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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Exclusive Interview with Michael Brown's Parents;Ferguson is Calm Tonight; More Interview with Darren Wilson Released by ABC; Powerful Storm Brings Rain and Snow to Northeast; Rebuilding Ferguson Together
Aired November 26, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. John Berman sitting in for Anderson tonight. Like millions of people out on the roads, I'm not going anywhere.
There is a nor'easter stalled off the eastern seaboard tonight. Rain mixed with snow mixed with ice mixed with rain. Nasty. And as the temperatures cool, forecasters will predict nearly two feet of snow in places. Dangerous roads, airport delays. Our Chad Myers will have the latest forecast in just a moment.
We begin, though, in Ferguson, where authorities remain out in force tonight, bracing for whatever comes next. And we are just now learning that federal investigators are looking into a case of arson, at Michael Brown senior's church on Monday night. There's new evidence to consider as well, from grand jury documents, and what seems to like some like questionable forensic procedures after officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown.
All that and Michael Brown's parents spoke out today, sitting down with legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, calling officer Wilson a murder. A lot to get to.
First off, let's go to the ground. Jason Carroll is in Ferguson.
Jason, I know it's early, a lot of the trouble over the last few nights started much later than this. What's the situation right now?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, we're in front of the Ferguson police department, where we've spent so many nights. You can see members of the National Guard out here, in front. We haven't seen any signs of St. Louis county PD that we saw out here last night. But these men and women are here, just in case. But not sure at this point if it will be necessary.
Here's the reason why, John. You turn around here across the street, those are the only number of protesters that we've seen out here so far tonight. Just about a dozen or so. So definitely not like what we've seen out here last night. So definitely not what we saw out here last night, definitely not like what we saw out here Monday night.
The night is still early. At this point, simply everyone out here waiting to see what, if anything, will happen.
BERMAN: And Jason, it looks like it's pouring where you are right now and I'm sure that could impact things as well.
Let me ask about this report about the church, where Michael Brown's father is a member. Our colleague, Evan Perez, has some new reporting that there's now an investigation into possible arson.
CARROLL: Right, that's the flood Christian church there on west Florescent, not far from where we saw the looting on Monday night. Michael Brown's father attends that church. The bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearm is now leading up the investigation into the fire that destroyed that church. When we went over there to take a look at it, on one side of the church, you've got a hair salon. On the other side, you have a catering store. Neither one of those businesses were damaged. In fact, none of the businesses in that particular spot in west Florescent were damaged, only that church. Suspicious because Michael Brown went there. Suspicious because it seemed to be the only establishment in that section of west Florescent that was targeted -- John.
BERMAN: All right, Jason Carroll for us on the streets of Ferguson. The situation there does change or has changed very quickly over the last several nights. We'll check back in with Jason in a little bit to see how things are.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets, peacefully and otherwise, over the last couple of nights for two young men they never met -- Michael Brown and Darren Wilson.
Officer Wilson can speak for himself and did last night saying that his conscience is clear. Michael Brown cannot speak. His parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., have the job of speaking for him. They sat down with their family attorney, Benjamin Crump, with CNN legal analyst, Sunny Hostin.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I want to first start by saying, I'm so sorry that your son was taken from you. And I think there are a lot of people that feel the same way. And I'd like you, Lesley, if you can, to tell us about your son, the son you know.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN'S MOTHER: The son I know, my Mike- Mike, is what I called him. Mike-Mike was, he was a big guy. He was so humble and soft spoken and he loved animal, he loved being a big brother. And he loved being a grandson. He loved his grandmother. He was the first grandchild. He was our first son. So he was special in many ways.
HOSTIN: Can you tell me about your son, the son you know?
MICHAEL BROWN SR., MICHAEL BROWN'S MOTHER: Funny, silly, make you laugh, real good with his hands, fix almost anything. Like she said, Lesley said, he loved his siblings. He loved his grandparents. He loved just doing different things. He was just being a teenager, you know? Just living life.
HOSTIN: Now, when you got to the crime scene and you found this out, what were your immediate thoughts?
