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Call For Five-Day Halt On Protests; President Obama To Get Ferguson Update Shortly; Gunshot To Top Of Head Was Fatal; Feds To Conduct Third Autopsy
Aired August 18, 2014 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Don Lemon here, reporting live from Ferguson, Missouri. Wolf Blitzer is off today. We'd like to welcome viewers right here in the U.S. and around the world.
I want to give you the very latest of what's going on. Attorneys for the family of Michael Brown say new autopsy -- a new autopsy provides ample evidence to arrest the officer who shot the teen. But the results are unlikely to quiet the uproar or settle the questions stemming from Brown's death.
Here's the very latest for you as we know it. According to the independent autopsy, Brown was shot at least six times, including two gunshot wounds to the head. All of the shots were to the front of his body, according to this report. A lawyer for the family says Brown's mother asked investigators whether he felt any pain when he died. Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the family, says the mother was told Brown did not suffer.
Missouri's governor now deploying the National Guard troops to Ferguson. The move follows a night of very violent confrontations between police and protesters. Peaceful demonstrations spiraled out of control with gunfire, tear gas and Molotov cocktails and we've witnessed a lot of it.
At this point, though, what will it take to end the violent protests? I want to bring in someone who says he is ready to call and -- to ask, I should say, that's more like it for you, moratorium on protesting. And that is Malik Shabazz, the National President of the Black Lawyers for Justice which was formerly the New Black Panther Party. So, what are you -- what are you asking for? You said you're not calling, you're asking. For what?
MALIK SHABAZZ, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, BLACK LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE: Well, first of all, due to those results and the people's demands for justice in this case, that they do have to march. But what we're asking for, and they're going to march tonight, and we're going to help them. But what we're going to make sure is that after sundown, that there -- that everything ends peacefully. And that the cause is respected. And that agents and people that are here to mess up the good will of these demonstrators are not allowed to take over this.
LEMON: So you would not -- after dark, you're calling for a moratorium. You would like people --
SHABAZZ: We're saying -- we're saying, after dark, we need to come in. After we march, after we give our first amendment demonstration, after we support the Brown and the Brown family and call for the arrest of officer Darren Wilson and our other demands, then we're going to bring everybody in that's legitimate demonstrators and bring them on in so that no one gets hurt or shot or gassed.
LEMON: You said there needs to be a breather and that's why you're doing it. A rest.
SHABAZZ: There needs to be a rest at night. There certainly needs to be a rest for after sundown demonstrations because it's being taken advantage of by people who are -- do not have the best interests of the demonstrators at heart. So, the demonstration -- there will be demonstrations because, you know, the autopsy results come out. People are upset.
LEMON: So, what's been your influence on the protesters? I have spoken to you. You have been here several times, and you've spoken to us personally. But you said you believe that you've had a calming influence on the protesters. You have not in -- tried to incite them for any violence?
SHABAZZ: No, I -- on the nights myself, Black Lawyers for Justice, National Action Network, Nation of Islam, New Black Panther Party have been out here. We've kept the peace. We've kept the traffic flowing. We've kept people from attacking businesses and getting in silly, unnecessary provocations with the police.
LEMON: So, what happened with the last two nights?
SHABAZZ: Couldn't be out here. Couldn't be out here last night. Things descended into chaos and the over-militarization of the police is an -- is an antagonizing point. That's why I'm worried about the National Guard.
LEMON: So, why do people listen -- OK, continue with that.
SHABAZZ: I'm worried about the National Guard being here because it's a flash point. The armored trucks and the vehicles. I would urge they be pulled out because it's a flash point. As in terms of why --
LEMON: Why do you have such influence you believe on the protesters?
SHABAZZ: Because they need Malik Shabazz. I've been in the community for years. I'm for the end of police brutality. I'm for the arrest and the immediate prosecution of Darren Wilson. I'm for justice for our people. And they know I'm strongly in love with black people. They listen to me.
LEMON: But you're not for the violence and the looting and the shooting?
SHABAZZ: That's being done by agents. I don't know where they come from. But it's designed to bring more police presence in. We don't need more militarization of the police. We need less. These -- we want a first amendment right for the demonstrators to get their message out. To get their expression out. They have every right. But we have to separate ourselves from the provocateurs that come here from out of town.
