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Teen Shooting Sparks Protests; Interview with Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nada; Iraqi Forces Surge into Baghdad; Stranded Iraqis Get More Aid; NASCAR Star Hits, Kills Driver

Aired August 11, 2014 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We have got it all. You have a great day. NEWSROOM starts now.

Happening now in the NEWSROOM


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's at least three more stores being looted at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be advised the disturbance on (inaudible) is getting bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're seeing a lot of windows being smashed, people running out with clothing.

COSTELLO: Protests over the shooting death of an unarmed teenager turned violent and ugly. And a community demanding answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was unarmed. He ran for his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to take a look at this. We're going to do it thoroughly.

COSTELLO: Also, U.S. airstrikes inside Iraq are working.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Those airstrikes also allowing Kurdish forces to create a safe passage for many of the Yazidis that are stuck on that mountain.

COSTELLO: As the push to secure Baghdad begins.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can help, we can advise, but we can't do it for them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just an unbelievable tragedy. Our hearts go out to obviously Kevin and his family.

COSTELLO: Tragedy on the track. Investigators trying to figure out how three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart struck and killed a young sprint car racer. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ward family.

COSTELLO: Let's talk, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO (on camera): And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

We begin in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Police are calling for calm this morning after a night of looting and fires. This is what the city looked like last night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just at the sporting goods store and then looked behind me and the shopping center, at least three more stores being looted at this point. We're seeing a lot of windows being smashed, people running out with clothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything on me.


COSTELLO: Here is another look at the unrest last night. Flames shooting from a quick trip gas station that was looted.

This all started when protesters took to the streets over the shooting of an unarmed teenager Saturday night by police. Witnesses say it was unprovoked. But Ferguson's police chief says the teenager got into a physical confrontation with an officer and tried to take his gun.

That African-American teenager, 18-year-old Michael Brown, was supposed to start his freshman year of college today. But now his parents preparing to plan his funeral. Brown's high school teachers called him a gentle giant who didn't cause any trouble.

CNN's George Howell is live in Ferguson, Missouri, with more for us. Hi, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, fair to say it was one hell of a night. And we found ourselves really caught in the middle of it all.

What was started as a peaceful march, a peaceful protest, a call for action, was all but hijacked by some people who came to take advantage of the moment and cause chaos.


HOWELL (voice-over): Across the city, a night of pure chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your warning, leave the area, disperse.

HOWELL: People pushing the limit with police. Racial tensions, nerves on edge, even an officer we caught on camera gave into his rage calling protesters animals. Listen.


HOWELL: Many here are angry about witnesses say was an unprovoked attack on an unarmed teenager. Michael Brown, shot and killed Saturday by a Ferguson Police officer.

We watched as a struggle played out Sunday night. Some protesters who took to the streets trying to keep the peace while taking a stand against police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really a peace march. It is nothing to -- it is nothing to start to -- this is all about peace.

HOWELL (on camera): It's not a peace march anymore. I mean, you hear what's happening. You see them, these confrontations between people and police officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And it got outrageous.

HOWELL (voice-over): Others who simply came to cause trouble.

(On camera): All right. Police are still stationary right now. But I want to show you what's happening over at that JC Wireless. People broke through the glass and right now you can see people running in and out. Apparently looting that store.

(Voice-over): Cell phone video captures the frenzy of stores being looted. Some people threw rocks and bottles.

The sound of gunshots rang out several times Sunday night. We had to take cover. All of this started as a peaceful march Sunday for Michael Brown's family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You took my son away from me. You know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level where they feel like they I don't got nothing to live for anyway, they're going to try to take me out anyway.

HOWELL: The victim's friend says they were walking together when Brown was stopped by a police officer. Witnesses say the teen had his hands in the air at the time he was shot and killed. But police tell a different story, that Brown instigated the altercation, physically assaulting the officer while in his car and struggling to take his gun. The unanswered questions sparked people to take action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are (INAUDIBLE) for the community. Caucasian, African-American, Asian, everyone. Doesn't matter what color you are. Get out here and support your people.

HOWELL: Police made several arrests. Several hours of insanity for the moment distracting from the greater call for justice.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: With light of day certainly things are calmer and we know that there was a planned rally, a peaceful rally that was set to happen here in front of the Ferguson Police Department. But we are getting some new information coming from CNN affiliate KSDK that that planned rally for the moment has been canceled -- Carol.

COSTELLO: George, what initially started this? Why did police initially confront Brown?

HOWELL: You know, you hear two very different accounts of what happened. If you ask police, they say that Brown sparked an altercation, started an altercation with that officer, while he was in his car, according to police, and then shots were fired. But we're hearing a different story from a young man who was walking with Brown. He says the two were walking together, they were stopped by police, questioned, and he says that Brown had his hands in the air when that officer fired the fatal shots.