MCSPADDEN: Why? Why'd you do that? Anybody that knew him that was their thought. Why? No. Mike-Mike. No. We don't believe that. He too sweet.
HOSTIN: Well, let's talk about that. Because so many people in America have seen this surveillance video in the convenience store and people are saying your son was a punk, your son was a thug, your thug was aggressive, your son was violent. So he must have been aggressive with officer Wilson. What do you say to that?
MCSPADDEN: I say that you cannot judge him off of an 18-second video. And we knew -- and we've known him for 18 years. We know better. I say, no, you wrong. And you cannot look at one image of a person and perceive who they are in the whole. Because if that's the case, let's look at the offense side with Darren Wilson.
HOSTIN: So do you believe that when officer Wilson first approached your son and told him to move out of the roadway, that your son's first response was, "f" what you say?
HOSTIN: Do you think that's even possible.
HOSTIN: Do you think it's even possible officer Wilson is saying that your son reached into the car and tried to grab his gun.
Do you think it's possible that your son told him, "you are too much of a p-word to shoot me?"
MCSPADDEN: I don't believe any of those words were exchanged at all.
HOSTIN: And why not?
MCSPADDEN: Why? You know why? Because my sister had just rode up that street and rolled past my son as he was coming down. And just that quick, not even five minutes went by, before someone was running to my mother's house saying, Mike-Mike is laying up, you know, up there in the middle of the street dead. An interaction or, you know, it lasts a little longer than that.
Officer Wilson said that he had a clear conscience about what happened that day. If he had to do it again, he would. What's your response to that?
BROWN: He's a murder. That's what that tells me. HOSTIN: What does that tell you, Lesley?
MCSPADDEN: I hope the Lord have mercy on his soul.
HOSTIN: You're saying --
BROWN: I say that he's a murder, because if he was conscious of what he was doing, that mean he -- he understood his actions. He understood exactly what he was doing, you know? He didn't have a second thought, a pushback thought, or nothing. He was intending to kill someone. That's how I look at it. Even if it wasn't my son, even if it was Dorian, he was going to kill someone at that point.
HOSTIN: He also said, officer Wilson, that had your son been white, it would have happened exactly the same way.
BROWN: Not true, I don't believe it.
HOSTIN: You don't believe that?
HOSTIN: Why not?
BROWN: I think that the interaction would have been a whole lot different. Probably would have rolled right past and kept going. Probably would have blew his horn or waved out the window.
HOSTIN: And when you heard there wasn't going to be an indictment in this case, give me your immediate reaction.
BERMAN: More than three months mourning the death of her child, while also at the center of a searing contentious, sometimes ugly national debate. All of it leading up to that terrible moment where her anguish became her husband's anger. Lesley McSpadden talks about all of this, next.
BERMAN: Before the break, you heard Michael Brown's parents flat-out call Darren Wilson a murder. They neither believe his story, that he killed their son out of fear for his own life, nor do they put much faith in a system that they say treated them with disregard.
Michael Brown Sr. And Lesley McSpadden say they only got at most ten minutes' advance notice of the grand jury's decision in the death of their son. Ms. McSpadden talks about what happens next in part II of Sunny Hostin's interview.
HOSTIN: When you heard there wasn't going to be an indictment in this case, give me your immediate reaction. MCSPADDEN: It was like, I got a phone call, all over again about what
had happened to my son. That's how it feel. And I feel just as helpless as I felt in the beginning. And I wanted to address Ferguson. And I did.
HOSTIN: And, let's talk about that. Because we all have seen the video of you going to where the protesters were, in front of the Ferguson police department, and you are on a car, and you're speaking to the people. Why did you feel the need to do that?
MCSPADDEN: I felt the need to do that, because, one, they never addressed us. And two, you heard our pleas and our cries for everything to go the way it should be. And then third of all, we heard this, and it was just like -- like I had been shot. Like you shoot me now. Just no respect, no sympathy, nothing. And so my emotions were raging and I had to go over and just let them know, you just really don't care, do you? Why don't you care? This could be your child. This could be anybody's child.
HOSTIN: Well, when you were on the car, your husband, you've been married since may, got up on the car and said, "burn the "b" down." And CNN and other outlets have been replaying that. And some are saying that he single handedly started the rioting and the fires. What do you say to that?
