Return to Transcripts main page


Police Van Stop Revealed; Baltimore Mayor Speak about Riots at Luncheon; Baltimore Prosecutor. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 30, 2015 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:20] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here we go. We're live - we're live once again here in the city of Baltimore. You're watching CNN's special live coverage. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

This is a city that is hoping to witness a third night of relative calm coming on the heels of a major development today in the case of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Here's what we've just learned this afternoon. The findings of that police investigation have now officially been turned over to the city prosecutor. She is Marilyn Mosby. She will be the one to decide if any of those six officers, currently suspended, or anyone else should be charged in Freddie Gray's death.

Gray died after he was arrested back on April 12th, his spine severed. In announcing this handover today to the state's attorney's office, police leaders also revealed another bombshell here. We learned that that prisoner transport van taking Gray, seen in the videos of Gray, you know, wailing in agony, had actually made a stop investigators did not initially know about. This is key here. Potentially key, potentially not at all, that's what we're waiting to find out. So in total here the van stopped a total of four times before ending up at the police station. And it was there that an ambulance was finally called for Freddie Gray and he was taken to the city's shock trauma center.

Let me begin our coverage this afternoon with Athena Jones. She's actually live at the location in which that camera was there revealing that stop that this van made, this previously undisclosed stop.

Athena, tell me exactly where you are here in Baltimore and where did this camera come from?


Well, I'm here in west Baltimore, not very far from the western district police station and not very far from where Freddie Gray was first picked up. We're at the corner of North Fremont Avenue (ph) and Mosher (ph) at a grocery - at a convenience store owned by a Korean family. Now, you can see up here, surveillance cameras on the exterior. But notice here that they have been - they've been disconnected and it's unclear, of course, at what point they were disconnected. But police did reveal today that they'd been - they'd been examining video from private and public sources and that this new information was obtained from a private camera.

We have spoken to the owner of this store. He's very shaken up because this store was also looted on Monday night. We had our producer, who speaks Korean, speak to him and she said that police came to see him and enquired about the video sometime last week. They asked to look at that footage Sunday morning. They didn't really explain to him, our producer says, what they were up to. But then a few hours later, they sent experts to copy the footage.

Now, I should tell you this is new because a little while ago we weren't sure how they had obtained the video and when. The reason we weren't sure is because notice this plywood boarded up. That was where an air conditioner was. On Monday night, several young people from the neighborhood came and tore out that air conditioner, crawled through the window and looted the store. This is why this owner is, of course, very shaken up.

But one more thing they did is they stole his laptop computer, which is what all of his - all of his surveillance cameras were attached to. So a little while ago, when we first learned of this and first tried to talk to him, it was unclear when the police had come and whether he had handed over that footage. But he did do that, we're now told from our producer, sometime last week.

This is significant, of course, because it's a new - it's a new stop. We don't know what happened here. But it raises more - it raises more questions.


BALDWIN: Athena, let me jump in. Forgive me. And thank you so much for that look at that store and where that camera would have been.

We're going to come back to this but I need to hit pause and turn to this luncheon. You're seeing the mayor here of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, speaking. We need to listen.

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE: People step up. People who love our city. People who grew up here and might not live here anymore. People who grew up in the Sandtown (ph) Winchester (ph) neighborhood and might not live there anymore back (ph) because they want better for their communities. What I've said consistently is the Baltimore that you've seen over the past few days is the Baltimore that I know and love. What we're known for, that resiliency, that ability when everybody else counts us out, that we will stand together. And I am so proud to be the mayor of this great city.

[14:04:44] A report was delivered today -- I know that many anticipated it tomorrow - to the state's attorney. You know, now is our time for unity and to work together, as the Gray family has asked for, as their attorney have asked for, to seek justice for Mr. Gray. I left - just left Matthew Henson Elementary School and I was joined, just like I said, community leaders, volunteers, teachers, and our Ravens. And we handed out thousands of pounds of food. You know - and you know what everyone, to a person, they're concerned about their community. They want justice, and they also want peace in their neighborhood. They want to know when we're going to be able to rebuild their community. That has to be all of our focus. That has to be all of our work. And I know that we can - we can get there.

You know, Reverend Sharpton, I was listening to you talk about the fact that there are three African-American women who are pivotal in this case, and it made me think about the fact that we are on the national stage. And, you know, I'm - I'm from here. You know this. I told you. Grew up across the street from - where's Pastor Carter? Where did he go? Where - she's on the back, sorry. Grew up across the street. I don't have any stories to tell you about him. He was good from the whole time I've known him.

