and what went wrong.

Outrage in the streets: allegations of the police using excessive force in New York, Ferguson, Cleveland. Mayor Bill de Blasio here live exclusively as ABC News tackles race, justice in America.

And gas prices plunging: the lowest levels in more than four years, saving Americans hundreds of dollars. What's behind this dramatic drop? And how low will they go?

From ABC News, this week with George Stephanopoulos begins now.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Good morning. We begin with that desperate raid gone wrong. American journalist Luke Summers killed during a last minute rescue attempt held by al Qaeda in Yemen for more than a year. His captors a promise to kill him this weekend. So U.S. special forces swooped in, but they were discovered at the last moment. And ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross here with the details. Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, George.

U.S. officials say the president gave the OK for the raid after intelligence reports indicated al Qaeda was about to carry out its threat to execute the 33-year-old Luke Summers.


ROSS: It was a high-risk mission to begin with, launched under an almost full moon from a U.S. air base in Djibouti around 1:00 a.m. local time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a very dangerous and complicated mission, but like always in these efforts, there's risk.

ROSS: Some 40 commanders from the elite SEAL Team 6 landed about six miles away from the al Qaeda hideout to avoid being detected by the aircraft noise.

The team made its way on foot to within 100 yards of the objective when a U.S. counterterrror source tells ABC News one of the al Qaeda guards who had gone outside to relieve himself spotted the team.

What ensued was a fierce 10 minute gun battle in which most, but not al Qaeda guards were killed with none of the U.S. forces injured.

But U.S. officials say one of the attackers was seen racing inside the building and is believed to have shot both Summers and a second hostage.

One of them died from his wounds being flown out to a U.S. navy ship offshore, the other died in the ship's medical facility.

Summers, who grew up in Sacramento, had worked in Yemen as a photojournalist until he was kidnapped 14 months ago. U.S. officials denounced what they called his brutal murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be relentless in our efforts to bring to justice those who have caused this death. Some already have been brought to justice in the raid, but there's much more to do.


ROSS: The other hostage killed was a South African teacher Pierre Korkie. The group he worked for said they had negotiated for him to be released today and home in time for Christmas, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a tough one. OK, Brian, thanks very much.

We're joined now by our security analyst Matthew Olsen. Until recently, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Welcome.

Boy, this mission about as difficult as it comes.

MATTHEW OLSEN, FRM. DIR. NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: This was extremely dangers and risky. You had AQ operatives who were armed. And they were on alert given the prior rescue attempt. This is a very remote and rugged area of Yemen. And it looks like U.S. special forces lost the element of surprise. So, yeah, this was extremely difficult and risky.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you noted, this shows something new for al Qaeda. They seem to be adopting the tactics of ISIS.

OLSEN: Right. The question that folks are going to have to watch is, is al Qaeda in Yemen or are other al Qaeda elements going to adopt what we've seen ISIS do in Syria, that is executing hostages.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They hadn't done it before.

OLSEN: Not in this nature, not in this way. And so they've asked for ransom payments. So that's something that folks are going to be very careful in watching in the coming days.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And all of this is happening the back drop of the expected release this week of the Senate torture report, which has officials around the world -- U.S. officials -- on really high alert.

OLSEN: Right. So the interrogation report coming out looks like this week. The issue there from a counterterrorism perspective is does this increase the risk to U.S. personnel, particularly some of the details in the report. And the concern is over our military forces, our diplomats and other officials around the world, particularly in areas where there are hot spots in the Middle East and North Africa.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Matt Olsen, thanks very much.

We're going to turn now to the crisis of confidence in our justice system, especially among black Americans. Thousands of protesters marching again overnight, turning violent in Berkeley where at least one police officer was injured.

So much anger over those grand jury decisions in New York and Ferguson and of course that little boy shot in Cleveland while holding a toy gun.

All week long, ABC News will be tackling the questions of race and justice in America. And we begin with senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.


PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles, thousands outraged by allegations of excessive force by police, especially white officers against blacks.

New chants joining "no justice, no peace" as part of a modern-day civil rights lexicon. And new symbols ignited by these searing images: Eric Garner dead at the hands of the NYPD, Michael Brown, unarmed, shot in Ferguson, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun, shot by police after a two second confrontation in Cleveland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are outraged at what we see. And we cannot stand, and we refuse to watch.

THOMAS: And this week the Justice Department accusing Cleveland Police of systemic misconduct.

UNIDENTIFIED: The Cleveland division of public police engages in a pattern and practice of using excessive force.

THOMAS: In one case cited by federal officials, Cleveland police fired more than 130 rounds into a car, killing an unarmed black man and woman after a high speed chase.

In the last five years, the Justice Department has opened more than 20 investigations into police departments across the country. Justice officials are enforcing 15 agreements with law enforcement agencies, often to correct unconstitutional policing practices.

Now, President Obama is calling for body cameras on officers. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants police retraining and raised eyebrows with this comment about the police and his son who is biracial.

BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: We've had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.

THOMAS: But those who support law enforcement suggest that the levels of police bias are being overstated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think interjecting race into the conversation is hugely problematic for the country, to paint the masses of hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers who have a very difficult job to do, to paint them all with one brush, is a mistake.


THOMAS: By all accounts, an unhealthy situation, old wounds proving difficult to heal, with more tense days to come -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about that.

OK, Pierre, thanks very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're joined now by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Welcome to this week. Your first appearance here. Thank you for joining us.

What a difficult week here in New York City. And back in August, you promised to ensure a fair and justified outcome in the Garner case. Do you believe the grand jury's decision met that standard?

BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: George, I make it a point not to talk about any element of judicial process per se. I'd talk about what we have to do to fix the relationship between police and community.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Others are willing to, why not you?

DE BLASIO: Because as an executive in public service I think it's important to respect the judicial process...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you respect the grand jury's decision.

DE BLASIO: Respect the process.

But the point here is we have a whole series of things we have to do to change the dynamics in our city. This is true all over the country. We have to retrain police forces in how to work with communities differently. We have to work on things like body cameras that would provide different level of transparency and accountability.

This is something systemic. And we bluntly have to talk about the historic racial dynamics underlie this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you respect the process, but not the decision?

DE BLASIO: George, the point is we in public service who have an opportunity to change policies and approaches have to do that. This is not about one case, it's about something bigger that has to be addressed. And part of what I tried to say the night of the decision is that we have to have an honest conversation in this country about a history of racism. We have to have an honest conversation about the problem that has caused parents to feel their children may be in danger in their dynamics with police when the police are there to protect them.

We have to transcend that. And in this city, we've tried to begin that process in earnest with a series of policy changes that will really reach people on the streets.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There's a lot of people at the beginning of that conversation is making sure that justice is done in individual cases. As you know, as you've said, a lot of people don't believe that's been done here. So the civil rights case is going to proceed at the federal level. You do support that?

DE BLASIO: We are absolutely cooperating with the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And do you believe that there was a civil rights violation here?

DE BLASIO: I am first of all not a lawyer, but more importantly I respect that the federal government will have its own investigation, NYPD will have an investigation as well and will come to its own judgment. But the cases, individual cases of course they draw our feelings, they mean so much to people and we relate through them personally. But what we have to do is change the fundamental relationship between police and community.