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A 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits California; Obama Considers Hitting ISIS in Syria; The Other Darren Wilson

Aired August 24, 2014 - 07:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All righty. It's 7:00. We're just barreling through the morning here with you and so grateful for your company.

I'm Christi Paul at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Missing my cohort Victor Blackwell, but he's doing some important work in Ferguson, Missouri.

Good morning, my friend.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi.

I'm Victor Blackwell, as Christi said. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY. We'll have the latest on the Michael Brown shooting and the protests in a moment, and really, one of the remarkable ironies of what's happened over the last couple of weeks.

PAUL: Yes, yes. He's going to talk about that with a man who we need to get perspective from for certain.

We are --

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: -- hearing more about the 6.0 earthquake that woke up residents in northern California this morning. Take a look at the map that we made for you here, so you can see its exact location. The epicenter was 6 miles south of Napa and 51 miles from Sacramento. Now, luckily, we're not hearing reports of injuries, not hearing reports yet of damage. But apparently, it was pretty frightening for some people.

Jim Daniels on my -- this wasn't on my Facebook, this was my Twitter page -- wrote that he saw -- it lasted longer than he thought it would. He says, I live 10 miles from San Francisco, I'm used to quakes but when they last as long as this one, you get scared and you get out of the house.

So, we're still waiting as it just happened here and we're going to get new some information. But there is a live picture for you from San Fran. It looks beautiful. It looks peaceful at the moment. But apparently, this one did definitely rattle some nerves. So, we'll get some more information and get it to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we need to talk about President Obama who is weighing

his next step in Syria, as ISIS militants threaten yet another town right across the border in Iraq. The United Nations said it fears that militants will slaughter thousand who live in Amerli. I want to show you the map. Nearly three dozen villages surrounding Amerli are already under ISIS control, this is a city or a village of about 17,000 people and the U.N. says the situation there is unspeakable.

President Obama meanwhile returns to Washington from Martha's Vineyard later today. And atop the agenda whether to send warplanes to Syria and take the fight against ISIS directly there after they killed American journalist James Foley -- ISIS, of course.

CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski is joining us now from Martha's Vineyard.

Also joining us, Douglas Ollivant from Washington, he is the director for Iraq at the National Security Council during both the Bush and the Obama administrations.

Michelle, I want to start with you and thank you both for being with us, by the way.

But, Michelle, has the president tipped his hand in any way as to whether he is going to order airstrikes inside Syria or what it will take for him to do so?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All right. Well, we heard the president sort of lay out an argument for why this is such a threat, why it's a bigger threat than it was, say, six months ago, talking about having to excise this cancer before it spreads. Also telling the Syrian people that the U.S. stands with them.

So, he sort of laid out how large this threat was. Also careful to define ISIS as a threat to Muslims as well, both Sunni and Shia Muslims.

So, that almost laid the groundwork for what we think we will see happen here. It's from others within the administration, especially from the Department of Defense over the last few days, that it seems like from what we're hearing and from the way it is said, that this is likely to happen with air strikes in Syria, the question is when and under what legal justification they will do so.

And we heard from other members of the president's administration a little more detail on that. So, I feel like the open way that they are able to talk about it now -- I mean, it's clearly on the table, it is openly discussed what would have to happen has been talked about, the different options. The president is not at this point saying that he has made that decision, Christi.

PAUL: Well, Douglas, I want to move to you now, because the Pentagon is saying limited airstrikes are sufficient. Do you believe that to be the case?

DOUGLAS OLLIVANT, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: I think limited air strikes are sufficient for what the president is trying to do now, which is just prevent the spread of ISIS. And protect some of these small humanitarian crisis like we saw in Sinjar, although as you pointed out we now have the situation at Amerli with a different ethnic group that has been resisting the push from is, and most people expect things to go very hard for those people should is break through. So, that's a situation we'll need to monitor.

But looking at Syria, the problem simply hasn't gotten any better. It's a stubborn fact that if you want to take on ISIS, as Chairman Dempsey has said, you have to engage it on both sides in Iraq and Syria.

But as Michelle alluded to, the legalities in Syria are much more complicated. We can bomb in Iraq because the Iraqis invited us. That's not the case in Syria. Nor has the Syrian civil war gotten simpler in the last two or three weeks.

PAUL: Yes, good point.

Michelle, what's the likelihood Congress would back airstrikes in Syria?

KOSINSKI: At this point, it seems very likely. I mean, the murder on tape of James Foley, the fact that other Americans are hostages in Syria, politically also it seems like it's a foregone conclusion that Congress would find this necessary. And we've been hearing from some top Democrats as well agreeing that the justification seems to be there at this point, likely for something limited.

And again, the way the president has laid it out as well as others in the administration, that first and foremost it's protecting American interests, then humanitarian needs in this region, knowing that Americans are held hostage and their lives hang in the balance in Syria seems like a pretty good groundwork for gaining support and starting that legal justification for doing something in Syria.

Remember, the justification was there for Americans to go in and try and rescue these hostages. That's different from air strikes but going into another country to try to save those lives, that was justified. This would be a next step if there is no improvement, knowing that the hostages are still there in fact. It really plays on the heart strings of Americans and others around the world.