My parents grew up here. I wanted to serve the city of Baltimore and the people of the city of Baltimore since I was a child. And did everything I could to put myself in the best position to do that. Went to the best high school in the city, Western (ph) High School. Don't hate. I went to the best college that I could get to, Oberlin College. And when I got there, I said, if I'm going to be of service, I need to know a few things. I need to know how government works. So I studied government. And I need to know economics. I took three and a half years of economics. I don't even like economics. But I said I have to learn it if I'm going to be of service.

Then when I left there, I went to law school. Why? Because I thought it was important training for the work that I intended to do for my city. And as soon as I got out of law school, I ran for city council. And why? Because I love this city, and I know we can be better than what we have seen.

So, Reverend Al, when you were talking about the fact that we need to stop playing and get real about what's possible, the reason we can't - the reason why nothing can happen to the officers - and, again, the justice system will be what it will. We want the process to go forward. You're innocent until proven guilty. We're going to do all of that. But let's just say it was South Carolina. Even if the same thing happened, because of the laws in this state, we can't do anything until after the trial is over. And when I went down to Annapolis to try to fight for reforms, simple reforms for the law enforcement bill of rights, people looked at me like I had three eyes. And now to stand here today and say, I don't care, that I don't care, I don't want to reform the police department when I was down there, don't - I'm not even going to tolerate it. The record is clear.

I invited the Department of Justice in here to reform our police department, to do collaborative reform. The only thing stronger than that is if they come in and do a consent decree. And nobody wants the Department of Justice to come in here and take over our city. The highest form of reform, the highest level of reform that you can get before they come, and the only reason they do a consent decree is if you don't own up to your problems.

I know we have problems. And I was determined to fix them. Don't get it twisted. "The Sun" is trying to tell you all different stuff. $5 million here, 5 - whatever. What they don't tell you is, is down, police shootings, discourtesy, excessive force, lawsuits against the city. We're finding more officers that are found - found accused of wrongdoing guilty. They don't want to tell you that part because they don't want us to be in the victory.

We will get justice for Freddie Gray. Believe you me, we will get justice. If we're going to do it because we're going to work together because if, with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels can't get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we're going to get it in our country.

So I want to thank the Department of Justice for coming here today, community relations service, independent. They're not - and I know I can't remember what you told me, but I know you're not - you don't prosecute and you don't do something else, but what you do is stand in the middle and make sure the process is right and the communities are able to heal while we seek justice. I want to thank you for being here. They are going to discuss at some point some training of community marshals because what we saw in Baltimore were people standing up against the rioters, against the people who were looting and stealing. Those people I want to thank and those people we want to make sure they get more resources. So I want to thank the Department of Justice for doing that.

[14:10:30] So I want to - I want to thank you for your indulgence. I know I probably talked longer than you intended me to. But I want to thank you all and commit to working and doing everything in my power to help our city reach the greatness that I know in my heart that we are capable of. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Watching - I was waiting to see if anyone was going to ask any questions. You were just listening to the mayor of Baltimore. She's at this luncheon. A number of speakers. And we just wanted to take that live. You know, she has definitely been under fire, under criticism with how the city has handled all of this, especially given the fact that, you know, we really saw some of the violence and the criminality Saturday night, that the state of emergency wasn't declared really until Monday. So she was responding to a little bit of that.

And she mentioned something I want to get to here. The state's attorney's office here in Baltimore, this is what the major just referenced, has just issued - now we have this statement that the police findings are in her hands. Quote, "we have been briefed regularly throughout their process while simultaneously conducting our own independent investigation into the death of Freddie Gray. While we have and will continue to leverage the information received by the department, we are not relying solely on their findings but rather the facts that we have gathered and verified." That's important there. It goes on, "we ask for the public to remain patient and peaceful and to trust the process of the justice system."

So let's discuss all of this. Georgetown law professor and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler is with me. "Baltimore Sun" reporter Justin Fenton is here with me. And I also have our justice correspondent Evan Perez.

So we think it's important - let's go with the fact that we now have one day early this report from the police investigation is now in the hands of the state attorney who's the city prosecutor. Why do you think it happened a day early?

JUSTIN FENTON, REPORTER, "THE BALTIMORE SUN": You know, there was a lot of expectation about this report, that it was going to be - that they were going to deliver findings to the public. That obviously didn't happen. And so I think that they wanted to deliver it a day early as a show of good faith, that they were working as fast as they could, that they had exhausted all their leads and that it was time to turn it over to the prosecutor, who is ultimately the one who will decide whether there are charges filed.