MCSPADDEN: I say that that's impossible. These things have been going on since August 9th, when it first happened. His emotions was taking over him, just like mine. He just spoke out of anger. It's one thing to speak and it's a different thing to act. He did not act, he just spoke out of anger. I'm a grieving mother, that's my husband. He's been around Michael at least four years, so he's going to love him not as much as I do, but he's going to love him like he loves his own children. So when you're that hurt and the system has did you this wrong, you may say some things as well. We've all spoke out of anger before.
HOSTIN: What do you say to those people that did loot and riot in your son's name?
MCSPADDEN: I say that they didn't do it in my son's name, because that's not what we're -- that we are about. Some people are out there now angry for their own reasons. There's lots of people that have come to St. Louis from everywhere, that have went through something similar to this. And we didn't know, because we had never went through it. Now I can relate to those people and the pain that they feel.
HOSTIN: Mr. Brown, you've done a PSA, asking for peace, peaceful protests. What do you say to those that claim that they're looting and rioting in your son's name?
BROWN: Well, the ones that are looting and rioting, they're doing it on their own agenda. We have nothing to do with that. The ones that are protesting peacefully, you know, please keep protesting. You know, peacefully. Back to what I said at first, I'm not angry at them, but that's not, they're not showing no respect to my son by doing it that way.
HOSTIN: You said you want something to change, something to happen. What do you see now that there's no indictment. What do you think justice can be for you now?
BROWN: Another trial. A federal trial. I have faith in a different decision.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Sunny, Michael and Lesley have been encouraging supporters around the country to help them with the proposed Michael Brown law, which is to have video body cameras on every police officer in every city in America, so we can hopefully avoid this happening over in the manner that it happened. Because if you have video body cameras, it will be transparent.
HOSTIN: I want to give you the opportunity to send a message to Darren Wilson, because he will be watching.
BROWN: Just why? Just why, that's all. Why?
HOSTIN: Why what?
BROWN: Why'd you go in with an edge on your shoulder like that and have to answer an act with our son, and do that like that, you know? That was overkill.
HOSTIN: This is going to be your first holiday without your son. What do you plan to do tomorrow? It's thanksgiving.
BROWN: Just have to wait until tomorrow. Right now, we both miss him. Other family members miss him. It's going to be a tough one. It's going to be a tough one. And this is not the only holiday that's coming up. So it's really, it's really going to be tough, for us.
HOSTIN: Thank you so much.
BROWN: Thank you for having me.
BERMAN: Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. talking to Sunny Hostin earlier today. And we will have more of this really dramatic and emotional interview later in the show, next hour.
It's such a sad story, because whatever you think of the grand jury's decision or of the reaction that followed, whatever your position may be on the way that law enforcement works or the way that it ought to work, there's simply no escaping the fact that no parent, no parent, should ever have to bury a child. And I think there's broad agreement on that.
Sunny joins us now along with "New York Times" columnist, Charles Blow.
Guys, thanks so much for being with us. I appreciate it. Sunny, you know, they suffered through the death of their son all
those months ago, and it really does seem like in many ways, they're going through it again right now.
HOSTIN: I mean, you're right. Their pain was palpable. You could feel it. You could almost touch it. I mean, they were in such grief. Lesley cried a lot during the interview. It was very difficult for both of them. I mean, when you have people that are used to being in the public eye, they choose to be in the public eye, they know how to conduct themselves. Lesley and Michael Sr. didn't choose to be here, in this space. And you can see how difficult it really is for them to -- and they're trying to, it's clear, tell people about who their son was. And I wanted to give them that opportunity.
BERMAN: You know, they're still grappling with so much. They're grappling with what happened to their son. They are grappling with all this new information coming out, and they are grappling with new events that seem to happen every day. We keep seeing that video of the moment the grand jury decision was announced and we see Lesley McSpadden's husband, who was not there in this interview, who was shouting what he was shouting, "burn this -- down."
I just continue to be struck by that video, Charles. And I'm wondering if you've had more time to process it, if you accept their explanation, that it was just a moment of anger.
CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I mean, it's hard for me to know. I mean, you can imagine they're very upset at that moment. You can, I mean, I can -- I do understand, to some degree, particularly what she was saying about what she said, not necessarily what he says.
BERMAN: There's a difference.
BLOW: There is a big difference. A huge difference.
BERMAN: There's no way to interpret that other than a call to violence.
BLOW: Exactly. I believe that is true. And I think that that is not the responsible thing and I think it's something you would be ashamed to -- if you look back on, you say, I should not have done that, no one should have done that.
I do think we have to wait to see if we can find anyone who says that they both heard him say that and then started a fire because of that. I think you have to detect those two things together. Is it an irresponsible thing to say? Yes. Is it said in the heat of the moment? Yes. I just try to take all of that together, and try to, you know, I'm just struggling trying to put myself in their shoes and to lose a kid. I have skin in this game. I have two boys, you know, a 17-year-old, one is almost 21, and, you know, I just can't imagine myself losing a kid. I don't know what I would do.
HOSTIN: You can't put yourself in their position. BERMAN: Here's the thing, this is what I want -- I want to shift the
conversation to re-litigating in some cases the actual legal case here and what happened that night to what this means in a broader context. In this interview, you ask Michael Brown Sr. what he had discussed with his son about dealing with police officers. Let me play a little bit of the sound because it's interesting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I had to tell him, you have any problems, you need to tell me or your mother, you know, because you are considered a teenager. You're not grown. They shouldn't be harassing you if you're not doing anything wrong. He understood everything, as far as the encounter with the police, you do what they ask you to do. If there's anything wrong, you let us know. But follow their order, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: You know, this is a discussion that so many African-American parents seem to have with their children, particularly their sons. Now, look, I'm a parent, too. The conversation I had with my kid is, you respect authority, you respect the cops. How is that conversation different than the conversation you guys have, because it is different.
HOSTIN: It is different, and I think we should mention that attorney general Holder mentioned that he has had that unfortunate conversation with his children. The president has said that he has had that conversation with his children. I have had that conversation with my son. I'm sure Charles, you have had that conversation.
And the conversation is different, because, unfortunately, you have to break it to your child that people will not see you, necessarily, for the straight-a student, for the equestrian, for the lovable person. They may see you as threatening, just by the virtue of your height, your weight, your skin color. And when I ask the question, we didn't play it, but I asked, you know, I've had that conversation as a black mother. Mr. Brown, did you have that conversation with your son? And his response was, of course I did.
BERMAN: Charles, last thought?
BLOW: Yes, we all have that conversation, I think, to some degree, and it's an ongoing conversation. And now my kids are young men now. So it's not even like they're little boys.
BERMAN: Seventeen and 20? Michael Brown's 18.
BLOW: Exactly. And so what we see with all of these videos that we keep seeing, all the interactions that we even hear about, these are like split-second interactions. They last for a minute, two minutes. These are not lasting a long time. Nobody's going to assess anything else about you. Everything's going to happen in the blink of an eye.
HOSTIN: It's appearance-based.
BLOW: It's appearance-based.
HOSTIN: It's profile-based.
BERMAN: Guys, I can't thank you enough for being with us tonight. It's an important discussion. Got to keep having it.
BERMAN: Great interview, Sunny, too. And we are going to play more of it the next hour, I should say.
HOSTIN: Thank you.
BERMAN: As always, you can find a whole lot more about this on CNN.com. Check it out.
Just ahead, Ferguson's mayor is speaking out. See who he says fell short in coping with all that unrest Monday night.
