Return to Transcripts main page


Protests in Ferguson; Robin Williams Had Parkinson's Disease

Aired August 17, 2014 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST OF "NEW DAY" SUNDAY: Good morning. So, glad to have you with us. I am Christi Paul in CNN headquarters in Atlanta, where it is 5:00 on the east coast.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST "NEW DAY SUNDAY": It is 4:00 A.M. here in Ferguson, Missouri. Good morning. I am Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: Victor, good to see you this morning.

BLACKWELL: Likewise.

PAUL: We would like to welcome our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. This is "New Day Sunday." And, we want to start with some breaking news from overnight out of Ferguson. Victor, what do you know?

BLACKWELL: Well, police in Ferguson used smoke, canisters and teargas in response to shooting just minutes into 5-hour curfew. We know there were both used throughout the night. The top security officer on the scene, Ron Johnson, says that the show of force amid protests was triggered by a gunman who walked into the street near a barbecue restaurant. He says authorities first deployed smoke canisters to try to push the crowd back. Listen.


CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICER: We got a report of a shooting victim near the QuickTrip and Red's Barbecue. As they approached Red's Barbecue, they did deploy teargas at Red's Barbecue at that point. That was the first canister that was deployed there, in an effort to move back and get to the shooting victim. Also, a police car at that location was shot at.


PAUL: Captain Ron Johnson there, saying that authorities clamped down on protesters in response to the shooting, not the curfew violations. Seven people we know were arrested that had to do with the curfews. The alleged shooter, as we understand it, has not been found. The victim, though, is in critical condition? Yes , Victor?

BLACKWELL: That is right. And, you know, this curfew was scheduled to go from midnight to 5:00 A.M. here at local time. Less than an hour before it set to expire now. And, the streets of Ferguson are quiet for now. There is a crowd behind me. Probably 15 -- well, actually much smaller now; probably, about five to 10 demonstrators, protesters here from across the police department. Christi.

PAUL: All right. Well, we know Missouri's Governor issued the overnight clampdown and declared a state of emergency, too, yesterday, which was, of course, the weak mark to that white officer with the Ferguson Police Department, who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. Michael Brown's killing, as you know, sparked protests, and these incidents of looting, too, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Early this morning, demonstrators marching against the curfew. They raised their arms into the air. And, they said -- the chant we have heard, "Hands up, do not shoot," is that actions symbolic of what some witnesses say Brown was doing, moments before he was killed. A similar silent protest happened earlier outside of the police station right behind me here.

PAUL: Now, we know also yesterday, a Brown family lawyer announced, high-profile pathologist Michael Baden, who testified on O.J. Simpson's case is going to conduct a second autopsy on the 18- year-old's body, as we search for these answers and as people there too searching for justice in this killing, Victor. And, I know you want to talk to CNN Producer, Steve Kastenbaum here because he witnessed the mayhem this morning. Is that right?

BLACKWELL: Yes. He has been out both nights -- several nights here, actually as things have transpired. He is with us now. Steve, give us an idea of what you saw there. Is now the reports that the teargas and the smoke was used, of course, the shooting -- What do you know? Tell us what you saw, what you heard.

STEVE KASTENBAUM, CNN PRODUCER: So, as the curfew approached -- we should state first off that the demonstration, the last night, was much smaller than it had been in previous nights, partially because it was raining, and partially because a lot of the local residents after the looting took place, said enough was enough. We need to restore normal here.

So, it was a smaller crowd of people that were out on the streets in Ferguson. And, as the curfew approached, community activists and leaders went through that crowd and said, "Come on now. It is time to go home. We will come back tomorrow." And, the overwhelming majority of people did leave.

But, as the curfew approached, the remaining demonstrators did sort of situate themselves at one end of the avenue, while police and the media were at the other end. And, there was not much action there for a while, when the midnight hour came. But then, we saw the riot police suiting up. They put on their helmets. They put on their gas masks, their riot gears.

Some of them had assault rifles with them, and we also saw the armoured vehicles moving in. And, we knew something was about to happen. And, they started approaching the demonstrators. They shot off some canisters of smoke. Gave them warnings about facing arrest, risking arrest. The crowd then actually surged forward towards the police, and that is when they pushed back even further and harder. And, then we now know that is when they fired teargas in an

attempt to get to this Barbecue establishment, where they had a report of an individual in the crowd who had been shot. And, we should say that we did speak to witnesses, people who were defiant of this curfew who came out later on and told us that indeed they did hear the gunshot. They did see a man with a gun in the crowd amongst them, and they did see a victim, who was also a protester.

