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Shooting of Michael Brown; Russian Convoy Enters East Ukraine; Death Prompts Nascar Rule Change

Aired August 17, 2014 - 08:30   ET


CHRISTIE PAUL, CNN HOST: 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: It's been a quiet night let's say. While the curfew in Ferguson, Missouri is over 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 -- that victim in critical condition now.

Number two: Kurdish troops are battling ISIS militants in northern Iraq as we speak here. 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 that they've seen explosions, smoke, mortar, rocket fire. The Kurdish fighters advanced toward the dam after using war planes and drones bombed ISIS targets.

Number three: pro-Russian separatists have shot down another Ukrainian fighter jet that's near Luhansk. This marks the third known military jet destroyed by rebels since the conflict began some six months ago. Ukraine's news agency says the pilot ejected and is safe.

But also Ukraine now says that mysterious convoy of Russian trucks that showed up on their border is, in fact, humanitarian aid. Initially there was no idea who or what was inside those vehicles or where they even came from. No word yet on when those supplies, though, will be transported to the hundreds of thousands of people in need.

Number three: pro-Russian rebels are threatening to launch a major counter-offensive against Ukrainian forces. According to Reuters, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic says the separatists have more than 100 armored vehicles, 30 tanks and they may indeed use them so we're going to keep focusing on that as well.

We also have to tell you about the thousands of Catholics in South Korea cheering for and praying along with Pope Francis this morning. He's on his second to last day of a rare visit to the country. It's been nearly a quarter century since a pope stepped foot in South Korea. Yesterday alone nearly a million -- look at this picture -- a million people joining the Pope for mass in downtown Seoul.

And with a cease-fire for Gaza set to expire Tuesday and much of the area in ruins, a Palestinian delegation returns to Cairo, Egypt today to resume indirect peace talks with Israel. They're hoping to end weeks of fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas. Now Israel wants Hamas to disarm and Gaza to demilitarize. Hamas wants Israel to end its economic blockade of Gaza and free prisoners.

Let's get you back to Ferguson, Missouri -- just some really engaging pictures that we're getting out of there with the state- imposed curfew. That is over, as I said, only after more violence erupted overnight though. Police used smoke canisters and then after that tear gas in response to a shooting just minutes into the five- hour curfew.

The top security official on the scene said a man was shot and is in critical condition this hour. A squad car was also fired upon they say.

Captain Ron Johnson told us authorities clamped down on protesters in response to that shooting, not to the curfew violations but seven people were arrested -- not the alleged shooter however. I believe that they are still looking for that alleged shooter. The curfew though came a week after 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer. A Brown family lawyer says high-profile pathologist now, Michael Baden, who testified in the O.J. Simpson case, will conduct a second autopsy on Brown's body.

Let's go back out to Ferguson, Missouri with Ana Cabrera. Ana -- it's so good to have you with us. Is there any indication, we know that it's not just Ferguson police out there now, they've got the state highway patrol and some police from St. Louis from their department. How long some of those other departments that are aiding this may stay?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's no word on that just yet. I think we have to get through day by day, as we are still seeing unrest amongst the protesters and those overnight hours, Christi, so I think it could be a while. We'll have to wait and see. We know there's another day of rallies that are planned and the investigation is still moving forward.

You can see some peaceful protesters, a very small number of people out here this morning. You mentioned the unrest overnight, a real unfortunate scene as officials put that curfew into place in order to quell the violence.

But I can tell you to give perspective on all of this, it was a much smaller protest overnight, and the people who decided to stay after the curfew was put into place is just a few dozen, described as maybe teenagers, early 20-somethings and it was a small, isolated group that was there to incite the violence and really go against the police instructions and the governor's instructions as he put that state of emergency into effect and the curfew itself.

As you mentioned, one person was shot, last check in critical condition. The circumstances surrounding that shooting are unclear this morning but the police captain telling -- highway patrol captain, that is, telling us that person who was shot was a protester and that police saw somebody armed in the crowd and that was the reason they moved forward with a show of force.

Listen to this.


CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: We got a report of a shooting victim near the Quick Trip and Redd's Barbecue. As they approached Redd's Barbecue they did deploy tear gas at Redd'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.


CABRERA: And no word on whether that police car was actually hit, but you can hear that there is still a level of unrest, and still outrage in this community. I think, overall, however, the community is now stepping up saying we are proud of our town and of our people. We don't want to be seen as people who are violent, and so most people are being very peaceful, Christi. As far as the investigation moving forward, we're told it could take weeks, months, still before that investigation is complete. Of course we've got multiple investigations.

We know the FBI is on scene, some 40 representatives of the federal investigation are, in fact, talking to more witnesses. They've interviewed the officer twice, the toxicology results are still pending. Preliminary autopsy is complete. So things are moving forward but everybody still wanting answers and the quest for justice in this community continues -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Ana Cabrera, thank you so much for getting us apprised on what's happening there this morning.

Let's discuss this with HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson and CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter. Thank you gentlemen, for being here.

Brian I want to start with you because -- I mean the media has become such a huge player in these protests. You know, you capture the scene and sometimes become part of the story. We know these two journalists that were arrested this week in a McDonald's, they're not facing charges as we understand it, but how do incidents like this and the coverage shape a viewer's understanding of the story?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESONDENT: Well, as always, the reporters are our eyes and ears there, and they're supplemented by citizen journalists, people who are on Twitter and Facebook and other sites posting their own videos and photos sometimes from angles that reporters can't get to.

Last night during the curfew some reporters were over in a specific area, the police allowed them to be in -- they couldn't be as close to the area where there were protesters, for example, so we need both perspectives, you know. We need professional reporters as well as citizen journalists so to speak on the ground.

And what the media says and does in these cases is so important because we're talking about a potentially incendiary situation. If you use the word "riot" for example, there was a small amount of riot- like behavior on two nights this week. Riot is an incendiary word. The main word we're seeing on television on the web is unrest. I would suggest another one, civil disobedience, a lot of what we're seeing is civil disobedience. Unfortunately sometimes it has turned into criminal behavior but language matters a lot when talking about such a sensitive story.

PAUL: Very good point and the other point you were making about citizen journalists, I mean Joey, we've seen these videos turn up on Vine and YouTube that shows the aftermath of Brown's shooting. And I'm wondering how is that changing the legal landscape with these new kinds of images and media?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: It's huge, Christi, and here's the reason. What happens in an investigation like this is police want everyone to come forward. Now there are a variety of witnesses who see things through different perspectives, some witnesses potentially have seen the whole thing, while other witnesses may have seen bits and piece. And so when have -- you know in this new generation, whether it's cell phones that you can actually record something on, there was some report that someone through Twitter was actually as the event was unfolding was tweeting out what was happening.

And so all this information is very relevant, as the investigation unfolds and continues to get at all the facts of the case, and so people who have seen something need to say something and need to come forward whether it be the FBI, whether it be to local authorities, whether it be to the state.

But to your issue and question, Christi, it changes the entire landscape in terms of the legal battles that go on here because that information is brought into a courtroom, is brought into a grand jury and it leads to further information and it leads to transparency in terms of what occurred.

PAUL: Well, you know, a lot of cameras that are there, they're capturing the protests, they're capturing the looting, you know, Brian, that you had talked about in terms of the criminal behavior. And a lot of people have suggested, you know, what? Folks act out more aggressively if there are cameras there. Do you think the cameras exacerbate the problem?

STELTER: I think there does need to be sensitivity about that. On the other hand, though, we now live in a world where folks make their own media, create their own images, and so it's something that is complicated by the fact -- the fact of life of Instagram, Twitter and Vine and YouTube and all these other outlets. But do some people show up at a camera location that CNN has because they want to get on TV? They sure do. And that's something the press has to be sensitive about.

On the other hand a lot of what we're hearing in the crowd and I've been following a lot of this on people's Twitter accounts who are posting about it is that they want to have the right to free speech and to protest and the curfew went against that. I think they would be out there expressing their right to free speech regardless of whether the press was there.

