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State Highway Patrolman Helps End Violence in Missouri Protests; U.S. Continues Operations in Iraq against ISIS; Interview with Missouri State Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal
Aired August 15, 2014 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's a veteran, but some might call this night Captain Ronald Johnson's first night on the job.
RONALD JOHNSON, HIGHWAY PATROL CAPTAIN: Don't expect any issues, but just in case, there are some issues where we have some parties that may get unruly and we need to get out. I'm just going to call you to come and help us get out. (inaudible) intersection.
CARROLL: Captain Johnson took our crew with him on one of his first assignments.
What's your assessment of how things are going so far tonight?
JOHNSON: I think they're going fine. I think they've gone well. I think we have to continue to assess it and monitor it.
CARROLL: And then came time to meet the demonstrators.
JOHNSON: All right, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to take a chance. I'm going to have you turn around and go back to the McDonald's, both of you, then I'll call you when I need you.
CARROLL: No tear gas, no riot gear. Instead call it street diplomacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love everyone.
CARROLL: Is this the type of reception you expected when you came down here?
JOHNSON: This is -- yes.
CARROLL: And while there were plenty of hugs and handshakes, tough questions, too.
JOHNSON: Yes. Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The scene of the crime. Any other person, it they would not be able to leave the scene of the crime. JOHNSON: Actually they're not allowed to leave the scene. I took him
for questioning. That's normal. You know what? And I'm tired, too, and we're going to get it right. I lived here 42 years.
CARROLL: What do you make of all this crowd, all of these people surrounding you like this in this way supporting you?
JOHNSON: Their voice is being heard. That's all that -- the bottom line, that's what they want is their voice to be heard.
CARROLL: Did you expect this kind of reception? Certainly police were not getting this kind of reception before.
JOHNSON: Not to this magnitude. But I know it's good people that live in this community, and I've lived here 48 years of my life. So I know we've got good people in this community.
CARROLL: Johnson says his approach is and has always been an honest one.
JOHNSON: I just found this out a few hours ago I was going to be in this job. I'm going to be back tonight. If not tonight, I'll be back tomorrow. That's a promise, OK? I'm coming back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You sure? Don't you lying. I'm going to be looking for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need you out here.
JOHNSON: All right, I'll be back. I'll be back.
CARROLL: And when the night was over, finally time to reflect.
Do you feel an overwhelming sense of pressure to take all of this on?
JOHNSON: No, because I don't think there's pressure to the honest. And I think if we treat them with respect and honesty that's all we can do.
CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, Ferguson, Missouri.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": What a huge difference. I'm joined now by Daniel Isom. He's the retired chief of police for St. Louis and now a criminology professor at the University of Missouri, St Louis. We appreciate you joining us here. Before we get to this, it's amazing to see what Ron Johnson has done. Before we get to that, what about the releasing of the name? Will that make a difference?
DANIEL ISOM, PROFESSOR OF CRIMINOLOGY, UMSL: I think Now that the situation is calm, it would be great if the police chief can release the name of the officer. Hopefully in the background they will provide any security and continue to monitor the situation to see if there are any threats that come up against him.
LEMON: Now let's go back to what happened here, an immediate shift in tone. What happened?
ISOM: Well, I think that we got locked in a cycle of this daytime, allowing them to have a peaceful rally, and then I believe that the police department felt to control the situation at night they had to use more force. So there was a continual cycle that went on four days, but there was no dialogue between the two groups. And so now they've reached a common ground allowing them to peacefully protest, to have their First Amendment right, but also to protect the public.
LEMON: You were the chief between 2008 and 2013 and you know this community well. What do you make of -- first of all, let's talk about the protesting and some of the violence that happened. As I spoke to one of the newspaper editors here, he said there were outside agitators, people who came in and just wanted to cause trouble. They weren't necessarily from the city of Ferguson? Is that correct?
ISOM: That's probably correct, but that happens in all protests. Whenever you have a major protest, there are people, local people who are involved in the protest, and then a wider group from other municipalities and even from out of town who come. And so it's the responsibility of the police to be able to attack those people who are causing problems but allow the protesters to expose and to have their frustration heard.