BERMAN: As of right now, Ferguson, Missouri, is calm tonight. Calm, but tense. It is cold there with a bit of snow and rain coming down, which could be keeping people at home. We're going to keep an eye on things there, in case the situation changes. In the meantime, there is new finger-pointing tonight in the wake of all this unrest. The latest coming from Ferguson's mayor. Sara Sidner just spoke with him and joins us now. And Sara, all this bewilderment and outrage about how things got so out of control, despite having so much warning. What's the mayor telling you now?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, we got a chance to sit down with Mayor James Knowles, who, of course has been here in Ferguson watching all of this, he also grew up here. And he talked a lot about how he rode his bike when he was a kid through some of the areas that are now just burned out. We should keep in mind, there are just two streets that really took the brunt of all of this. But he's very frustrated and so are the businesspeople and so are the residents here and their concern and his concern in particular is about where the National Guard was when things started to explode in violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR JAMES KNOWLES, FERGUSON, MISSOURI: I was assured, and our community was assured, that if it was getting out of control, if the National Guard was needed, at that point, we're beyond antagonizing, you know, the destruction is already underway. There's no reason not to deploy them. I have no idea why they weren't deployed. That's frustrating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: You know, he didn't put the blame on anyone as far as who was the person that decided whether or not to deploy them. However, he did say he knows that the county chief did ask for the National Guard to be deployed and it didn't happen when he asked for that.
BERMAN: I've got to say, who was talking to whom here between the city and the state and the federal government and the prosecutors here. It's bewildering and infuriating. The National Guard, obviously, under the control of the governor, Governor Jay Nixon. Is that exactly who the mayor is suggesting that he has the biggest problem with right now?
SIDNER: No, he didn't say that. He said, he's not sure who exactly is in charge of actually making that deployment happen. We know that the governor is in charge of activating the National Guard and is in charge of calling for a state of emergency, but who the person is that actually deploys the National Guard. He says I'm not going to point any fingers, but this town is now destroyed in some places. And so he's very upset that it got to this point. He was hoping that there would be more cover for this town, for the people of this town, and certainly for the businesses here as well.
BERMAN: Well, let's hope they can all start communicating in a way that is productive and keeps things going in a positive direction over the next several nights. Sara Sidner, our thanks to you.
All right, hundreds of flights have been canceled, thousands delayed because of a storm that's really picking an awful time to hit the northeast, as millions of people try to travel for Thanksgiving. The situation on the road, not much better either with rain and snow causing problems in Washington, New York, in Boston. Want to get the latest now from Chad Myers at the CNN weather center. Chad, what's it look like right now?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: John, you know, I heard you talking about, you know, Thanksgiving, and all that. If this storm had hit for Christmas, we would be buried in 2 feet of snow. You'd be digging out, just to get out of Time Warner Center. It was warm enough that we had a lot of rain in the big cities. Sure, it switched over to snow here and there. And now we're still because of the dark of night starting to get colder and it's going to starting to get slippery. But this storm could have been so much worse, tapering off for D.C., now. Tapering off from Philadelphia. Still an inch or 2 for New York. Probably four to five inches still for the Greenville Mountains, up into Maine and the like. But this storm, even 10 to 12 inches where they want it. Probably into places like the Poconos, the Adirondacks, the Catskills, where they can go play in it or ski in it, could have been so much more impactful if we were in New York City and Boston and Philadelphia. At least cars got out and about. And I think the bonus was, John, people knew it was coming, so they were on the road by 6:00 in the morning or they drove yesterday. Or they just said, heck, I'm going to go tomorrow. So really, the roads have been slick. They have been some accidents, but not the nightmare that this certainly could have been.
BERMAN: They knew it was coming because of the fine work of people like you, Chad. And we thank you for that. So let's do it again. What's going to happen on Sunday when they're trying to get home?
MYERS: Absolutely, dry, cold but dry. Except that you're in California. There's another storm system coming at you in California. So now we're not looking at the East Coast anymore. There goes Saturday, there goes Sunday. We're looking at a storm that has a lot of rainfall potential for San Francisco. There goes a storm now. The San Francisco storm coming up, though, for the Sunday drive home could make four inches of rain around the Bay area, no matter when you get four inches in the bay area, whether it's a holiday or not, that's not going to be a good time.
BERMAN: All right, yikes on that, Chad. We'll keep your eyes on that. Thank you so much, Chad Myers, appreciate it.
Coming up, we'll hear more of what Darren Wilson has to say about the day he killed Michael Brown. Talked about that in his first interview, just as new details are coming to light this evening about how he handled the evidence, including the blood on his hands, right after the shooting.
