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Intense Clashes Between Protesters, Police Unfolding in Streets of Ferguson, Missouri
Aired August 18, 2014 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The members of law enforcement are out there with theirs too and they're trying to disperse the protesters from the streets. It was supposed to be a peaceful night with no curfew. The governor ordering -- lifting that curfew and then bringing in members of the National Guard.
The next hour of CNN TONIGHT starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LEMON: Hello, everyone. Don Lemon live here at Ferguson, Missouri, the scene of some protests that have really devolve into a bit of violence here. We have been watching it unfold for the last probably about 20 minutes. It started with some people throwing bottles in the crowd, we believe, and some protesters clashing.
You can see members of tactical units as well as the National Guard. There are members of the community who are out on bull horns telling people everyone off the street. And you can hear that loud noise, sort of percussion, I don't know the term for it, that it is so harsh on the ears, it gets people to disperse, part of the equipment that has been, that local police departments have gotten from the excess, from the overflow of the Pentagon, from the wars of Iraq and Iran.
I'm going to CNN's Jake Tapper who is out in the crowd, Ed Lavandera as well.
First to Jake Tapper. Jake you are right in the middle of it. Take us there. What's going on?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, THE LEAD: Right now, you see the community leader that we've been following for much of the night as the parade marched up and down the street here, West of Florissant. He is trying to convince people to move back, to move back.
Watch out, watch out.
LEMON: So, yes look at this. It is coming down the middle of the street. Check this out. Ed Lavandera, what do you have?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don, you saw that armored vehicle cut its way through the crowd there to get to the other side. What is fascinating here is that there is a group of men trying to disperse the crowd. These are not the authorities. These are local religious leaders who have come out here tonight trying to get the people who would be most willing to listen to them. Listen to this man with the bull horn.
Don, so he's trying to organize the line and trying to get people to listen to what he's doing and trying to form a line of protesters between them and the line of officers that are coming down the line there. And they've been pleading over and over again the authorities to give them more time so they themselves can get the situation under control. So you have a divide crowd. A number of people who are trying to push forward up on this street. Then you have several people from the crowd with bull horns trying to organize and get the calm restored and everybody to continue demonstrating and continuing to march in the circle around the street here. Whether or not they'll be able to hold this together isn't really clear right now because there is a great deal of tension and anger and scrutiny at this point.
But it looks like they're slowly starting to improve the situation. We'll see, it is very delicate at this point. Just off to the side trying to listen to what these men with the bull horns are saying, trying to get these crowds to organize and calm down quite a bit.
LEMON: And Ed, as you were standing there, we are getting information, I just want to tell our viewers again, the word I was looking for was El Rad. It is an acoustic device that they use to disperse large crowds like this when there is a rowdy situation.
Ed Davis, former police commissioner of Boston, what do you make of the response here and the presence?
ED DAVIS, FORMER POLICE COMMISSIONER OF BOSTON: Well, it's troubling to see these images. We need to have cooler heads prevail in this situation. You know, the police have a responsibility to protect lives and property. So if someone is being assaulted or hurt in that crowd, then they're moving in appropriately. But if it hasn't got to that level yet, sighting down the scope of a rifle just to see what's going on down the road is ill advised. Those weapons should be put down until there is a threat that justifies them. And I just think that someone needs to say that.
LEMON: Our Jake Tapper is out on streets as well. Jake, for the moment, it appears to have quieted down where we are. We did see a huge force of police officers heading the other way, closer to that quick trip where you and I have been staged.
TAPPER: I want to show you this. OK? To give you an idea of what's going on. The protesters, here is the main intersection, the protesters have moved all the way down there. They're about half a block down. John, watch with me. They're all the way down there. Nobody is threatening anything. Nobody is doing anything. None of the stores here that I can see are being looted. There is no violence.
Now, I want you to look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri, in downtown America, OK? These are armed police with machine -- not machine guns, with semi-automatic rifles, with batons, with shields, many of them dressed for combat.
Now why they're doing this, I don't know, because there is no threat going on here, none that merits this. There is none. OK? Absolutely there have been looters, absolutely over the last nine days there's been violence but there is nothing going on on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bigram (ph), nothing.