PAUL: Yes, Douglas, Bob Maginnis said earlier today, he does believe that in some capacity, there will have to be some sort of boots on the ground to conquer ISIS. Do you believe that to be true as well?

OLLIVANT: I think it's too early to say that. Not necessarily. It is still possible, I think, for us to put together a coalition of the willing of local partners, not just the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga. But we've seen the Iranians in Iraq, and helping, we've seen some other Kurdish groups, the PKK coming out of Turkey. But that's complicated, they are a designated terrorist group but they were very instrumental in helping break the siege at Sinjar and helping the Yazidis. PAUL: But, Doug, let me ask you a question. I'm sorry, I just want

to ask you the question. Who are the U.S. allies in this? When you talk about a coalition, I know we have what needs to be a coalition in Iraq itself. But in terms of other countries, in terms of the U.K. or anybody in Europe or other Arab nations, who are the allies in this fight?

OLLIVANT: Well, I think we're seeing in the fight against ISIS, a realignment. We're finding ourselves very reluctantly on the same side with the Iranians, in this very, very limited sense of wanting to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. I think we'll see help from the other allies in terms of air power, the British are always with us, I suspect the French will come along.

But I don't think it's in anyone's interest right now to put U.S. or other European boots on the ground. There's no appetite for that in U.S. politics and I think there's still no appetite for that in Iraqi politics.

PAUL: All righty. Michelle Kosinski and Douglas Ollivant, appreciate both of you so much. Thank you for being here.

OLLIVANT: Thank you.

PAUL: We want to take you back live to Ferguson, Missouri, in a couple minutes.

The name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown has become a household name in some regards.

We're meeting the other Darren Wilson who has been threatened online. And he also has a lot to do with police departments.

Also, Twitter is lighting up this morning, look at the pictures. Thank you for sending them of the earthquake in California, we'll share more, tell you what's going on in a moment.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back.

After more than two weeks of violent protests, sometimes violent protests, mostly peaceful though, some looting, shooting military style policing in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, the community is now preparing to say good-bye to Michael Brown. He's the unarmed teenager shot and killed by a police officer back on August 9th. His funeral will be held tomorrow at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. Thousands of people from the local community, across the country, are expected to attend. It will be a closed casket service.

Among the attendees, three White House officials, including one who attended high school with Brown's mother. The Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.

Now, as Brown is being laid to rest, supporters of Darren Wilson, the officer who killed him are coming forward to defend him. They say they've even received death threats, and now on both sides of issue, there has been an outpouring of support from complete strangers, donation page set up to support the Brown family has raised more than $200,000. The supporters of Officer Wilson have raised more than $340,000.

Here in Ferguson, I was out with the protesters last night to get a feel for what was happening. It was a relatively quiet night. Some tense moments you see Captain Ron Johnson, he ordered police to arrest a rowdy protester who says he was from Indiana. He feared that person's behavior would start from chaos and insight violence that we've seen over the past few weeks. Six people in all were arrested overnight.

Now, the officer who killed Michael Brown, he has become a household name now. But it's complicated matters for another man named Darren Wilson, who also happens to be a police officer. He joins me now.

Officer Wilson, is as you can see African-American here. He has been in law enforcement for 18 year, works for the police force in St. Louis, he is also president of the Ethical Society of police.

It's good to have you with us this morning.


BLACKWELL: First, when that name was announced, what had did that mean for you? What did it mean for your family?

WILSON: It was a concern. Definitely a lot of calls came in. The family was concerned about the entire family's safety, only because we know that there's a lot of tension.

BLACKWELL: You had to leave your house for a period.

WILSON: I did. We elected to leave for a while.

BLACKWELL: Things have calmed down now?


BLACKWELL: So, from what you know now, the big question, what you know now and there are lots of facts that have to be gathered, can you make a decision or a judgment that the other Officer Wilson, did he make -- was it a legitimate use of deadly force?

WILSON: I mean, that's a question that right now no one know. The police department and now the FBI, whoever it is investigating it, has to let that process carry out. What we're more so interested in, though, is the after action to the incident. And that is that any police department or any elected official, city official, government official, has a responsibility to the community, so in law enforcement we understand that things are going to happen. That could be anything from issuing a ticket, making an arrest or even using a degree of force.


WILSON: However, oftentimes when something in law enforcement has happened, members of the community have questions. What you cannot do is disregard that community. So, it appears as if a lot of the tension has been a result of the disregard, the lack of information that the community got following that and they wanted to ensure, they wanted to be reassured that a proper and thorough investigation would ensue or follow, and they just were not getting that.

So, from there is where you see a lot of the protesting and then, of course, the unfortunate incidents of the rioting and other acts of violence.

BLACKWELL: The question now is can this be reconciled? Do you think there can be reconciliation between the Ferguson community and the Ferguson Police Department?

WILSON: It can be. It will be a process. We're not sure exactly how long that process will be. The Ethical Society of Police has been in touch with some of the government agencies and other organizations to see what we can do to alleviate some of those tensions and ensure that there will be a balance within that -- not only Ferguson Police Department but police departments across the country.

