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Boston Bomber's Fate; South Carolina Shooting Investigation Continues. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired April 9, 2015 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:10] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour now. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Brooke.
And we're now learning more about what we did not see in that cell phone video of the fatal encounter between officer Michael Slager and Walter Scott, who had had just pulled over.
The witness who captured the shocking final minutes of Scott's life giving his account of what happened before officer Slager fired on him.
But, this, is how it all ended. And, again, we should warn you that what we're about to see is graphic and disturbing. The man who shot that video was walking to work when he saw the two men struggling and he started filming. We know that officer Slager says that Scott reached for the Taser. But the only known witness says that is not what he saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEIDIN SANTANA, WITNESS: I started recording. They were down on the floor. I remember the police had control of the situation. He had control of Scott, and Scott was trying just to get away from the Taser, which the Taser, you can hear the sound of the Taser.
QUESTION: He had been Tased at that point?
SANTANA: Yes, yes. Yes.
QUESTION: And you heard the sound.
SANTANA: Yes, I was hearing the sound before I started recording. And I believe he was just trying to get away of the Taser.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: CNN's Polo Sandoval is in North Charleston, South Carolina.
So, Polo, I know you have been doing some digging into the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop. What can you tell us about the man who was in the car with Walter Scott? Because there was a passenger.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, that's one of the major revelations here, the fact that Scott was not the only person in that vehicle.
At this point, the police reports and also the versions from the Scott family now confirming that that second individual was in fact in the vehicle that was part of the traffic stop. However, they did stop short of saying exactly who that person was. Brianna, I can tell you though they did add that that individual was not a member of the Scott family.
And so really, that's part of the new developments that have really surfaced today now in this next day of this investigation. Now, the main question is exactly, why did Scott actually run away from the police officer and exactly who was that second person that was in the vehicle?
KEILAR: Are we getting any sense of the mood there of the community, how they're feeling, Polo?
SANDOVAL: That's something that we noticed yesterday, Brianna, just moments after the mayor here in New Orleans Charleston really gave the latest information and also announced that there was going to be -- or at least most of these officers were going to be outfitted with these body cameras.
There was actually a round of applause during that press conference. Obviously, that information well-received. This is a group of individuals, really a lot of people of this community that have been asking for now the answers, for transparency and also accountability. And so as soon as city officials announced their intentions to outfit their officers with these body cameras, obviously, they were pleased with that information.
Also, more thing I should note is the general feeling we're getting from members of the community here is that they're quite satisfied of the city's response. Obviously, the fact that this police officer was fired and even criminal charges filed against him so quickly, this is something that the public here wanted.
And so now obviously a lot of these folks want to keep the pressure on the city as this investigation moves forward and as we continue to learn more about what happened just moments before those eight shots were fired last Saturday -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes, but largely satisfied with the response, as you say, very important to note.
Polo Sandoval, thank you for that report for us from North Charleston, South Carolina.
In the hours after the shooting, police officials pushed the narrative that officer Slager felt threatened, that he had to fire his gun as a last resort. At an NAACP press conference, the president of the Charleston branch called police officials' excuses before the video surfaced -- quote -- "business as usual" and asked a key question, what if there was no video?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DOT SCOTT, PRESIDENT, CHARLESTON NAACP: We also thank and commend the citizen who risked his well-being by video-recording Mr. Scott's murder.
[15:05:05] We're glad that in this instance there was a speedy investigation and a speedy indictment. And we will continue to monitor this case to see that justice is done.
The lingering question in this case is, what would have happened if there was no video? Would there have been an indictment? Or would there have been a cursory investigation, where Mr. Scott was painted as a criminal, where the officer's version of what happened would have been accepted as truth, and where there would have been to murder charge?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: But my next guest says even with this video it's not a slam- dunk case.
Joining me now, Miller Shealy, professor of at Charleston School of Law, and Collin Miller, associate dean and professor of law at University of South Carolina.
Miller, what is still missing for you in this case?
MILLER SHEALY, CHARLESTON SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, there are a lot of things we don't know yet. We have to remember, this only happened last Saturday.
The video clearly is damning. It's powerful evidence. And I don't deny that and no one would. But right now we don't have a lot of evidence about what they were doing just prior to the point where that video begins. We know there was some kind of traffic stop. There's probably a camera inside the police cruiser.