So if people wonder why the people of Ferguson, Missouri are so upset, this is part of the reason. What is this? This doesn't make any sense.
LEMON: Yes. And Jake, you know, many people have been wondering about what they're calling the over militarization of police departments, especially in the wake of the wars of Iraq and Iran and getting, and Afghanistan, I should say, and getting this equipment from the Pentagon.
Juliette Kayyem, do you think there should have been a curfew put in place tonight? Would that have helped?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST (via phone): It might have. Eventually there won't be a curfew. So the group cause of what's happening here are a police department and a public safety apparatus that doesn't seem to know how to allow lawful demonstrations and let people peacefully protest the murder of, or the death of a teenager.
So eventually the curfew would have to be lifted. And I think the challenge right now or the fear I have looking at this, what is everyone's orders at this stage? I mean, the National Guard has been deployed. It's been deployed by the governor. It means it is you understand technical terms, under state duty. It is working under the governor's per view. What rules are guiding what they're allowed to do? Are they allowed to arch the National Guard might be allowed to do depending on what the rules are. Are they just there for force protection?
And I think, just picking up on what Jake said, I think what we're seeing this vicious cycle of force protection justifying more and more forces. In other words, you have the police. And then you're worried that they're not safe so you add more police. And then you worry that they're not safe and you add the National Guard. At some stage we need political leadership to step in and say everyone take a step back. But I think we're at sort of a vicious cycle of sort of trying to justify more and more assets coming to the streets there.
LEMON: And Charles Blow, you know, getting back to the conversation about race and the disconnect between the police departments and the community, especially among people of color, why such show of force? That is a very good question here.
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is absolutely a great question. And I find something incredibly troubling and historically incongruous about the images we see tonight and those we have seen over the last few days of those police officers with rifles and batons and shields and gas masks which were invented by a black man.
No. But to gas masks which were invented by a black man, Garrett Morgan (ph) and gas being used against hordes of black people. Most of whom have been protesting peacefully. And you know, Jay (INAUDIBLE) had a great quote, which was, the most dangerous creation of any society is a man who has nothing to lose. And in some way, we are reaping what we have sown as a society because we have whole generations of young of black and Brown men who grow up in oppressively, oppressive inequality and they reject that at some point. No one can bend forever before they break.
And I think what we are seeing is an expression of that and we have to deal with that underlying cause and not just continue to meet this kind of unruliness with overwhelming force.
LEMON: Hey, Charles, I need to get back to Jake Tapper -- Jake.
TAPPER: I'm not exactly sure what's going on. The police drove an armored vehicle into the streets and then several armed members of the police went in, grabbed a guy who was holding a jug full of something. I don't know if it was something that they thought was a threat or not. I'm not exactly sure what it was.
Yes, it's my fault. And obviously they thought one of the gentlemen in the crowd, one of the protesters had something that was a threat of some sort. And they grab him and arrested him. I don't know what it was or what the situation was exactly. But they grabbed him. It seemed to be relatively nonviolent in their abduction of him. In their -- I suppose, arrest of him. I don't know if he's actually been under arrest.
LEMON: OK. Jake Tapper, I want to you stand by in the crowd. Ed Lavandera, I want you to stand by, as well as all of my guests here, security analyst former police commissioner and also columnist for "the New York Times" and CNN contributor Charles Blow.
We're going to get back to the breaking news. We're live here in Ferguson, Missouri. I'm Don Lemon. More details coming up on what exactly is going on here and why such a show of force by law enforcement from what appears to be all accounts from our perspective is bottle throwing. Back in a moment.
LEMON: We're back now live with breaking news in Ferguson, Missouri. You're looking at the scenes playing out here this evening. And that is the picture you just saw moments ago. That was (INAUDIBLE), the man who joined us just a short time ago who was trying to keep the peace here on the streets.
And then you see a large presence of police officers in tactical gear. And of course, Governor Jay Nixon, ordering the National Guard to come in here as well. We have seen officers, there you are, with their guns to the sides. Some of them holding, not pointing them up at people but we have definitely seen them holding guns out in front of them.
