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Two Reporters Arrested Overnight in Ferguson, Missouri; Interview with Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly; Interview with Bob Gruen;
Aired August 14, 2014 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, violence you're seeing right there raging overnight in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting death of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, by a police officer. This happened on Saturday.
Police, they released tear gas and flash bombs on protesters who reportedly threw Molotov cocktails. Eighteen people were arrested during the chaos including two reporters. This video taken by "Washington Post" reporter Wesley Lowery when police entered the McDonald's where he had been sitting down to charge his phone and do some work. The other reporter who was arrested is Ryan Reilly with the "Huffington Post". They're both joining us now by phone.
Gentlemen, can you both hear me?
RYAN REILLY, "HUFFINGTON POST" (via telephone): Yes, I can hear you.
BOLDUAN: Good. Thank you so much. So Ryan, first tell me -- lay it out for us, what happened last night to you guys in the McDonald's?
REILLY: Sure, so essentially the McDonald's is located just down the street from where a lot of the protests have been taking place, so it's been a place where journalists can plug in their laptops and phones and recharge and get the wifi and get a bit of work done.
So we were sitting there, and I saw the -- slowly the number of police officers all dressed in SWAT uniforms moving down the street and closing off the street. Wanted to sort of take a few photos from inside the McDonald's at which point some of the officers walked into the McDonald's.
Eventually, they ended up essentially deciding they were going to shut the McDonald's down. Because we were sort of spread out there and set up and had our laptops spread out, it was taking us, you know -- you need a little bit of time to get our things together. We were also trying to record because this is sort of an extraordinary moment when you had SWAT team officers inside a McDonald's shutting it down. You know, it's an image you'd want to get for your news reports.
And at that point, the officers became upset that I think that both of us were probably filming and while we were trying to pack -- and this is all over a very short period of time that we were placed into handcuffs. We were given a countdown essentially of how long we should be able to take to actually pack up our things.
BOLDUAN: So then Wesley, why then were you arrested? What did they tell you?
WESLEY LOWERY, "WASHINGTON POST" (via telephone): They told us very little. Essentially I asked specifically under what charges am I being held, why am I being detained. He said for trespassing. So we were trespassing as patrons of a McDonald's where we both made purchases and had been working for a long period of time. The police I guess now have jurisdiction over a private business.
BOLDUAN: Well, if they were shutting it down, maybe they were doing it for safety. I mean, I'm not trying to give them any credit but I'm trying to figure this all out and I know you are as well.
I mean, I'm hearing -- so play it out. Continue this story for me. Because then -- so you're arrested, you're put -- you've got handcuffs on, or the handcuffs they use in these kind of scenes, and you're taken to the police station. Then what happened?
LOWERY: Well, I mean, to rewind, to address that for a second -- you know, I would love -- all of this went down, as you can see in the video, in less than two minutes. There were not any protests within two blocks of us. I would love an explanation from the police department about what the imminent risk to our safety was, to be forcibly removed from a McDonald's while we were trying to pack up our bags.
LOWERY: We ended up standing outside the McDonald's for 15 minutes in the handcuffs. We were in the same location, so what was the public safety? I would love for the county police chief, whose officers were doing this, to come on someone's show and explain to us what this imminent risk to our own safety was.
BOLDUAN: Well, believe me, we're --
LOWERY: And there's been a lot of irresponsible speculation I think out there about sort of what happened here. Oh, we were somehow trying to provoke this or we were somehow trying to, you know, we weren't following instruction.
This is a situation where we are trying to record what was taking place, which was extraordinary, and the attitudes the officers had toward all of the people in the establishment. while we were complying with their tightly time-regulated rules for trying to get our things packed up.
I think the countdown for me started at 45 seconds and quickly went down to 30 and I mean -- we had all of our things spread out throughout the desk. It takes a while to actually get, you know, two computers and all of your charging equipment into a bag.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Well, believe me, we've been talking about it this morning. I've written many a story from a McDonald's, recharged many a computer when you're out in the field from a McDonald's. I mean, any journalist knows you kind of go into a -- any kind of store you can get who's going to allow you to sit there and actually recharge your devices when you're in the middle of all this. We all know this scenario; that's for sure.