So, they confirmed for us what police were saying that the shooting was entirely amongst both protester and the victim. The gunman was a protester, and so was the victim. So, they corroborate what police were telling us.

BLACKWELL: And, of course, we are waiting to get more information about the condition of the shooting victim. You know, we are really murky. Thanks to Steve Kastenbaum for giving us that firsthand account. We are in a murky position here in a time period where we are using the term protester. No guarantee that everyone we are seeing here is protesting the shooting of Mike Brown. Are they coming simply because they are trying to start the trouble that we are seeing?

Let's bring in my colleague, Ana Cabrera. She has been in Ferguson for the past week covering the unrest after Michael Brown's shooting death. Ana, you know, there was that news conference early in the afternoon yesterday, in which Captain Johnson said, he is not going to bring out the trucks, he is not going to bring out the teargas to enforce the curfew. Now, we talked about the gases, but, of course, we saw those trucks out last night in response to the group that was defying the curfew.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was a result of the fact that they had to get to somebody who had been shot and critically injured. And he, in the press conference at least, said that they really had no other option. And that he regretted they had to use some force deploying that teargas and that smoke.

But, of course, we heard that press conference also yesterday afternoon, in which Governor Nixon came out and talked about the need for answers, the need for transparency and then he would be demanding some expediency in the investigation. But, he said in order to get justice, we have to have peace. And that was the reasoning behind this curfew that was to go from midnight until 5:00 A.M.

Of course, we have not quite hit 5:00 A.M. I have seen a few protesters even in the vicinity of where we are this morning. They are being peaceful. So, I want you to listen to what else the Governor had to say, as he addressed the nation at his news conference yesterday.


GOV. JAY NIXON, (D) MISSOURI GOVERNOR: The tragedy shooting death of Michael Brown one week ago today, and the events that followed, left a family grieving the loss of a son, a community wrecked by fear and unrest and an entire world looking for answers and justice.

Well, the past several days I have heard from the people of Ferguson. I have heard their anger about injustice and intimidation. I have seen and heard the unspeakable sadness of a mother who will not see her son again, and the anguish of parents throughout the region, struggling to teach their kids to trust among so much strife.


CABRERA: And, along those lines, he said "This is really a test." And, last night would be that first test about finding that happy medium. The ability for protesters to hear, make their voices heard, but also to make sure that it is not done in a way that is preventing the investigation from moving forward.

And, he says, you know, this is a test of whether a community, any community, can break a cycle of fear, distrust and violence and replace them with peace, strength and ultimately justice. And, I think that is something that this community can all agree upon that people are wanting and seeking here, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Ana Cabrera, thank you very much. And, Christi, back to you. You know, we have got more than 45 minutes left in the curfew here. And, as I said at the top, there are probably about half-dozen protesters across from the Ferguson Police Department right behind me. They have been here the entire time that we have.

But you know, the state officials, county officials, the St. Louis City Police, they are in control of this area. And, although there is a car right there at the police department, effectively, the city police cannot do anything about the security situation, even the protesters defying the curfew in their own city in front of their police department. So, they are still here. And, every time someone drives by, they put their hands up and shout out, "Hands up, do not shoot." We will continue to follow the situation here.

PAUL: Wow. All right. Hey, Victor, thank you so very much.


PAUL: We also have to talk about the fighting that is going on right now. It is raging in northern Iraq. We have a CNN crew on the ground in that area. U.S. And Kurdish forces we now know are indeed trying to take back Iraq's biggest dam from terrorists.

Also, police say this couple, not only kidnapped two Amish girls but harmed them in another way, as well. We are going to tell you what we have learned and what their stories.


PAUL: Fierce fighting is raging in Northern Iraq right now. Kurdish troops we know are battling ISIS Militants now for control of Iraq's biggest dam. Our CNN crew on the ground has heard explosions. They have seen smoke, mortar and rocket fire. U.S. war planes and armed drones, we know, are pounding ISIS targets. And, CNN's Anna Coren is in Mosul, joining us by phone. Anna, glad that you are safe, first and foremost. Tell us what you have been seeing.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have been with the Special Forces of the Peshmerga for the last several hours. And, they have been taking this ground operation against ISIS Militants, pushing them back further and further.