I want to get now to Ed Lavandera who is down on the scene and he can tell us what is going on. Ed, what are you seeing where you are? LAVANDERA: Hey, Don. I was just about five feet away from the two
men that were recently arrested. And we saw one of the squad vehicles. That was one of the vehicles that we saw cut in to the crowd and basically go directly after two or three men. Now, what I saw from where we're just standing right behind him, he had a milk jug fill with some sort of pink fluid and he had a glove covering up his hand. I do not know if it was a cocktail or some sort of possible weapon. But they were beau incredibly defined. Those were some of the two people that were causing some of the most problems. I'm going to get away here in one second. I have someone --
LEMON: I want to listen to --
LAVANDERA: Just one second. We'll come back if you can.
LEMON: Absolutely. I want to listen to Malik Shabazz (ph). He is out on the street.
We can't hear it from where we are. He is trying to get people, if you can see him. We have a shot of him here in the yellow shirt right here. He is trying to get people standing in. There he is. He was at the top of the hour, at 10:00 eastern trying to get saying that he was the one who called for a five-day moratorium on protests after sundown and had hoped that he could help corral some of the violence tonight. And now it is all playing out here. But basically, what we have seen, bottle throwing, and I'm not sure if it is rocks or what have you. But there is a very heavy police presence here.
I want to talk to some of the members of the community here. Shirley Davis is here. She lives here in Ferguson and also, Pastor Will Johnson is here from the Wellspring Church. What do you make of what's going on, Pastor?
PASTOR WILL JOHNSON, WELLSPRING CHURCH: For many, it is necessary but it is sad, the magnitude and the, some of the decisions. But it is understandable in a lot of respects. I'm not condoning any one thing but we have to understand that there is a lot of frustration, there is a lot of -- a lot that has to be addressed here.
LEMON: Yes. And listen, no one is condoning anyone who creates violence of starts violence, but it appears, you know, from what is happening that there isn't pick an overabundant supports, for a lack of better words. Do you feel that Shirley Davis?
SHIRLEY DAVIS, FERGUSON RESIDENT: Most certainly. I think that there are people that are in here do not realize the frustration of these young people and what they have been going through. Not just young but seeing the black -- our black youth being killed, just, and nothing been done about it.
And I think that the city of Ferguson officials thought that maybe this would just go away. But it is not going anywhere. I'm hoping that the prosecuting attorney will do what is necessary, bring this person, charge him, make some effort t clam this crowd because it is not going away. It will not go away. LEMON: Yes. And I think that is the ultimate solution, is to bring
justice to the family and to actually get to the bottom of exactly what happened. But if we can bring it back to what is happening tonight, did you ever think that you would see this much force.
JOHNSON: No, sir.
LEMON: This much force in your city.
JOHNSON: No, sir. I live, I play, I work here. And I, you know, we do need to understand the continuum which we're on, where we are going to have confrontation, but we got also move to deeper sense of conversation and can stop and construct it. But no, none of us ever imagined it to be like this.
LEMON: All right. We want to get back to some of the pictures -- standby. We want to get back to some of the pictures and show you what's happening here out in the crowd here on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.
And there you see the presence of police officers. And also, the National Guard obviously out in force as well. The governor calling them in.
First to Juliette Kayyem, how did this devolve into this?
KAYYEM: Well, there is no single way this happened. I mean, clearly, regionally the police were overwhelmed by what was lawful and peaceful demonstrations or protest that's were simple requests for more information. And then as everything earlier, I think if you can sort of look back at the last eight days, what we've seen is sort of a focus on adding more police. And then eventually the National Guard and often the justification for that is force protection that whenever the police were feeling threatened by that just (INAUDIBLE) with the crowd, there would be more police officers added and then eventually the National Guard.
None of this was inevitable, as I said, because this was a lawful protest. And the militarization as it is often called of police departments in the wake of 9/11 and post Iraq and Afghanistan, worse, it was done in a way in which small police departments were allowed to purchase equipment that they had no use having. I can understand big cities like New York City or Boston with their S.W.A.T. teams. But these small police departments had no reason for having equipment like this. And so, we are going to have to think about ways in which we change that dynamic.
