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Five-Hour Curfew Now Over in Ferguson; Obama Returns to Washington Today; Second Autopsy Set for Michael Brown; U.S. Warplanes Hit ISIS Terror Targets

Aired August 17, 2014 - 08:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So glad to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, live in Ferguson, Missouri, 8:00 there on the East Coast, but 7:00 here in Ferguson.

And this is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

Christi, it's pretty quiet here with just a few people who are demonstrating across the street from the Ferguson City Police Department, every time a car drives by that honks they hold up their hands, that's the motion that witnesses say that Michael Brown did, that's the position he was in when he was fatally shot by the officer with the Ferguson Police Department, Darren Wilson.

You know, overnight, there was this curfew that was enacted by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon from midnight to 5:00 a.m. But just minutes after, minutes into this, there was a confrontation. There were some people who decided they would not leave.

Listen to the account from the alderman we've heard from during this entire ordeal, Antonio French. Listen.


ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: Police started to move their line forward. They asked people to disperse. The last group, it was a small group, relative to the rest of the protesters out here, probably about 50 or 60 folks left, they were determined not to leave. We had spent a lot of time with them earlier today, myself, members of the Nation of Islam, some community organizations, getting them to get them to try to understand that this is not just a government-imposed curfew but this is actually something we in the community decided, that we all need right now was kind of time-out period of a good five hours and we'll be back out here at 6:00 a.m.

They didn't agree to that. They felt that they wanted to be out here, and so they stayed.


BLACKWELL: And there were more challenges after that. Let's bring in my colleague now, Ana Cabrera. She's been in

Ferguson for the past week, covering the unrest, also the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.

Ana, it was not just a group of people who decided not to leave, but there was more that happened overnight.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was more violence unfortunately, one person was shot in that after the curfew went into effect. We understand it was a protester who was shot by somebody else in the crowd, that person last check was in critical condition. Seven people were arrested and police say one of the reasons they had to move forward using the tear gas and using those smoke bombs so to speak as they worked their way through the crowd was to get to that person who had been shot and reportedly police still saw somebody in the crowd with a gun in their hands.

So, unfortunately, there was more unrest but it was on a slightly smaller scale in terms of the sheer numbers and the amount of chaos that we saw ensued in days past. There was no looting either. So that was some small bit of progress. People in this town still angry, still frustrated, and by all accounts, what happened last night still could have been worse.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must disperse immediately. You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew.

CABRERA (voice-over): And after that warning, police took action against a group of protesters defying an overnight curfew.

FRENCH: They didn't agree to that. They felt 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.

GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: I want to first start by thanking all the elected officials and faith leaders.

CABRERA: That's where Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson and other community leaders attempted to address some of the concerns still lingering in Ferguson.

NIXON: Earlier in the week, I called on the Department of Justice into an 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 to this community.

(CHEERS) NIXON: The task that we have at hand, the task which I have the

task to lead is a task first of all to represent the people of the state and the people of this area.

CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL: 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 that's in your home is in my home. It's in my home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hear the police ask for security. What 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. They can't have a curfew. I don't feel safer on the streets because of that.


CABRERA: So, where do we go from here? You can still see a few protesters peacefully protesting behind me. We know there's a rally planned again this afternoon, we'll wait and see if that curfew is again enacted overnight, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, no announcement yet if there will be another 12:00 to 5:00 curfew.

Also, schools expected to open, students scheduled to be back in class here in Ferguson, Christi, tomorrow. Originally, they were supposed to be back on Thursday, it was postponed until Monday. We'll see if any events throughout the day or night cause officials to postpone this start again -- Christi.

PAUL: It's a tough one.

And, Victor, you know that we learned yesterday the Brown family has brought in high-profile pathologist Michael Baden who testified in the O.J. Simpson case to conduct a second autopsy on Michael Brown's body.

Let's talk about that and a lot of other legal angles obviously with CNN legal analyst, Mark O'Mara.

Mr. O'Mara, thank you for being with us.


PAUL: Talk about the importance of conducting a second autopsy and why it might be important for the family to do it separate from any of the local and federal investigations.

O'MARA: Well, it addresses the underlying problem that really caused most of what we're seeing for the past week and that is the absolute mistrust for the way law enforcement is or the way they're going to handle the investigation.

