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News Details from Michael Brown Autopsy; Fierce Battle to Retake Mosul Dam; Missouri Governor Calls in National Guard; Possible Deal on Gaza Border Easing; Ferguson Protest Recalls 1965 Los Angeles Riots
Aired August 18, 2014 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. We're at the center where all those protesters have been gathering. Before I go on, I want to say, I'm Don Lemon, live in Missouri. I want to welcome viewers from here in the United States and around the world.
If you look around, this place is probably the quietest it has been in days. That's because police officers came in shortly before this broadcast and they asked everyone, nonessential media, if you didn't have a live show, to leave and go to the staging area, which is about a quarter mile down the road. They're removing everyone from here. Again, this is not confirmed, but this is what we're hearing, that this may possibly be a staging location for the National Guard. Again, not confirmed.
It is interesting they're asking everyone to leave this location for the first time ever. Earlier in the day, they had asked people to -- they could continue to protest as long as they did it peacefully. They said they could not congregate here. It could just be another way of them tamping down some of the anger and some of the violent protests going on earlier. Of course, as you know. some of our reporters and producers were caught in the mayhem last night -- I was one of them -- with police officers and with some violent protesters as that curfew from midnight until 5:00 a.m. went into play.
In the meantime, the lawyers for Michael Brown's family say the independent autopsy shows no evidence he was involved in a struggle. Police said Brown reached into Officer Wilson's car in a struggle over the officer's gun. The attorneys held a press conference today where they discussed the autopsy results. The lawyer, Daryl Parks, raised questions about the gunshot to the top of Brown's head. And the findings could add to the already volatile situation in the St. Louis suburb.
My colleague, George Howell, is here in Ferguson. He's been witnessing all of it with me.
George, are you hearing any reaction to the autopsy results, to the people you are speaking to?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, people are talking about it. How it plays out later today is quite honestly anybody's guess. A lot of things are happening. As you mentioned, people are being moved, people have been told to leave the location there at that quick trip where you are presently. That was a big deal because if you remember over the last several days, don, that has been the place where people have come together during the day to have peaceful protests. Now it is certainly a change of policy. Remember all this under the direction of Captain Johnson, who apparently is instructing people to leave that location.
As far as the autopsy is concerned, it does really open up a lot of questions. Because now it shows that the bullets going into the victim's body, there are many different scenarios as to how that could have happened. A lot of people have questions about that.
And the other question is how does the National Guard fit into this puzzle. How do they work with state troopers? Do they bring military equipment in? You'll remember that the police had been criticized for having what seems to be a police state, a military presence. How does it play out when the National Guard comes in? We'll have to wait and see -- Don?
LEMON: Absolutely, George, because we -- the only thing we have heard is that the National Guard is coming in. We don't know -- we're not exactly sure what -- the entire role will be. Obviously will be to keep order. Who will be in charge? Whether it will be a shared responsibility. So far, we've not gotten any of those answers. You're at that staging area. Are you hearing anything about that? Or about the possibility of a briefing any time soon?
HOWELL: No. You know, we have some calls in to the National Guard to try to get some answers for that. So we're working on trying to get some understanding of how this will play out. But, you know, I want to set the context here. We're talking about where you are. Really, starting where you are, for about one mile, down West Florescent Road (ph), that's ground zero of the situation. You talk about these three different groups. I saw it the first night that it happened. These three groups, people who come together to protest peacefully. That's the majority, it seems. Then it's a smaller number of people. Some people who come in really to cause problems. Looting, also throwing projectiles back at police. That's when police said they had to response. Again, people here say that response has been too heavy handed -- Don?
LEMON: All right, our George Howell reporting.
George, we'll see you soon on CNN. Thank you very much.
Up next, other news for you. We're going to talk about the fight outside of America. A fierce battle has been raging to retake the Mosul Dam from ISIS fighters. The latest on who is winning when we go live to Iraq.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. Other news outside of Ferguson, an intense battle rages.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a missile strike.