Another potential change, I think to sort of relieve the stresses of what's going on is, obviously, get some political leadership in here. I don't quite understand why we're only at police officers and demonstrators. And we can't put this on police only. This is a political and racial problem.
LEMON: And Juliette, I've got to get to Jake Tapper. Jake, you're down in the crowd. Are you with Malik now?
TAPPER: Yes, yes. We are with Malik right now. Let's listen to him.
MALIK SHABAZZ, ATTORNEY: We want an end to police brutality. We want officer Darren Wilson arrested. We're here for Mike Brown. And we are not going to let outside infiltrators come in and destroy our good movement.
TAPPER: When say there are agents, inside the crowd --
SHABAZZ: They are intentional provocateurs.
TAPPER: Who are they? Who are you --?
SHABAZZ: They've been here every day to provoke the police to attack us. We can't allow this movement to be destroyed. We are here for justice.
TAPPER: Who are you suggesting they are?
SHABAZZ: Look. All I'm telling you is they're infiltrators. I can't give you any more information than that. But they're here and they're provocateurs. They try it every night and I am determined with the forces that we are working with that I will not allow it, even if I have to risk my life. I'm not going to see women and children out here hurt. And I'm not going to see the tide turned against and move in the favor of the police. That's not right. We want to exercise our constitutional rights and act like we're civilized and got some sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How tenuous is this?
SHABAZZ: This is extremely tenuous. I risked my life out there right in between that line. I don't know what is in them guns they got. But I'm telling you this. I'm not going to see this end in a disaster tonight. I'm not going to see what happened last night tonight. That's not right.
LEMON: When they went over there and arrested some guy who was holding a jug full of something, who was he? What was that?
SHABAZZ: A provocateur. He is here to provoke the police and get them to attack us. He is not with us. He is a plant. I don't know who he is planted by but he is not with us. He is here to make this look bad. And we don't want to make it look bad.
I want to tell that you the message tonight was tense but it ended in peace. And we will be back to demonstrate in the future. We don't need no National Guard. We don't need all of that. We need community volunteers to come out here and keep the peace. We need more men and people to stem up to keep the peace. These kids will listen to us. They will listen to me but we have to be willing to step up. And that's why. I'm a lawyer. I'm not no security man. I put my life on the line. I'm not going to see it happen tonight.
TAPPER: All right, Don, back to you.
LEMON: All right, Jake, if you can -- Jake, yes, thank you very much. Stand by. I want to get to Ed Davis.
Ed, you know, we have been talking about forceful here. Do you think the force was warranted? There may be some who think this amount of force is warranted considering what has happened here and what's going on?
ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: I'm not getting a full picture of what's happening. I mention someday troubling things that I saw before, sighting down the rifles and, you know, armored cars moving in when there was no gunfire being received.
But in the last few minutes, I've seen some encouraging things. They started to pull back into a line. You need to have a line there. You need to have discipline in that line. And these protocols that we've all trained on are very important. You need to have a disciplined line that you can move it forward but you can also move it backwards and de-escalate the situation.
Some of these officers have on gas masks and they left them on for a long period of time and no gas has been deployed from what I can see. Someone has to give the order to put those gas masks away. You want to try to ratchet this down as much as possible. And I can see some signs of that happening right now and I think more of that has to have, you know, a tactical retreat on the part of the police is not a bad thing in a situation like this especially where there are no visual gunfire.
LEMON: Ed Davis --
E. DAVIS: Go ahead.
LEMON: Ed Davis, I want to ask you this because, listen, just for balance here. There are people who say you cannot throw things at police officers. If you throw things at police officers, you should expect that there should be some force that happens back.
E. DAVIS: If you're throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, yes, that's true. But if there are things coming that aren't injurious to the officers, it is a different situation. The officers have to be very careful with the force that they employ. And it has to be just like in the continuum of force that we used in the one-on- one situation, the force has to be consistent with the threat that you're seeing. And unless I'm missing something here, there hasn't been Molotov cocktails tonight. If that kind of activity happens, then all of this stuff is actually warranted. I just haven't seen it.