I found this interesting and I want to get your guys' take. We actually spoke to -- CNN spoke to the Ferguson police chief overnight about this and he actually said that he didn't know at the time who the arresting officers were, but he did said this about you guys, that you were two really nice guys, you'd had a good conversation, and he actually pointed out that, oddly enough, he'd been interviewed by both of you prior to the arrest. Seems a bit of a disconnect between the police chief and the guys under his control
REILLY: Well, they're not under his control and that's the point.
LOWERY: Yes, and I mean -- the officer who banged my head up against the glass was a St. Louis County officer who refused to identify himself over a dozen times after I was arrested, and all of the officers who were surrounding him who were from multiple jurisdictions also refused in any way to give me any sort of name or badge number or any information about the person who assaulted me. So it's just completely striking that all of these people would just sort of disregard our request for simple information about what happened to us.
BOLDUAN: And Wesley, I want to get your take on this. This happened to you guys overnight. We know that you guys are -- you're fortunately OK, you're not under arrest anymore. You were released from your holding cell that you were in.
But you're going to get it from both sides and Joe Scarborough, one of our friends over at MSNBC, this morning he had said, and I'm sure you guys have heard it and I want to get you guys to respond to it, he said you should have listened to the police and you should have just moved on. Was that a possibility?
LOWERY: Well, I would invite Joe Scarborough to come down to Ferguson and get out of 30 Rock where he's sitting there sipping his Starbucks smugly. I invite him to come down here and talk to the residents of Ferguson where I've been Monday afternoon having tear gas shot at me, having rubber bullets shot at me, having mothers and daughters crying, having a 19-year-old boy crying that he had to run and pull his 21- year-old sister out from a cloud of tear gas. He thought she was going to die.
I invite Joe Scarborough down here and to do some reporting on the ground, and then he can -- and then maybe we can have an educated conversation about what's happening here.
Frankly, as a reporter on the ground, and I'm certainly not perfect and it's not to say I couldn't change little pieces of what I've done. But let me be clear about this -- I have little patience for talking heads. This is too important. This is a community, a community in the United States of America, where things are on fire. There are things on fire; this community is on edge. There's so much happening here, and instead of putting more reporters on the ground, we have people like Joe Scarborough who are running their mouth and have no idea what they're talking about.
BOLDUAN: And on that, Wesley, do you regret anything that happened last night?
LOWERY: I regret the police were heavy-handed. I regret that they felt they could infringe on my First Amendment rights to videotape them. I regret that, when I said my bag's fallen, I just need to adjust it, they refused to allow me to do that.
You know why I regret that? Because so much happened. As I looked at the coverage by my phone, reporters on the ground here, there are so many people doing good work. So many stories need to be told last night - the tear gas, the way the riot police were acting, the protesters were being arrested, you had a local assemblyman arrested who's still in custody. My job now here is to be a reporter. I wish the police would have done their job and allowed us to do ours, so I could've told some of the stories happening down there.
BOLDUAN: Yes, if there's any regret, it's that you became the story rather than covering the story. Do you feel the same way, Ryan?
REILLY: Yes, it's really frustrating. We gathered a lot of good material that I would have loved to get out there yesterday, had it not been for the fact that I was detained and whisked away because apparently I didn't pack up my bags speedily enough for some cops who got a little hot-headed here.
And it's just -- it's just really amazing. You know, it's a distraction honestly and it was a completely unnecessary situation. We're trying to do our jobs here, and they -- the attitude that the officers who we dealt was just extraordinary.
I mean, I'm angry, frankly. You sort of understand some of the frustration honestly that I think people feel, based on the mentality of at least some of the police officers that are on the street. And obviously they have a very tough job. We don't want to take away from that. I'm sure they're under a lot of pressure, probably don't have as much sleep as they could, but the idea that we posed any sort of threat because we weren't quickly enough packing up our bags is just ludicrous.