So, the idea of having a separate autopsy, an independent one, if you will, one funded by the family is going to either give them peace to realize that the work is being done properly or if there is a concern with the second one, then that could be presented to a court or to a jury at some point.

BLACKWELL: So, Mark, I think most people know you or first saw you as you're the attorney for George Zimmerman, at least at that time in the case likened to the killing of Michael Brown. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer. Darren Wilson, a sworn police officer.

Police on Friday finally released Wilson's name. What do you think about that? Was that the right decision, the right time to do it?

O'MARA: Well, I had said for the first few days of the investigation I was very OK with them not releasing the name, because there was so much anger that was going to be focused on that one person, just like in the Zimmerman case, that the idea of maintaining some level of security or safety was OK, knowing that all the law enforcement agencies involved already had that information, were already vetting out the officer.

But I did also say it was about time and I thought during Friday it was fine. I thought it was absurd to release the videotape of the robbery at the same time, just poor timing.

PAUL: So, Mark, when you look at everything that's happened thus far, do you see any parallels between the way Zimmerman was portrayed and cast by the public and what Wilson is going through now? And if so, how does that pose a challenge to Wilson, should he end up being charged in this case?

O'MARA: Absolutely a lot of them. If you look at the case with George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, there was so much -- there was a lack of information, and that lack of information was filled in with speculation and anger and fear as to how the investigation was going to happen, so that once Mr. Zimmerman was identified, all of the angle against him, he had to live in hiding for a year and a half, wore body armor, and there were death threats, some legitimate ones.

Now, we fast forward to this case and we look at this officer, we still don't know what happened that day. It does seem a white cop and a black male come in contact and the black male is dead and that is the underlying foundation for it.

But we know that the officer now has to be protected, kept out of public view, all the animosity is going to go on him, and hopefully it's not going to impact on a proper resolution to whatever criminal charges are that may be filed against him.

BLACKWELL: So, what about the protesters, the people who were demonstrating, even some of the looters who have been arrested in the course of these demonstrations? Of course looting obviously a crime, but journalists from "The Washington Post," "The Huffington Post," they were arrested last week and released, you an rested without charges.

Given this environment, which is pretty volatile, will all these charges ultimately be dropped?

O'MARA: Well, you know, my frustration is this: if there's a criminal element that is trying to take advantage of this situation for their own good, the looters, maybe even the guy who shot last night who may have shot just to antagonize the situation, I think those people should be dealt with harshly.

Having said that, those people who are out there protesting with the emotion that they have and carried with them long before last Saturday, I think we need to be understanding that this is a very emotional time. I said yesterday, this is now 25 percent of a shooting investigation, and 75 percent of a cultural event that we need to be much more sensitive to.

PAUL: All righty, CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara, we appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

And, Victor, of course, there keeping us apprised of what's happening in Ferguson live there. Thank you so much.

We do need to talk about what's happening in Iraq, because we know that Kurdish troops are taking the fight to is militants themselves. They're battling for control of what some say is the most dangerous dam in the world. We're going to go there to the scene at latest battle.

Stay close.


PAUL: Fourteen minutes past the hour right now.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling his indictment for abuse of power politically motivated and he is vowing to fight back. He's trying to -- or he's accused, rather, of trying to force an official who oversees an agency investigating public corruption to resign after she was arrested on a drunk driving charge.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I exercised this 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.


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."

And listen to this, President Obama is going to be back in Washington today, shaving a couple of days off of his vacation in Martha's Vineyard -- though we understand he will go back. But the reasons for his return haven't been fully laid out. We do know that he's scheduled to hold several meetings. Of course, this return comes as we see those protests and the

violence that's erupted in Ferguson. But we should point out the president was scheduled to come back today even before the unrest that we're seeing in that community.

Let go to CNN's Rene Marsh at the White House.

Now, Rene, speaking more about the president and what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri, the Department of Justice we know had asked police not to release the video showing Michael Brown allegedly robbing a store there. So, they're all getting involved.

But the federal investigation, how is that moving forward? Do we know what agents are focusing on right now?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do know this, Christi. Captain Ron Johnson, who's been on the ground, he informed protesters just yesterday that new witnesses have been interviewed. We do know that about 40 FBI agents, they went back to the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot and killed, knocking on doors, going door to door, essentially what they are looking for are additional eyewitnesses, people who have not yet come forward and may have very valuable information.