LEMON: All right. Ed Davis, stand by. Stand by all of my guests.
You are looking at live pictures now happening in Ferguson, Missouri. There's a large presence of police out on the street. Of course, the National Guard is here. We're following the breaking news from Ferguson, Missouri. A quick break, we will be right back. Don't go anywhere.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: We're back now live in Ferguson, Missouri. And we are monitoring the breaking news and abundance of police out on the streets here in Ferguson. Also, there was some bottle throwing in the crowd and police dispersed the crowd. What had been a chaotic scene has appeared to have calmed down for the moment.
I'm joined now by Professor Lawrence Kobilinsky. He is a forensic scientist. Also Marc Lamont Hill is a CNN political commentator. Mark O'Mara, CNN's legal analyst and criminal defense attorney.
So stick with me, everyone here, as we look at these pictures.
Marc Lamont Hill, you have been here with me and we've been watching this unfold. You were in the crowd. What happened?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, 30 or 40 minutes ago, something was thrown in the air, two bottles about five minutes apart. There were water bottles. There is something in it. It appears to be nothing but a fluid. I think some people worried that it was a Molotov cocktail. People worried something might catch fire. But it really was just water. And it happened just the peace march was moving forward. And it seems to be two people who are trying to cause or was trying to antagonize. And the police recognized it. And really, more important, people in the crowd saw and it pushed them out and said we don't want you causing trouble here anymore.
LEMON: You called them anarchists.
HILL: They are anarchists. I mean, they are literally politically identified as anarchists, one person was. The other person, I was told by people in the crowd that they're from a revolutionary communist group from Illinois and both of them were in the crowd, both white. And both pushed out. And the crowd two people said go back to your neighborhood with that instead of coming in here and messing with us. They actually were asking the police to arrest them at some point. They didn't want to be lumped in with these two people.
LEMON: Do you think that's what started all of this off?
HILL: I do. I know it did. Because as soon as they threw it, police start to encroach, the crowd got scared. They didn't know what was going on. They don't want the chaos came. That's what everybody starts to move.
LEMON: Do you hear members of the community, Malik Shabazz saying outside actors, outside actors. that have come in and infiltrated. Is he correct with that?
HILL: He is absolutely correct. And I talked to him earlier about this. And he had the same analysis that many people here have which is that people coming sometimes in the west coast, some people come from the Midwest and they're coming here to antagonize because their whole belief is that if there is enough unrest, there will be a revolt. They actually want to see the violence. They want to see antagonism. But it is literally three or four people in this crowd for every 500 people. LEMON: Right.
I want to get to Mark O'Mara. Because Mark, you had spent the bulk of your career fighting for equal justice and people may not realize that especially equal justice, when it comes to the criminal justice system for people of color. And when you see this happening on the streets of an American city, what goes through your head?
MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's unbelievably sad because it is convincing people that the rule of law may not work. My concern with what's happening over the past several days is the absolute vacuum of good leadership from the police end and the political end.
My concern is that they get such, the people are getting such different signals and messages that they don't know how to react. You know, first as a curfew, then there's not. No National Guard. Now there is. Walk, run, stand still, don't stand still. And it is that chaos that I think is coming down from the leadership that is causing the problems.
I'm very afraid that it is going to do what these anarchists may want and devolve into an attack. Because one thing thrown with a flame attached to it and one shot fired, this thing goes down the tubes very quickly and we lose the whole purpose. Let's look for that equality that we know doesn't exist. We're fighting for it but it is not there yet.
LEMON: So doctor, you said that the biggest finding coming from the autopsy today is that Michael Brown was hit from the front. Do you think that any of this helped to set off some of this, the frustration and the number of shots? Do you think the autopsy had anything to do with this?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, Donald, at the end of the day, we're talking about a shooting that resulted in the death of an 18-year-old. And the question is, was this shooting justifiable? And the autopsy provides some information. We know that six shots were fired. There is a lot of things we don't know. There is physical evidence that is going to contribute a lot of information. We need to know about gunshot residue. Not only on Mr. Brown's clothing but also, in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. We need to know if there is DNA evidence on the gun which will tell us whether Mr. Brown actually did contact that gun in the alleged struggle to take control of the weapon.
