This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 15, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, the city of Los Angeles continues to investigate Sunday's police shoot-out that led to the tragic death of 19-month-old Susie Pena. An autopsy shows the bullet that killed her was fired by police.
Newly released images from a surveillance tape show Susie being held as a human shield by her own father in one arm while he used his other to fire shots from a stolen 9mm pistol.
Susie's family continues to criticize the SWAT team, but L.A. Police Chief Bill Bratton (search) said it does not appear his officers broke the law. Even so, the department will review its tactics.
With us now, Dr. Casey Jordan, a professor of justice and law at Western Connecticut State University. And from Los Angeles, Najee Ali, a civil rights activist.
So, Najee, what did — what is it that you would have wanted the police to do in this situation that they didn't do?
NAJEE ALI, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, first of all, we're still shocked and outraged by Susie being shot to death by a SWAT team member. And what we should have asked for was more restraint and more patience.
I'm first to say that we do not defend or condone the father's action or his behavior, but certainly, we feel the SWAT team could have used more restraint and shown better tactics than what they did. Because right now...
GIBSON: Dr. Jordan, I mean, maybe there's a point. Even though the guy is shooting, he's holding the baby as a human shield, maybe the cops should have held their fire and waited for the baby to be out of the line of fire.
CASEY JORDAN, PROFESSOR, WESTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY: There are so many variables involved in all of these situations that there's never a perfect answer on how to handle them. We know from studying thousands of similar cases, that when it's a domestically induced hostage situation, these are the ones end in death the most often and are the most volatile, and those are the ones where taking your time doesn't help.
GIBSON: Why not?
JORDAN: Because if the person has taken so-called loved ones as hostages, as human shields, they are in his mind probably already dead, because this person feels that he's on a downward spiral. He's desperate. He knows he's either going to jail or he's going to die. He's probably going to set himself up in a suicide by cop. And he probably is — has no respect for human life, including that of his child.
GIBSON: Najee, I'm still confused, though. I mean, the guy is using his own baby as a human shield. He's already shot one cop. He's got a 9mm pistol. He's shooting at them more.
So, I mean, we're looking at these pictures of the baby, and, of course, it's — it is horrible. And I'll bet the police do change their tactics about this, because it's embarrassing, if nothing else, that you end up shooting a baby.
But what would you have them do? I mean, here he comes out. He's got the gun; he's shooting away. Are the cops just supposed to duck and hide while he's shooting and not shoot back, because he's got the baby in his arms?
ALI: Well, the cops should do what they do in white neighborhoods in these situations.
GIBSON: Najee, come on. Name me an instance.
ALI: An instance?
ALI: Well, I'll say this. For the most part, I've never, ever seen this ever happen to any other community, any child of a white person shot and killed.
GIBSON: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I mean, you're dragging me into a racial pit here. Are you telling me I've got to come up with an instance where a white father is holding a white baby shooting at cops and the cops shoot back and kill the baby? I might suggest to you that white fathers don't do that, but that would sound a little racist, too, wouldn't it, Najee?
ALI: Well, John, I'm not racist. I'm not trying to sound racist. But I'm telling you what I know for a fact, that black and brown communities are policed differently than the white communities. And certainly, this...
GIBSON: All right, Dr. Jordan, does he have a case that the police were a little too trigger happy here?
JORDAN: I don't think so. You have so many different things...
GIBSON: But what is — what is the — how were the cops going to defend themselves? They didn't break the law when they kill a baby.
JORDAN: You have, first of all, make sure everybody understands, and Mr. Pena started shooting first.
GIBSON: Of course. Of course.
JORDAN: You had three different shooting episodes over the space of three or three and half hours, and he sent his step daughter out. He could have sent her out with the baby, but he didn't. He was going to keep that child as a human shield.
And when — and earlier in the day he had already threatened the lives of the baby, his stepdaughter and his wife. So, you're talking about somebody who's not going to be reasoned with in most cases.
It has no matter white, brown, black. It doesn't matter. We're talking about desperate people who do desperate things.
GIBSON: Najee, do you think that — you know, because Bill Bratton is not unaware of public opinion. He's served in New York and people know him here, and we all know about the sort of heightened sensitivities you alluded to in Los Angeles. There have been riots over these sort of things before.
Do you think the police are going to change sort of an official template of tactics?
ALI: Well, I believe, sir, when it's all said and done, Chief Bratton, he's done an excellent job in dealing with this issue and other issues since he's been here in Los Angeles. So we support his leadership. And we're hopeful that we can come together collectively to deal with these issues. Because certainly police abuse in the black and brown...
GIBSON: You're not calling this abuse, are you?
ALI: Well, I would say excessive force. I would say questionable tactics. And certainly...
GIBSON: Questionable tactics or questionable judgment or just bad luck?
ALI: Well, I don't think luck has anything to do with it. I just think it's questionable tactics.
GIBSON: OK. Dr. Jordan, look, 11 officers shot.
GIBSON: What if it were one? One sharp hooter, one person gets a clear shot, take him out? Why were 11 officers shooting at him?
JORDAN: I wasn't at the scene, but my understanding is that it was a car dealership garage, that he was inside a windowless building that was huge. It was vast inside. That changes everything. You don't know where he is inside the building.
GIBSON: So, why are you shooting?
JORDAN: Well, you can't have a sharpshooter shoot through a building where they can't see their subject inside. You don't want to introduce gas into the building, because that could kill the child, who has smaller lungs than an adult. They tried, I think, for 3 1/2 hours to negotiate by bullhorn.
JORDAN: And the only option left was to Storm the building.
GIBSON: You know, Najee, this is what you can call, I think, classic horns of a dilemma. I mean, you could be making the decision, if you're the cops, where in any case the child dies. Are you telling me that what the policy should be is don't shoot and, if the baby's going to die, let it be at the hands of his — of her father?
ALI: Well, I would say if you rush in, because you're trying to save the child, and then the police kill the child, then what's better? So, I don't know...
GIBSON: You're saying hang back, and if the kid's going to die, let the father do it?
ALI: Well, I'm saying the police need to have more restraint and certainly more patience, and I believe that if the family talked to the father, he could have been talked into surrendering.
GIBSON: All right.
ALI: But that never happened, because they never gave the family a chance.
JORDAN: It never works.
GIBSON: Najee, Ali, thanks a lot. Najee, appreciate it. And Dr. Casey Jordan, thanks to both of you.
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