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NEW DAY SUNDAY
Five-Hour Curfew Now Over in Ferguson; Rick Perry Vows to Fight Felony Charges; Brown Family Attorney Calls for Second Autopsy
Aired August 17, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JENNIFER GRAY, METEOROLOGIST: And then those temperatures backing off a little bit by Wednesday.
And look at this, as we head over into the deep south. Dallas, triple-digits Tuesday and Wednesday. Hitting that century mark 101 on Tuesday; 100 degrees on Wednesday. Oklahoma City, same for you. Triple-digits Monday and Tuesday.
So, Christi, summer is not over yet. A lot of cities in the south feeling the heat, of course. It's summer. This is where we should be.
PAUL: Once the kids go back to school you just kind of feel like oh, shouldn't this be winding down?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. On the school bus it's so hot out there.
PAUL: Miserable, I know. Hey, Jen (ph), thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right.
PAUL: And thank you for starting your morning with us. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.
We are happy to be your alarm clock. Good morning. I'm Christi Paul at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Six o'clock here on the East Coast.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST: And 5 a.m. here in Ferguson, Missouri. Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: Good morning, Victor. We want to welcome our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. So grateful for your company. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.
And at this very moment, as a state-imposed curfew in Ferguson comes to an end, Victor Blackwell is there in Ferguson. But this is coming in the wake of breaking news overnight that violence again exploded more than a week now after the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.
What do you know happened, Victor?
BLACKWELL: Well, just hours ago, Christi, the police here used smoke canisters and then tear gas in response to a shooting just minutes into this five-hour curfew.
The top security officer on the scene, Captain Ron Johnson, says the show of force amid protests was triggered by a gunman who walked into the street near a barbecue restaurant. He also said that authorities first deployed the smoke canisters to try to -- to push back the crowd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE POLICE: Then we got a report of a shooting victim near the Kwik Trip and Red's Barbecue. As they approached Red's Barbecue, they did deploy tear gas at Red's Barbecue at that point. That was the first canister deployed was there, in an effort to move back and get to the shooting victim. Also a police car at that location was shot at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Captain Ron Johnson there also said authorities clamped down on protesters in response to the shooting, not the curfew violations. Seven people were arrested, though not the alleged shooter. They don't know where that shooter is, to my understanding just yet, but we know that the victim is a male in critical condition. Right, Victor?
BLACKWELL: Yes. That's what we're getting. Male, critical condition.
And for now the streets of Ferguson are quiet. I mean, behind me you've got maybe a half dozen protesters who have been here. And as vehicles drive by, they put up their hands and they say, "Hands up. Don't shoot." But they're just right across from the Ferguson Police Department.
Now, of course, that curfew has expired, and they 're allowed to be here. But they've been here for hours and the police here, because the state has come in, the local police have done nothing about it. Effectively, they have been taken out of the security equation.
PAUL: We should point out, I mean, there have been very peaceful demonstrations and very peaceful protests here and there.
Missouri's governor, though, was -- it got to the point where he had to issue an overnight clampdown that we've been talking about here and declared a state of emergency. He did that yesterday.
Again this is one week after 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot. You know his killing has sparked incidents, not only of protest but also of looting. This, what you're seeing here, one of the more peaceful protests. But it has gotten nasty, and you have to feel for those shop owners who now have a lot of cleaning up to do -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: Yes. They certainly do have a lot of cleaning up to do. They started after what we saw Friday night. And there are those protesters you just saw, but there are also the agitators. And early this morning, yesterday demonstrators, the protesters here, they raised their arms into the air an action to symbolize what some witnesses say Brown did before he was killed by Darren Wilson.
PAUL: Right. Because there are reports he held his hands up and said, "Don't shoot."
Also yesterday, we need to let you know that a Brown family lawyer announced high-profile pathologist Michael Baden who testified in the O.J. Simpson case, is going to conduct a second autopsy on Brown's body. The revelation comes as the quest for answers, obviously, in Brown's death continues. We do not have a time line as to when that will happen yet, do we, Victor, that second autopsy?
BLACKWELL: We do not yet have that time line. But that's something that we heard from the family's attorneys, that Michael Baden will be coming in for that second autopsy.
So, the situation here at this moment, the curfew has ended. That ended at 5 a.m. local time, 6 a.m. Eastern. And overnight we saw a return to what some had hoped was gone, those tactical vehicles out dealing with some crowds, smaller this time.
I want to bring in Ana Cabrera, who will give us the latest on that and what we saw overnight and how that corresponds with what we heard from Captain Ron Johnson earlier in the day -- Ana.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Overall, Victor, I think things are improving, as you mentioned. The streets are quiet this morning, peaceful; it's calm. That curfew just expiring and we're just seeing very few cars out on the streets this morning.
We know the protester groups last night were smaller than we've seen in days past, and although there was some unrest, we didn't see the looting that we've seen some of the more heightened, escalated violence that we had seen in the past week.
