Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Police Video Shows Brown in Store Robbery; Michael Brown's Family "Beyond Outraged"; Dorian Johnson's Attorney Speaks Out; Release of Video Sparks Outrage; Michael Brown: A Closer Look; Protesters Gather in Ferguson, Carry Signs, Chant
Aired August 15, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Good evening everyone from Ferguson, I'm Don Lemon.
It has been quite a day here. It began with the naming of the local police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown. It was accompanied by surveillance video released by a police taken in a local convenient store showing two African-American men allegedly Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson stealing cigars and Brown shoving or manhandling the clerk.
In a daylong cloud of confusion from Police Chief Thomas Jackson, first leaving the impression that Officer Wilson was responding to the robbery call when he shot Michael Brown, then later today contradicting it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF THOMAS JACKSON, FERGUSON POLICE: There were two separate officers, this robbery does not relate to the -- initial contact between the officer and Michael Brown. The initial contact between the officer and Mr. Brown was not related to the robbery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't he stop Michael Brown?
JACKSON: Because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic.
UNIDENTIFIFED MALE: Do you mind ...
JACKSON: That was it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Having said that, Chief Jackson then gave the local paper and yet another version. The officer he said actually did know about the robbery but was not aware that Michael Brown was a suspect. That is not until he might have seen those cigarillos in Brown's hand. And as you might imagine, neither the changing story nor the decision to release the video to begin with is winning many friends here. You'll hear from the Brown family tonight from Dorian Johnson's attorney and many others. But first, more on the surveillance video from 360's Randi Kaye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ferguson Market and Liquor, Saturday morning, what you're about to see is what police call a strong armed robbery. They say that's Michael Brown entering the store. White T- shirt, long tan shorts and a red Cardinals baseball hat, his friend, Dorian Johnson right behind him. It's 11:52 a.m. and 58 seconds according to the police incident report, the surveillance camera shows four seconds later Brown is at the counter. Watch closely, see the store employee in the red shirt apparently coming from the rest room, she goes behind the counter. Just 12 seconds later, police say Brown reaches for a box of Swisher Sweets cigars and hands them to Johnson without paying for them.
What happens next is a bit obscured by a display case but watch closely here. Police say there's some sort of confrontation involving Brown, a struggle. Police say Brown grabbed more cigars. He'd been in the store now just 32 seconds. Seven seconds later, Brown's friend Johnson puts the box of cigars Brown handed him back on the counter returning them. But police say, Brown just seconds later bends down to pick up some cigars he dropped even looks a customer in the eye then makes his way to the door.
At the door about 10 seconds later, a store employee who appears to have a set of keys in his hand attempts to put himself between the man believed to be Brown in the exit door. Still holding the cigars in his right hand, the man police say is Brown grabs the clerk with his left hand and clearly shoves him back into a display rack. It all might have ended there, but take a look at what happens next just about one minute into this.
Police say, instead of leaving right away, Brown turns back one final time, advancing on the store employee who tried to stop him. Towering over him, police say it was an attempt to intimidate the employee who quickly backs down. Only then does Brown turn in exit at 11:54 a.m. He's in and out of the store in one minute and two seconds, about 10 minutes later, he's dead.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. Randi, thank you very much and of course the releasing of that video tape driving protesters back here to the spot to Q.T. the -- to quick check the market some of them now tonight because of the rain or having to stand under the old rain where people are usually pumping their gas.
People were upset by the releasing of that video, were you upset by it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little bit.
LEMON: Yeah. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I believe that the truth will out at the end and, you know, excuses are for people who make them and accept them. And right now, we as a community are not accepting any more excuses that they throw out there to us. We're not taking any more evidence that they throw out to us especially if we're not easily accessible to it then we have a problem with that.
LEMON: Is it that much trust for law enforcement here? That much -- distrust I should say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, yes, because how I see it. If that were the case that he committed a robbery, they would have had that on a 4:00 news, the 10:00 news that evening ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... the early 5:00 news the next morning. They wouldn't have waited almost a week later to delegate or, you know, free their officer or give his name. They had to post together the pictures, they had to post together the video footage and made sure that it was grainy so that we couldn't see and so we know the truth.
LEMON: All right. Well, thank you very much. I'm going to show our viewers around here because again tonight here on the street, let's walk this way, tonight here on the street, protesters are gathering even within the rain. It is -- put it a little bit of a damper on it but really not much as you can see it's backed up for miles as it has been every night for about six nights here.