BALDWIN: And so, Paul, now that this sits in Marilyn Mosby - this is her name and we're going to have an entire segment on her because I think it's worth going into exactly who she is - it's in her hands. She has the power to charge. There are six officers who are currently suspended. Can you just walk me through the process? Because she has all this information from the police department. Obviously this is the police department's findings of its own officers. How does she keep that objectivity in looking into all of this?

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, there are always questions about whether state prosecutors can be objective in these cases because frankly, they work with police officers every day. So it's not so much that they're biased, but they might give people the benefit of the doubt.

Now, this is a prosecutor who's the youngest head prosecutor in the country. Both of her parents are police officers. She was endorsed by the police union. So I think there are absolutely going to be questions about whether she's objective.

BALDWIN: Also, and, Evan, I'm coming to you in a second on this whole - what you have on the van stop. But finally for you, Justin Fenton, just knowing - would it go to a grand jury, as we've seen in instances like Ferguson or Staten Island in which you have, in those instances, the officers weren't indicted, or would it ultimately be up to her charging? What do you say?

FENTON: Marilyn Mosby ran on a platform of transparency, of community engagement, and including criticizing her predecessor about the way he handled a previous high-custody police-involved death. She has made statements in the past that she doesn't now feel like a grand jury should be used in a case like this. That the prosecutor should stand behind a decision, make it. They will - they are likely to use a grand jury, however, to preserve testimony. So there's likely people are appearing before a grand jury, giving testimony. They use that as a mechanism to pull people in, get them to talk. But she - if her past statements and the precedent of the office really is any indication, she'll be making the decision herself. It's also worth noting, her lead investigator on this case is Janice Bledso (ph) and she is a long-time criminal defense attorney. She's a first-time prosecutor. She headed the predecessor's police integrity unit for a time and now she's back in this role investigating this case. It's not the homicide unit investigating it, it is the police integrity chief.

BALDWIN: Interesting. To you, sir. So we had Athena Jones at the top of the hour and she was explaining, as it came out today, this was news that there was a previously undisclosed stop of this prisoner transport van taking Freddie Gray ultimately to the police station and ultimately having the paramedics respond, that no one knew about publicly. And you say that's key.

[14:15:15] EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's key because, you know, for the interest of the police department, they've been trying to show that they're being transparent. And they released a timeline. And for them now, today, the last day, the day that they're turning this over, to announce that there was this previously unknown stop, or at least previously undisclosed. And as Athena pointed out, this was discovered so late, I mean this weekend, that they were able to get the stuff off the cameras there. That's shocking, frankly.

And the fact is that the police stops, every stop that van made was supposed to be radioed in. It was supposed to be - over here at the police department there was supposed to be a log of every one of those stops and that was not done. And the question is why? Why was that not done in this one? It raises brand new questions. That is going to be tough for the state attorney's office to have to figure out.

BALDWIN: So it's the why wasn't it disclosed. It's also the what. What do you see on the tape?

PEREZ: What exactly happened.

BALDWIN: Would it be something - because the question is, what happened to Freddie Gray, right? We know he had the severed spine. He ultimately lapsed into a coma and died. Did that happen before the arrest? Did that happen after the leg shackles were placed on him? Did it happen because he wasn't buckled in the van and was bouncing around? Did it happen later? When will we know?

PEREZ: Well, the issue is, you know, they - they've - you know, for every part of this timeline, they've disclosed what happened. And the fact that they only know about this from this private surveillance video, it tells me that the surveillance video is not clear. It doesn't - it's not - it's not decisive as to what exactly occurred. So then now this is up to the state attorney's investigators and perhaps any witnesses, perhaps anybody else who can come forward to provide - to shed some more light on this. That's going to be the answer. It's going to come from that.

BALDWIN: OK. Final question to you, Paul Butler. I mean you're -- you're listening to, you know, Evan question - and I think it's not just Evan, a lot of people questioning sort of the transparency of this police department and all this information that's being handed over to the state's attorney. Just, as you're listening to all of this, what's your takeaway today?

PEREZ: So, you know, in high-profile cases, there's always this need to preserve the integrity of the investigation, but that has to be balanced against the public's right to know. When the police encountered Freddie Gray, he was a healthy 25-year-old man. A week later, he was dead with a crushed vocal box and a severed spine. We've been hearing for week - for a week that the chief of police doesn't know what happened. Now he's saying he knows what happened, but he's not going to share it with us. In a city with tense relations between the community and the police, this move does not move things forward.

BALDWIN: Paul Butler, thank you. Justin Fenton and Evan Perez, thanks, guys, very, very much here.