So, there are some things that I guess you could consider small victories in this bigger picture story. I know that many people here in the community are looking forward to returning to a sense of normalcy where they can get back to their lives as they know them.
School is supposed to start on Monday, and so as we move forward the call for justice has not decreased, but peace certainly seems to be improving around here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must disperse immediately. You are in violation of the state-imposed curfew.
CABRERA (voice-over): And after that warning police took action against a group of protesters defying an overnight curfew.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't agree to that. They felt that they wanted to be out here, and so they stayed. And police shot tear gas over there, or some kind of gas, and it dispersed them. Most of them left.
CABRERA: The curfew comes after a tense community meeting at a St. Louis Church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to first start by thanking all the elected officials and faith leaders.
CABRERA: That's where Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson and other community leaders attempted to address many of the concerns still lingering in Ferguson.
GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: Earlier in the week, I called on the Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an investigation I'm glad to say, is being beefed up.
CABRERA: But the intensity of the meeting quickly escalated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me, Governor. You need to charge that police with murder. That would bring peace in this community.
NIXON: The task that we have at hand, the task for which I have the task to lead, is the task first of all to represent the people of the state and the people of this area.
JOHNSON: What we're doing now is not who we are. It's not who we are. Yelling at each other is not going to solve that. We're all talking about the same concerns and the same passion. The frustration is in your home; it's in my home. It's in my home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hearing the police ask for security. Well, we're asking the police for security, and we're not getting it. Day after day after day. Investigations don't make you feel safer on the streets. You know, they can have a curfew. I don't feel safer on the streets because of that.
CABRERA: So we know there is a rally planned for today, once again a call for justice in the death of Michael Brown.
Let's talk just a little bit about the investigation and where we go from here. We know there are about 40 FBI agents who are on the ground this weekend here in Ferguson, planning to really focus their efforts in the Canfield Green apartment area, where Michael Brown was shot and killed, making sure that they reach out to other potential witnesses who may not have been interviewed just yet.
They've been doing those interviews. We know they've interviewed the police officer involved in this case twice now, initially right after the shooting and then a much more in-depth interview maybe days later. And they're still going over the autopsy results, the ballistics, the DNA evidence that's been collected.
I had a chance to speak with an attorney who's been familiar with similar cases like this, Victor. And he says he's known investigations to last up to six months in similar cases, so it's still going to be a while before we have answers.
BLACKWELL: Yes. And we'll see if there's patience for six months in this community to get answers to that shooting. Ana Cabrera, thank you very much.
Christi, you'll remember that Captain Ron Johnson committed ,as soon as the governor tasked him with taking over security here, that he'd hold a news conference every day. Now he spoke about 2 1/2 hours ago about what happened overnight. We'll see if another news conference is announced for later today.
Hopefully because at the end of the day, one thing that did come out is that we don't know where that shooter is who allegedly shot the man who is now in critical condition.
PAUL: So Victor, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
PAUL: Right now as we move on to another big story, the biggest dam in Iraq is under terrorist control. Well, the U.S. and Kurdish forces are fighting fiercely to take it back now. There have been explosions, mortar and rocket fire.
Our CNN crew on the ground is seeing it all unfold. We'll get the latest from them. Stay close.
PAUL: Thirteen minutes past the hour right now. So, we have U.S. air strikes on ISIS targets in northern Iraq going on. Kurdish troops, meanwhile, are batting the militants on the ground, and this is all for control of Iraq's biggest dam. Our CNN crew is near the area, they heard explosions, they have seen smoke, mortar and rocket fire. Hundreds of militants, we know, are surrounding the dam, but Kurdish forces are trying to push them back.
So let's talk to CNN's Anna Coren. She is right near that area where everything is going on and joins us by phone.
Anna, thank you so much. First of all, is there any gauge how much progress these air strikes and Kurdish forces have made in trying to get to that dam?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Christi, as we know, there were about nine air strikes yesterday carried out by the U.S., and they have allowed the Peshmerga special forces -- not just your regular army but the special forces -- to regain quite a bit of ground.
We've been with them for the last five, six hours, and there have been on the front line firing, heavy artillery, mortar, Katyusha (ph) rockets, missiles, toward the enemy. We're seeing a lot of smoke on the horizon, obviously the targets that have been hit. But the ISIS militants have also been attacking. There has been
incoming missiles, as well. But the Peshmerga would seem to have the advantage. They've managed to push them, certainly, back out of the town of Resala (ph), which we're looking down onto, that's very close to Mosul Lake which runs into Mosul Dam. Mosul Dam, I might add, is 25 kilometers from where we are. So there's a lot of territory between here and the dam before the Peshmerga forces are able to capture it or reclaim it from the ISIS militants.
We also know that the other danger being posed to the Peshmerga is these land mines and explosives that are being laid beside the road and inside buildings. We've heard many explosions over the course of the morning, and the commander said that is ISIS, trying to drag out people into urban warfare and then cause a great number of casualties.