Tonight, not quite as busy as it has been on other nights but the good thing is, is that tonight it has been peaceful as it was last night as well. And earlier, I spoke with Eric Davis, he is the cousin of Michael and Brown and he talked about the release of that video and how his family is dealing with it on this day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Eric, thank you for joining us.
ERIC DAVIS, COUSIN OF MICHAEL BROWN: You're welcome.
LEMON: Can I get, first, your reaction to the release of that video tape today?
DAVIS: The release of the video tape, it incited anger inside of me and my family, because we feel that it's just a distraction to get people to turn away from what's really going on and what really happened on Canfield. It's not about what happened at a convenient store, it's about what happened on Canfield when Michael was executed by a police officer on the ground with his hands in the air asking the officer not to shoot and surrendering completely.
LEMON: Ben Crump, the family attorney released a statement saying that it is character assassination and essentially blaming the victim, what do you say to that? DAVIS: I agree. It is character assassination. We have not been happy with the investigation that hasn't been conducted by the Ferguson Police Department ...
LEMON: So what do you think is going on here to release it on the same day?
DAVIS: What I think is going on is as I stated earlier, it's a diversion and it's an attempt to smear Michael's character so that you can get your eyes off what's really going on and focus on something else. But we're not going to lose our focus. We're going to ask people to continue to come out and peacefully protest.
DAVIS: We're going to ask people to remember that this is not about what happened at a convenient store but it's more about what happened on Canfield Drive when Michael was executed.
LEMON: You don't think the two have anything to do with each other?
DAVIS: No. They do not.
LEMON: Yeah. How do you think the community is going to react and respond to this state because now there is even more suspicion around the actions of the police officers.
DAVIS: I think that what happened with the chief releasing a statement at the same time as he released the name of the officer is just inciting the crowd and making everyone angry and it just fueled the distrust that was already out there for the Ferguson Police Department. I think he just basically added fuel to the fire. And that's why we're coming out asking the public to please come out and continue to protest but we do not want any violence to occur. Do not let them distract us from what our ultimate goal is and that's to get justice for Michael Brown.
LEMON: How is the mother doing? How did the mother react to this?
DAVIS: She's completely distraught because it has been very hard for Lesley to raise Michael in a neighborhood like we lived, like we grew up in. I don't know if you understand but being a black male in a community that's definitely has like high crime rates and things of that nature, it's hard to keep your child away from those outside influences. None of us are latched to our cage 24 hours a day. So, they're going to have to go out there and stand up for themselves. And it's been a very difficult task for her to get Michael to even get to the point where he graduated from high school. If you look at the graduation rates of African-Americans, males in that area is not very high. So, what Michael had just achieved was a great accomplishment for him.
LEMON: Yeah. And so, what do you think happens after this? Because, listen, you know, the betrayal as we -- as I've said that Michael's been a gentle giant, a kid who is, you know, never in trouble and had never done anything, and then for this video tape to come out on the same day, you say it's character assassination. The country is watching and saying. "Well, there he is. It's him on the video tape. He did something." So, what's the big issue here?
DAVIS: The issue is it's not what this case is about. It's not about what happened at a convenient store. Again, it's what happened on Canfield Drive when my cousin and -- had his hands up in the air, knees down on the ground asking the officer who's supposed to protect him not to shoot him. The officer didn't listen. The officer didn't respect that he had basically surrendered and he executed my cousin.
LEMON: What do you say to the chief?
DAVIS: To the chief, I would like to say, "Why didn't you release photos of the officer? We didn't have photos of the officer released today. Why didn't you release any other information about the officer besides his name? Why don't we know how many times my cousin was shot? Why don't we know any of the details of what happened on Canfield?" That's what this case is about and it's not about what happened at a convenient store.
LEMON: Thank you.
DAVIS: Thank you.
LEMON: Best of luck with your family.
DAVIS: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And just ahead, Michael Brown's friend Dorian who witnessed his killing. How his story has evolved since we spoke earlier this week. What he didn't say then and what his attorney is saying now.
LEMON: Welcome back to 360.
We have a bit of breaking news to bring to you right now. Just a moment ago, the FBI put out a late update on their end of this investigation and I'm going to read now from the medium that it says, "We could confirm that FBI agents working together with attorneys from the Justice Department's Civil Rights division and U.S. attorney's office have already conducted several interviews of witnesses on the scene at the time of the shooting. Over the next several days, teams of FBI agents will be canvassing the neighborhood where the shooting took place to identify any individuals who may have information related to the shooting and have not yet come forward."
