Return to Transcripts main page


Michael Brown's Family Insists on Independent Autopsy; Tensions in Ferguson Quiet down after Last Night's Police Actions; Pope Francis Visit to North Korea; Replay Of Robin Williams' Interview to CNN

Aired August 17, 2014 - 06:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: 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. Number four, investigators say the two Amish girls abducted Wednesday were sexually abused while they had been held. A couple has been arrested, you see them here and they are charged with kidnapping. The sisters were abducted from in front of the family's home near the Canadian border. They were set free by their captors about 24 hours later.

And number five, a 53-year-old woman is accused of stealing about $60,000 worth of Lego sets and trying to sell them on eBay. Mesa County Police say Gloria House was arrested Thursday after allegedly stealing 800 sets of the 80-year old toys from a Long Island storage facility. She's been arraigned on grand larceny charges now.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi, here in Ferguson it's been a half hour since the state-imposed curfew ended. And it's pretty calm here.

PAUL: Yeah, well, that's thankful because I know we have this wake of breaking news overnight that police had to use smoke canisters and then tear gas. I hear some of the pictures we've been getting in, this was in response to a shooting just five - just minutes into that five-hour curfew I should say now. We know the top security official on the scene said a squad car was fired on as well but nobody else was shot. Right, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Yeah. There was that one shooting victim but no one shot in that squad car. Captain Ron Johnson is that top security official, he said authorities clamped down on the protesters in response to the shooting and he says not the curfew violations, he also announced that seven people were arrested and of course it's been in seven days that was, you know, Saturday night, seventh day since Mike Brown was shot.

PAUL: Yeah. These pictures are really something else to see. The curfew we know as Victor said, it's a week now after this 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer. We want to let you know that a Brown family lawyer says a high profile pathologist, you know him, Michael Baden, he testified in an O.J. Simpson case, he will conduct a second autopsy on Brown's body. But we do not have a time frame as to when that will happen yet. Right, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Yeah. We have not yet received that information. The confirmation that Michael Baden will do that autopsy, the second autopsy, came from the family's attorneys. But we know overnight during that period of curfew, midnight to 5:00 a.m., enacted by Governor Jay Nixon at that community meeting yesterday, what we heard initially from Captain Johnson was what we were going to see would be different than what we saw on Friday night. And then on Wednesday night the response using the gases, using the trucks that tactical teams using that military style response, first, listen to the captain in his own words describing what will not happen and what was not supposed to happen overnight.


CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL: Tonight we will enforce that curfew, we won't enforce it with trucks, we won't enforce it with tear gas, we'll communicate.


BLACKWELL: And that was in response to all of the questions and the concerns that were shouted out during that community meeting. It was very contentious, very adversarial. Well, we know what happened overnight, let's listen to Captain Johnson just about three hours ago explaining what he says that his troopers, the officers had to do to control the security situation here.


JOHNSON: We've 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 that was 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) BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about the investigation and bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes. And HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson. Joey, so with the Brown family, because, of course, this is the family that everyone's concerned about, the center of this what's happening here. Is the family, they are getting that independent autopsy, is that the right thing to do?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Victor. I absolutely believe it is. And here's why. It's all about the integrity of the investigation. It's about having information that is reliable, that's trustworthy, so that the family can be clear as to exactly what happened. And so, I think a step in retaining an independent expert and Michael Baden obviously he's renowned, he's very skilled at what he does, he is efficient. I know him very well. And I think, you know, bringing in a person like that would be a good step in terms of getting fresh information that the family can rely upon as opposed to relying upon what they are told, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Tom, our Twitter followers have been sending in these questions about Ferguson and what's happening here. They are using the hash tag Ferguson Qs. Ferguson Qs. And one of them asked where forensics, either prints, blood, et cetera, done on the police SUV?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. That would be absolutely normal procedure in any case because you have this incident or encounter between Officer Wilson and Michael Brown happening at the police car, and the reports that the first shot was fired at that police car, either within it or very close to the door. So, the examination of the car would be necessary for looking for gunpowder residue, or other physical evidence of where that first shot occurred.

BLACKWELL: Now, Tom, we know you're not a medical professional, but we're going to give this question to you anyway from our Twitter followers. If punched in the head, could a concussion distort the cop's judgment, of course, that gets to the larger question of the reliability of the story and the actions thereafter.

FUENTES: Well, it depends on how hard he was hit and you know, the nature of that injury. I mean it's enough to take NFL quarterbacks off the field for a while when they get hurt in the head. But we don't know that it actually happened. But if it did, and if he was, you know, hit hard enough, and Michael Brown is not a small individual, so if he put full force into a punch in the head, that's a good possibility. But we don't know that and we may really never know that.

BLACKWELL: So Joe, let's talk about Officer Wilson. Darren Wilson, the man who shot and killed Michael Brown a little more than a week ago now. Preparation for charges. Do you think that's something that's happening now and how does one prepare him or herself for those types of charges?