But obviously, the Peshmerga special forces, they're extremely equipped, although I must say, Christi, they don't have any of the U.S. weapons that we've all been talking about. You know, meant to be arming the Peshmerga who are directly taking the fight to ISIS, but the commander of the special forces here says he has seen no evidence of it -- Christi.
PAUL: He's seen no evidence that the U.S. has armed the Kurds yet?
COREN: That's exactly right. He said, you know, that they are the leading division, and they are operating with old weapons, weapons they've had for years. So he said, if they want to defeat ISIS, they definitely need to be better equipped. Because as we know, ISIS has U.S. weapons. They have seized what the Iraqi army had when they just deserted, when ISIS was coming in, especially to Mosul, Iraq's second largest city. So ISIS has the superior U.S. weaponry. The Peshmerga forces don't.
PAUL: Right. One of the ironic and painful twists here.
Anna Coren, thank you so much. Glad that you all are safe there, and we appreciate the updates.
So here's another story that I know a lot of you are talking about today. Rick Perry. Well, he is furious about the abuse of power charges coming against him now. And he's promising, he's going to fight back.
PAUL: Texas Governor Rick Perry calling his indictment for abuse of power politically motivated and is vowing to fight back. He's accused of trying to force an official who oversees an agency investigating public corruption to resign after she was arrested on a drunk driving charge. Perry's indictment...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I exercise the authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public's confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically. I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Perry's indictment is the first of a sitting governor in Texas on such charges since 1917. That's according to the "Dallas Morning News."
Let's talk about President Obama. He's going to be back in Washington today, taking a couple of days off of his vacation, from Martha's Vineyard. The reason for his return that hasn't been announced. It's still a bit unclear, but he is scheduled, we know, to hold several meetings. And of course, this comes as protests and violence in Ferguson seem to be getting worse.
Let's go to CNN's Renee Marsh in Washington. We know, Renee, that the Department of Justice had asked police not to release the video showing Michael Brown allegedly robbing that store. The federal investigation moving forward. What -- do we have any indication what agents are focusing on right now?
RENEE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do know, Christi, that new witnesses have been interviewed. That comes from Captain Ron Johnson on the ground there in Ferguson.
We know that about 40 agents, they returned to the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot and killed. They went door-to-door. They're continuing to look for even more witnesses, and they will continue to do so over the next few days, looking for people who have not yet come forward.
Meanwhile, the push for a second autopsy on Michael Brown continues. We know that the state already conducted one as part of its criminal investigation. But the family attorney, Benjamin Crump, wants another one done, and he wants the Justice Department to oversee the process.
Now, remember, the autopsy results have not been released, so we still do not know how many times Brown was shot. We know that the request for the second autopsy, it pretty much begs the question, do they believe that the first one perhaps wasn't thorough or accurate? The attorneys for the family, they were asked that question last night. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY GRAY, BROWN'S FAMILY ATTORNEY: The purpose for the autopsy that we called for was so that we could have information that we can rely on and that we trust and that we could put our fingers on once it's done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARSH: All right. So they are not so much saying that they don't think that the first autopsy was accurate or thorough, but essentially, the goal is they want to verify the number of gunshot wounds, the trajectories. We do know they've hired their own pathologist, Michael Baden. Baden has testified in multiple high- profile cases including O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector, Drew Peterson. But so far no official word from the Department of Justice as to whether they will, in fact, agree to oversee this second autopsy -- Christi.
PAUL: All right. Renee Marsh, thank you so much. We appreciate the info.
And we are going to go back to Ferguson after the break here. A lot of people asking about the shots fired, as she was talking about in Michael Brown's death, and what role this investigation is going to take as it moves forward when we've got so many different -- different agencies involved, between police departments and now the FBI, 40 FBI personnel there and agent in Ferguson. We'll tell you what's going on.
Plus, police say this couple not only kidnapped two Amish girls. They really hurt them. We're going to tell you what else we're learning and what they're accused of. Stay close.
PAUL: Mortgage rates held steady this past week. Here's a look.
PAUL: It is the bottom of the hour. We're glad to be your wake- up call. I'm Christi Paul. Let's get you your five things that you need to know this morning.
No. 1, it's not been a quiet night in Ferguson. The crew -- the curfew there has been lifted just about half an hour ago. But we learned overnight seven people were arrested with police using smoke canisters as crowds gathered in defiance of that curfew.
Ultimately, police say they had to use tear gas to get to a shooting victim at a local barbecue restaurant.
No. 2, Kurdish troops are battling ISIS militants in northern Iraq right now, and they're trying to take back the country's biggest dam from the terrorists, who seized it earlier this month. Our CNN crew on the ground tells us they have seen explosions, smoke, mortar and rocket fire.
The Kurdish fighters advanced toward the dam after U.S. warplanes and drones bombed ISIS targets.
No. 3, pro-Russian separatists have shot down another Ukrainian fighter jet. This marks the third known military jet destroyed by rebels since the conflict began about six months ago. Ukraine's news agency says the pilot ejected and is safe.