And so, again, tonight, we're talking about changes in the narrative today and to some degree witness credibility especially that of Michael Brown's friend Dorian Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORIAN JOHNSON, WITNESS OF MICHAEL BROWN SHOOTING: I was standing so close to Big Mike and the officer. I looked in his window and I see that he has his gun pointed at both of us and when he fired his weapon, I moved seconds before he pulled the trigger. I saw the fire coming out the burrow and I instantly knew that it was a gun. I looked at my friend, Big Mike, and I saw that he was struck in the chest or upper region because I saw blood splattered down his thigh, his right area. And at that time, we both took off running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That was Dorian Johnson on Tuesday. That story of course was as lawmakers in Washington like to say revised and extended today by Dorian's lawyer, Freeman Bosley, we spoke earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What's your client's reaction to the release of the video tape today?
FREEMAN BOSLEY JR., DORIAN JOHNSON'S ATTORNEY: Well, he's relieved but, you know, the thing about it. But we need to make clear several days ago, we met with the FBI, the Justice Department, representatives of the prosecutor's office and we laid all of this out them. We met with for over three hours. My client, Dorian Johnson, he started from the beginning from when they work up that morning told them that we went to -- that they went to the store, laid out again the situation involving Big Mike taking the cigarillos. This is not a theft, it's more of a shoplifting situation but my client is relieved because he already knew that they had done this.
LEMON: Well, theft and shoplifting, it's the same thing, isn't it?
BOSLEY: Well, no, robbery there's a difference.
LEMON: Right. Right.
BOSLEY: Yeah, and they were saying it was a strong armed robbery, all right. And we're concerned about that label and we're concerned about the fact that the chief continue to use that label. It's more of a shoplifting type of situation. He's saying robbery because they want to make people think that a lot of violence occurred here.
LEMON: Did you know that they were going to release it today though?
BOSLEY: No. No. Well, let's talk about that. Did you know that the governor came in and relieve Ferguson of its duty of being the police department here? Did you know that the governor also released St. Louis County of its duty of providing security here? They're just like a bunch of kids acting up they're mad and so the chief decided to throw a hand grenade down at the table and then he rolled all of this stuff out and then shortly thereafter, yeah, they come back and admit that the stuff on the tape, that the officer that had the confrontation didn't even know about the situation that happened in the store.
LEMON: So, your client admits that it was him and Mike in the store?
BOSLEY: Yes, he does.
LEMON: He does?
LEMON: And he did so from the very beginning?
BOSLEY: He did so from -- What the FBI with the Missouri, with the FBI as well as the U.S. attorney's office.
LEMON: On this program, your client was interviewed on this very program ...
LEMON: ... and did not mention anything about a robbery, nothing about a Q.T., nothing at all. All he mentioned was a confrontation with police on Canfield Drive.
BOSLEY: That is correct because that had nothing to do with the incident that had occurred. The officer did not know that they had robbed that -- not robbed, I'm sorry, let me take that back, they also did not know that they had gone into that store and take in some of those cigarillos, he just did not know it.
LEMON: But isn't there a certain deception and omission? Isn't that lying through omission by -- if someone asked you about what happened leading up to this to this incident and you don't tell them, the interviewer on the program?
BOSLEY: Not at all. Lying is when you say something ...
LEMON: You don't think that's deception?
BOSLEY: Lying is when you say something that's not true. Nobody asked him, "What did you all do before you all came in contact with the officer?" If you'd ask him, he would have told you. But we had the duty to tell that to the FBI and they got the full story. The authorities have the full story and they got it three days before -- two or three days before all of this came out.
LEMON: Was there any sort of (inaudible) that your client would not be prosecuted or not be charged because they're saying we got the information today that he would not be charged. Was there a deal made?
BOSLEY: Well, yeah, when we had the meeting with the FBI, they told us, they said, "Listen, we just want you to know that everything that you're getting ready to tell us, we generally already know the answers to. We've got all the information and we need to know, we just want to ask you your story." So, the FBI as well as the other authorities knew about this incident at the time we were interviewed.
LEMON: But my question was, is there a deal, any sort of immunity anything like that to ...
BOSLEY: At that time, they said, "They stolen (ph) what we know. You are not charged with any crime. You have not done anything wrong."
LEMON: Do you understand also how some people may say, "Michael Brown is not here to defend himself. They had the video tape. You really don't hear what's happening in the video tape." And according to your client saying, "I don't feel -- I don't do this. I don't want to be involved in it." Does it seem like -- Do you understand that it may seem like he's placing all of the blame on someone who is here -- who is not here to defend himself?
BOSLEY: He didn't done placing any blame at all. It appears to be the media and the chief is just attempting to place the blame.