LEMON: I know you probably hate to go back and second guess, you know, your comrades, and your co-worker, but the way -- you know, St. Louis police have been criticized the way they handled it, Ferguson police have been criticized the way they've handled this. Do you think they handled it improperly?
ISOM: I think the problem was that there was no dialogue. And the only way to solve these situations is through a community approach. And so I think the first tactic was, let's use force. And people were angry, and that force was not working. And so the problem was they never reevaluated what they were doing.
LEMON: Was there a legitimate fear from police officers -- go ahead?
ISOM: I think there was. We all were horrified by the initial stages of this incident where people were breaking into businesses, they were looting. We saw Molotov cocktails. There were shots being fired. We even had reports of shots fired at helicopters. So there was a real concern.
LEMON: A legitimate fear.
ISOM: A legitimate fear on the part of officers.
LEMON: Let's talk about, I want to make sure I get this in, talk about the equipment, the apparatus that police are using. A lot of it is coming from the Pentagon. A lot of it is surplus from Iraq, from Afghanistan. And it appears that members of a small police force are members of the military, they're out there in tactical gear. Ron Johnson said I don't want people wearing any of that gear. I don't want people pointing guns at citizens. What about the optics of all this? What about that equipment? Should police forces be equipped with that sort of equipment?
ISOM: Well, in the wake of 9/11 there were a lot of police departments that bought this type of gear. The original intent was, if we have a terrorist situation --
LEMON: For training.
ISOM: If we have to do a SWAT entry, search warrants, typically that's what it's used for. It wasn't necessarily intended for these types of encounters. So I think, yes, we do in law enforcement and the community needs to think how do we use this equipment? Is it the proper use in domestic protests?
LEMON: And are those police departments necessarily trained to use that equipment, and does it give them a false sense of security or bolster you know what they can accomplish out in a situation like that?
ISOM: Well, in this case, there were multiple agencies that were involved, and they are well trained in terms of SWAT entries, but not necessarily using it in a protest scenario. So I think that's something we need to examine.
LEMON: A lot has been made about the racial makeup of the department, the lack of diversity in the department here in Ferguson, and Ron Johnson is an African-American. Many in the community believe that they can relate to him, because from here. He's had family members harassed by police. Should the police force at least try to mimic or make up the racial component at least in their -- in the community they're policing?
ISOM: I think in this case the diversity of the police department could have mattered. If there had been a relationship where the community, in the community, where someone involved could have come to an officer and said, hey, this is what we want accomplished. We want to peacefully protest. We want to express our frustration, and that dialogue might have allowed them to ramp down the tension. And so diversity matters a lot because of the different experiences, different backgrounds that you bring to bear, and all of that helps a very holistic approach to how you police.
LEMON: Having the confidence of the community is very important to police?
LEMON: Can this police department have the confidence, will it be able to regain the confidence of this community going forward?
ISOM: Well, I think they have some work ahead of themselves. They need to repair the trust. There's issues of legitimacy, partnership with the community. I think they can do it, but they have to sit down and this has to be a long -- a long discussion about how are we going to move forward? How are we going to partner to keep this community safe?
LEMON: It's not -- that is not going to be easy, considering what happened.
ISOM: No, it's not, but I think they can do it. There are police departments that have gone through these incidents before. And I think they can do it.
LEMON: What's your one piece of advice to them?
ISOM: My piece of advice is that policing is a partnership. It's collectively working together to keep the community safe.
LEMON: Thank you very much. Daniel Isom, former police chief in St. Louis city. Kate, back to you.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Don, we'll get back to you. Thanks so much, Don, on the ground for us in Ferguson, Missouri.