LEMON: So, you -- if you have that much influence, do you believe that you will keep people off the streets here after sundown?
SHABAZZ: I believe I can get it up into the high 90s. I can believe a high 90 percent, 95 percent, 96 percent, 97 percent, 98 percent ratio. Now, there's 2 percent here that are designed to go against anything, and they'll have to deal with the police on their own.
LEMON: All right. We will be watching. Thank you, Malik Shabazz. We appreciate you coming on CNN and we'll be watching. And we'll get back tonight to see if it -- if it, indeed, happens. All right, we appreciate you.
We want to go now and talk about the president. President Barack Obama gets an update on the volatile situation right here in Ferguson just minutes from now. And he'll be briefed by attorney general, Eric Holder. We want to go to the White House. Our Correspondent Michelle Kosinski. She joins us now live. Michelle, attorney general, Eric Holder authorized an additional autopsy on Michael Brown besides the one initiated by the family. What can you tell us about that?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, you know, this is interesting. It was actually asked for by the family and almost immediately the Department of Justice, through the attorney general, Eric Holder, authorized that. So, this will be done by a federal medical examiner, and it will be conducted sometime soon. We just don't know the details on when exactly. So, it's possible, after this meeting happens, which is expected to begin within the next 15 minutes or so between the president and the attorney general, Holder, we'll find out more of a time frame and anything further on the White House or the federal government's response on this.
And we also know that in terms of the federal response, they also have FBI agents on the ground who've been there now for a few days. They've already been conducting interviews on what we understand are some new witnesses.
So, it's an independent investigation. Now, the federal government, by doing this, isn't saying that the local investigation at the -- at the county level or the state level is invalid or not usable or doesn't trump that. They're saying that they will also use the results of the county autopsy and the other autopsy by the family. They will look at all that evidence. But obviously, the White House wanted something that was a bit above and beyond that. Something else independent. And that input will be called, in the end, to make some determination, at the federal level, whether civil rights were violated here -- Don.
LEMON: Yes. Hey, Michelle, I'm not sure if you went over -- it's very chaotic here in INAUDIBLE. I'm sure you can hear the horns honking and people, at times, -- KOSINSKI: Right.
LEMON: -- are yelling. But I'm not sure if this is -- it's been reported that the White House possibly did not know about the National Guard being deployed here. What do you know about that? Is there any truth to that reporting? We are not reporting that but we are hearing that from other organizations.
KOSINSKI: Right. We asked the White House about that specifically and we're still waiting for a response. They're aware of the report. They're not really sure, at this point. At least they haven't gotten back to us with any more detail.
What's interesting about this is that at a state level, a governor can call in the National Guard at their discretion. They sign an executive order and call them in. Which the governor of Missouri did, in this case. In fact, he put out a statement expressing why he felt the need to do that because of the violence that's been continuing. It's not as if he needs to notify the White House.
But, in this case, if the White House didn't know -- I mean, apparently the White House has been directly involved with officials on the state level including the governor. I mean, one of the White House's top advisers, Valerie Jarrett, has been talking to the governor directly. And we just thought it was kind of interesting that he would bring in the National Guard, in such a volatile situation, without the White House knowing. So, we, too, are wondering about that, and waiting for more information from the White House -- Don.
LEMON: Take us forward, if you would, Michelle, just a little bit, what's likely to come --talk more about what's likely to come out of this briefing this hour at the White House. Do we expect any additional comments from President Obama about the situation right here in Ferguson?
KOSINSKI: Not necessarily. It's not even set up such that there's going to be a press briefing afterwards or statements given. We don't necessarily expect to hear directly from the president. We did hear from him in the last few days. He also put out a written statement right after the shooting, so did Attorney General Holder, and one that was pretty lengthy.
So, we're not necessarily expecting direct statements, at this point, but maybe something more from the White House, in terms of details, possibly, as we're talking about, a frame time on this federal autopsy and maybe a little more detail on what exactly the federal government's response has been, up to this point, and what we expect to see moving forward -- Don.
LEMON: All right, Michelle Kosinski at the White House. We appreciate your reporting. Thank you very much, Michelle. We'll get back to you as soon as we know more about that briefing.