LEMON: But you're saying he -- that Big Mike, that Michael Brown took the cigarillos, put them in the bag, your client put them back on the counter and said, "I don't do this." So, he's ...
BOSLEY: I'm not saying that the video says that. If you saw the video, the video says that -- those aren't my words.
LEMON: Those are your client's words though.
BOSLEY: That's what the picture show. But no, in addition to what the picture say and the pictures verify what is that my client said.
LEMON: What happens next to your client? Have you spoken to anyone about where the investigation goes, the FBI? What's the next step here?
BOSLEY: I would imagine the next step is that this case will probably be presented to a federal grand jury and hopefully we'll have an indictment.
LEMON: How is your client doing? Why can't we ask him for an interview?
BOSLEY: My client is a federal witness at this point and as such has indication that he should not be talking about a whole lot of other things. So, for the purposes of information and being able to be a credible witness, we're not making any more statements at this point.
LEMON: Freeman Bosley, thank you.
BOSLEY: Thank you, I appreciate it.
LEMON: I appreciate it.
BOSLEY: All right. OK. Thanks now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Dorian Johnson's attorney.
And now next here on 360 along with the festive -- some of the festive atmosphere around us right now, there is also this, anger in Ferguson. Over the local police department's release of the store surveillance video, we'll hear from the police chief on why he made the decision to make it public today.
LEMON: The release of the surveillance video by Ferguson police has spark outrage especially from Michael Brown's parents. Through an attorney today, they called it a strategic move aimed at assassinating their son's character.
Thomas Jackson is the Chief of Ferguson Police Department, I spoke to him earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, there've been a lot of questions about the releasing of the video and the releasing of the officer's name at the same time where in there -- where it appears they're not connected but by doing so, you're connecting them. But can you say beyond a shadow of a doubt that that is Michael Brown in the video that -- who pushes the clerk and he steals a cigarette -- cigarillos?
JACKSON: I don't think I ever did say that that was anyone. What I said was I was getting questions about -- questions from the media about a robbery that occurred prior to the shooting and I wasn't commenting on that robbery. And then I started getting freedom of information request from various news outlets and we've set that out as long as we could and reach the point where we had to release it. I felt it would be prudent if I was releasing that. It would -- could be inflammatory if I release that but didn't release the name of the officer.
LEMON: You do think it's Michael Brown?
LEMON: Well, beyond the shadow of a doubt?
JACKSON: I think it's Michael Brown.
LEMON: But do you understand the controversy and the outrage? Because of family members and not only family members but people on the community say that you are trying to discredit him, trying to soil his reputation, trying to divert attention to something else besides the actual shooting.
JACKSON: We're not. We try to sit on this thing as long as we could. I didn't want to release it. I was told by my city attorney that she was concerned that people are going to start filing lawsuits about it if we didn't release the tape.
LEMON: I mean, I quote what the family said. The family says, "This tape release was devious and that you're assassinating the character of their son by releasing the video attempting to smear the character of the victim and that you're essentially blaming the victim." What do you say to that charge?
JACKSON: That's absolutely not true. Well, I had no intent other than to comply with the freedom of information request. My heart was out to her. I feel so terribly bad for her. It's a terrible tragedy all around.
LEMON: So, everyone made the assumption that the two were connected, right? And you said the officer who shot Brown, right; Officer Darren Wilson had no idea that Brown was a person who allegedly robbed this store.
JACKSON: You know, under initial contact, their initial contact was simply he was coming from a suitcase, saw two young men walking down the street in the road blocking, you know, traffic and he pulled up and asked them to get onto the sidewalk and then as he passed them, you know, I guess that's when you might have seen the evidence and connected it but his initial contact was strictly pedestrian.
LEMON: What do you mean seeing the evidence?
JACKSON: That there was a broadcast that went out about stealing and there were cigars stolen ...
JACKSON: ... a box of cigars.
LEMON: OK. But when he initially confronted him or encountered him, it was just to get out of the road?
LEMON: Let's talk about Darren Wilson, 28 years old, six-year veteran of the police department, right? Have you spoken to him today since the information came out?
JACKSON: He was aware that it was going to happen. And as a matter of fact he was OK with it, because it was something that would felt may calm things down if his name was released.
LEMON: Is there some release or relief from him that it's release or did he not want his name being released?
JACKSON: Well, no. He didn't want his name being released but he was OK with it if it would help.
LEMON: For people who say that you, you know, they talked about transparency, the people in the community really want a transparency. They wanted the officer's name. They want to know how many shots, where he was shot. For people who say, you waited far too long to do any of that, what do you say to them?
