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Radio Caller Says Brown Rushed Officer; Obama Again Calling For Calm In Ferguson; Restoring Order In Ferguson; Looking For Answers; Holder Heads To Ferguson Tomorrow; Holder Heads to Ferguson; Private Autopsy of Michael Brown Discussed
Aired August 19, 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. I'm Don Lemon reporting live from Ferguson, Missouri. Wolf Blitzer is off today. Of course, we'd like to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
We've got a lot to cover today when it comes to Ferguson. City leaders are calling for nighttime quiet and reconciliation. They're asking people to stay at home at night and promising to take steps toward healing division and addressing community concerns.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the fatal police shooting that led to the unrest is moving forward today. And we are learning more about the police officer's version of what happened the day he shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
Let's get you up to speed now on everything. The highway patrol captain in charge of security is also urging people to protest during the day, not at night. Peaceful demonstrations descended into chaos again last night. Police say two people were shot by other civilians, 31 people were arrested. And attorney general, Eric Holder, expected here tomorrow to assess the situation. He'll check on the progress of the Justice Department investigation into the shooting.
Also, a local grand jury could begin hearing evidence in this case as early as tomorrow. And a caller to a St. Louis radio station is providing new details officer Darren Wilson's version of his encounter with Michael Brown. Here is what that caller, who only identified herself as Josie, told KFTA. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSIE: Michael takes off with his friend. They get to be about 35 feet away. And, you know, Darren's first protocol is to pursue. So, he stands up and yells, police. Michael and his friend turn around and Michael starts taunting him. Oh, what are you going to do about it? You know, you're not going to shoot me. And then, he said all a sudden, he just started to bum rush him. He just started coming at him full speed and he just started shooting. And he just kept coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All of that contradicting the account of other witnesses who say that Brown was trying to surrender.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
When they were running, they weren't even reaching for anything. It just seems like he was running for his life. And just got shot and turned around, still didn't try to reach for anything. He put his hands into the air, being compliant and he still got shot down like a dog.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: President Barack Obama again calling for calm in Ferguson. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call, once again, for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let's seek to heal, rather than to wound each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And since we have just heard from the president, let's bring in our White House Correspondent, our Senior White House Correspondent, as a matter of fact, Mr. Jim Acosta. Jim, you know, some are calling for more outreach from the president. Are there any plans for him to come here to Ferguson?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No plans, at the moment, Don. I mean, the president is being cautious about this. You heard the measured tones he was using yesterday. I talked to some senior White House officials about this idea earlier this morning. And they said a couple of things, Don. One is that there are no plans for the president to go to Ferguson but that that is not off the table, that could happen in the future but, obviously, they want to wait for things to quiet down. They are concerned about a presidential visit swallowing up law enforcement resources to provide security for the president, if he were to come into Ferguson. That is the case wherever he goes. We were just up in Martha's Vineyard. And just when the president goes out to dinner, local police have to cordon off the area to make sure that the president is safe. So, there is that.
The other part of this, Don, and you've heard some calls for the president to give some sort of big speech on racial issues. You know, I talked to another senior White House official about that and they really feel like that could be, quote, "pouring gasoline on a fire" at this point. I think what they're hoping for is that with the visit of the attorney general, Eric Holder, to Ferguson that that will send the message that the federal government is keeping an eye on what's happening in Ferguson, that there will be a civil rights investigation.
And they're also pointing to, quite frankly, Don, the visit by Ronald David who is the Justice Department official who leads the federal government's cops' program, computer oriented policing program. They think a big part of the problem in Ferguson, Don, is policing. They're not sure that the policing techniques that are being used on the ground in Ferguson will get the job done. So, Ronald Davis is going in today, on behalf of the federal government, to advise those local law enforcement organizations on how, perhaps, they might be able to calm things down, Don.
LEMON: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you very much. We're going to pick up on that theme because we're getting new information about the federal autopsy conducted on Michael Brown. Our Justice Reporter Evan Perez joins now from Washington with details on that. Evan, we've learned some new details. What do you know?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Right, Don. We know that the federal examiner has finished the autopsy of Michael Brown's body. We know that they have finished it, but they are not going to release the results of that autopsy just yet. They are also not even releasing it to the -- to the family members. They say that the federal government wants to finish the FBI investigation into the civil rights investigation that's being done here. And it's not until then before we'll know the final results of that, Don.
LEMON: So, the prosecuting attorney, today, responded to calls that he recuse himself from this case. Why do some people want him to step aside and what is his office saying about it? Is he -- is he saying anything about it?
PEREZ: Well, yes, he is. I mean, there is been -- there's been some criticism locally, first of all, because he made some criticisms himself of the governor when he replaced the St. Louis police from being in charge of security there and brought in the state police to handle security. And so he's been very vocal about that. And also, very frankly, he has his own personal history. He was -- he was a child when his own father, a police officer for the St. Police -- St. Louis Police Department was killed as he was trying to carry out an arrest. And so, there's been some criticism that, perhaps, he cannot be impartial. Now, we've heard from Mr. McCullough -- rather McCullough's office in response to that criticism and here is what they had to say. Mr. McCullough has been elected prosecutor in St. Louis County since 1991. He's been re-elected every four years by an overwhelming majority of St. Louis County. The people have faith in Mr. McCullough and he'll continue to do his duties.