We now know how many times Michael Brown was shot. We even know which shot was fatal. So, what will a third autopsy tell us that we don't already know? I'm going to speak with renowned forensic scientist Henry -- Dr. Henry Lee coming up here on CNN. Don't go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: All of these gunshot wounds were survivable except the one in the top of the head that went through the brain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Forensic pathologist, Michael Baden, explaining the results of a second autopsy done at the request of Michael Brown's family. Now, there will be a third autopsy done by the Justice Department. Forensic scientist, Dr. Henry Lee, joins me now from New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Henry Lee, thank you. How unusual is it for a third autopsy to be performed? What's the purpose? Dr. Lee, can you hear me? Apparently, Dr. Lee, we're having trouble with -- apparently we're having trouble hearing Dr. Lee. We'll get back to Dr. Lee. In the meantime, --
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT: Yes, I can hear you.
LEMON: -- I have some news that I -- you can hear me now, Dr. Lee?
LEE: Yes, I can hear you, Don.
LEMON: Yes. Dr. Lee, how unusual is it for a third autopsy to be performed? What are we expecting it to find that the two previous autopsies didn't show?
LEE: Well, often, if a case is controversial, they usually do multiple autopsies. But I doubt the autopsy will show everything because anytime these types of shooting case involve four very important elements. Autopsy, just one. We have to look at the presence, absence of the gunshot residue, so-called GSR, whether or not his hands have the gunshot residue, his shirt or his hair have the gunshot residue. That can show us the distance. The third thing is the trajectory because, obviously, all the shots was on the right arm, right side.
However, we have to understand the human anatomy. A person is in movement or their hands may raised, so those shot, the trajectory, really don't know yet. The last thing is actually the most important thing is to reconstruct the sequence of events and show what's the direction of the officer, what's the direction of Michael Brown, and what's the relative distance and the position. Those still unknown.
LEMON: OK. Are you satisfied, though, doctor, that you know what happened based on the first two autopsies, or do you still have questions?
LEE: We have a lot of questions. The autopsy, as I say, only give partial answer. It's so important waiting for the laboratory result. Let's say if Michael Brown's hand have gunshot residue, which could consist then with some of the statements saying he grabbed the gun. Yet have absence of the gunshot residue may tell us a different thing. Also which way the shot people say fire from the back, it's all nonsense because it's clearly, looking at Dr. Baden's autopsy charting, everything is on the right side, it's at the front. So whether or not Michael Brown leaning forward is a possibility. That's why I have to determine the trajectory. And from the trajectory, then we can reconstruct the shooting.
LEMON: OK. If you were conducting this autopsy, Dr. Lee, what would you be most interested in finding out?
LEE: Well, I'm not a pathologist. I investigate a lot of police shooting case in my career. Basically the most importantly thing I want to see, the wound, what's the pattern, what's the entrance wound, exit wound, those graze wounds. Maybe a single shot can cause one or multiple bullet holes, entrance, re-exits (ph), re-entrance. So that only can show us one shot instead of that individual was shot six times, which we not really know how many times exactly was shot because only three bullets was found.
In addition, the distance still unknown. The distance from the gun barrel to the wound. That's crucial to find out. And, of course, as I indicate, this trajectory, the sequencing event, reconstruction. So the community have to really have patience waiting for the reconstruction. You don't want to make a mistake. Call before got all the known facts.
LEMON: So you said, you know, you have to wait and we're waiting as well on toxicology reports. They are - they have proven, you know, to be beneficial and to, you know, to - as to letting investigators know what happened. When will we get toxicology reports, you think?
LEE: OK. Toxicology report will not change the shooting event. Toxicology report only indicate whether this person intoxicated or not. So just like the autopsy report yesterday shows how many bullet holes, what's the entrance wound, the exit wound, the possible bullet trajectory. You have to wait for GSR, that's what they say, the gunshot residue. We have to determine whether or not have a gun powder residue on his hand or on his clothing or on his hair.
The second thing, we have to look at reconstruction, because some of the bullets through and through can cause some high velocity blood spatter. We want to see, where is those blood stains located. Then you can determine a regional location when the gun was discharged. Then subsequent, what's the leading to his final position.