JACKSON: Right now, it's five, six days later and you have everything that I can release has been released. Everything you've asked for has been released and there's nothing more that I can do. LEMON: At the press conference we watched today, you seemed to get a little flustered. Is that because you're tired or you just couldn't find words or what?
JACKSON: I was looking for the word inflammatory and I couldn't find it and so I just moved on.
LEMON: I get that. Yeah. I've been there before ...
LEMON: ... it happened to me on a live shot today, but what has this been like for you?
JACKSON: This is tense. This is really -- It's heart breaking. What's happened to the community, and what's happened to the family that's suffering that loss, this is just the worst thing I've ever seen in my career.
LEMON: Speaking of your career, do you think you'll keep this job?
JACKSON: That's not my decision to make. I'm going to stay here to make sure we work through this and I want to be part of revealing the community, yes, in all honesty.
LEMON: Do you think that you can regain the trust of this community?
JACKSON: I do. Yes.
LEMON: And the police can, your officers?
JACKSON: Yes. I do believe that.
LEMON: Do you regret it all? Releasing the information, the video tape on the same day as the officer's name?
JACKSON: I didn't want to release either one as you know.
LEMON: If you had to do it all over again?
JACKSON: What I'm thinking was if I'm going to have to release this tape, it's really going to be inflammatory if I release this tape and I still don't release the name. So, I thought if I have to release this tape then we're going to release the name and that was our thinking. I don't think there was any good way to do it.
LEMON: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But not everybody is buying that part of the story, that rationale about releasing it at the same.
Let's bring in our panel now. I'm joined by Mark Geragos, Senior Legal Analyst and a criminal defense attorney and then Neil Bruntrager who was a general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, Marc Lamont Hill, CNN Political Commentator.
It is very loud behind me and it's quite frankly a celebratory mode here right now for some people. So, just so you know, I'm in transparency if that's what you're hearing.
Marc Lamont Hill, to you first, in release of this officer's name the same time that the surveillance tape is released allegedly showing a robbery by Michael Brown. You say it is convenient timing, what do you mean by that?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, we've been asking for that name to be released for a week now or six days now. We've been wanting to know who this officer is. They protected it. They've covered it up and we've asked for it. When they finally released it, they also released this video tape which it seems to me as trying to divert our attention away from this officer. We should be talking about an officer who shot an unarmed kid, not someone who may or may not have stolen some cigars a few hours prior. This is a sleight of hand trick.
LEMON: So, Mark Geragos, it doesn't matter what happened before this, what may have precipitated the shooting of the officers, the officer at least looking for Michael Brown and his friend.
MARK GERAGOS, SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It absolutely does, Don. The officer, you can see what is evolving here and I used that word charitably. They're creating a defense. They kept the officer's name kind of under wraps. The defense for this officer is going to be that he pulled up to get this guy out of the road, get Michael out of the road that he drove past that he then saw this cigars. Mind you, none of this was in the -- was put out by the chief in the first press conference. And that then this idea, the suggestion, is going to be you saw in the video where Michael Brown was pushing the store clerk.
Well, that was the same thing that happened with this officer that Michael Brown was pushing against that door as the officer was trying to get out that that's going to evolve. I will guarantee you he was reaching for the gun. When he was reaching for the gun, there was a struggle then he -- at some point, my prediction also was the officer is going to say that he thought he saw Michael Brown reaching for a weapon and that's why he fired. That is going to be -- I mean, that's the script that's going to be told.
LEMON: That script was told from the very beginning when the police chief came out and said there was a tussle for the gun in the car. So, I think you're right on about that. But Neil Bruntrager, I want to say last night on this program, you said that you were adamantly against the releasing the officer's name at this point because of safety concerns. What do you think now?
NEIL BRUNTRAGER, ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSN.: Well, what we've got is a situation where they said, "Release the name. Release the name." They released the name, what questions did that answer? Now, I do know for my own sources that there are people that are now out in front of his house. There are people that are out in front of his parent's house. What did that accomplish? Nothing. So, what we've got again is a situation where until we have all of the information, how can you analyze this case?
And Mark, you and I were in agreement tonight. I think that there is absolutely a situation where this is relevant. This tape is certainly something that has to be looked at in the whole timeline. But again, again, predictions and guaranties and promises, none of that means anything until we seek all of the information. And I think it was remarkably ...
LEMON: But Neil ...
BRUNTRAGER: I think it was remarkably insensitive to release only part of it because it only produced more questions. It didn't answer any questions. And under Missouri law ...