When we arrived very early this morning, there was heavy artillery against those divisions, some -- several miles from where we are based on the frontline. There was huge explosion. Smoke over the horizon. There was heavy artillery, mortars, rockets being fired. And, then there was the U.S. Planes and Iraqi jets flying over. We could hear them flying over us.

They have been -- they have managed, I should say, to really push ISIS back over the space in a couple of hours. And, saying that ISIS is putting up quite a fight. There are loud explosions from where they were based. But, as they retreated, they were laying TNT explosive on the side of the road, as well as the buildings, really dragging the Peshmerga forces into the townships to fight.

We understand there has been a number of Peshmerga casualties. They were blowing up these buildings as Peshmerga forces were approaching. Obviously, one of their tactics, but certainly an effective one. However, ISIS Militants deciding to pull back, and -- But, now, the Peshmerga is holding their line as they now go in and clear the roads from explosives, mines. So, that is what special forces are looking for at the moment.

PAUL: You know, we have talked for a couple of weeks about the fact that they have had this dam in their possession, ISIS has. They have not used it to cause any harm at this point, but this is obviously a delicate mission. You do not want to compromise that dam in any way. Is there any indication that ISIS may get so desperate if they start to close in on them, that they would do something to that dam that would compromise its integrity.

COREN: Yes. Well, that is absolutely the risk. We know that the U.S. conducted air strikes around Mosul Dam. Not near the facility itself but around the dam, obviously, targeting both militant positions and effectively wiped out many of them. That is what we are hearing from U.S. Central command.

But, that is a real risk because we understand that there are 400 militants. That is according to Peshmerga who are surrounding the dam, who have seized the dam, as well as the 100 between us and the dam. Where we are, Christi, we can see the lake, Mosul Lake and then that flows into Mosul dam.

But, the Peshmerga have to push through those layers, if you like, of the fence before they get to the dam. The dam is still some 25 kilometers from where we are. So, as far as the strategic importance of that dam, it is the largest hydroelectric dam in the country. It provides power for Mosul and Baghdad.

There are real concerns to its stability. The foundations of the dam are not stable. That is from the U.S. Military as well as independent civil engineers who studied this over the years. It has to have -- into it to reinforcements the foundation, for there is concern that if it is not maintained that it could burst or break, in which case there would be a tidal wave, a tsunami, which would take out Mosul.

The figure that was given to us is like 30 meter of water that would hit Mosul and then on to Baghdad further down. The water that would then reach Baghdad would be likely at 5 meters. We are talking about wiping a cities and townships, people. It would be an absolute disaster. But, that is if they do not maintain it. They could blow it up. That is a real possibility, as well, if they decide to use it as a weapon, Christi.

PAUL: I just wondered, if they get desperate enough, as you said, you know, Kurdish forces do seem to at least have a periphery there around them. Anna Coren, thank you so much. We appreciate it. And, as she said, you know, this dam is 31 miles North of Mosul.

And, I have heard estimates that it could be a 60-foot wall of water that would be unleashed and flow all the way down to Baghdad. So, we are continuing, obviously, to watch that, as well. And, we will talk more about it throughout the next couple of hours.

But, let's talk about another story that a lot of people are paying attention to. Rick Perry. He is furious about the abuse of power charges against him. And, he is promising to fight back.


PAUL: Well, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling his indictment for abuse of power politically motivated. And, he is not backing down. He is accused of trying to force an official who oversees an agency that investigates public corruption to resign after she was arrested on a drunk driving charge. CNN's Mary Maloney has more.



GOV. RICK PERRY, (R) TEXAS GOVERNOR: I intend to fight against those who would erode our state's constitution and laws, purely for political purposes, and I intend to win.


MARY MALONEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The corruption charges stem from a complaint filed by Texans' public justice, the public interest group. The indictment accuses Texas Governor Rick Perry of threatening to veto $7.5 million in funding for a state wide public integrity unit. A special prosecutor in the case says, Perry wanted Travis County District Attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, who runs the unit to resign.


CRAIG MCDONALD, DIRECTOR OF TEXANS FOR PUBLIC JUSTICE: We researched the law and we filed a complaint. The Governor sometimes acts like a bully. And, he was trying to bully the Travis County D.A. into giving up her job.