There's some facts we know that led up to the incident. That's terribly important in a case like this. Again, you can't get around the power of this tape that people have seen. I'm not suggesting there's something out there that could explain it adequately. However, I would never call a case slam -dunk case either for prosecution or the defense. You ultimately never know how a jury is going to react to certain facts.
Colin, the pieces that we know, even that we haven't seen that will come out will be the a dash cam video, where we expect that we will see the initial interaction between officer Slager and Walter Scott. We will see what happens as the two of them leave the scene of where the traffic stop has happened.
We have the other video and then there's the gap in between, part of which is filled in by the witnesses who shot the video, who says no, he was not struggling over the Taser with the officer. He was actually trying to get away from it. But we know they were on the ground according to the witness. How do you think a jury would react to that with all these pieces?
COLIN MILLER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW: Well the problem here for the officer is he would have to establish that he had probable cause to believe this fleeing suspect posed a threat of serious physical either injury to the officer or to someone else in the public.
It's hard to imagine anything going on before that video is started that's really going to support that finding of probable cause.
So, Miller, I want to know what you think. We just got officer -- officer Slager just got a new criminal defense lawyer. His first attorney dropped him after the video came out. You know, what do you think about a that? Are you surprised? Should the attorney have represented him, or is that an attorney who's convinced that their client is not being honest with them and so it's maybe standard to pull out of defending?
SHEALY: Honestly, I wouldn't say. I have no idea why that occurred the way it did. I don't think it's terribly unusual.
The client may simply have decided for whatever reason to change his mind about who he wanted to represent him. I have heard nothing about that, don't find it unusual. Clients do from time to time change their mind and then switch attorneys. I don't know why that would have happened. But I'm not terribly shocked. I don't think that's terribly unusual.
KEILAR: OK, Miller Shealy, Colin Miller, thanks so much to both of you for being on with us.
Next, we have a frame-by-frame breakdown of what the video shows. It compares the video to the police accounts. They really do not match up.
Plus, you're about to hear from a man who says he was once Tased by the same officer that he filed an excessive force complaint. Do not miss that.
Also, as the Boston bomber waits to learn whether he will live or die, "The Boston Globe" says don't kill him. Hear the newspaper's reasons.
Any time now, we're expecting a decision from the jury in the Aaron Hernandez case. But as the former NFL star waits to hear his fate, there's drama unfolding in the courtroom. And you know what? It involves the jurors. We have that ahead.
[15:13:41] KEILAR: In the moments immediately after eight shots were fired, and an African-American man, Walter Scott, fell to the ground. You can hear this from the man who shot him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL SLAGER, DEFENDANT: Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.
911 OPERATOR: Shots fired. He grabbed your Taser. Subject is down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: But officer Slager's account over dispatch is a narrative far from what we see in this now infamous video capturing the standoff.
I want to talk now about the differences with David Katz. He's CEO of Global Security Group, formally with the DEA.
You have video here, David, and it doesn't show really the confrontation from start to finish. Two points that are really in dispute after watching, A, whether there was indeed this tussle over the Taser, as officer Slager says, and then whether officers administered CPR to Scott, as police reports indicate.
I want to start now with the Taser. Let's play this. This is what the police report says. While Slager says grabbed in the audio, the report says that shots fired and the subject is down. "He took my Taser." This is what relayed to the police report by another officer.
OK. So, first off, you have the video which we see. The officer actually physically moves the already deployed Taser to Walter Scott's body, drops it there.
[15:15:03] DAVID KATZ, FOUNDER AND CEO, GLOBAL SECURITY GROUP: Right.
KEILAR: Is there any doubt to you as you watch this, that this was evidence planted?
KATZ: It looks exactly -- like that's exactly what it was.
I can't -- I tried to give the officer the benefit of the doubt, but I can't find in my mind any single reason why you would take the Taser from the initial scene where it was dropped and bring it over.
Arguably, if it's a weapon, you're trained to take it and secure it on your person. If you have a firearm and I tell you drop it, as soon as you're in custody, I take that weapon, I put that it on my waistband or someplace. I'm not leaving it on the ground.
KEILAR: But he's handcuffed at this point. He's unconscious, it appears, Walter Scott is.