Let's turn our focus, though, overseas. The White House has what it wanted in Iraq. The embattled prime minister, Nouri al Maliki, stepping down, clearing the way for his successor Haider al-Abadi to try and unite the country against the threat from ISIS. Meantime, though, President Obama's claim of victory in working to help free the refugees from the grip of militants on Mount Sinjar some say may be premature. CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon for us. Barbara, you've been following this and breaking news on this all week long for weeks now. What do you make of it? And what are you hearing from your sources? Is the siege broken, as the administration has claimed?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The siege of ISIS on Iraq far from broken. In fact just yesterday a U.S. intelligence official told reporters that ISIS now is seen by them as a credible alternative, his words, to Al Qaeda, ISIS, a credible alternative to Al Qaeda, and that ISIS views conflict with the U.S. as inevitable.
The problem in Iraq right now, Maliki may be out, al-Abadi may be in, but al-Abadi has to establish a government that can bring the Iraqi people together enough to challenge ISIS. He's got to get, U.S. officials believe, the Sunnis back in the fold, get them away from ISIS, get them back into an Iraqi government.
The U.S. did conduct air strikes in Erbil last night against ISIS targets. But that is not going to push ISIS back. They are still on the move across northern Iraq, and there are still tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians suffering in Iraq at the hands of ISIS. So as far as many people see, no siege has been broken. Kate?
BOLDUAN: And what is going to happen with the Iraqi military, and what is going to happen in the next 30 days? Those are two key questions that no one has an answer for quite yet. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us, Barbara, thanks.
All right, let's turn to Michaela now and take a look at more of the headlines for you this morning.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. Here we go. The latest ceasefire still holding in Gaza, and as negotiations persist for a long-term deal Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is talking tough, saying Israel will act forcefully even to a, quote, "drizzle of mortar or rocket attacks." Israel is also now preparing for a possible war crimes inquiry. Israeli leaders say they're skeptical of the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying past statements by the expert chosen to head the commission shows that he lacks credibility.
The world health organization places the official death toll in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa more than 1,000 but says the number underestimates the true scale of the outbreak. In the meantime the U.S. began evacuating family members of embassy staff in Sierra Leone out of an abundance of caution.
The first round of National Guard troops now stationed at observation posts along the Texas-Mexico border. And 1,000 troops were called up by Texas Governor Rick Perry last month. The governor says they are necessary to help secure the border and deal with the surge in illegal immigration. State officials estimate the deployment will cost about $12 million a month.
Some new insight into Robin Williams' struggle with depression. His widow, Susan Schneider, revealed that Williams was sober in his final days and that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is known to cause depression in its early stages and may have exacerbated Williams' condition. His wife says he was not ready to make that diagnosis public. We're going to speak to our Dr. Sanjay Gupta about Parkinson's a little more later in the hour.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Parkinson's Foundation says one study found that more than half people with Parkinson's do end up suffering from depression at some point. So it could have been a factor here.
BOLDUAN: Let's take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a Missouri lawmaker who was caught up in the tear gas during this week's protests in Ferguson, Missouri, lashing out at the governor of the state. We're going to talk to her live about the very latest and also the inflammatory tweets she sent out like this, calling for the governor to step down.
BERMAN: And there are calls from Democrats and Republicans to demilitarize American police departments. What could actually happen? You might be surprised who's making some of these calls. We'll tell you when we go INSIDE POLITICS coming up.
LEMON: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. You can see, it is much calmer here as the sun is starting to come up, much calmer here in Ferguson, Missouri, this morning after days of violent protests filled the streets over the shooting death of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. And now CNN has learned that police plan to finally, finally, release the name of the officer who killed Brown.
So joining me to talk about all of this is Missouri state senator, Maria Chapelle-Nadal. She was actually tear gassed earlier this week during one of the protests and recently lashed out to the governor on Twitter over what's happened here in Ferguson. So I'm glad she is joining me here.
First of all, I want to get your reaction to the name being released and then we'll talk about those controversial tweets.
STATE SEN. MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL (D), MISSOURI: Well, I'm very happy that the name is coming out because my residents have been asking for this for a very long time. In the state of Missouri, we have a 72- hour rule. Any information that we request has to be released within 72 hours. That was not followed. And so we are awaiting for the names so people can know who the person was.