PAUL: Hey, Joey, I have to ask you this question because we're just getting inundated with it on social media. I know people have posted it on my Facebook and Twitter asking, will charges be filed against Darren Wilson, the police officer who fired the shot here and if so, what might they be?

JACKSON: You know, Christi, it certainly appears likely. We don't know precisely whether that will be the case, but if you listen to the early witness reports in terms of what happened, there appears to be -- and that's what's leading to the entire outrage in the community -- it appears to be, if you look at the witness statement that there was an overstepping of force here.

Whenever someone is running away and they're hands are up and there's multiple shots fired. People want to know what was the imminent threat of death, of bodily harm that he posed, Michael Brown that is, to the officer? So in the event that through this investigation, the police find, the FBI finds, the local authority finds that there's an overstepping of force, that information presented to the grand jury, they could find that the officer acted with intent, perhaps to retaliate, obviously that would upgrade the charges to horrific proportions like murder.

They could find that there was gross negligence with respect to the way the officer acted and that would be negligent manslaughter or homicide. They could decide that there was reckless action -- that is he consciously disregarded the risk that letting that firearm discharge that, of course, Michael Brown would be killed.

So all of that, it depends upon the state of mind of the officer. It depends upon the eyewitness accounts. It depends upon the forensic evidence in terms of muzzle to target tests that are going to be used to determine what the distances were from shot one, from shot two, from shot three and also the DNA evidence. Was Michael Brown in that car? Did he touch the car?

So all of that, Christi, would have a lot to do with what the charges are. But certainly from early accounts it looks like there will be a prosecution here.

PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson and Brian Stelter, thank you both gentlemen so much. We appreciate you.

JACKSON: My pleasure, Christi. Appreciate you.

PAUL: Sure. And thank you.

I want to remind to you watch "RELIABLE SOURCES" this morning 11:00 Eastern with Brian right here on CNN.

More violence in Eastern Ukraine this morning as well. We're going to tell you more about what's going on in Kiev as they're saying a convoy from Russia entered the country and we'll tell you what they were allegedly carrying.


PAUL: Let's talk about the Ukraine, where officials in Kiev now are saying a convoy of three multiple rocket launcher systems were brought in from Russia to eastern Ukraine, of course, this coming as the violence in that region seeming to just continue. CNN's Will Ripley is live for us in Kiev. Will good morning to you. What do you know about this latest report first of all?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. Yes, the report that came in overnight is the second report in three days of an armed convoy crossing from Russia into Ukraine. The first convoy were essentially armored personnel carriers carrying men with uniforms. This convoy, as you said, these grad systems, rocket launchers, they were spotted by the Ukrainian government and traced heading into the Luhansk region, which has been the site of tremendously violent and intensifying confrontation that keeps escalating.

At the same time overnight Christi, another new report that a Ukrainian fighter jet -- a Mig-29 was shot down. This is now at least ten planes that the pro-Russian separatists were accused of shooting down. Of course, we all know about MH-17 which really put this whole region and this whole conflict under an intense microscope but there have been other planes including a military transport plane with 49 people on board also shot down. All of those people dying, Christi, so a very violent situation right now.

PAUL: Do we know anything about the rebels, their movements, their resources, and how they're able to continue these attacks?

RIPLEY: Well, you know, in addition to the flow of weapons and personnel from Russia, in fact you had the rebel leader on a brand new YouTube video saying that he's getting ready to receive hundreds of highly trained forces from Russia to assist the rebels in what appears to be right now a losing battle against the Ukrainian government.

50,000 Ukrainian troops have essentially cut off Donetsk and Luhansk. They tried to cut off the supply lines. They just re-took a police station from the rebels but the rebels are still fighting. They vowed to fight street by street, Christie, and that appears to be what they're doing right now.

PAUL: All right. Will Ripley we appreciate the update. Thank you so much, sir.

Nascar meanwhile is ushering in some new rules in the wake of last weekend's deadly crash involving Tony Stewart. We'll tell you what's going on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: A deadly racetrack incident a week ago is forcing Nascar

to change the rules now. And this is aimed at keeping tempers cool and drivers alive obviously. Driver Tony Stewart demonstrates the problem here as you can see getting out of his car to angrily confront a driver in the middle of a race.