LEMON: That's my question to you -- hang on, hang on, Neil.
LEMON: Do you find it problematic though that the chief chose to put this tape out and then talk about this robbery at the same time and then not really clarify it in the press conference? Because it had most people at home and journalists thinking that the two were absolutely connected when it turns out they were not.
BRUNTRAGER: Well, I do think they're connected. I don't think you can say that. Again, you have to look at -- there's so many ...
LEMON: I believe in a sense that the officer -- yeah, he said it wasn't. He said -- the police chief is saying that ...
BRUNTRAGER: Well, no, no. The police chief's ...
LEMON: He's saying the officer did not know when he rolled up on them in the neighborhood that there was -- that a robbery had occurred until he saw the cigarillos in Michael Brown's hand.
BRUNTRAGER: Let me make sure though that you -- what I'm saying is be careful to put words on the police officer's mouth because we haven't heard from the police officer yet and we won't until those reports are actually released. So, what you have is the chief who's ...
GERAGOS: Yeah. But Neil that first ...
BRUNTRAGER: Right ...
GERAGOS: It was out there the first day. Yeah, the chief was telling you on the first day what the officer's statement was. He was the one who went out and said that on day one.
BRUNTRAGER: And let me tell you something that this investigation ...
LEMON: OK. Stand by everyone -- let's just stand by. I want you to hold that thought because I need to get to a break. We're going to continue our discussion right after this break and then we're going to get a live report from here in Ferguson on what's known about the police officer who shot Michael Brown.
We'll be right back.
LEMON: We're going to continue the conversation that we were having just before the break about the officer involved.
But first, some background because his story has really gotten lost today. CNN's Ed Lavandera is also here for us in Ferguson and he has that part of the story.
Ed, you went to the street where the officer lives. What did you find out about it?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN REPORTER: Well, it's interesting, Don. A lot of his neighbors there were reluctant to speak with us and they were very kind of worried that the attention in the neighborhood would bring them bad things in the neighborhood but we did learn a couple of things.
They said that they didn't quite know what was going on but in the moments, in the days right after the shooting last weekend that they started noticing the heavier police presence in their neighborhood and then residents there started putting things together that this might be where the officer that was involved in the shooting, Darren Wilson, lived. And then a couple of neighbors did tell us that a couple of days ago they noticed that Darren Wilson left the neighborhood and they haven't seen him since.
LEMON: Do they talk about people about safety or were they concerned at all for their safety or for his safety, Ed?
LAVANDERA: Well, we've heard a lot of that, a great deal of concern for his safety. And I think that, you know, the few residents that would speak with us there in his neighborhood and this is a neighborhood, it's another St Louis suburb, it's about 25 miles away from Ferguson and they were concerned that somehow, you know, there'll be retaliation in their neighborhood and that sort thing, you know, from a few people that we got a chance to speak with. That's what we heard from them.
LEMON: All right CNN's Ed Lavandera. Ed, thank you very much.
So, back with me again, now, Marc Geragos, Neil Bruntrager and Mark Lamont Hill.
So, Neil, it doesn't sound like a lot is known about Officer Wilson's time at his previous police department job and that was in Jennings that the department doesn't -- is not existent anymore. But don't you think that we don't really know why he left that apartment, doesn't getting his name out there increase the chance that some member of the public might know something about him if he has some kind of record that should be highlighted? BRUNTRAGER: Well if -- Let me tell you something. If you think that getting his name out there has enhanced it, I would ask you where those people have been for the last week. There's no way in the world unless they've been on another planet that they haven't been paying attention to this. So, this isn't going to bring anybody out.
This has gotten so much attention in the media that anybody that was going to come forward is coming forward and they're not just talking about this officer, they're talking about every Ferguson officer. But keep in mind, Ferguson no longer has this investigation and there was some question about why is the chief doing what he's doing. This investigation is now being done by St. Louis County.
And so, Ferguson is to -- For most purposes is really out of the picture. So, again, in terms of the officer and his history as I said to you guys last night, none of that stuff shouldn't come out, it answers no question. This was a "give us Barabbas moment". This is to satisfy a bloodlust and it answers no questions.
LEMON: Yes but, Marc, what Neil ...
LEMON: Yes, I was going to -- go ahead Mark Geragos same to Marc Lamont Hill.
GERAGOS: Yeah, I was going to say, Neil, as we said last night, the area is a double standard. If this were a civilian you -- it would be announced immediately, you'd see the police out there saying, "This is a person of interest. Anybody in the public who's got information about him, we want to here about it." And they would use the public as a tool as a law enforcement tool and that's what they always say when they announce it and I've defended it as I'm sure you have many in person who was never charged but came under that cloak of suspicion that law enforcement focused on them by announcing their names. So, it is a double standard.