How many shots still unclear. We know that there are several investigations into this and we know that we expect to hear more soon, but this is a matter that has certainly sparked outrage in this community. People are demanding justice. They say that what happened to Michael Brown was an injustice.

COSTELLO: All right, George Howell reporting live from Ferguson, Missouri, this morning.

Joining me now on the phone is State Senator Maria Chappelle Nadal. Good morning.


COSTELLO: What's being done to keep the calm in Ferguson?

NADAL: What we're trying to do is have a very clear message to residents and other concerned citizens in the area that we need to see transparency. We do want justice for this community and for the family of Mike Brown. But we have to remain cool, calm and collect. And frankly many of the people who are in that community and my Senate district are upset because of the violence last night. And it is certainly not condoned whatsoever.

I want to make clear that there were two vigils last night and the second vigil that we held last night was not violent at all. We heard the sirens and we were at the police station last night because simply people would not leave. And I wanted to make sure that instead of going to the other site in the (INAUDIBLE) neighborhood that we also held the second peaceful vigil last night. And that's not being reported on at all.


NADAL: But we are talking to people, trying to keep tempers down.

(CROSSTALK) COSTELLO: Senator, in looking at these pictures -- in looking at the pictures of these looters, it is difficult not to concentrate on this because frankly they're scary pictures. What are the police doing to investigate this part of the incident?

NADAL: Well, they're doing their job frankly. Our officers, there are a lot of great officers who are out there, who are doing -- I believe one was beaten up last night and they're responding. They're not only responding to the looters, but they're responding to the victims and there are a lot of victims in this community at the same time there are a lot of people who are angry.

They're there on the scene. We saw several different police cars that left the police station last night as well as our firefighters who left and responded. And today we are in the streets again trying to keep people calm.

We need to focus on Michael Brown and his family. That is why we are here. We need to be talking about transparent investigation.

COSTELLO: Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, thanks so much for being with me this morning. I appreciate it.

Now to Iraq and what one man tells CNN is no longer a crisis, but a catastrophe. He and thousands of other Yazidi religious minorities people rescued this weekend after being targeted by the radical Islamist group known as ISIS, Kurdish forces helping them escape to shelter in northern Iraq.

The rescue comes amid reports that Iraqi forces have surged into parts of Baghdad as a possible sign of tension between the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iraq's new president.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is in Washington while correspondent Anna Coren is in Irbil. Barbara, I want to start with you. Good morning.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. Iraq now clearly a full blown military and political crisis for the administration.


STARR (voice-over): This morning, political chaos in Iraq. The prime minister of the country in crisis, Nouri al-Maliki, flexing military muscle amid fears of being ousted. Maliki, who is in charge of the Iraqi military, increased the numbers of Iraqi troops, security forces, and tanks in Baghdad on Sunday, including in Baghdad's Green Zone, the location of the Iraqi parliament, and the largest U.S. embassy in the world.

A troubling sign after Iraq's new president allowed more time for the national coalition to find a replacement for the prime minister.

Maliki said the extension is a violation of the constitution that would lead the political process into a dark tunnel. The U.S. says they back the new Iraqi president.

Only 220 miles north in Irbil, one apparent consequence of a government divided.

ISIS' murderous rampage hampered by U.S. airstrikes over the weekend. The U.S. conducting five airstrikes near Irbil to defend Kurdish forces protecting U.S. personnel and four airstrikes near Sinjar, defending Yazidi civilians.

Kurdish forces were able to recapture two towns south of Irbil, pushing back ISIS militants. The U.S. response helping to break the siege by ISIS and allow thousands of the religious minority trapped on Mount Sinjar to be rescued.

The U.S. also conducting its fourth air drop of food and water as the humanitarian crisis worsens, totaling over 70,000 meals and 15,000 gallons of water now delivered.

OBAMA: Our military obviously can play an extraordinarily important role in bolstering efforts of a Iraqi partner as they make the right steps to keep their country together. But we can't do it for them.


STARR: But make no mistake, ISIS far from down and out. In fact, U.S. intelligence agencies are growing increasingly concerned that new fighters may be flocking to ISIS' ranks -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Barbara Starr, reporting live from the Pentagon.

Let's head out to Iraq now and Anna Coren.

What is the situation on the ground there?

COREN: Well, certainly here in Irbil, which is the capital of Kurdistan, Carol, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees from religious minorities including Christians who have fled here seeking safety and refuge. But for those people stuck on that mountain, Mount Sinjar, it is dire.

Yes, 20,000 people have managed to get off there, the Yazidis, this religious and ethnic minority. And that is thanks to those U.S. airstrikes allowing the Kurdish forces Peshmerga to get in and create the safe passage. But there are still tens of thousands who are trapped on that mountain surrounded by these ISIS militants.