And we don't know -- there are so many things we don't know. We don't know how many shell casings were collected. We don't know how many shots were actually fired by the police officer. We know that six bullets hit Mr. Brown. But there could have been many more shots fired.
And so, where are those bullets? Where are the bullets that hit Mr. Brown? Only three have been recovered. There is just so much information that needs to be put together that will supplement the eyewitness testimony which we know is very unreliable. You have a lot of different stories. And I would prefer to put my faith in the physical evidence. It
doesn't lie. It has to be interpreted properly. The autopsy information clearly is very important. But it is only a part of overall big picture to help us understand what happened.
LEMON: Go ahead, Mark.
O'MARA: Why don't we stop speculating and maybe see if that helps. What's happening is whoever it is, police, whatever, are releasing these tidbits of information that only cause people to be antagonized one side or the other. If it is a statement from a cop to a girl, a female friend, it antagonizes. If it is a partial autopsy, it antagonizes.
What's happening is people are so raw in the way they're feeling about this event that every little scintilla (ph) of evidence thrown out there is setting people's emotion back off. We love it in the media and we like it in the public, but we as the lawyers know, this is not good for the case. And getting it out in the public like this is not doing anything for the integrity of the case itself. So maybe we should try and not speculate what every little dust speck means in this case. And maybe that will give people an opportunity to take catch their breath and calm down a bit.
LEMON: Everyone stand by. We're going to get back to our guests in just a moment. We need to take a quick break. Back with our breaking news in just a moment.
LEMON: We're back with our breaking news. As fate would have it, the thing that happen during the commercial break you don't often see on television, so. As we were in the commercial break, there are a number of people started scattering toward the media tent where we are here. At least twice, not exactly sure what's going on. Marc Lamont Hill is with me. And you said you saw a bottle thrown.
HILL: A bother was thrown, maybe really 20 feet from where we are. We saw police starts to move forward again. Much closer than they have been all night. Few had weapons drawn, a few had the machine guns drawn right there or whatever is that large weapon that is. They have sent back-up. There was a bottle thrown there and someone was on the ground, closer to closer to the bench area here. And again, they were pulling someone who threw something.
LEMON: Yes. And it's interesting. Just within the course of an hour, Marc, not even an hour. There were hundreds of people out here and now they're gone.
LEMON: And when you look at just the amount of force here, it is unbelievable to see. There are more officers -- which do you think I'm wrong that they are protesters?
HILL: There are definitely officers there. (CROSSTALK)
HILL: Well, that is why I thought was strange to call it, this one a standoff. And quite honestly, the tension is on the police side at this point. Again, there are people doing a few things they should not be doing. But when you look at the amount of law enforcement agents here, when you go up the street, there are tanks after tanks after tanks and what people stationed on roofs. I mean, there are far more law enforcement agents here and I think that actually making it is more tense than it was.
LEMON: What about the idea of not knowing? You know, the police saying we don't know what we're up against. And maybe in some ways, they do. Maybe they know about fire power in this community is something we don't know as people who are just sort of swooping in here.
HILL: I man, fair. But surely there is not enough fire power in this audience. All I've seen so far are signs and bottles. But even if there are people in the crowd, I'm not saying, they can have security measures. But the way they're approaching s actually making more tension and making the situation more volatile than I think it needs to be.
LEMON: I think Mark O'Mara brings up a good point about both sides sort of fanning the flame here in releasing tidbits of information and that only fuels the unrest here.
HILL: Right. But again, the people advocating for transparency for police are doing it.
LEMON: I need to go to CNN's Jake Tapper who is out of the crowd. Jake, what are you seeing?
TAPPER: Well, it's interesting. What happens is a number of individuals, provocative, saying provocative things, trying to provoke the police, trash talking, and then the police, a big group of six to a dozen, will swarm in, grab the person, arrest the person, and then swarm back. It's very odd.