MALONEY: Perry's attorney says the indictment is a political abuse of the court system. Amidst calls for Perry to resign, some of his supporters are speaking out. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas issued a statement saying, "I am proud to stand with Rick Perry.

The Texas Constitution gives the governor power to veto legislation, and a criminal indictment predicated on the exercise of constitutional authority is on its face, highly suspect. Lehmberg was convicted of drunk driving in 2013 while in office. Governor Perry says, based on the drunk driving in charges against Lehmberg, he was exercising his discretion.


GOV. PERRY: Given that information and given that choice again, that is exactly what I would do.


MALONEY: As for the case itself, prosecutors say they will go forward with their task. I am Mary Maloney, reporting.


PAUL: And, we will keep you updated on that. But, we will let you know that investigators now say the two Amish girls abducted Wednesday were sexually abused while they were held. A couple has been arrested. You see them here, charged with kidnapping and being held without bond, by the way.

The sisters were abducted from a farm stand in front of the family's home, near the Canadian border. They were set free by their captors about 24 hours later. And, it turned out that a house 15 miles from where they were taken.

We want to get you back to our lead story this morning, as well. Ferguson, under curfew until 6:00 Eastern this morning. Victor is there. So, Victor, only about 35 minutes left. What does it look like now?

BLACKWELL: Well, calm now. Quiet where I am, but overnight no more looting. But, there was some shooting. There was smoke, teargas, in response to some things that happened overnight. We are going to get answers to some of those Ferguson cues that have been submitted via twitter, with our law enforcement analyst, about the response to the protesters and why everybody is here. The shooting death of Michael Brown. Stay with us.


PAUL: 29 minutes past the hour. I know it is early. But, I am so grateful that you are keeping me company here. I am Christi Paul. I want to give you five things now for you to know this morning as we get you started. Number one, 30 minutes left now until the end of a state-imposed curfew in Ferguson, Missouri. And, it has been far from quiet.

Seven people have been arrested with police using smoke canisters as crowds gathered in defiance of that curfew. Ultimately, police say they had to use teargas to get to a shooting victim at a local barbecue restaurant. I do not have a lot of details about that incident, but the suspect is not in custody.

Number two, fierce fighting raging in Northern Iraq right now, as they fight for control of the country's biggest dam. From the air, U.S. war planes and drones have been pounding ISIS terror targets on the ground. Kurdish troops battling the militants. Our CNN crew on the ground has seen mortar and rocket fire. A Kurdish official says ISIS fighters are putting explosives around buildings and then blowing them up.

Number three, pro-Russian rebels threatening to launch a major counteroffensive against Ukrainian forces. According to Reuters, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic says the separatists have more than 100 armoured vehicles, 30 tanks and 1,200 fighters who allegedly have been trained in Russia. The remarks come in the wake of the Ukrainian Military taking key territory from rebels.

Number four, President Obama is going to be back in Washington today, taking a couple of days' break from his vacation in Martha's Vineyard. But, the reasons for his return, not completely clear. He has scheduled to hold several meetings, we know. And, Iraq is expected to be one of the top topics on the table, obviously.

Number five, in words likely intended for China and North Korea. Pope Francis told Asia's communist nations, not to fear Christians. The comments come during the first papal visit to South Korea in more than two decades. Yesterday, nearly a million Catholics, look at this, greeted the pope for mass, in downtown Seoul. What a sight.

Back to our top story now. Police in Ferguson, Missouri, used smoke canisters and then tear gas, in response to a shooting early this morning, just minutes into a five-hour curfew. Victor, obviously, is there. The top security officials on the scene said a squad car was fired on.

Captain Ron Johnson said authorities did clamp down on protesters in response to that shooting. Not the curfew violations. Seven people were arrested, though the alleged shooter was not arrested. I believe the alleged shooter is still on the loose. That victim is a male in critical condition. Is that what you heard, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Yes. A male in critical condition, that shooting victim. That curfew that was announced yesterday afternoon, Saturday afternoon, was scheduled to go midnight to 5:00 A.M., which means we are about 30 minutes and so from the expiration of the curfew and the streets of Ferguson are quiet now. There are just a people still protesting peacefully right behind me, probably a half-dozen or so.