Now, Carol, we spoke to representatives of the Kurdish regional government here and they said that they need the United States to conduct more airstrikes. They need this to be a prolonged campaign so that their forces can get on the ground, claim back the towns that ISIS has taken. They were able to do that yesterday. Within 20 miles of us here in Irbil. But certainly they need that to continue so they can rescue the rest of those people stuck on Mount Sinjar -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Anna Coren reporting live from Irbil, Iraq. Still to come in the NEWSROOM, tragedy on a New York dirt track as

NASCAR's star Tony Stewart hits and kills a fellow competitor.

CNN's Alexandra Field is following the investigation for us.

Good morning.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning, Carol. A 20- year-old driver was killed when he stepped out on to the track. We'll take a look at why he may have gotten out of his car coming up right after the break.


COSTELLO: An Upstate New York sheriff says the investigation into the death of a race car driver is far from complete. Twenty-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. was killed during a dirt track race Saturday night after being hit by NASCAR star Tony Stewart.

Stewart's number 14 car seems to make contact with Kevin Ward, actually, its back tire did. Actually, it seemed to make contact with the car and then Ward's car spun out of control.

And then Ward, as you see, gets out of his car. He's walking on the track toward the other cars and pointing his finger. We're going to stop the video before the impact.

But the right rear tire of Stewart's car appeared to hit ward. Ward died on the way to the hospital.

CNN's Alexander Field is in Watkins Glen, New York, with more for us. Good morning.

FIELD: Hey, good morning, Carol.

Investigators still looking closely at what happened there. They tell us they're doing a crash reconstruction. They're also trying to get any video that was recorded on Saturday night when that crash happened.

They tell us that Tony Stewart and his team have been talking with investigators, at the same time Stewart is also talking to his fans, issuing a statement, letting them know why he made a last-minute decision not to race here at the Glen just a day after that crash.


FIELD (voice-over): Tragedy on the race track, 20-year-old race car driver Kevin Ward, Jr., killed after he steps out of his car and onto the track, hit by one of the sport's greatest drivers, Tony Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion.

GREG ZIPADELLI, STEWART-HAAS RACING, COMPETITION DIRECTOR: It's just an unbelievable tragedy. Our hearts go out to obviously Kevin and his family. FIELD: The deadly hit coming after the 14th lap of the 25-lap race on

this dirt track in Upstate New York, Saturday night. Watch what happens as Stewart's car closes in onward's cutting him off. Ward's car is forced up against the wall where he spins out.

As the race continues, amateur video shows Ward out of his car pointing his finger, seemingly in the direction of Stewart's car. One car swerves around ward. Stewart's car hits him, Ward's death now under investigation.

SHERRIFF PHIP POVERO, ONTARIO COUNTY, NEW YORK: The investigation, when it's completed, we will sit down with the district attorney and review it. I want to make it very clear -- there are no criminal charges pending at this time.

FIELD: Stewart is cooperating with investigators. On Sunday, the NASCAR great decided to pull out of another race just hours before it started saying in part, "It's a very emotional time for all involved and it's the reason I've decided not to participate in today's race."

A year ago, on the same dirt tracks, Stewart was part of the multi-car pileup, later reportedly claiming responsibility for that crash.

JIM UTTER, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER NASCAR PRODUCTION: He pretty much puts everything he has in every race that he's in.

FIELD: Stewart is known to show passion for racing. At times, he's been called hot-headed, one seemed throwing a helmet to other driver, a kind of confrontation that isn't uncommon in the high stakes sport, one where drivers have been seen stepping out onto a course during a race before.

UTTER: It just looked like to me someone who got wrecked by Tony Stewart was very upset, wanted to show his displeasure. And in the process of doing that, got caught up in a terrible accident.


FIELD: All right, this is what the sheriff's office is investigating right now. But NASCAR is also weighing in on this ongoing investigation. They say that they are respecting the process and the timeline of local authorities.

But, Carol, they also say they will continue to monitor this situation. A lot of people in the racing world looking at what happened Saturday night and how it could have possibly been prevented.

COSTELLO: Alexander Field reporting live for us this morning -- thank you.

Let's bring in Rachel Nichols now, host of CNN's "UNGUARDED" and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin. Welcome to both of you.

Rachel, I want to start with you because when the accident happened, NASCAR kind of said, we don't have anything to do with it, we don't run that race. Now, they're sort of kind of getting involved. How involved will NASCAR actually get?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST, "UNGUARDED": Yes, there is tone deafness on Saturday morning. There was a quote floating around from someone in Tony Stewart's organization saying that he planned to race, and not only that, but it was, quote, "business as usual," when, of course, there was a 20-year-old kid killed that could never be business as usual there is behind the scenes machinations, at the end of it, Tony Steward did decide not to race. It's unclear whether someone talked him out of it, whether he was too shaken up.