BERMAN: Officer Darren Wilson broke his silence in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, in which he said his conscience is clean. He feared for his life, he did his job, and he wouldn't have done anything differently if Michael Brown was white. More of that interview has now been released, and we want to play a bit of it for you right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC ANCHOR: You describe Michael Brown, when you saw him in that moment, in the car, as a demon. Do you know where that word came from? Do you know - What were you seeing at that moment?
DARREN WILSON: Just such a high level of intensity and aggression and then anger that it was almost unfathomable to even see it. Like, how is this happening? It was shock.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're positive, you're positive you'd have that exact same reaction if he were white?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some of the witnesses have said they thought you were out of control that somehow you had snapped.
WILSON: Mm-hmm. That would be incorrect. There was never -- the only emotion I ever felt was fear, and then it was survival and training.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We know from the autopsy reports that no shots went into Michael Brown from the back. Did you fire any shots when he was running away?
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you only fired to his front? WILSON: Correct.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, some of the eyewitnesses have said, when at that moment he turned around, he turned around and put his hands up.
WILSON: That'd be uncorrect -- incorrect.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No way?
WILSON: No way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some witnesses have also said that they actually saw you stand over him and shoot him in the top of his head?
WILSON: That would be incorrect.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And he's down now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know he's dead?
WILSON: Yes. You know, they tell you afterwards, you know, there are going to be times where you won't remember where it's fast, sometimes were it slow. That was the point of like the slow motion for me. And I saw the face that he had go blank, everything was just blank. And I knew immediately that he had passed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And what'd you think?
WILSON: Need help. You know, I got back on the radio and I said, send a supervisor and every car we have.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You'd never even shot your gun before and now a man is dead.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Does that put you in shock? What does it -- what's going through your mind at that point? What are you feeling at that point?
WILSON: Shock would be a good way to describe it. And there's not a cop out there who goes out there and are like, you know, I'm going to use my gun today. No one wants to. No one ever wants to do that. And it just happened and it happened in a minute.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Brown family came out with a statement where they said, we are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequences of his actions. What do you think when you hear that?
WILSON: I think those are grieving parents who are mourning the loss of their son. STEPHANOPOULOS: They're saying that you have to face the consequences
of your actions. Do you think there's anything you can say to them that can change their minds or change their hearts?
WILSON: I don't think there's anything I could say. But, again, you know, I'm sorry that their son lost his life. It wasn't the intention of that day. It's what occurred that day. And there's no -- nothing you can say that's going to make a parent feel better.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you feel any remorse?
WILSON: Everyone feels remorse when a life is lost. Like I told you before, I never wanted to take anybody's life. You know, that's not the good part of the job. That's the bad part of the job. So, yes, there is remorse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, documents that were released after the grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson contain a mountain of testimony and some of it now raising eyebrows. Testimony shows that police interviews with Wilson right after the shooting, those interviews were not recorded. There were no photos taken of his hands before he washed the blood off his hands, and Wilson himself placed his own gun into the evidence bag. The questions are, why did it happen this way, and the bigger question is, would any of it have made a difference if it was done the right way. Joining me now to talk more about this, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, who represented George Zimmerman in the trial involving the killer of Trayvon Martin? Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis police officer association, also a member of the Missouri Statehouse and back with us, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin.
Mark, I want to start with you here. There are a number of things here. This doesn't even get into the fact the medical examiner didn't have a camera to take pictures of the crime scene, or no batteries in his camera. This seems like sloppy police work.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FORMER ATTORNEY: No question. Should be fired if he says to us that he didn't take pictures because of a dead battery. Thank God there were a bunch of pictures taken by law enforcement, so that his mistake in not taking the pictures may not have had a significant effect. But it opens up the whole question, in a nationally publicized case with so much emotion tied to it that these mistakes are going to be given significance, whether or not true significance existed.
BERMAN: And Jeff, is this just a case of officers not following procedures that were in place, or is there no proper system in place in Ferguson?