JACKSON: Sure, Victor. I think it's very likely that charges will be forthcoming. Now, just briefly to the other issue that you raise. I think that if the door came back and hit him or someone punched him, I mean it could be that the argument is that he was upset and he retaliated, and so that certainly is something the prosecution will be looking at in the case.

And in talking about charging, Victor, I think it's important that obviously the investigation has integrity. And I think they will be looking at a grand jury, presenting the information to the grand jury, but exactly who oversees that, will it be the county attorney, will ultimately the state take charge, or will the federal government take charge of this because at the end of the day you want to make sure that whatever is done by the grand jury it can be relied upon.

Remember that the whole reason to have a grand jury is so that they can assess the evidence, they could get everything that they need, they could evaluate it and they could determine whether there is probable cause or a just basis to render an indictment. And so it assures public integrity. And so I think, you know, charges could be forthcoming, what ultimately they are, Victor, will depend upon the evidence that is presented to them, and what that evidence shows as to Darren Wilson's actions.

BLACKWELL: Joey, let me pass on to you a question that Christi asked of Tom Fuentes a few moments ago. The store owners who rightfully expected that police would protect their businesses from looters a couple of nights ago, those officers did not step between the looters and those businesses, do they have some credible case against the law enforcement agencies that were there?

JACKSON: Generally not, Victor. I mean there is immunity that attaches to what law enforcement does. And while we certainly rely and we respect that law enforcement officers will do what they need to do, which is to protect the public, protect businesses, generally there is no cause of action or lawsuit that will lie against the police department in the event they are not successful in pushing back, you know, people who are termed looters and obviously we know that many people out there doing what they need to do peacefully, they are not damaging or affecting anything. But as it relates to those few people who do loot I wouldn't look to the businesses to actually have a cause of action against the police department for not preventing them from doing that, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, HLN, legal analyst Joey Jackson, CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, good to have both of you as we unpack both the initial, the primary investigation about the shooting and then the secondary concerns of all that's happening in the wake of the shooting and all the protests. Christi, back to you in Atlanta.

PAUL: Already, nice job, Victor. Thank you so much.


PAUL: You know the pope is making some history again. We're headed live to South Korea where look at these pictures. Millions are celebrating the first papal visit to the country in a quarter century.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: New images here for you of Pope Francis in South Korea. Thousands just greeted the people - the pope, I should say, on what is the second to last day of his historic trip to the country. The pope hasn't set foot in the country for more than two decades. Just to give you an indication of how significant this is. Well, CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul. She has the latest. I mean the pictures are awesome. I have to think the energy was something else, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Christi. South Koreans are so excited to see the pope here. We've seen over recent days really hundreds of thousands of people that are coming to greet him, coming to hear his masses. We heard today he had a closing mass for the Asian Youth Day. This was one of the main reasons he came, he wanted to come and speak to the youth of Asia, thousands of them coming from more than 20 countries around this region because he knows that there is significant growth in South Korea when it comes to the young Catholics. And also around Asia. And it's not necessarily the case around the rest of the world. So, he wanted to speak to the next generation of the Catholic Church.

Now, one interesting thing that happened this morning as well this Sunday morning, there was an addition to his schedule. Pope Francis actually baptized the father of one of the Seoul ferry victims. Of course, this was the ferry that sank in April killing more than 300 people, most of them school children. And he had asked Pope Francis to baptize him, which Pope Francis did. He's also been wearing a yellow ribbon to commemorate that disaster. So, this is just one of the many reasons that he has been so well received in this country.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Yeah, that had to be quite a moment. Help us understand why it's been so long since the pope visited, April has visited South Korea.

HANCOCKS: Well, it's been about 25 years since former Pope John Paul II came here. He actually came twice in the 1980s and it's been some time as well since the pope came to Asia, the former Pope Benedict didn't come at all. And so really, this is why most of the Vatican observers assume that Pope Francis came so quickly in his tenure. He's not been in power for too long, but he has decided to come to Asia and it's very important for him. One interesting thing as well, we have seen is that he appears to have reached out a hand to China. Of course, there has been no relations between Vatican and the China for 60 years, the Catholic Church in China is loyal to the state, not to the Holy Sea. But he did say today that any countries in this region that don't have a full relationship with the Vatican he would like to reach out to them, also saying that Christians are not conquerors so really he does seem to be trying to hold out a hand to China and, of course, potentially to North Korea. Christi.

PAUL: OK, Paula Hancocks, thank you so much for the report. It's good to see you.

You realize that tomorrow marks a week since the death of Robin Williams. And you know what, we wanted to remember him the best way we can. With laughter.


ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: OK, go tighter, Larry, just real tight. OK. That's tight. Just try and cut the suspenders because I wore those first.


WILLIAMS: OK. Larry, we've got an interview with one of your experiments in an assisted living in Miami.



PAUL: That is Williams there joking obviously with Larry King. In the CNN control room. And there is so much more where this came from. We are dusting off an archived interview for you next.


PAUL: All right, so what's your favorite? We've got "The Bird Cage," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Dead Poets Society," "Hook." I wonder what you were thinking when the news of Robin Williams' suicide broke last week. I know social media was just flooded with some of his favorite lines and I even posted some statements, you know, from "the funniest man in America."