LEMON: Marc, that ...
GERAGOS: Why the police officer should get some kind of heightened level of protection that anybody else in the public doesn't get ...
LEMON: Hang on, Neil.
GERAGOS: ... is beyond me.
BRUNTRAGER: No, no I'm not saying ...
LEMON: Neil, let Marc Lamont Hill get in. Hang on, Neil. Let Marc Lamont Hill get in. Go ahead, Marc.
BRUNTRAGER: OK. Sorry.
HILL: Honestly, Mark Geragos said exactly what I would have said. You know, that I get -- I don't want anyone to be in danger. And if there's a sense that this officer would be in a heightened sense of danger, we should consider that. But the public does have a right to know. The public should be used as a law enforcement tool in this regard and it's stunning to me that we protected it for six days and when we finally do release the officers name, we still cloak it in this other stuff about Michael Brown criminalizing the victim once again so that our attention isn't on the officer who shot the unarmed kid, I can't say that enough that instead we're targeting this ...
GERAGOS: We're having this conversation about the video tape. Yeah.
BRUNTRAGER: Let me respond to what Mark said. I'm not advocating a double standard. I absolutely don't believe that a police officer should get more or better treatment than anyone else. They should get exactly the same, however, and I don't recommend substandard treatment either. A police officer has the same rights as everyone else. And so, what I'm saying to you simply here is in terms of releasing the name, it accomplished nothing. This isn't a question of now we're releasing everything. His name will come out.
Under the Missouri Law, when the criminal investigation is done then all the police reports with all the information gets released. We're just not there yet. And there's a process that you have to go through to get there. And that is a process that requires all of these reports. Before we speculate any further, we should know what the ballistics report says, we should know what the ME's reports says. All of those things are things that we don't have.
I want to hear the 911 tape. I want to hear what was broadcast over the air to this police officer. When we say he didn't know if there was a report of a robbery and it was made in 911 then a dispatcher put that out over the air. So, again, all of these things are things that we don't know.
GERAGOS: Neil, they've already put that out. It's already out. They put it ...
LEMON: There's still a lot of investigating to do in this particular case. So, thank you very much Neil Bruntrager, Mark Geragos and Marc Lamont Hill, I appreciate it.
Coming up here on 360, who was Michael Brown? A closer look at the young man who's life was cut short.
LEMON: There is so much happening here in Ferguson, a lot of news breaking with the release of the convenience store video and the name of the police officer who killed Michael Brown.
But we wanted to take a moment and just focus on, who Michael Brown was, a young man whose life is now over at just 18 years old.
CNN's Jason Carroll is here and he has that part of the story. It's important to focus on that. JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And you know, Don, as you know there are basically two narratives here. You have the one narrative that the family's billing that Michael Brown was a big hearted lovable guy who's innocently gunned down by a police. And then you have a second narrative now coming from police that he was allegedly involved in a strong armed robbery before he got into that altercation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: The first moment Michael Brown's parents faced the public to talk about their son, they wanted to make one point about him very clear.
MICHAEL BROWN SR., FATHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: I don't want no violence. We don't want no violence.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MOTHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: Because Michael wouldn't want any of that.
CARROLL: Not helping, these images, the person seen on this convenient store surveillance video captured less than an hour before Brown's fatal altercation with a Ferguson police officer.
Instead, these are the images Brown's family says reflects who he really was. A young man who loves playing games as much as he loved his family, telling a friend on Facebook, "If I leave this earth today. At least you know I care about others more than I cared about my damn self."
MCSPADDEN: He was my first born. Sweet, loving, dedicated, he worked hard to get to high school and we're so proud of him.
CARROLL: And then there was his nickname, Big Mike. The 18 year old stood six foot four inches and weighed nearly 300 pounds.
DAVIS: He was a big guy in his stature but when he opened his mouth he had a very, very quite soft spoken voice.
JOHNSON: He was a gentle giant. He was big. He was careful. He care for everybody. He was loving everything. I love everything about this young man.
CARROLL: Police say Dorian Johnson was with Brown that day at the store. Police also say they are not charging Johnson with allegedly committing a strong armed robbery stealing cigars.
The attorney representing the Brown family called the release of the video by Ferguson police "character assassination" and an attempt to blame the victim who was unarmed.
Donavan Eddington was friends with Brown and knew him from High school.