BOLDUAN: We're going to continue to try to get more information of how it transpired in terms of what the position of those police officers, or that SWAT team was. We're going to be continuing to seek comment from the Ferguson Police Department and all of the agencies that have been involved.
But regardless, Ryan, Wesley, thank you very much for jumping on the phone. Thanks for your good reporting. We'll continue to look for your pieces on both the "Washington Post" and the "Huffington Post". Thanks for your time, guys.
REILLY: Thank you. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Everyone likes to make fun of the media from
time to time, but we're lucky we have guys who care that much on the ground there.
BOLDUAN: They care.
BERMAN: Say what you want, maybe more facts will come out in the altercation, but to care that much about reporting the story is important, and we're lucky to have them there.
BOLDUAN: It's not easy to be in the middle of it. They're there to do a job. Cooler heads definitely need to prevail. The protests -- the clashes shouldn't happen. Cooler heads need to prevail, as Benjamin Crump says, as the family of Michael Brown say. But regardless, these guys got caught up in something and I appreciate their reporting.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: What I also appreciate, too, is that, you know, sort of outsiders, coming from outside of the community, are there and are that impassioned about the story. That's an important thing, and that's why we need to have journalists on the ground to show what's going on, because people think, oh, it's just the community getting riled. No, it's not.
BOLDUAN: It's a good thing we have good news organizations; the "Washington Post" and the "Huffington Post" standing by their reporters.
We're going to be -- we're going to take another break but we'll be right back. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the theater world pays a moving tribute to Robin Williams. Broadway dims its lights -- you can see it right there -- to honor the beloved comedian.
PEREIRA: Alright, here are the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.
PEREIRA (voice-over): At number one, violent protests take over Ferguson, Missouri, for the fifth straight night. Police use tear gas to disperse large crowds that are angry over the police shooting death of Michael Brown. In the mean time, the group Anonymous has released the name of the officer is claims shot Brown. CNN is not going to report this name until we get confirmation.
U.S. military officials say a mass evacuation of people from Iraq's Mt. Sinjar is unlikely thanks to air strikes that have cleared the way now for thousands of people to escape ISIS on their own.
Staying in the Mid-East a five-day cease-fire extension is in Gaza, is holding, despite a brief round of attacks just moments after that truce was announced. Israel responded after being targeted by rocket fire. Pope Francis making a historic first trip to South Korea. His visit,
however, was preceded by at least three short-range rocket launches from North Korea. Those rockets fell into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.
Robin Williams will be honored during this month's Emmy awards broadcast. Last night, Broadway dimmed its lights for a minute in honor of the late comic. He starred in several shows on Broadway. His last was "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" back in 2011.
PEREIRA (on camera): We do update those five things to know so be sure to visit newdayCNN.com for the very latest.
A short break here for us. But ahead, it was the decade of hippies, flower power and good old rock 'n' roll. We're going to take a look back at how the '60s counter culture transformed America with a man who had a very intriguing view.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We moved up and lived right down the street from the psychedelic shop. People were growing their hair long, they're wearing beads, they were playing music on the street. It was just an incredible environment at that point at the beginning. That's when it was just like one big giant family.
PEREIRA: That was a look at tonight's episode of the CNN Emmy- nominated series "THE SIXTIES: SEX, DRUGS, ROCK 'N' ROLL.". They say if you can remember the '60s you weren't there. Our next guest is famed rock photographer Bob Gruen not only remembers the '60s, but was responsible for photographing many of the decade's rock legends, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner. He documented them all in his book called "Rock Seen," spelled s-e-e-n. He joins us now, what a pleasure to have you here.
BOB GRUEN, ROCK 'N' ROLL: PHOTOGRAPHER: Thank you for having me.
PEREIRA: I think about the fact that you got a view that so very few did. What was your experience? And it's hard to sum it up in just a minute, but how was your experience of the '60s different from what we may have seen?