And, Missouri's Governor, Jay Nixon, issued this clampdown Saturday, a week after a white officer with the Ferguson Police Department fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. His name is Michael Brown. And, his killing has sparked as we have seen over the week, protests and incidents of looting early this morning and yesterday.

Demonstrators raise their arms into the air. We have seen it all week, saying "Hands up, do not shoot." And, some witnesses say that position, with hands up, is what brown did moments before he was killed, Christi.

PAUL: Yes. We should also mention, Victor, that yesterday, a Brown family lawyer announced a high-profile pathologist, Michael Baden, who testified in the O.J. Simpson case is going to conduct a second autopsy on his body. But, Victor, we do not have any indication as to when that might happen yet, is that right?

BLACKWELL: Yes. And, we are hoping and the people here are hoping to get information about the primary concern here. That shooting, why did the officer feel it was necessary to fire -- the fatal shots that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. But there had been a lot of questions about the response.

First, from Ferguson police, now from the Missouri highway patrol. And yesterday, during the contentious news conference that we spoke with Ana Cabrera about just a few moments ago. The top -- I will not call it the top cop, the man who is in charge of security here, Captain Ron Johnson, with the highway patrol made a promise about the response from the troopers in his department. Listen, and then we will talk about what actually happen. Listen to the promise yesterday.


CAPT. JOHNSON: Tonight, we will enforce that curfew. We will not enforce it with trucks. We will not enforce it with teargas. We will communicate.


BLACKWELL: So, they started with communication with the announcement that requested to please disburse. But now, I want you to listen from Captain Johnson, early this morning, a description of what happened overnight.


CAPT. JOHNSON: We got a report of a shooting victim near the QuickTrip and Red's Barbecue. As they approached Red's Barbecue, they did deploy teargas at Red's Barbecue at that point. That was the first canister that was deployed there, in an effort to move back and get to the shooting victim. Also, a police car at that location was shot at.


BLACKWELL: So, you heard the captain there describe the use of smoke, the use of teargas. And, those were we know were both used overnight. Let's talk about the investigation, also the response. Let's bring in CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI Assistant Director, Tom Fuentes. Tom, let's start with what we saw last night. Was it a mistake, initially, to make that promise, that we heard from Captain Johnson?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No. Good morning, Victor. What Captain Johnson was trying to do, for the last couple has been trying to do, is try to reduce the level of tension, to make it as minimally confrontational as possible for the protesters, and really to give the protesters the opportunity to peacefully be out there. And exercise their first amendment rights to assemble and demonstrate freedom of speech.

And, you know, he attempted to do that and say we are going to have, basically, a kinder and gentler response than the first couple of nights of this whole incident. What happens the night before last is that you have hooligans come out and loot those stores. And, the police took it too far the other way. Now, the police stand by and watch. That is unacceptable, also. They need to prevent violence. They need to act when a criminal act is taking place right in front of their face.

My worry yesterday was, the message being sent out from two nights ago to hooligans all over to greater St. Louis area has come to Ferguson, the police will let you take whatever they want out of these stores. You can have at it because the police are afraid to act. And, so, I worried that what would happen last night, ended up partially happening.

We have two groups of people out here, at the minimum, who -- you have one group of peaceful protesters from the community, who are paying homage to Michael Brown, who want the facts, who want justice in their minds to take place. And then, you just have the normal, after-midnight clientele of the police -- these hooligans.

So, that is what the police have to contend with. So, they tried to put away the heavy weaponry, the trucks, the tear gas and everything. And, then last night, they ended up in a situation, they had no alternative, and they brought them back out.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And, I think it is important that we identify those two groups because that is something I have been battling with, honestly. We lump everyone into the group of calling them protesters. But some people here, obviously and in many of these situations, not just here in Ferguson, are just agitators and come up just to create that contingence and adversary relationship, we should in someway which is difficult to separate from the people who are peacefully protesting.

FUENTES: That is right.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the investigation into the shooting, though. The family has now hired an independent pathologist to do an autopsy on Michael Brown. Give us an idea more of what we are going to learn from that report.

FUENTES: Well, eventually, I mean these reports are going to take some time. The toxicology reports, what was in his blood, had he consumed alcohol or medication or taken drugs or any of that, that will take four to six weeks to come. But, the initial autopsy reports will show, first of all -- you know, we want to know in the first shot, what happened at that car between Officer Wilson and Brown, right at the police vehicle.