Don, this is not going to quiet this down, obviously. I should add that the federal government believes that the investigation being done by the County is very fair and they don't -- they don't see any reason to doubt that that is going to be done properly, Don.
LEMON: All right, thank you very much. Evan Perez, our justice correspondent in Washington.
Meantime, back here in Ferguson, Missouri, this Ferguson, Missouri is represented in the State Senate by Democrat Maria Chappelle-Nadal. She joins me now. You've really had some harsh words to say about Governor Nixon and his handling of this crisis. What are your thoughts today after another night of unrest?
MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL (D), MISSOURI STATE SENATE: Well, obviously, there is not a master plan that has been put in place and there is complete unrest. What we are dealing with, right now, are two groups of people. One, protesters who are peacefully demonstrating, expressing their first amendment rights. And then, we have a smaller group of people who've been infiltrating themselves in the crowds and creating all of this unrest. I've been getting reports from my constituents that there are anarchists who are among the crowds who are inciting the crowds to attack police officers. And many of the reports that I've been getting today is that these folks are from Miami, they're from Chicago, they're from California.
LEMON: I was going to ask you, who are they? Why are they coming in here?
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Well, I'm hearing some of them are the new Black Panthers, perhaps from California. There's some -- I think there are some folks who are from the south, Chicago, Miami. And so, I have had a report today, just five minutes ago, in fact, of one of the peaceful protesters who has been recording who these people are. If we have to do arrests, citizen arrests, we will do that because the message is these people are taking away from Michael Brown and from what we are trying to establish here in the community.
LEMON: But is it disingenuous to say everyone who is creating havoc on the street? I don't mean the people marching with signs and yelling. I mean the people who are breaking windows, throwing Molotov cocktails. Would it be disingenuous to say that they are from all out of -- out of the area?
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: I don't think it would be an inaccurate statement to say that. What I'm saying is that the reports that I'm getting, and I get them frequently because I'm trying to make sure I know everything that's going on, a good bunch of the people who don't have the true interest at heart, when it comes to getting justice, they are a part of the looting. They are a part of just attacking police officers and such.
LEMON: And what do you say to that?
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Well, it's unfortunate and we don't want them here. We want them to go away because this is about the justice and freedom of people who live here.
LEMON: And every -- and every time you're on and anyone -- a member of the community is on, what do you -- asking this question, what do you expect to happen tonight? I asked you that yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Well, I will tell you from the peaceful protester perspective, we're going to keep on marching. What we're looking for --
LEMON: Even though the city has called for a moratorium on nighttime marching, you're going to continue? CHAPPELLE-NADAL: I think so. It's a first amendment right issue.
And, I mean, we're still peaceful. We want to identify who these outsiders are. They're not welcome to Missouri, period. And we're going to continue on. And I have to tell you, this community has been injured so many times before the death of Michael Brown. And now, with what St. Louis County police officers did with the tear gassing. And so, the demonstrations are going to continue until there's an arrest, until this officer is on leave without pay.
LEMON: OK. We've got to run. Thank you. Maria Chappelle-Nadal. We appreciate it so much. The state senator here in Ferguson, represents Ferguson. We appreciate it.
In the meantime, Michael Brown's parents are reacting to the results of the private autopsy. We learned details on that yesterday. Did they get the answers they were looking for? One of the men who performed it will join me live in just moments. But up next, the police response in Ferguson, have they gone too far
with a heavy hand and heavy machinery? I'm going to ask the former FBI and CIA director, William Webster, coming up.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone, live in Ferguson, Missouri. It was a restless night in Ferguson with protesters squaring off with police. Those officers, some wearing body armor, fired tear gas into -- in the crowds to keep them in line. Attorney general, Eric Holder, will be here tomorrow to check in on the investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown. So, joining me now from Washington to talk about that is Judge William Webster. He's a former director of the CIA and FBI. So, judge, what is it that attorney general, Eric Holder, is looking for when they comes here to Ferguson?
WILLIAM WEBSTER, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: Well, that remains to be seen. I think he wants to be sure that all aggressive steps are taken to protest the civil rights of American citizens and also to be sure that police officers who have borne (ph) responsibilities are treated with respect and that they are properly trained and perform as they were supposed to.
LEMON: Well, let's talk about that independent prosecutor. People are -- many people are calling for an independent prosecutor here. They say that Bob McCulloch can't be trusted in this case because of his familial ties to police. How would that - how would the decision to have him removed, how would that go about?
WEBSTER: Well, I'm not certain about the procedures that you would follow for that type of purpose. If it's in order, the best way would be to have some understanding by consent. But so far as I know, I have not heard a case made for taking the prosecutor out of his sworn duties and his responsibilities. I think that's a matter for a conversation and discussion. We want -- whatever procedures are followed, we want it to enjoy the confidence of the citizens of Ferguson and the rest of the country.