GRUEN: Well I was there and I took part of it, you know, the turn on, tune in and drop out. I did that and lived with a rock 'n' roll band and it was a lot of fun.
PEREIRA: But you did it from behind the lens so you were kind of this guy in the room who wasn't really in the room but was in the room.
GRUEN: I was there. I did document it. I always felt there was something important I needed to show to other people. Actually show and tell was my favorite subject and I like to see exciting things and I like to tell people about them
PEREIRA: And what was the story that you were trying to tell?
GRUEN: Well, the excitement that was going on, you know, like when Bob Dylan played at Newport with the rock 'n' roll band. I think he was kind of expressing that rock 'n' roll is now the new folk music of America.
PEREIRA: How did you earn their trust and get access so easily?
GRUEN: Well, by not bothering them. By being there, by not intruding, by being part of what was going on and gaining their trust by not exposing them by trying to work with them and show things in a good light.
PEREIRA: You know, those of us that were born after that time but have very much felt its influence often try to find ourselves trying to understand what made that decade so special. You talk about freedom. You talk about the revolution that was behind some of the music. What is your sense?
GRUEN: In growing up in the '50s after the second world war we were kind of imbued with the spirit that it was a free country, that our parent's generation had died for our freedom. And I remember being 5 years old and not wanting to go to a flag raising at camp and I said it's a free country, I can do what I want and I think that that was a very important feeling that we all had and still have, you know. And then in the '60s it kind of just grew a lot more and people wanted to experiment and they were free to do so.
PEREIRA: Do you find messages in today's music?
PEREIRA: Yes, do you find the same kind of spirit alive in today's music, or is it a different kind of expression or rebellion?
GRUEN: Well, it's a little different nowadays. People are still going back to their Jimi Hendrix records, their Janis Joplin records. The 60's music is still strong. Buffalo Springfield, you know, very serious message, and another thing was like when Bob Dylan started writing songs out of the folk music era but putting it to rock 'n' roll, I think that people started believing that they could write their own songs, you didn't have to have a song writer and then a singer. That the singer could actually write his own songs and say what he wanted to say and we had the freedom to do that.
PEREIRA: You were looking around at some of the images that we have on the wall and I'm sure it takes you back and you can tell the story behind each one of them.
GRUEN: I remember being there.
PEREIRA: You remember being there and you can probably remember the sounds and the smells.
GRUEN: I remember what it sounded like and what it felt like, yes.
PEREIRA: Absolutely. Do you have favorites or can you not pick amongst them?
GRUEN: It's like choosing your favorite child, you know, I can't really do that but these are some of my favorites, certainly. Bob Dylan at Newport, John Lennon with the New York t-shirt. I think the one with John Lennon at the Statue of Liberty though is very important because people relate to the Statue of Liberty in terms of personal freedom and think they think of John Lennon in the same way. For me rock 'n' roll is all about the freedom to express yourself. Very loudly.
PEREIRA: Very loudly, I like that. And you're still going to rock clubs?
GRUEN: Oh, yes.
PEREIRA: Four or five times a week I hear.
GRUEN: Well I don't really, actually I'm sorry to say this on CNN, but I don't really like to watch TV. I like to go out.
PEREIRA: Shocking as it might be to hear it while you're on Tv.
GRUEN: People have to get out there and experience life.
PEREIRA: Absolutely, you have to live life. You absolutely do. Thank you so much for being here. What a tremendous, tremendous life you're enjoying. "THE SIXTIES: SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK 'N' ROLL" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN. But also check out his book, too. "Rock Seen."
GRUEN: And I have an exhibit in the pop gallery in the Citicorp building here in New York
PEREIRA: I'm going to have to go check it out. Thanks so much, Bob. We're going to take a short break, but we're going to head back to our top story, the protests ongoing in Ferguson, Missouri. Is there going to be another day of violence? We're going to take you there live at the top of our hour.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much for being with us today. We're going to hand you over to "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello now. Hi, Carol.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we have a lot to talk about. Thanks so much. NEWSROOM starts now.