Clearly, these individuals are trying to provoke. I mean, as we've heard individuals talk about before, there are people in the crowd, a minority. But they're there who are trying to instigate with the police. And the bait is certainly taken.
LEMON: Yes. And Jake, I see you out marching with the crowd. Jake is going to be out with the crowd. He is going to be reporting from there. Ed Lavandera is out in the crowd as well and we will be here for you all evening until this situation calms down, you will see us here on CNN.
We're back with our live breaking news coverage from Ferguson, Missouri on the other side of a short break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: You are watching breaking news here on CNN. And those are the live pictures from Ferguson, Missouri that you are looking, a heavy presence of police on the street. The National Guard is in town. Governor Jay Nixon ordering them to come in. And most of the protesters are gone. They had been dispersed by members of the police department here, many different police departments.
Joining me now is Charles Blow, CNN political commentator and op-ed columnist for "The New York Times." Also, Marc Lamont Hill joins us. He is a CNN political commentator. Just a little later Kevin Jackson is going to join us here as well. Kevin Jackson, a conservative commentator will join us here on CNN.
Charles Blow, let's talk again about the pictures that you're seeing. What we are witnessing here on CNN, these live pictures.
BLOW: Yes. I mean, you know in a way, it's kind of sad. No one ever wants to see violence. No one ever wants to see things get out of control. You want the peaceful protesters who appear to far vastly outnumber the people being unruly, to be able to express themselves which is their constitutional right. And you want them to actually be able to articulate their position which is that they want to support for the vast majority of them, they want to support Michael Brown's family as they seek to find out exactly what happened to their son.
LEMON: But Charles, is that a way to get support? Because you know, as a man who is in charge of the situation here, Ron Johnson said, you can jump in too, Marc Lamont Hill. He said all along that this is a distraction from what is important here. And that is death of Michael Brown, the legacy of Michael Brown. What his family is dealing with. The disconnect between the police department and members of the community. Is this a way to get that done and to prove your point? What is the "this is" on the question?
BLOW: I don't understand what the "this is" in the question. If you're saying, is this protesting and coming out and letting people know that you have a voice and let people know that you want to show up --
LEMON: No, no. I think he is talking about the people who are looting and shooting and breaking into businesses and those sorts of thing.
BLOW: Absolutely. No one endorses that. I haven't heard a single voice of any leader anywhere endorse that. In fact, everyone has said, that is not what they want. That is the family has said, that is not what they want. No one has endorsed that. You get a bunch of people together. Some people are sometimes unruly. That is not necessarily some sort of racial pathology though. It is no more racial pathology in this case than it was in Seattle when they were being unruly during the world trade organization protests and burning things and crashing.
LEMON: Or when the world cup --
BLOW: Exactly. So I think you have to understand that sometimes there are people in a crowd even when other people have good motivations. They want to just express themselves, express their views. There are people who would be on rude (ph). It is not a racial pathology and when you, when anybody suggests that, that is racist in and of itself.
LEMON: Kevin Jackson is joining us now.
Kevin, have you been able to watch these pictures? And I want to get your take on what you're seeing here.
KEVIN JACKSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE BLACK SPHERE: Yes, I have, Don. And you know, quite frankly I find it appalling. I mean, I sympathize with the family. I want to say that at first up front. I sympathize with the situation with Michael Brown. What his parents are going through. But the situation that we're involved in right now is a tragedy all in itself.
We did not lose a civil rights leader. We don't need to have people destroying people's property. And essentially with hooligan and thuggery that is going on in St. Louis, it is amazing to me this is happening.
HILL: Well, I think one thing we have to think about, is why we didn't lose a civil rights leader, we lost a person. And the very idea that Michael Brown is a person is something we have to hold on. And you shouldn't have to win a Nobel peace prize for your body and your life to matter.
HILL: Let me finish. Just let me finish my point. People are just protesting Michael Brown's death. They're protesting year after year, really day after day of black bodies being vulnerable in public space in this way. That is why -- I've been on the ground the last three or four days. And every single person has said that. We're upset about Michael Brown. We want justice. But we have also had enough of this.