LEMON: Judge, you investigated the police response during the L.A. riots. How does this compare? Does it compare?
WEBSTER: Well, I brought along my book, which I -- you may or may not be able to see, but this is the report that we did in 1992. It was a significantly larger event. Four police officers were acquitted of beating Rodney King, whose name has been immortalized for what it stands for today, which precipitated a riot that lasted a -- let's call it a civil disorder, which lasted for six days.
We were asked to do a study by the city, and we did, with over 100 volunteers, to produce this report. Basic conclusions may not be too far off of what we find with respect to the problem in Ferguson. And that is, the absence of clear emergency preparations and responses and a failure to work more with community oriented policing. That is to say such as we saw Captain Johnson doing a few days ago and working with the people who are there to make lawful protests and keep it from becoming unlawful.
LEMON: Right. Judge William Webster, we appreciate you coming on CNN. We'll have you back. Thank you, sir.
WEBSTER: Thank you.
LEMON: And still ahead here on CNN, who is to blame for the ongoing unrest each night here in Ferguson, Missouri? The Reverend Alvin Herring (ph) will join us with his take on the situation.
But up next, I'm about to be joined by one of the men who completed the private autopsy on Michael Brown. What more does he need from officials to get an accurate picture of exactly what happened?
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LEMON: The breaking news here on CNN is coming from Texas. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who was indicted by a grand jury on two felony counts on Friday, will turn himself in to be booked this afternoon. Perry is accused of threatening to veto funding unless a county district attorney stepped down. His attorney tells CNN that he will go to the Travis County Courthouse to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken.
Again, Texas Governor Rick Perry will turn himself in on that conspiracy charge to the Travis County Courthouse today where he will be fingerprinted and booked. Stay with CNN throughout the day for news on this breaking story.
Back now here in Ferguson. Within just the last few hours, we learned that the third autopsy on Michael Brown has been completed. The Department of Justice says it won't release any details from the report until the federal civil rights investigation is done. And last night's chaos here in Ferguson came just hours after we heard the results of the private autopsy. His parents reacted to them this morning on NBC's "Today" show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATT LAUER, NBC' "TODAY' SHOW: I want to ask you about autopsy that was conducted on behalf of your family by Dr. Baden. And I don't want to go into great detail, but we do know he was shot six times. Did you learn what you think you needed to know from that autopsy that gives you a clearer picture of what happened to your son that night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
LAUER: What more do you need to know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? What was the cause for that -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excessive force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excessive force, you know? (INAUDIBLE) --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An answer there (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: At least six shots, but nothing that necessarily backs one version of events over another. I want to bring in now Shawn Parcells, a forensic pathologist who worked with Dr. Michael Baden on the private autopsy.
Shawn, you are obviously looking at the evidence presented to you. What impact do you think it will make that your autopsy was the second one performed on Michael? Does that change how accurate it can be and how it will be perceived?
SHAWN PARCELLS, ASSISTED ON MICHAEL BROWN PRIVATE AUTOPSY: As - I'm sorry, repeat that question again. I didn't quite hear you. I apologize.
LEMON: That your autopsy is the second one. It's the one that is performed within the middle. Your details may be different than the first one and the second one - I mean the third one. The third one may contradict something that you have. How accurate -- does that have any bearing on the accuracy of your autopsy, that it comes in the middle, that it's the second one?
PARCELLS: Sure. Let me first say, and I'll reiterate what Dr. Baden said, is that Mary Case (ph) is a well-respected medical examiner. She runs a good office. And that Dr. Baden and I both feel that she is - that her autopsy or her office's autopsy is not really going to differ much from ours. We really believe that. There might be a few discrepancies and there may be none. That's why it's very critical that we get access to the first autopsy to compare their results with ours and have an understanding of what they were seeing versus what we were seeing.
As far as the third autopsy - LEMON: And -
PARCELLS: I would just say on the third autopsy, same thing, it would be nice to be able to review their results and compare theirs with ours. And that's really where you're going to see any differences, if any actually exist.
LEMON: But they're saying they're not going to share anything until there is a grand jury and that, you know, that it is absolutely called for. What exactly do you need, though, to build a complete picture of what happened here?
PARCELLS: The most critical -- two critical pieces of information that we need would be the first autopsy results, the autopsy report, the toxicology report, the clothing. We really need to be able to examine the clothing that Michael Brown had on the day that this incident occurred. And then we also need to really have a good, accurate idea of what has occurred at the shooting scene.
PARCELLS: And that's literally a reconstruction of the scene itself. And that takes into witness accounts, examination, forensic examination of the crime scene, including the car and the officer's statement. And that's when you can really start piecing together what has occurred.
LEMON: All right. Shawn Parcells, thank you very much. We appreciate you coming on to CNN.
Coming up next, a volatile night in Ferguson as protester goes toe-to- toe with heavily armed police. We're going to show you how it unfolded right after this break.