Coming up on CNN, we are learning more, as we've been discussing, about the city prosecutor and the state's attorney, this is one in the same here, it's how they refer to it in Baltimore. She is Marilyn Mosby. She has barely been on the job. It's been four months. She faces, as Justin was pointing out, just this incredibly tough decision, whether to pursue criminal charges against these police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

Also, a voice of influence here in this city. Former Ravens superstar Ray Lewis. This man is out and about today, headed to a local high school. He wants peace after these riots, but he's also talking to these young people and saying, do not let this historic moment pass you by. Ray Lewis, next.


[14:23:02] BALDWIN: You're watching CNN. We're live here in Baltimore. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

And it's a tough job ahead for Baltimore's new state's attorney. Hours ago we know that police here delivered its report on Freddie Gray's death in police custody to the city prosecutor. She is Marilyn Mosby. And now she's the one to decide whether or not to bring charges against these officers who are currently suspended, involved in this case.

Just a couple of notes for you on Marilyn Mosby. She's actually just been on the job for four months. She is African-American. She is 35 years old. She's actually married to a city councilman here in Baltimore. And she grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, in a family of police officers. Her mother, father, and grandfather were all law enforcement in the city of Boston.

So, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin is here with me. She knows Baltimore better than any of us and knows the mayor.

Always feel like I need to get that out there. What more can you share about Marilyn Mosby?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think what's interesting is, she's very young to be a top prosecutor of a big city like Baltimore City.

BALDWIN: Thirty-five.

HOSTIN: Like Baltimore City. She's only 35 years old. She doesn't have a lot of experience, prosecutorial experience. She was in this very same office for only about four years, a little less than four years. And my understanding is that she hasn't tried a murder case. And so that is a very unique position to be in because typically when you are a state's attorney, you've done it all. You've prosecuted all sorts of cases and you've sort of worked your way up and you have the confidence of not only the police department, but also of the prosecutors that work for you that look to you. So she's now dealing with a very interesting dynamic because she is the top prosecutor, but of course working and being sort of in charge of a lot of prosecutors that have more experience than she does.

So this will be, I think, a huge test of her leadership, quite frankly, because even though she comes from a family of law enforcement, which is very important, I think, in terms of shaping her perspective -


HOSTIN: Her experience is being questioned by certain people in the legal community.

[14:25:01] BALDWIN: Let's hear from her, just a little bit in her own words. This is Marilyn Mosby. This is when she was campaigning for this job.


MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE PROSECUTOR: I learned very early on that the criminal justice system isn't just the police, the judges, and the state's attorneys. It's much more than that. I believe that we are the justice system. We, the members of the community, are the justice system because we are the victims of crimes.


BALDWIN: So you point out and we pointed out, you know, yes, she has law enforcement in her family. Though I also know she's been involved, you know, seeking justice in cases involving officer-involved shootings. We've talked about too many of these cases but I'm wondering when, if ever, would - because we talk about objectivity, right?


BALDWIN: She has to be objective here. When would they make a call to potentially send it to a special prosecutor, somebody removed from the city?

HOSTIN: Yes. I mean I think that call will not be made, quite frankly. I think this is a big case for Baltimore. I think it's a case that a young prosecutor, a state's attorney that's trying to make a name for herself, will want to keep in house and do it right and do it well. But we have seen situations like in Florida where Angela Cory was named a special prosecutor -

BALDWIN: In the George Zimmerman case.

HOSTIN: In the George Zimmerman case and I thought that that was a very smart move. There are going to be questions about this state's attorney's potential conflicts because we know her husband, Nick, is a Baltimore City councilman. And, quite frankly, this incident happened in his district.

BALDWIN: That's right.

HOSTIN: And so that's going to be questioned. Her ties to Billy Murphy, her close ties to Billy Murphy, who is defending - or representing, at least, the Gray family. Those ties are going to be questioned. And so this is a case, I think, that she's going to keep in her office, but it will be a true test of her leadership.

BALDWIN: She's got the case one day early here in Baltimore. Sunny Hostin, thank you so much.

HOSTIN: You bet.

BALDWIN: And, you know, listening to the police about 90 minutes ago, they said they will give a news conference every 90 minutes. So we're waiting and watching to see potentially the captain, the deputy commissioner, the commissioner here. We're standing by for that.

Also ahead, former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis definitely a voice of influence here in the city. He went to one of the local schools this morning and wanted to talk to these young people, and we spoke with him. Hear from Ray Lewis himself coming up. You're watching CNN's special live coverage.