COREN: I have been out at the site overlooking Mosul Dam most of the day. I'm seeing officials of the Kurdish regional government, that they have managed to capture, recapture, Mosul Dam. This is a huge win for the Peshmerga forces, the Kurdish forces, who have been battling the ISIS militants for weeks now. Obviously, ISIS took the Mosul Dam earlier this month, which is the largest hydroelectric dam in the country providing power to most of the country, Mosul and Baghdad. It was also considered a real threat that ISIS could potentially sabotage this dam, open the floodgates or blow it up, which would be absolutely catastrophic. But the Peshmerga forces have been pushing for days now. We were there, embedded with them, as they advanced. Obviously, lots of explosions. Lots of heavy weaponry used against them. They've really managed to achieve this huge victory. 15 airstrikes alone today to recapture Mosul Dam -- Don?
LEMON: All right, Anna Coren reporting from Dohok (ph), Iraq. We apologize for the little glitch. That can happen sometimes.
Still ahead, the threat of continued unrest has Missouri's governor calling in the National Guard. What will it take to restore calm to Ferguson? We'll tackle that next.
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PIAGET CRENSHAW, WITNESS: All initially happened, and I knew this was not right. I knew the police shouldn't have even been chasing this young boy and firing at the same time. And the fact that he got shot in his face, it was something that clicked in me like, no, somebody else needs to see this. This isn't right, I got to record.
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LEMON: That was eyewitness, Piaget Crenshaw, speaking on CNN this morning, on "New Day," explaining why they decided to take a video as Michael Brown lay mortally wounded in the street.
I want to bring in Reverend Alvin Herring.
Earlier, we heard from the national president of the Black Lawyers for Justice. He called for a five-day stop on all public protests after dark. In your opinion, though, will this community heed this request? Or are emotions too high that people feel compelled to company out again tonight?
REV. ALVIN HERRING, MINISTER: I thing emotions are extraordinarily high. The sentiment on the street, as we understand it, as we've been working with young people for the last few days, people are still determined to seek justice. When we talk to young people today, many of them were indicating they were waiting for a righteous investigation and an indictment of the officer, and they are insistent about that. I think what we've seen over the last few days are young people, adults, even elderly persons using their constitutional rights to push for a righteous intervention by law enforcement in this case. And I think that the provocation by the police last evening and the threatening intense environment they set up certainly didn't help things at all.
LEMON: Governor Jay Nixon calling in the National Guard. Do you think the National Guard will help restore order or inflame passions more, Reverend?
HERRING: That's hard to call. I think what will restore order is if justice was done in this case. When you talk to the rank-and-file person -- and I certainly don't speak for them -- these beautiful young people and their parents can speak for themselves. But consistently, they're saying they will stay at this until justice is done.
LEMON: You've been out with the protesters. And I think you've been marching with them. I know you've been out mingling with them and talking with them. What's your take on how police have responded?
HERRING: I think the sentiment on the part of the protesters, on the part of just even regular citizens who live in Ferguson, is the police have been heavy handed, that peaceful protesters have been met with a militarized police force that used tactics that have escalated and created a great deal of tension. I think people should not forget these are young people. These are young people who have been traumatized because one of their ranks was slaughtered in the street. Some of them saw that. They certainly saw Michael Brown's body laying in that street for hours. And until there's an effort on the part of the government officials here and the part of law enforcement to actually understand that, unrest, continuing unrest is likely.
LEMON: But I'm sure -- we have to run, Reverend. I'm sure you're not condoning the violence, right, and people looting or wreaking haven on the community?
HERRING: No, in fact, I would want to stand in witness of these beautiful young people who have been organizing themselves, who have been protesting nonviolently. They do not want violence. They do not approve of violence. They're simply saying, we have been hurt, we have been wounded, is anyone listening. That's the question they're posing to America right now. Is anyone listening to the pleas, to the cries, of these young children who are predominantly African-American? They're asking, are we citizens, too? Are we human beings, too? Will anyone hear us? If they hear us, will anyone do something? That thing they're asking, that thing that they're asking, they're asking for justice. These are beautiful people, beautiful peaceful young people. And we're here to support and encourage them.
LEMON: Thank you very much, Reverend Alvin Herring. Also hearing from my producers -- I don't have confirmation of this --
but I'm hearing, according to the governor, there will nobody curfew tonight. Of course, we know that curfew, usually from midnight to 5:00 a.m. But gain, we're hearing from Governor Nixon saying no curfew tonight on Monday night here in Ferguson, Missouri. I've just getting the information here again. There will nobody curfew tonight in Ferguson, Missouri, according to a statement from Governor Nixon. Governor Nixon also outlined that the Missouri National Guard will be doing -- what the Missouri National Guard will be doing to assist in helping to restore the peace and order here in Ferguson.