And, the first part of this will be, if Wilson shot him point- blank, if they are wrestling for the gun, as some reports have said, a gun fired that close to a person is going to have muzzle blast come out of the barrel. That means a small amount of fire and unburned gunpowder residue. That will be scorched into the clothing and body of a victim that is shot very closely.

Now, the other shots that will be the rest of the autopsy, what occurred afterward, which are entry wounds, was he shot in the back, was he shot from the front. So, all aspects of the autopsies will be geared at the shots, frankly, what killed Brown, what was his condition at the time of the incident? And, again, that first shot is also very important. The allegation that there was a wrestling match with a gun or at least the officer shot him right in the doorway of that squad. That will show on Brown's body.

PAUL: Tom, Christi Paul here. And, I just have a question about something you brought up regarding the looters, because a lot of people are angry about the thought. And, I was hearing that looters were coming out of stores carrying boxes and merchandise up to their chins. The store shelves are completely disarrayed. There is glass all over the place, and these officers stood there and did nothing. Can those business owners sue law enforcement for inaction?

FUENTES: Well, that is a good question. I think that would be a difficult case to make. But when you have a situation like the night before, where essentially the police say, if you want your business protected, you are going to have to do it yourself. And, then we see store owners coming out with long-barrel weapons of their own. This is the United States. This is why we have professional police officers with training and discipline to react to these situations.

We do not tell people, you are on your own. Now, the other long- term aspect, and I think this is something for the community leaders to talk about. If those store owners have reason to be fearful that they should not stay in town, and other investors say, "I better stay out of Ferguson because the bad guys can do whatever they want."

PAUL: Yes.

FUENTES: If those businesses leave the long-term economic good for that town is going to be horrible. The financial base, the tax base with businesses. You have people living in that community that probably do not have cars. They need to be able to walk to the corner convenient store to get the basics of life sometimes. And if those businesses pull out, that is going to have a major bad impact on that community.

And, that is why we have law enforcement. And, that is why judgments are made by businessmen of where they want to open their business. And, often times, it is based on, is that a safe place to do it? And, what we saw two nights ago, is Ferguson is not a safe place to invest. That is a bad message to go out.

PAUL: Right. And, I must be honest, those are not protesters. Those are criminals.

FUENTES: They are not protesters. That is why I referred to them -- I was a street cop, working night and day at times. These are the police normal clientele after midnight, that they run into this hooligans that are out there and whether they are looting stores in Ferguson or gang-banging in another part of St. Louis County. That is what these guys do all night long, all the time. The police face that every day. They are not paying homage to Michael Brown.

PAUL: Yes. Amen. Tom Fuentes, we appreciate you so much, and Victor, you, as well. Again, Victor is live there in Ferguson. And, we are going to go back to him in just a little bit. Thank you, gentlemen.


PAUL: So, let's talk about NASCAR, because they are ushering new rules in the wake of last weekend's fatal crash involving Tony Stewart. We are going to tell you what is going on there. And, we are also learning new information about the month leading up to Robin Williams' suicide. His family is talking now in hopes of helping other people who are struggling with depression.


PAUL: You know that this deadly racetrack incident a week ago. Well, it is forcing NASCAR to change the rules now. It is aimed at keeping tempers cool and drivers alive, obviously. Driver Tony Stewart demonstrates the problem, getting out of his car to angrily confront a driver in the middle of a race. CNN's Alexandra Field has the story.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The death of a dirt track racer, Kevin Ward Jr., is changing the game at racing's highest level. We became used to seeing drivers get out of the car to confront other drivers. It is also considered entertainment value, but NASCAR says no more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Safety first right now.

FIELD: A new rule means drivers must stay in their cars unless they are in immediate danger. NASCAR says that has always been their recommendations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: What is to stop drivers now from getting out of the car if

they were still getting out of the car before?

RICK BENJAMIN, NASCAR RACING ANNOUNCER: Well, previously, it was a guideline. It was a policy. It was here is how we want to do this kind of thing. Now, NASCAR has put a little bit of teeth into it. If you get out of the car, unless the car is on fire, we are going to sanction you. We are going to penalize you with a suspension, a points penalty or fine or some combination thereof.