Stewart plays a central role in this new Nascar rule. Here's Alexandra Field.


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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's safety first right now.

FIELD: The new rule means drivers must stay in their cars unless they're in immediate danger. Nascar says that's always been its recommendation.

What's 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: Previously it was a guideline, it was a policy, it was a here's 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're going to sanction you. We're 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 hasn't raced since.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's grieving. Made the decision he's not ready to get in the race car, and will take it week by week.

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

COREY REYBURN YUNG, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS SCHOOL OF LAW: It's just a question of what was going through Tony Stewart's mind. If this was 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 the car during a race. He also tells the paper, "Apparently Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn't see him."

(END VIDEO CLIP) FIELD: 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.

CROWLEY: All right. Alexandra Field, thank you. We appreciate it.

Have you heard about this New York woman accused of stealing Legos? I'm not talking about just a couple of boxes. You might have seen her trying to peddle them on eBay. We have details for you next. This is huge.


PAUL: As we head toward 9:00 right now, thousands of Catholics in South Korea are cheering for and praying along with Pope Francis. Look at these pictures coming in. He's on his second to last day, I should say, of a rare visit to the country. It's been nearly a quarter century since a pope stepped foot in South Korea.

Earlier the Pope baptized a father who lost a child in April's deadly ferry disaster in Seoul. Can you imagine how profound that was? Nearly 300 people died in that tragedy and most of the victims were students. What a picture there.

So this 53-year-old woman is accused of stealing about $60,000 worth of Lego sets and then trying to sell them on eBay. Nassau county police say Gloria Haas 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.

I'm just trying to figure out how she got them -- Jen. How do you get 800 Lego sets?


PAUL: (inaudible) and strategizing. If only we could say something nice about the weather today too.

GRAY: I know. Not going to be building Legos outside -- that's for sure. We're going to see some high temperatures in the south. That jet stream riding high to the north, that means a lot of that Gulf moisture is going to be able to move up to the north. Areas in the south are going to be feeling the heat in the coming days, and that means hot, hot temperatures. And that humidity is going to be allowed to play a factor in this, meaning temperatures are going to feel warmer than they actually are.

So we are going to be feeling the heat, the sweat is going to be on for the south. Look at that. Temperatures up to 95 by Wednesday. When you factor in that humidity, it's going to feel even warmer in the south. Atlanta we should be at 88, temperatures running about seven or eight degrees above normal; same for you in Charlotte, even warmer, almost ten degrees above normal by Wednesday; Jacksonville will be at 96 by Wednesday; Memphis 93 by Wednesday; and New Orleans you'll be hot as well.

So we move into the deep south of Dallas, triple digits by Tuesday into Wednesday, when you factor in that humidity, it's going to feel like 105 to 110 by Wednesday. And so it is going to feel very, very warm. So for today -- highs not all that bad in comparison. We'll be around 98 in Dallas; 94 in Memphis; 90 in Atlanta.

Let's jump forward in time though by the time we get to Thursday, temperatures will be in the mid-90s in Raleigh; Nashville at 96; little rock at 96 as well; Dallas 100. but by Friday, temperatures will be 100 degrees at Montgomery; St. Louis 95 degrees. So by the end of the week, Thursday into Friday, that's really when you're going to want to hydrate and be careful out there.

Right now though, we do have some storms pushing in to Nashville in the next hour or so, Louisville we're going to see those storms push into your area as well. So be on the lookout today for some possible storms in the south as well as the northern plains -- Christi.

PAUL: You know, it's bad enough when you get the heat.

GRAY: Yes.

PAUL: When you get the storms rolling in with the heat, that's when it gets a little dicey, right?

GRAY: Yes, it's when it gets dicey, you could see those storms today rolling in the south, not only the south, the northern plains so we've got those two areas to watch today.

PAUL: All right. Appreciate that you are here, Jen. Thank you so much.

GRAY: No problem.

PAUL: And thank you for starting your morning with us. Make some great memories today and stay close because "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley is coming at you now. We appreciate you making us part of your morning.