LEMON: You're optimistic that calm will be kept now?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: I hope so. What my constituents really want is transparency in this entire investigation. That is what they want. And if they get that, I think they'll be fine.
LEMON: Let's talk about this, because I had been traveling all day, ran into the scene yesterday, and I was remiss in, I feel, in not asking you about the Twitter controversy you had with Governor Jay Nixon. You struck up something on Twitter. You used some four-letter words.
Here's what you said. You said -- Governor Jay Nixon: The situation in Ferguson does not represent who we are. Must keep the peace safeguarding rights of citizens and the press. And then you said, "You don't know s---, because you never communicate. F-- you, Governor." And then you say, "Governor Jay Nixoon, as governor, I committed to " -- he says that "I am committed to ensuring the pain of last weekend's tragedy does not continue to be compounded by the ongoing crisis."
And then you said, "F-- you, governor. I'm calling your BS." Do you regret that?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: No, not at all. It's my First Amendment right, and the governor has never come to the minority community unless it was politically expedient for him.
LEMON: But did you have to use that language as a representative? Do you feel it was appropriate?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: Absolutely. Because the governor doesn't listen. He has a 30-year history of not listening to minority representatives and senators. This past year alone, he never spoke on really important legislation dealing with the education of young African-American students, and he vetoed a bill that was bipartisan. So he has showed a lack of interest for the minority community.
My community has been fed up with tear gas. This is his Katrina. What we have gone through --
LEMON: You say that, why do you call it his Katrina? CHAPELLE-NADAL: Because he failed to respond.
LEMON: Give me one second. Can you give us a moment, sir? We're on live. Thank you very much. Go ahead.
CHAPELLE-NADAL: He failed to respond. He seriously has not even been at ground zero. He met in Florissant, not Ferguson, which is to the north of us, and he also was in Normandy, which is to the south of us, but the governor has not come to Ferguson and talked to these young people who were actually the victims of what's been going on.
And so, yes, I'm frustrated, because my constituents are frustrated. Yesterday when U.S. Senator McCaskill came to ground zero, she didn't have any detail whatsoever and embraced the people of community and talked to them, to listen to what their concerns were.
LEMON: But -- as a leader, you set the tone. Right?
LEMON: You don't want violence, right?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: I don't want violence.
LEMON: And you don't want people calling people names. Essentially you were calling him names. You said, "F-- you." But what if he had done the same to you?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: If you've gone through this for 14 years --
LEMON: But I'm asking you, but what if he had done the same thing to you?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: He ignores us. He ignores us. He never responds to us.
LEMON: Answer my question. But what if he said to you, started something like that on Twitter, saying "F-- you," how would you feel about that?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: Well, he already does it by his actions because he doesn't correspond with us, he doesn't listen to us. He doesn't communicate with any of us, not even the Republicans. If he can't correspond or communicate with Democrats in the Senate or the House, then that's pretty bad.
LEMON: That's -- so you say that's the way he should be dealt with because of his actions?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: That's his "F-- you" to us and it's not just the 14 years where I've been in state government; it's been 30 years.
LEMON: When we were on last night, there were a group of students there, a very diverse group of students, both white and black, but there was a report last night, the only really report of violence, is that a WashU student, a white student, was attacked. Do you think that that's something that was targeted or is that something that happens in these situations? What do you make of that?
CHAPELLE-NADAL: I think it's unfortunate. I would like to tell you all the protesters have been really peaceful thus far and it has been interracial. We've had multiple groups of people who have been coming out to protest. And so that incident is unfortunate, and I do not condone that kind of behavior whatsoever.
But we have to maintain the philosophy of being accepting of all people. This issue -- Michael Brown issue -- this incident, is about young people. Not just black people. Not just white people. All people. All young people. They are victims. They're the one whose have been threatened, they're the one whose have been harassed, and the reason I've been out here day one at ground zero is --
LEMON: And lashing out on Twitter because of that.