But it's going to be a big question mark going forward, because this is not only there is criminal charges, which Sunny will get into, that are possibly looming, but just in terms of the sport, and people's associations with the sport, and the brand of Tony Stewart.

There are tens of millions of dollars that flowed around this guy. He owns race teams. He's an important part of NASCAR. They're going to have to make some changes.

COSTELLO: And it seems as if NASCAR kind of enjoyed his hot headedness, it brought excitement to the sport.

I want to read through some of the things -- some of the things that points to him being a hot head. Stewart had trouble at the track before, last year, got into a post race fight with Joey Logano. Two years ago he threw his helmet at Matt Kenseth's car after Kenseth knocked him out of the race. In 2004, an in race incident with Brian Vickers. Stewart shoved a photographer at Indy Motor Speedway in 2002.

So, NASCAR has been putting up with had kind of behavior for a long time.

NICHOLS: And Tony Stewart made a lot of money off of this type of behavior. Don't have any question about that. His reputation as a hot head playing that character, that rebel, it is something that has won him a lot of fans. And we saw him during Alexander's piece, the Kenseth incident, he goes on to the track in front of a moving car and throws a helmet at the other driver that is kind of what we saw on the dirt track Saturday night. You can see where this comes from.

COSTELLO: OK. So I'm not saying being a hot head means that you deliberately kill someone on the track, Sunny, but investigators will surely look into his past behavior when they start to investigate.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think they will, actually. I've given that a lot of thought. The bottom line is it is very difficult when you're trying to investigate a case and you're trying to prove what you would need to prove in a case like this, criminal intent. How do you get inside someone's mind? How do we know what he was thinking at that time? Investigators are then going to think, well, this guy has a reputation for being such a hot head, he thrives on it. You know, could this just be an accident or is there something more?

I think what is also interesting is that you see the victim get out of his car, and in an angry way and point at Tony Stewart, at his car right before impact. And so, then, you start wondering as an investigator, was there some sort of animus between these two, were there words before the race, were there words said days before the race, on the day of the race?

So, these are things investigators are going to have to look at. They say Tony Stewart is being cooperative with the investigation and I'm sure they're going to speak to him as well. But I think we should all note that while the sheriff said no criminal charges have been pressed, no criminal charges are pending, this is a very young investigation. This just happened.

So, we're going to hear more and more about what happened.

COSTELLO: As far as NASCAR doesn't control the race, where this terrible incident happened, but getting out of your car, walking across the track, when cars are coming at you, 120 miles an hour, right?

NICHOLS: Let's say the investigation finds this was a total accident on Tony Stewart's part, and that is certainly possible. Even if that is the case, you have to think that this incident is going to change behaviors of the drivers before they think to step out of the cars because just a few hours before that fatal incident happened, over down the road at Watkins Glen and the nationwide race, another driver got out of his car and went to the edge of the track and started pointing at one of the drivers. So, it happens all the time. You got to think that's going to change.

And maybe this racing circuit will start to institute new rules saying you have to stay in your car unless it is on fire, basically. And if not, you're going to be penalized.

And why that would be effective, guys, is not only would it maybe spur the guy to stay in because he doesn't want to be penalized, it gives him an out. Right now, there is such a culture in racing that you got to defend yourself, you got to protect your turf, you got to stand up for yourself. Well, if the rule says you can't do that or your whole team are going to be penalized, guys maybe are allowed to stay in their cars in a way they're not right now.

HOSTIN: I got to tell you, I'm so surprised. I mean, I don't know that much about NASCAR. I know it is such a popular sport. My friends watch it.

I am surprised that those rules and regulations aren't in place already. I'm surprised the penalties aren't in place already. We have seen that, I think, as you said, as a culture, we have seen it in hockey, certainly, we've seen in basketball, we've seen it in football.

And I think those penalties have really been a deterrent.

NICHOLS: Yes, fighting in hockey, right now everyone sort of turns a blind eye it is against the rules but hey, everyone likes it, it is part of the game. I think when there are serious incidents, people take a step back from that and same thing in this sport.

COSTELLO: Rachel Nichols, Sunny Hostin, thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Still to come in THE NEWSROOM, a new cease-fire, now new hopes for a peace deal as Israel and Hamas return to the negotiating table.

Reza Sayah is live in Cairo with more. Hi, Reza.


The Israelis and Palestinians back here in Cairo talking again instead of fighting. But is this cease-fire going to be different? Can they get it right this time and establish lasting truce? An update on these very important negotiations coming up after the break.