LEMON: All right, forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee, we appreciate your expertise here on CNN.
We are live in Ferguson, Missouri. And we want to tell you that every media has been - has had to move. CNN is the only media that's still at the QT, this location where we are now, able to conduct interviews because we have a live broadcast going on. So we're going to talk more, including news about the officer involved in this shooting, what we know about Darren Wilson and what's next in the investigation. That's when we come right back here on CN. So still ahead, we'll talk about that.
LEMON: During the last segment before the break, I told you we had some news that was just in to CNN and I want to report this. This is from the U.N. secretary-general. Just saying that the secretary- general is aware that the U.S. federal authorities have announced an investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and it says the secretary-general hopes local and federal investigations will shed full light on the killing and that justice will be done. The secretary-general calls on the authorities to insure that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are protected. He calls on all to exercise restraint and for law enforcement officials to abide by the United States and international standards in dealing with these demonstrations. This is coming from our U.N. correspondent Richard Roth from Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Moving on now.
While a lot of noise is being made on the streets of Ferguson, just down the road here in St. Louis, another group of protesters chanting a very different chorus. A few dozen people, fed up with what they are calling biased coverage, they decided to hold a rally in support of Officer Darren Wilson, the man who shot and killed Michael Brown. And they say that the people protesting in Ferguson simply don't understand the way the justice system works.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN NEWSHAW, RETIRED ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE OFFICER: (INAUDIBLE). I don't think the black community understands the system. There's, again, there's a process. You know, they're screaming about, why isn't he arrested, why isn't he in jail? Well, without the investigation being done, you can't go apply for a warrant. Once the person's been arrested, if you can't get a warrant in 24 hours, they have to be released. That's black and letter law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And the protesters, by the way, most of whom were white, showed up in front of a local TV station and brought pro-Wilson t-shirts that sold out very quickly. Want to get more now on Officer Darren Wilson. And we turn to our very own Brian Todd in Washington for that.
What have we learned about Officer Wilson, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, since Friday, when his name was revealed, we've learned a few bits and pieces about Officer Wilson. He's 28 years old. He is a six-year police officer, four of those years with the Ferguson Police.
He, according to a friend, who we spoke to on the phone a short time ago, the friend did not want to be named, by the way, because this friend says that he's been getting death threats. But this friend told us that Officer Wilson got divorced last year. That he has a child from that marriage. But when I asked if Officer Wilson has any racist tendencies, if he'd ever displayed anything like that, Don, this friend said, quote, "absolutely not. He's not the type of person who would do that in public or in private with friends."
There you have a picture from a FaceBook page of Officer Wilson getting a commendation there with the police department.
This friend told me, Don, that he has spoken to Officer Wilson briefly since the shooting of Michael Brown. And I asked about Officer Wilson's disposition. The friend would only say, quote, "he's struggle, but he is safe."
And that's what we know about him in bits and pieces. We're getting more information, inquiring with friends and possible relatives who we can find in that area about Officer Wilson and his disposition right now. But we do know 28 years old, a six year police officer. No disciplinary record, Don. That's an important thing to remember about him that we've learned since Friday, that he is considered a very good officer by the Ferguson Police Department up to this incident and he is now staying at a secure location, Don.
LEMON: What is the process for him returning to active duty? Maybe we're getting, you know, a little bit ahead of ourselves. I don't even know if that's even in the works yet. But do you know anything about that process, Brian?
TODD: You know, we've been asking about that, Don, and I've been calling the Ferguson Police and the Ferguson mayor's office to ask about that. We know he's suspended for the moment and he is being, of course, investigated by the local authorities. But as for the process for reinstating him, we are not quite sure about that and we've got calls in to see, you know, look, where are we in this? Is he going to be working part time? Has he got some kind of other assignment right now? There were indications, Don, I think on Friday that he might have some kind of other assignment, at least temporarily. But, again, we're trying to get more information about that and hope to have some more of that later.
LEMON: All right, Brian Todd, thank you very much.
When we come right back, we're going to continue our reporting live here from Ferguson, Missouri. Several developments here. One group calling for a nighttime moratorium on protests. Also, results of a second autopsy in, as well as the National Guard will be on the scene here soon in Ferguson. We're back in just moments here on CNN.