JEFF ROORDA, ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOC.: Well, I don't claim to know all the procedures in Ferguson. I can tell you that there's a big difference between a 50-man department and a 5,000-man department. And, you know, I worked in a department almost the same exact size as Ferguson, in the St. Louis suburbs, and you have limited resources. The detectives, you know, pull multiple duties. They investigate everything from thefts of gasoline to homicides. And you know, in St. Louis City, where I am working now as a union rep, we have a unit that's dedicated to police-involved shootings. But the small department of Ferguson just doesn't have those resources.
BERMAN: Just to be clear, you're saying it would not have happened like this if it happened where you work?
ROORDA: No, it wouldn't happen in a big department, but that's not an indictment against Ferguson police department procedures. They do the best with the limited resources they have and it also doesn't mean that the evidence is tainted in any way. It just means that their resources are limited and they have to do with what they can.
BERMAN: But they didn't do it like you would do it. And Sunny, the question becomes, what effect might that have had if it had been done the right way. Would it have changed the outcome in the grand jury?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's difficult to say anything would have changed the outcome of the grand jury, John, because the grand jury process was unlike anything I've ever seen. You just don't conduct a grand jury in the way and the manner that it was conducted. You don't put all that evidence in. Evidence, clearly, now that may have been tainted. You know, you don't put that much in front of a grand jury with no guidance. You don't have a leader in front of the grand jury. This prosecution team, in my view, didn't want to indict. But this is unheard of, this type of processing of a crime scene. We know that the body was left out for over four hours. People, we have pictures of people walking through the crime scene. Don't tell me that it was not tainted. You have an officer who, forensically, they're saying that Michael Brown's blood was found on the gun, or fingerprints. That's been leaked. That's really interesting, because this officer handled his own gun and submitted his own gun. So, you know, it's just a travesty and having been a prosecutor, I'm ashamed that the system was -- failed.
BERMAN: Hey, Mark, a lot of America has seen you at work as a defense attorney, doing your job. You know, it's easy for me to see how you would go to town on something like this. If you were defending someone who was being prosecuted with police work like this.
O'MARA: We know how to hold cops to the highest standard possible, and Ferguson would not have survived cross-examination of this entire investigation the way it was handled with sloppy police work of a cop leaving with his own weapon, when it's the weapon of the killing. When it wasn't swabbed, when you have somebody saying it's, I'm not taking pictures, I didn't have time. When you have somebody who says, I didn't take notes of the investigating of the officer, because I had too many other things on my mind. I don't know if it would change the outcome. I don't know with all the forensic evidence it would have changed anything. But good lord, hopefully what we'll learn from this is that we have to be much more careful with our police investigations.
HOSTIN: But that's why these things should go to a trial, because that ... O'MARA: Unfortunately, one second.
HOSTIN: Because the evidence needs to be tested, Mark.
O'MARA: No, does not - no, that doesn't - we use the grand jury process for its purpose. You can't just say everything, every investigation has to go to trial. That is not ...
HOSTIN: The standard in front of the grand jury is probable cause. The standard is very low.
O'MARA: And they decided ...
BERMAN: Let me see ...
O'MARA: The very jury itself decided it wasn't met. All I'm saying, the last point I was going to make to Roorda, was that he's sort of right, that 50-person police departments can't do as good a job. But does that mean that small towns don't get justice?
O'MARA: We have to be careful about that.
ROORDA: Well, first of all, I disagree that justice wasn't served in this case. I think that Officer Wilson's account of the incident was borne out by evidence that he had no contact with by witnesses that he had no contact with. And I'll tell you another thing. This is all very reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson trial, ere attorneys create this fictionalized alternate version of the crime and nitpick at details and cast doubt and I think that's what's going on here in the wake of the grand jury decision. BERMAN: Well, I think they're raising questions about work that was
not done in a way that you, yourself, say you would have done differently. It leaves us a lot more to discuss.
ROORDA: Exactly the way I would have done it in a 50-man department. I mean I wouldn't have done it that way in a 5,000-man department.
HOSTIN: It should be done the same way all the time. It should be done uniformly ...
ROORDA: Well, then, give every police department in the country ...
HOSTIN: And to the standards ....
ROORDA: All of the resources that a 5,000-man department --
HOSTIN: We're talking about the death of a teenager.