We couldn't help but break out our most meaningful moments. I had tweeted and Facebooked and even Instagrammed one as well. But editorial producer Nadia Bilchik dug into her archives and dusted off a one on one interview that she did with Williams during the release of his film "Patch Adams." And you immediately, when you heard this news I understand, you remembered one particular discussion.

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: I remember talking to him about the movie "What Dreams May Come," which very ironically and poignantly is about tragic death and exploring the afterlife.


BILCHIK: You said earlier, when we chatted that "What Dreams May Come" is really the hardest for you. Why?

ROBIN WILLIAMS: Oh, mostly, the most difficult. It's equivalent to running an ultramarathon. Every day because it deals with such, you know, intense loss and intense emotions that it's every day, there were very few days were fun days, you know, especially in hell, you know, when you're drowning in a pool with midgets, it's always a rough ride. I mean you come home and go how was work, hell? Now, what do you mean, no. Literally. Back on your head, coffee break's over. You know, that incredible, it's just that incredible intensity.

BILCHIK: And the moment when you won your Academy Award?

ROBIN WILLIAMS: I remember the moment they handed it to me when English became a second language. When all of a sudden I felt I could have talked in tongues. O-lala, (INAUDIBLE), it was -- and I finally had to realize there's a billion people. And you start to have to think. I mean you do prepare, in your mind the night before you think maybe if I win here's what I'll say. And you have -- I'd like to thank the following people, because this world's an extraordinary place, and the moment they give it to you it's like you know, you lose everything. And it was - it's this thing when you look out, I see Nicholson the front going hey, I'm going to get my third. And I'm looking out and you always -- I remember years ago that I met Gregory Peck in an elevator, and he said you're not going to grab yourself, are you? I hope you don't touch your genitals in front of the world. It's really too much."

BILCHIK: You didn't touch your genitals, but you bare your behind.

ROBIN WILLIAMS: Indeed, yes. My behind.

BILCHIK: Is it yours?



ROBIN WILLIAMS: I mean is it on loan?


BILCHIK: Well, of course, did he use a sponger?

PAUL: Right. Yes. I knew where you were going with that.

BILCHIK: What a wonderful man. You know, you've interviewed so many famous people as have I, and what I notice here when you combine this great talent with great generosity and being a wonderful person at the beginning of the interview he was so intrigued. He said Nadia Bilchik, where is Billchik from. Someone who's genuinely interested in others. And that's what everybody has been saying about him. I did read something from a family member yesterday who said that he had been doing better, implying that the last couple of months had been really hard. But the family member was so surprised because the last couple of weeks he'd actually been doing better. And so, we say to a great talent and to just a lovely person, may you rest in peace.

PAUL: Amen to that. Nadia, thank you so much. What an extraordinary opportunity you had to speak to him. Thank you. And if you would like to watch Nadia's full interview with Robin Williams you can do so. Just go to c We are going to be right back.


PAUL: Good rhythm for that music. I know that kids, you know, I'm wondering, if kids are back in school. Yet it happens really quickly down here in the south. They start early. But come on, Jennifer Gray, a heat wave? I mean, millions across the country really? It's that bad.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's going to be warm. And, you know, today, tomorrow, not so bad but as we get into the end of the week and, you know, kids will be going back to school this week. I know some schools in Florida are going back to school this week. That's when you're really going to start to feel it. By the middle to end of the week. We have that jet stream, it's going to be riding to the north, that ridge of high pressure is going to be building in. And so, the heat is going to be on. Especially in the southeast, the south and it's going to extend all the way as far north as, say, Chicago is even going to be feeling the heat as we get into the end of the week.

Look at Atlanta. By Wednesday, 95 degrees and then when you factor in the humidity it's going to feel like those triple digits. Jacksonville the same. Memphis, you'll be hitting 95 by Tuesday, New Orleans, Charlotte, you'll be hitting almost the triple digits. And it is we head into the Deep South, Dallas, look at that. Triple digits by Tuesday into Wednesday. The last week or two you hit a lot of triple digit days. Little Rock, you'll be near the triple digit temperatures. Wichita, 101 on Monday, Tuesday, by Wednesday 100 degrees. And Oklahoma City much of the same for you.

So, temperatures are going to be awfully hot. High temperatures today hitting 91 in Denver, 94 in Memphis. Chicago, almost 80 degrees. So, feeling actually quite nice today. But as we jump ahead forward in time by Thursday, look at these temperatures. We'll be at 96 in Atlanta, 95 in Raleigh. 100 degrees in Dallas. And then as we push forward into Friday, temperatures will be hitting 100 degrees in Little Rock, 92 in Raleigh, so Christi, temperatures are going to be feeling very warm. Especially by the end of the week.

PAUL: And I hear rain might be in the future, too. Which is only going to - I'm going to be braiding my hair. Because nobody wants to see that.

GRAY: Yes, we all --


PAUL: Jennifer Gray, thank you so much.

And thank you for sharing your morning with us. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.