LEMON: Everyone says we want justice --
LEMON: Hang on, Kevin. Kevin, I'll let you get in here. But I want to finish this thought with Marc Lamont Hill. You heard people during the Trayvon Martin trial saying I'm not sure if Trayvon Martin is the example here. People are saying I'm not sure that Michael Brown is the example. When is it ever the right example? It always appears to be someone that people will say, no, I'm not sure if they're the right example.
JACKSON: That's not -- now it's time for me to say this. That's not the point.
LEMON: Let him finish and then -- Kevin, you're going get to your chance. Marc finish then I will let Kevin. HILL: We are governed by politics in respective villages. It says
that we need to have the perfect victim. We need to underscore that he was going to college last Monday as opposed to being something else. It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't even matter if he was shop lifting. His body still matters and his life still matters. That's what we need to deal here.
LEMON: Kevin, go ahead.
JACKSON: Yes. And that's exactly what I said to begin with. I'm not trying to make him that there should be some form of a victim that makes him appropriate. What I'm saying is this reaction is completely inappropriate. And when you look at all the things that were supposed to be put into place to make this better, we've added, you know, a black law officer who is supposed to be over things and it has gotten worse.
And the other side of it, when you talk about equal justice, how about we get to the bottom of the actual case and hear the other side of the argument? I'm not saying that this cop is right, wrong or indifferent. But when we just have a knee jerk reaction to something, and then it ends up exploding to this, and then it becomes this thing of, how much militarization of the police is during? Look, man, we are civilized people. And as Shabazz said, which is one of the only things I agree with him on --
LEMON: Hang on. Hold on.
Bring it to the camera here. We're seeing that people -- the officers getting out and tactical gear. There we go. They are concerned about the presence -- I'm going to let you guys listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get these men out of here! Get them out of here, Johnson!
LEMON: He's yelling at Ron Johnson to get those men out of there. Come on. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get them out of here, Johnson. Come on, Johnson. Get them out of here, Johnson.
LEMON: Malik! Malik! We're on live. What's the issue here? What's going on?
SHABAZZ: That's the provocation and that's what we don't need. That was totally unnecessary. Just coming out here, pointing artillery at people, whatever they got. That's the confrontation that we have established order here. And we don't need that. All that does is agitate people. And we are already in calm. Now we have to re-calm them down. And so what we're trying to do is get people to just go rest right now. We don't want the night to end with a bunch of teargas.
LEMON: Our Jake Tapper was out reporting earlier saying there were others provoking the police. Does it go both ways? SHABAZZ: It goes both ways. That mere sight of that many police is a
provocation. All the trucks and the militarization of the police is a provocation. But there are also provocateurs on the other side that want to charge the lines so that everybody will get gassed.
LEMON: Malik, you can't throw things at police. And so --
SHABAZZ: A little water bottle is not hurting the police. I mean, tell them to relax. It's a little water bottle.
LEMON: All right. Do they know what's in it?
SHABAZZ: Come on. Isn't no fires broke out here, nothing. Tell them to relax. They need to relax. We're relaxed and we're going to do this for Mike Brown and for justice.
LEMON: Yes. How does this all end? Is it a continued stand-off and could not front -- confrontation.
SHABAZZ: Not tonight. But we need more volunteers and more men. I've been calling on all community groups to come help.
LEMON: OK. I need on get to Jake Tapper. You need to get back out there. Go ahead, Jake.
TAPPER: Don, we're down by the convenience store that was burned down nine days ago. And this is the area where the media was set up. And then we were told to move earlier today. There is another confrontation going on between protesters and law enforcement. Once again, it's a much smaller military presence, a militarized police presence, and there are individuals in the crowd here trying to provoke them, throwing things at them.
So what's going on, Don -- can you hear me?
LEMON: I can here you, Jake. Go ahead.
TAPPER: Don Lemon. OK. So what is going on is that the individuals here, the protesters are in an area where they are not supposed to be congregating.