FIELD: The decision made less than a week after NASCAR great Tony Stewart hit and killed a 20-year-old driver who walked across this track in Upstate New York. Ward, pointing his finger and seemingly shouting at Stewart, after he was pushed up against a wall mid race. Stewart has not raced since.


BRETT FROOD, STEWART-HAAS RACING EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: He is grieving. He made the decision, he is not ready to get in the race car. We will take it week-by-week.


FIELD: The crash that killed Ward is still under investigation. Investigators say they have not found any evidence of criminal intent.


COREY RAYBURN YUNG, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS SCHOOL OF LAW: It is just a question of what was going through Tony Stewart's mind. If this is truly an accident, then there would be no crime at all.


FIELD: Ward's father tells the Syracuse, New York Newspaper, this was the first time his son got out of a car during a race. He also tells the paper, quote, "Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who did not see him."

The new rule only applies to NASCAR races, but other racing organizations are expected to follow suit. As for the penalty for getting out of the car, NASCAR says that will be decided on a case-by- case basis. Christi.

PAUL: All right. Alexandra field, thank you so much. It has been almost a week since we learned about the death of Robin Williams. His family has been private in their grief, expectedly, as you can assume. But, they are releasing some new information now about the months leading up to his suicide.



here like an object?

ROBIN WILLIAMS, OSCAR-WINNING ACTOR: No. You do an eclectic celebration of a dance. You do fosse, fosse, fosse. You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham, or Twila, Twila, Twila or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna, Madonna. But, you keep it all inside --


PAUL: One of the many iconic scenes from Robin Williams' long career. The actor's family and close friends arrived in San Francisco yesterday for a private memorial service. And, his widow has publicly released new details about the months that led up to his death. CNN Entertainment Correspondent, Nischelle Turner walks us through it.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. In the aftermath of Robin Williams' death, we have been learning more about his state of mind. His widow revealed he was in early stages of Parkinson's Disease when he committed suicide. She also said he was sober but struggling with depression and anxiety. A person familiar with the Williams' family is telling that the diagnosis of this illness was, quote, "An additional fear and burden in his life."

Now, according to this same source, because Williams used exercise and cycling to manage his stress and depression, the prospect that the illness would prevent him from doing that was extremely upsetting, adding to his depression. Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, also said that, quote, "It is our hope in the wake of robin is tragic passing that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing, so they may feel less afraid."

Michael J. Fox, who of course had been fighting the disease for years, reacted on Twitter saying, "Stunned to learn Robin had P.D. Pretty sure his support for our foundation predated his diagnosis. A true friend, I wish him peace."

And, Holly Robinson Peete who lost her father to the disease, also added in a statement, mourning Williams that, "It is my hope that people living with Parkinson's know they can lead productive, meaningful and robust life." Now, we already know the Emmy Awards later this month will honor Williams, but the Hollywood Community is still I think pretty much reeling from this loss. Christi, back to you.

PAUL: All right. Nischelle, thank you so much. And, we will be right back.


JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good Sunday morning to you. I am Meteorologist, Jennifer Gray. A wet morning for you if you are waking up in portions of Kentucky, Paducah, all the way over to Louisville, we are going to be watching some pretty strong showers and storms pushing in your direction. Those are going to continue to march to the east, as we head into the next couple of hours. So, be on the lookout for those.

In the meantime, we are going to see some warm air pushing in. We do have some warm, moist air pulling in from the Gulf of Mexico, in combination with this cold front that is on the move. And, that is going to mean some scattered storms possible for portions of the South, especially areas like the Florida Panhandle.

However, the area for severe weather today is actually going to be in the northern plains, anywhere from Minot to Bismarck, Pierre, Rapid City. Those areas we are going to see the possibility of severe weather. That jet stream is going to be riding high to the north over the next couple of days.

A ridge of high pressure is going to be in play. And that is going to be in the possibility of some very, very warm temperatures as we roll into the beginning, especially the middle part of the week. And so, we are going to be looking at temperatures in the mid-90s by Wednesday in Atlanta, with your average temperature should be at 88. When you factor in the humidity, those temperatures are going to feel much warmer.

Jacksonville, your temperatures are going to hit almost triple- digits by Wednesday, 97 degrees. Charlotte, the same for you. Memphis, you will be in the mid-90s by Tuesday. And, then those temperatures backing off a little bit by Wednesday.