We will update you on all of this on the other side of the break. Don't go anywhere.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LEMON: Breaking news now crossing the CNN news desk. A deal may have been reached on Gaza border restrictions along with an extension of the truce. A deal may have been reached along with an extension of the truce. Israel's Channel 10 quoting Palestinian sources saying a deal is being initiated in Cairo on the easing of Gaza border restrictions on enlarging of the fishing zone off the Gaza coast and the extension of the cease-fire. Bigger issues, including demilitarization, the building of a seaport, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers will be discussed at fresh talks in a month's time. Make sure you stay with CNN for the very latest on the easing of restrictions at the Gaza border.
In the meantime, back here in America, our attention has been focused this week on the racial protests in Ferguson, Missouri, violent and chaotic at times, but we have seen much worse in this country. This is a "New York Times" front page, August 14th, 1965: "Race Riots Raging in Los Angeles." Racial Tensions Erupting Across the Country." Racial problems then and now a part of our "American Journey."
UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: Six days of rioting in a Negro section of Los Angeles left behind scenes war-torn cities. More than 100 square blocks decimated by fire and looters. Nearly 3,000 were arrested. And authorities had to open abandoned jails to house those netted by the police. It took the appearance of 14,000 troops to bring an end to what both Negro and white leaders called insurrection by hoodlums.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATS: Pillage, looting, murder and arson have nothing to do with civil rights. They are criminal conduct. Your president calls upon all of our people in all of our cities to join in a determined program to maintain law and order.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Return to your vehicles. Return to your homes.
UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: The Department of Justice is consulting with local authorities about ways they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of peaceful protest and while avoiding unnecessary escalation.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Disperse immediately. This is no longer a peaceful protest when you try to injure people.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests. Or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.
OBAMA: Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority.
LEMON: Martin Luther King III was here in Ferguson yesterday and joins me from Atlanta.
Thank you, sir, for joining us.
You spoke a couple times about the need for change among police departments and not just here in Ferguson. What do you think needs to change?
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST & SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: Well, you know, I think that there are a number of dramatic things that can happen. One of the things that the community said to me was we would like for the prosecuting attorney to recuse themselves, because he has shown some biasness, as it relates to -- to me, that's a significant act. Who knows if he may do that? But certainly, that is something the community is requesting. And, in fact, over 20,000 signatures have been already signed up to do that.
The second thing -- one of the things I said, we see Captain Johnson doing what you call community policing. That is something that needs to be immediately put in place, or as soon as possible.
The other things I've said are, human relations training, diversity and sensitivity. And then finally --
KING: -- over a longer period of time, training and jobs. That probably could begin to subside some things. But those are long-term issues.
LEMON: You talked about what police need to do with, you know, the leaders need to do. What does the community need to do?
KING: Well, the community, I believe, has already demonstrated it is doing constructive things. Young people came out the other night and tried to stop some of the looting. It appears there's a very, very small element of people who are engaged in this -- the looting. I'm not sure it is known who those individuals are. But the reality is, I think the community -- you know, you shouldn't let two or three small things spoil the whole bunch.
And I think the way it is portrayed, you know, you've got a lot of volatility. I think maybe some of what we are hearing might help. For example, I heard you announce there may not be a curfew tonight. That might begin to help the situation, although the National Guard will be there. But the community, until the community feels some sense of a victory, unfortunately, these kinds of things could continue to crop up.
LEMON: And Martin Luther King III, you're calling for an independent prosecutor. Can you confirm that for us?
KING: The community is. I'm not calling for anything. Obviously, you know, I don't live in that community so I can't call for that. What I can say, community leaders have said we would like to have an independent prosecutor, because the current prosecutor displayed biasness.
LEMON: All right. Martin King III, thank you. I appreciate you joining me here on CNN.
KING: Thank you.
LEMON: I want to make sure you join us tonight -- you're very welcome -- tonight, between 10:00 and midnight eastern time, a special edition of CNN tonight. And also tomorrow night at 10:00, CNN, "Race in America," a special town hall. The subject is going to be the one gripping Ferguson and America, and that's race. How can we make sure what's happening here doesn't go on across the country? "Race in America," CNN tonight, town hall event. Join us tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern and tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern, as well.
That is it for me.
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