CHAPELLE-NADAL: Yes, because I want to ensure the First Amendment rights for all people. And when we were tear gassed -- and I was tear gassed twice. Not once, twice -- when I was tear gassed, that was an infringement upon my rights. And if I was nervous and scared, and I'm pretty courageous, I have to tell you that, but if I was nervous and scared and shaking, I know 17-year-olds were shaking, too.
LEMON: Well, I thank you for coming in and for taking the tough questions and for being transparent again.
CHAPELLE-NADAL: Absolutely. I believe in the First Amendment.
LEMON: OK, thank you very much. We appreciate you joining us.
And, again, Kate, a little bit later on, we're hearing that they're going to release the name of that police officer and hopefully that will make a difference here. People calling for transparency and police here say they're going to do it. Not exactly sure what time. We should know a little bit later on in the day as we progress here. Kate, back to you.
BOLDUAN: Don, thanks very much. We'll get back to you in just briefly.
Let's take a break though. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the calm in Ferguson, Missouri, is being credited to the actions of Captain Ron Johnson -- you see him right there -- who is now in charge of Ferguson's security. He's with state highway patrol. We're going to hear from him about his approach to keeping the peace.
BERMAN: And these images of police wearing gas masks, manned with rifles -- is the Pentagon to blame for supplying these weapons of war? We'll tell you which members of Congress are calling for an end to the militarization of police.
PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's give you a look at your headlines at 26 minutes past the hour. Praise from the U.S. and the U.N. for Nouri al Maliki, who is now
stepping down at Iraq's prime minister to make way for his replacement, Haider al Abadi. The new Iraqi leader will have 30 days to form a government that can hopefully bring Iraq's sectarian factions together and form a united front against ISIS.
Breaking this morning, Russian armored carriers have crossed into Eastern Ukraine not far from where another convoy of Russian trucks are gathered neared border. Moscow insists the convoy contains humanitarian aid; however, Ukrainian officials are concerned it could be a cover for providing support to pro-Russian separatists.
The investigation into the capture of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl wraps up today. The investigation into Bergdahl'sdisappearance and capture by the Taliban in 2009 will determine if Bergdahl will be punished for desertion. The Taliban released Bergdahl, as you'll recall, in April in exchange for five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanomo. The lead investigator, Major General Kenneth Dahl, is expected to present a final report to the army in about three weeks' time.
Pope Francis is in South Korea meeting and greeting young Asian Catholics considered to be the future of the church. Earlier today, during his first public mass at the Dejong World Cup stadium, the Pope prayed for dead passengers of the ferry disaster in Korea and their grieving families. Some 50,000 people joined him at that mass.
BERMAN: Big crowd wherever he goes.
PERIERA: And a long time in coming too, some 20 years they're saying since a papal visit.
BOLDUAN: Wow, OK. Let's turn to Washington now, let's get to John King and INSIDE POLITICS on NEW DAY. Happy Friday, John.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": TGIF. Michaela, John, Kate, how are you today?
BOLDUAN: Hey, hey.
KING: All right. We're going to talk about Ferguson and the political impact this morning on INSIDE POLITICS. With me sharing reporting and their insights, Politico's Maggie Haberman, Nia Malika- Henderson of "The Washington Post".
In our conversation yesterday morning, we were talking could or should the president, could or should other politicians, do more, speak out about Ferguson? We know that on Martha's Vineyard the president did have a meeting yesterday morning with his Attorney General Eric Holder. The White House released a photograph of that. They called the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon. And then the president came out and made a statement. And you'd have to say -- let's listen to the statement -- you have to say this got quick results.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests, or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Am I right to say it's a very calm but almost a textbook use of the bully pulpit? A very balanced statement. The president is critical of the violence, critical of the looting, but then he essentially without using hard words criticizes the police and the governor, and says, "Change your ways."
MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO: Yes, and the governor acted very quickly after that, as we saw. The difference between what we've been seeing play out on TV between even yesterday morning and this morning has been remarkable since the highway patrol took this over.
But, yes, the president did a very measured, careful statement. He's not the mayor, he's not the police commissioner; he does have a responsibility to be careful.