KATZ: That's the only articulable reason I could say that's why you take it. But to drop it next to the victim, and he's cuffed like that, I think he planted the evidence.
KEILAR: And then he picks it back up. That's the other thing. After dropping it, he seems to then pick it up, pick up another object. Can investigators in this really assume just from the video alone,
because it doesn't capture the whole picture -- the witness tells us what happened beforehand. Can investigators assume that Scott never grabbed the Taser?
KATZ: No. I think that's the other point. There could have been a tussle. There could have been a moment during -- by the way, it's not necessarily an intentional act, because I have had situations where you're wrestling with somebody and a partner of mine cried out he's got my gun. It didn't happen that way.
His hand just happened to touch his holster during a tussle. That may have happened. Or there may have been an intentional move to grab the Taser. But that pre-video. We don't have any evidence of that fact. Maybe the eyewitness would shed some light on it, but I don't know.
KEILAR: Let's talk about now whether or not the officers did any lifesaving measures. This is what the report says from a sergeant. He says, "I assisted." To be clear, a sergeant who is neither officer Slager or officer Habersham here.
"I assisted with first aid and CPR to the driver."
This is another officer who came on scene perhaps after, as the expectation, is not on the video. But also it says that Habersham applied pressure to the wounds. We don't have the officer's personal narrative here, but these are some of the accompanying reports that we have.
Does the video confirm what the police chief said yesterday, that there were apparently lifesaving measures taken by Habersham? I don't see blood on his gloves.
KATZ: Well, very often, a gunshot -- in the movies, you get a gunshot and there's lots of blood. Not so in real life.
KEILAR: But there's a little.
KATZ: There should be some.
KEILAR: There should be some.
KATZ: But that could be a nominal amount. But when you apply pressure...
KEILAR: There's no mistaking it. This appears to be an observation of wounds to me, right? The audio sort of says, wounded here, wounded there if you go and listen through it.
KATZ: Yes, making an assessment more than an actual application of pressure, yes.
KEILAR: Now, granted, we don't see what happens next. Right?
But even it is at that point, David, we're talking two-and-a-half at least minutes after he's fallen down. Is that appropriate? That's a lot of time to pass before you're providing lifesaving measures.
KATZ: Generally speaking, I think I mentioned here earlier, if you're the officer in the shooting, you're not expected to perform CPR.
KEILAR: But Habersham could.
KATZ: Depending on -- I guess their protocol is not unlike other departments. You would be expected to either -- if you didn't know how to do it, you're expected to contact someone and get help some someone who could.
In any case, CPR, it is applied with a person on their back. You would think that they would do assessment first, where are the wounds? Because very often, you miss a wound. You're taught to roll and examine the whole body and then roll over for CPR. That wasn't done, at least on the tape. Was it done subsequently?
There's no way to know. The eyewitness probably would be able to tell whether that did in fact happen.
KEILAR: OK. Thanks so much. The protocol, certainly helps for you to explain that.
David Katz, really appreciate it.
KATZ: You're very welcome.
KEILAR: And next you're about to hear from a man who says he was once Tased by the same officer, by officer Slager. He says he filed an excessive force complaint. We will hear what he says happened. Don't miss it.
[15:23:16] KEILAR: This is just in. A man who filed a complaint against the North Charleston, South Carolina, Police Department and the very officer who is now accused of killing Walter Scott just announced he plans to sue.
Mario Givens and his attorney just held a news conference and they announced they intend to bring legal action for a 2013 incident in which they claim officer Michael Slager Tased Givens repeatedly. Slager was exonerated rather quickly for the incident. Let's listen to part of this news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO GIVENS, CLAIMS SLAGER TASED HIM: He beat on the door. He didn't say nothing. He just started trying to grab me out the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read that you put your hands up at one point?
GIVENS: Yes, because another officer I didn't know it was another officer. As a matter of fact, it was the same officer, that black officer. He was behind the house. He came running to the front. Both of them tried to pull me out the house. I didn't want to come out the house. I wasn't talking to them. I just wasn't coming out of the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, my phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you put it in your pocket maybe?
GIVENS: I'm trying. I'm trying.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Is it true that you had your hands up when you were Tased?
GIVENS: Yes. I drew my hands -- he brought the Taser out. I wouldn't come out. He pulled the Taser out.