ROORDA: Yeah, put your money where your mouth is.
HOSTIN: This should have been done.
ROORDA: Put your money where your mouth is. There should have been two policemen in that car, this might not have happened. BERMAN: All right, guys.
ROORDA: That's a -- that's a hypothetical.
BERMAN: We're going to take this up again at another time. I do appreciate your time. Sunny Hostin, Jeff Roorda, and Mark O'Mara, thank you so much.
Two nights ago we saw this, businesses in flames. So where does it all go from here?
Up next, two community leaders weigh in. And you're going to hear the remarkable story of a business owner who is back at work, thanks to the help of strangers.
BERMAN: All right. Some good news out of Ferguson tonight. The Missouri community and thousands of total strangers across the United States are helping a bake shop owner rebuild. Natalie's Cakes and More was one of several businesses vandalized Monday night. The owner, Natalie Dubois, is back baking. She says all Thanksgiving orders will be filled thanks to more than $150,000 in donations online in just one day. That is wonderful. Joining me now are Pastor Robert White of the Peace of Mind Church of Happiness and evangelist Vivian Dudley. She's the founder of One Church Outreach Ministry. Pastor White, I know that there is an appetite in Ferguson to move past the violence that happened earlier this week. What would you say in the community to heal and move forward?
PASTOR ROBERT WHITE, PIECE OF MIND CHURCH OF HAPPINESS: Well, the first thing I'll say to the community is, we must continue the conversation that we were having before Monday night, and that is healing our community and making sure that our next generation has the resources that they need to understand how to love. Because the language, the message has to be one of love, because if we don't learn to love one another and love ourselves, we won't be able to move forward.
BERMAN: And Vivian, that message of love, how do you get it to reach the people who were committing the violence. Or maybe they're just gone now. Were they mostly people from the outside?
VIVIAN DUDLEY, FOUNDER ONE CHURCH OUTREACH MINISTRY: Well, it's my thoughts that most of the people that created the problems were probably not from the community. We're there, you know the cameras were rolling every night and we saw the violence. But most of the cameras were gone, because the things that I saw in the morning were churches and neighbors and real people coming together, cleaning up the community, helping the business owners and helping those children that were grieving and you know, no cameras were rolling at that time. So that we saw some very positive things that came out of this.
BERMAN: You know, and it is important to tell those stories and tell the stories of the bake shop that will get all those orders filled for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Pastor White, there are relationships, though, that need to be rebuilt, and in some cases, just flat-out built for the first time. And I'm talking about between the community and the police department. How do you do that?
WHITE: Well, the first thing is, we have to begin to use the proper terminology. We keep mentioning violence that's happening and the last time I checked, violence is between human beings. What we saw was property damage. And I think it's critical that I talk to counselors that we make sure the language that we use is proper. We saw property damage. Violence is what happened when Michael Brown was killed. And so what we have to do is what we've been doing at Clergy United, what we've been doing for inspiration, is we've been having those conversations with the community and with the police officers, bridging that gap and teaching one another about number one accountability and we hold each other accountability and in finding those areas what we have in common so that the community can work with the police and find some things that we have in common.
BERMAN: Vivian, what's Thanksgiving going to be like in Ferguson?
DUDLEY: Well, I think that it's great for me, because one of the things that we've done as we've stated that One Church outreach ministry, we did a multicultural interdenominational pro challenge. And so, this has given us an opportunity to forge new partnerships. We, for the first time ever, over 80 different denominations and races came together and began to pray. We've been praying since August. Then we began to do some things together. Some real action steps that started some brave conversations and dialogue of about some real actions that we can do. So when they can see us coming together in unity and working, I think that that demonstrates that there's real care out there. Not only are the churches working together, but we've incorporated businesses. We're working, so new partnerships are really happening. Home depots and volunteer organizations like rebuilding together.
BERMAN: Brave conversations. I really like that phrase. They are beginning and we're counting on both of you to keep them going over the next several days and weeks. Pastor White, Vivian Dudley, thanks so much.
DUDLEY: OK, thank you.
BERMAN: Coming up for us at the top of the hour, we're going to have more from Michael Brown's parents.