That being said, that's not going to be an overnight process, but a couple things we're hopeful for, if the community knows that they have some ambassadors, they have some supporters on their side from the official side that they will begin to see that things are developing in a positive aspect, progressively, that will balance the police department in this local community and also throughout the region.

BLACKWELL: You know, you talk about balance. I mean, how does it happen? I mean, you've got 67 percent black community. You've got three of 53 officers are members of this force who are black. How does that happen and how does it change? How do you change it?

WILSON: That's a good question. The short answer is when you look at it is discrimination. It's what we alluded to has to be discrimination, because there's been many instances when the Ethical Society of Police alone, in what I'm learning now is that police departments across the country, I recently attended the National Black Police Association conference, have been conducting lots of workshops, we have a lot of interested members of the community, of society, which are black (ph), with college degrees, a strong interest in law enforcement, but for whatever reason they are not getting hired at the rate that white interested citizens are getting hired at.

We understand that there is certain criteria that must be met or qualifications that you have to have in order to be a police officer. But with that being said, there's also -- so that's an objective component. You also have many subjective components. It appears as if a lot of the subjective components is disqualifying a lot of the qualified black applicants.

BLACKWELL: All right. Well, Sergeant Darren Wilson, you know, having covered this story for two weeks now, I can only imagine the response when this was announced and you're having that name and having to move your family. We're glad everything worked out with you. I thank you for your perspective this morning.

WILSON: Thanks for having me. And thanks for your support.

BLACKWELL: Certainly. Christi, back to you.

PAUL: All righty. Thank you so much, Victor.

Folks in California are waking up to a 6.0 magnitude earthquake this morning. Actually, I think the earthquake woke them up. We're getting pictures in.

I'm hearing from all kinds of people on Twitter and Facebook, even Instagram. One person saying it wasn't one sharp jolt but several. Georgie (ph) wrote, "Rolling long movements, versus short ones." She is in the Bay Area in Marin County.

We'll let you know what we're hearing in just a moment. Stay close.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: Breaking news this morning, and the U.S. Geological Society just switched up what we had been calling a 6.0 magnitude earthquake is now a 6.1 for residents in Northern California. Take a look at some of the pictures.

This is obviously a live picture, thanks to our friends at KGO from -- of San Francisco. And there are cars moving along, everything seems fine. Beautiful picture there.

But the epicenter we know is only six miles south of Napa, 51 miles from Sacramento here.

We're not hearing reports of injuries or damage at this time. PG&E, for instance, though, is reporting on their Web site, there are more than 15,000 homes in the Napa region without electricity. So, some interruptions there. Actually, now, that got up to 32,000 -- 32,000 homes without electricity this morning.

And thanks to all of you on Twitter for sharing some of your -- and Facebook, too -- I posted it. We started getting all of these pictures of folks who tweeted pictures of broken dishes.

CNN producer Augie Martin is on the phone from San Francisco.

Augie, thanks so much.

I had somebody write saying that it felt like rolling long movements versus short ones. Describe to me what you felt this morning.

AUGIE MARTIN, CNN PRODUCER (via telephone): Yes, that's right. Typically, they either feel like a soft sort of rolling type earthquake or they have a very sharp sort of fast jolting type pace. This was definitely a softer rolling type earthquake. You know, I'm about 25 miles from the epicenter in San Francisco, and obviously depends on what type of soil you're on, those up in Napa tend to be on more of a sand type soil, what used to be the bottom of the Bay in San Francisco, some folks are on sand and some are on bedrock.

So, it really can depend on what type of ground you're on top of during the earthquake. To me, it certainly felt like a softer rolling type earthquake and that sounds like the majority of folks felt that way.

PAUL: Jim Daniels, on twitter or Facebook, wrote to me and said, "I had enough time to consider if I needed to get up, decide if I needed to grab anything, grab a sweater and shoes before it finally stopped.

So, the duration of this was what I think surprised a lot of people too. Did you find that as well?

MARTIN: Yes. I mean, you know, just when I first -- it felt like it lasted about 25 or 30 seconds. My kids woke up, my dog barked. You definitely knew it was a good size earthquake but to me it didn't initially feel like a 6.0 earthquake or 6.1 earthquake being a San Francisco native, I felt a fair amount of these and I thought it was a lower earthquake than that. But you know, at least immediately after you don't know how close you were to the epicenter.

So, that sometimes doesn't help not knowing how far away it was. But, yes, it didn't necessarily feel like a 6.0 or 6.1 to me, but I was 25 miles away from it.

PAUL: Sure. Well, Augie, we're glad you're OK and everybody there is OK. I wonder how animals reacted. Somebody said the cats ran under the bed and they won't come out. So, thank you very much.

We're going to talk to him more at 8:00 as we continue to follow this. And since I've been on air with you here in the last couple minutes, 42,000 people now reporting to not have power in the region. So, we'll keep you posted at 8:00.

Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. Right now, "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." is coming up next. Stay close.