The black officer still had hold of me. And he was like come out the house or I'm going to Tase you. I threw my hands up. And he still Tased me. Then I come out of the house. I didn't walk out the house. They didn't put me out the house. I crawled out the house.
QUESTION: What did that feel like?
GIVENS: How do you mean how it feel like? (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Painful.
[15:25:01] QUESTION: Exactly what did you say to the officer or -- and how long would you say from when you first saw him before he Tasered you? Exactly how long did it take?
GIVENS: Honestly, I can't tell you. I wasn't thinking about no time frame. I was in my house.
QUESTION: Did you try to tell him that you weren't the suspect in this case?
GIVENS: He never even told me why he came. He was like -- I want to say it right. He said he came -- he had a phone -- a disturbance call from around the corner about a guy up here, got a break-in or something. And he asked me, why you sweating? (INAUDIBLE) So, I been hot. And it been like -- ain't been summertime, but, you know, it still was hot.
QUESTION: What was your reaction when you discovered that he was exonerated after you filed a grievance?
GIVENS: You got to say that in smaller words for me.
QUESTION: Here, I will say it for you. What did you think when you found out that they let him off? (OFF-MIKE)
GIVENS: I was upset, because technically they took a real long time to even investigate the case, because when I kept coming back, they told me, we still investigating, we still investigating.
And they tell me -- then when I came back one time, they told me, we will send you paper in the mail, because we ain't find nothing. He did no wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I want to bring in Andrew Knapp. He's a reporter with South Carolina's largest newspaper, "The Post and Courier." Andrew was at the news conference.
I think we need to -- let's put a little context here, Andrew, for our viewers. Basically, what happened was a woman had gone to police and said she had an issue with Mario Givens' brother. She told them which house to go to. It was case of sort of mistaken identity, wasn't it, with officer Slager, where he approached Mario Givens.
But the woman who had the complaint against his brother was actually there. And she says later, reports say, that even after he was Tased the first time and pulled out of the house, she was trying to explain to officer Slager that this isn't the right guy. She wanted him to go after the brother who she had had an issue with. This was a case of mistaken identity, wasn't it?
ANDREW KNAPP, "THE POST AND COURIER": Well, I have actually talked to another witness to the incident.
She said the description of Mr. Givens and his brother are quite different.
KEILAR: That's right. The height is very different.
KNAPP: ... victim of the burglary -- right, exactly. They were, I don't know, maybe six inches off.
And so the alleged victim of the burglary was yelling at the officer that he wasn't the guy, but Mr. Givens said they pulled him out of the house anyway and hit him with a Taser.
KEILAR: OK. Then we know that what happened was very quickly, even though I think it was the mother or Givens filed a complaint of excessive force. They basically said we're not going to take this, we're going to complain to the police department about this officer.
And they went through the process for that. They said that they weren't even notified when the officer was -- officer Slager was exonerated. Right?
KNAPP: Right, that's my understanding.
But -- and Mr. Givens didn't pursue it with an attorney at that time because his attorney now says he didn't know who to trust.
KEILAR: Yes. And you can sort of understand, as this case, this old case from two years ago comes into focus again.
Can you talk to us about some of -- I guess give us some context about North Charleston and when you're talking about the relation between people in the community and police officers. This is a place where historically even almost 10 years ago it was one of the most dangerous towns in the nation, right?
But in order to combat that, the police commanders instituted new programs really that stress aggressive patrolling of some of the neighborhoods. At the same time, though, the residents of those communities think that they were unfairly targeted.
And those -- most of those residents are black. I think there's a perception that there's a racial problem, problem with racial profiling in North Charleston. But that's been complained about for years. But there's never been this kind of scrutiny that is occurring now after the video came out in Scott's shooting.
KEILAR: You write a really interesting piece and you say, back when the city was formed in 1975, that the police were facing a lot of crime and they sort of found it safer to subdue and ask questions later.
I think the question now is, is that carrying over into present day? You mentioned as well the police have been through cultural sensitivity training. It's not a secret even to them that they have had an issue. How effective was the training? And what are problems that you think still exist and that you're hearing still exist?
KNAPP: Well, I don't think those rough-and-tumble tactics work quite as well these days, considering the scrutiny the department has had over the years.