DONOVAN EDDINGTON, FRIEND OF MICHAEL BROWN: It ain't true what they are saying about him. He didn't rob nobody. He ain't that type of person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you know that for sure?
EDDINGTON: I used to hang with him when I went to school with him. He's a classmate of mine. We play on the same football team. He ain't that type of person.
CARROLL: Brown's mother says she will continue to fight for justice.
MCSPADDEN: Just because my son is a six, four black male walking down at a street does not mean he fit the profile for any, any thing other than just walking down that street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Well, it's very clear which narrative that people out here are following tonight. The demonstrators are continuing to voice their anger, continuing to have their voice heard.
Right now, my colleague Don Lemon is in the middle of it all. Don, tell us what you're seeing from your vantage point.
LEMON: And Jason, the reason that you talked about Michael Brown and who he is, the reason that all of those people are here is because of him. And the reason that convenient store that you see the Q.T. that it was burnt out is because the people were upset because they felt like an unarmed teenager that was gunned down.
Of course, the people out here holding up those signs, this was a very busy, very viable and vibrant convenient store just one week ago. Let me show you what's going on in here. You hear people saying no justice, no peace. This young lady holding up her hands saying, "Hold up -- hands up, don't shoot." There is a drum circle that's going on.
Let's quickly get through here so that you guys can hear me. There's a drum circle going on here, people are dancing. And as I mentioned earlier on the program there's a festive atmosphere happening here as well as one, pardon me sir, as well as one of seriousness. So under the honing (ph) where people are usually pumping gas, that's more where people are being festive.
Out here when you get closer to the street it becomes more -- much more serious. You get much more chanting. And this is where people are driving by, people are holding up signs that they had been doing for at least six nights here in Ferguson. Young ladies, young men, people of all different ethnic backgrounds coming out to really to lend support to the family members of Michael Brown and also saying they're tired of feeling as if they are intimidated or they're under occupation.
Why are you holding your hands up, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For justice for Mike Brown. Justice and just to represent just the people and how peaceful we are out here, we're having a good time in the name of Mike Brown. LEMON: There were some concern that there would be some violence out here this evening, because of the releasing of the video tape and no violence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No violence. I was concerned too. I didn't want to come but I'm glad I did. It's history in the making. I look for you -- all this people all races united. It's history and I love it. If you haven't been here, get here.
LEMON: What would you like the country to know about Ferguson and to know about what you're dealing with and what you're going through?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's tragic what happened but we're all united and working together. I want everybody to know it's not a race thing. It's a right or wrong thing. So, everybody needs to come and get united and work on justice for Mike Brown, that's the main issue.
LEMON: It is raining and you're still out here and justice for what, come in here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For all black male, for all people of color, for all people, we need justice. And stop the police brutality, you know, they're supposed to be the ones that are trying to show restraint. So, that action that the officer, Darren Wilson, committed the other day, he should have been able to show more restraint because he is a trained officer.
LEMON: How long can you guys continue to come out here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For as long as it takes.
LEMON: All right. So, listen, this is very reminiscent of some of the rallies that have happened in the 1960s and when we come back, why so many people felt that they were in a time warp really when it comes to what happened in Ferguson this week.
LEMON: You know, the last two nights had been such a contrast to how it was earlier in the week or earlier in this country's history.
This is a front page of a New York Times, August 15, 1965. Race riots were raging in Los Angeles, racial tensions erupting all across the country. Here's the look then and now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six days of rioting in a Negro section of Los Angeles left behind scenes reminiscent of war torn cities. More than a hundred square blocks were decimated by fire and looters. Nearly 3,000 were arrested and authorities had to open abandoned jails to house those netted by the police.
It took the appearance of 14,000 troops to bring an end to what both Negro and White leaders called "insurrection by hoodlums".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pillage, looting, murder and arson had nothing to do with civil rights. They are criminal conducts. Your president calls upon all of our people in all of our cities joined in a determined program to maintain law and order.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Return to your vehicles, return to your homes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands up, don't shoot. Hands up, don't shoot. Hands up, don't shoot.
BARACK OBAMA, CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Department of Justice is also consulting with local authorities about ways that they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of peaceful protest and while avoiding unnecessary escalation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must disperse immediately. You must disperse immediately. This is no longer a peaceful protest. Why are you trying to injure people?
OBAMA: There is never an excuse for violence against police for, for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There's also no excuse for a police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their first amendment rights.
Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particualtrly those of us in positions of authority.
LEMON: That does it for this ecition of 360 from Ferguson, Missouri. I'm Don Lemon. CNN SPOTLIGHT: REMEMBERING ROBIN starts right now.