In the meantime, there is this push for that second autopsy to happen, and they're looking for the Department of Justice to oversee that. This push is coming from the family's attorney, Benjamin Crump. He says he wrote a letter to the Department of Justice, asking that they oversee this second autopsy.

The question becomes, do they believe that the autopsy that the state already conducted, perhaps not accurate or not thorough -- well, that question was asked to the family's attorney just yesterday. Take a listen.


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.


MARSH: All right, so you heard there, the goal really essentially of this request for this second autopsy is said to confirm the number of gunshot wounds as well as the trajectories. We do know that they have hired their own forensic pathologist to conduct this second autopsy, but what we don't know yet is if the Department of Justice agreed to oversee it.

Still waiting to hear that -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Rene Marsh, we appreciate it this morning. Thank you. Terrorists right now are holding on to the biggest dam in Iraq

and we understand they've employed some new tactics to try to keep their hold on that. We've got more for you on what's happening with Kurdish forces and U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, in a moment.


PAUL: Let's talk about Iraq. We know within the last 24 hours, there have been at least nine U.S. airstrikes there with F-16s, F-18s and drones.

And now, coupled with that, Kurdish troops are battling the militants on the ground for control of Iraq's biggest dam. It's called the world's most dangerous dam as well, because there are fears that it could be compromised in its integrity and how stable it may be.

Also, some new images from the scene that we're showing you here right now. Our CNN crew is near that area where the fighting's been going on. They've heard explosions, they've seen smoke, mortar and rocket fire. So, we'll continue to keep you posted on what's happening there, but it seems the fighting is continuing this hour.

Meanwhile, Ferguson police say 10 minutes before Michael Brown was shot and killed by the police officer, he was at that gas station nearby robbing it for cigars. I know you've all had questions about that, surveillance video that was released, the timing of it. It was from the QT and we want to examine that further with Randi Kaye here.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A convenience store, Saturday morning, what you're about to see is what police call a strong armed robbery. They say that's Michael Brown entering the store. White T- shirt, long tan shorts and a red Cardinals baseball hat. His friend Dorian Johnson right behind him.

It's 11:52 a.m. and 58 seconds according to the police incident report, the surveillance camera shows four seconds later, Brown is at the counter. Watch closely -- see the store employee in the red shirt apparently coming from the rest room. She goes behind the counter. Just 12 seconds later, police say Brown reaches for a box of Swisher Sweets cigars and hands them to Johnson without paying for them.

What happens next is a bit obscured by a display case but watch closely here. Police say there's some sort of confrontation involving Brown, a struggle. Police say Brown grabbed more cigars. He'd been in the store now just 32 seconds.

Seven seconds later, Brown's friend Johnson puts the box of cigars Brown handed him back on the counter, returning them. But police say, Brown just seconds later bends down to pick up some cigars he dropped, even looks a customer in the eye, then makes his way to the door.

At the door about 10 seconds later, a store employee who appears to have a set of keys in his hand attempts to put himself between the man believed to be Brown in the exit door. Still holding the cigars in his right hand, the man police say is Brown grabs the clerk with his left hand and clearly shoves him back into a display rack.

It all might have ended there, but take a look at what happens next just about one minute into this. Police say, instead of leaving right away, Brown turns back one final time, advancing on the store employee who tried to stop him. Towering over him, police say it was an attempt to intimidate the employee who quickly backs down.

Only then does Brown turn in exit at 11:54 a.m. He's in and out of the store in one minute and two seconds. About 10 minutes later, he's dead.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


PAUL: And obviously the investigation is in full swing. Forty FBI agents were in Ferguson yesterday, as of yesterday, asking a lot of questions, more violence erupted overnight there.

And we've been witnessing, haven't we, some pretty incredible images of protesters and police standing off amid smoke and tear gas. Here's the question: has the media presence exacerbated the violence?


PAUL: Well, I hope Sunday morning has been good to you. Thank you so much for being with us. It's 8:30 right now here in the East.

I'm Christi Paul and these are some of the stories that we're working on for you today:

Number one, (INAUDIBLE) been far from a quiet night, let's say. While the curfew in Ferguson, Missouri, at this point, we did learn overnight, seven people were arrested with police using smoke canisters as crowds gathered in defiance of that curfew. Ultimately, police say they used tear gas to try to get to a shooting victim at a local barbecue restaurant.