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CNN Hero; Officer Name to Be Released; New Movie About Largest T-Rex Skeleton

Aired August 15, 2014 - 08:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right here we go with the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, the name of the Missouri police officer who killed Michael Brown will be released this morning. Protests over the shooting have turned largely peaceful in Ferguson, Missouri, after state highway police were called in to help restore calm.

Iraqi's embattled prime minister, Nuri al Maliki, is stepping down, allowing the new prime minister designate, Haiedr al Abadi, to take his place. The U.S. calls it a major step forward in uniting Iraq.

Negotiations for a long-term truce in Gaza continue as the latest cease-fire holds. We are learning the United Nations expects to reopen schools it manages there in two or three weeks' time, if a permanent cease-fire is reached.

The first round of National Guard troops are at observation posts along the Texas/Mexico border. One thousand troops were called up by Texas Governor Rick Perry to help with a surge of illegal immigration.

Robin Williams' widow has revealed that her husband had Parkinson's disease. In a statement she said he was in the early stages of the disease when he took his own life.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to visit for the very latest.

Now that I don't have my words mixed up together, Kate, I'll send it over to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's all right, Michaela. Thanks so much.

Let's turn to this week's CNN hero. Troops serving overseas often take in dogs to help find a sense of normalcy. So, one veteran is helping reunite service members with the animals that they've adopted. Take a look.


PEN FARTHING, FORMER ROYAL MARINE, CNN HERO: At every single street corner in Kabul (ph) you will find stray dogs. Looking after a dog or a cat does relieve stress in, you know, daily lives. And so it holds true for, you know, a soldier as well. When I was serving in Afghanistan, I actually thought I was quite

unique in looking after this dog, but I was wrong. To date now the organization has actually rescued over 650 dogs or cats for serving (ph) soldiers from around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And also we help the stray animals out in the streets. There is a big problem with rabies. We're not just helping the animal, we're also helping the Afghan people.

FARTHING: When we get a call from a soldier, we have to get the dog from wherever the soldier is in Afghanistan to our shelter in Kabul. We'll neuter or spay the dog and we vaccinate it against a variety of diseases. Then the animal starts his journey from Kabul to the soldier's home country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I pulled Kate (ph) inside of the crate, you know, I was just so excited. I was even more excited that she remembered me. I can't believe that they're here. She's a huge part of the transition being easier.

FARTHING: My connection with Afghanistan stays alive because now that so (ph) for me, you know, every time I look at him, it just makes me smile.


BOLDUAN: If you think someone deserves to be nominated, go to and nominate your hero.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, almost a week after Michael Brown was killed, police are finally deciding that it's time to release the name of the officer who was involved. The officer who shot Michael Brown. Our legal team is going to look at the investigation, what do we know, what don't we know, what else should be released?


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

The name of the police officer who shot Michael Brown is about to become public, as soon as the top of the hour. And with that, no doubt the scrutiny will continue around the Ferguson case. And it's not only going to continue, but it will only intensify. Already two versions of the truth are emerging, if you will, the police version and the eyewitness version. They seem to be divergent, at least at this point. So how should this investigation proceed? How will it proceed? Joining us to discuss is Sunny Hostin, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, as well as Mark Geragos, CNN legal analyst and defense attorney.

Good morning to both of you. It's like the -- it's opposite day. Normally Sunny is here and Mark's away. Today Mark's here and Sunny's away.

Mark, first you. So the name of the officer, we've been told by the Ferguson police chief, is going to be released. What does this change? MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know what it actually

changes. What's so outrageous is that they haven't released it. I mean normally --

BOLDUAN: Is there any reason --

GERAGOS: No, there's no reason. This idea --

BOLDUAN: I - I asked him -- we asked him this morning -

GERAGOS: You asked him and what did they tell you? They tell you officer safety.

BOLDUAN: He said it was going to be a day by day decision. I wanted to know, what's the difference today than it was yesterday?

GERAGOS: Which is - well, what I want to know is, what's the difference between a civilian and law enforcement? If you are somebody who is under suspicion for a crime, they'll go out there, they'll tell the media, this person is a person of interest. If the public has any information, please let us know. You - CNN's got a show, "The Hunt," and they do that all the time. John Walsh has made a career out of that. And yet somehow this officer is verboten, you can't leave his - you can't get his name out there.

And I think it actually gives people an impetus to protest and think that there's something -- that there's a cover-up. What if this officer's got a history of police brutality? What if this officer has a history that the public can inform this investigation? Why is it that he's different than anybody else?

BOLDUAN: And even if he doesn't, the fact is, no one can know unless the name is released, though, Sunny. And on the most basic level, what else should be public right now that you don't think is when it comes to this case?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think I - I think Mark is absolutely right and I never say that, as you know, Kate.

GERAGOS: Wow. I was going to say.

BOLDUAN: I know. I almost spit out my coffee right there. Stop right now.

GERAGOS: Sunny, there's something - I think - I think Sunny was drinking last night.

HOSTIN: Maybe it's because I'm on Martha's Vineyard on vacation that I'm in a better mood. But, you know, the bottom line is, the officer's name should have been released, as Mark said, oftentimes, you know, one, two, three days after an investigation has begun. The name of the suspect is generally released. The name of the target of the investigation is generally released. And the fact that the officer's name has not been released I think is certainly lending to this narrative that there is a cover-up, that -- and one of the - and that this investigation is less than transparent. And so I think that type of information certainly should have been released.

I also think -- in terms of how other things that haven't been released, in terms of how many times was Michael Brown shot? How many eyewitnesses are there? What type of video is there that people haven't seen? So I think there are so many components of this investigation that haven't been released.

GERAGOS: And, Sunny, don't you think - and don't you think that it just -- the fact that his friend, who was with him, the fact he wasn't interviewed, and he's on TV before he's ever been interviewed just exacerbates everything about this case and makes it look like it's an occupation there in that city?

HOSTIN: No question about it. I mean it's really, really odd. And I've been saying this from the very beginning, this is not a complicated case. This is not a whodunit. We know what happened. We know that there was an altercation between a police officer and Michael Brown. And so to suggest that this is going to be a painstakingly long investigation, a very complex investigation, it just isn't. You interview the police officer. You interview Dorian Johnson. You interview anyone else that has been an eyewitness and you get this case to the grand jury. I really don't understand why that hasn't happened.


GERAGOS: You ought to send -- you ought to send her on vacation more often. I have never agreed with her more.

BOLDUAN: No, it's not nearly as interesting when you guys aren't fighting with each other.

GERAGOS: I know. I'm never - I don't understand, you know -

BOLDUAN: I'm actually having a hard time dealing with this.

GERAGOS: She needs to spend more quality time with her husband.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right.

I asked the police chief this morning about the question of how many times was Michael Brown shot. And he said, "I cannot tell you, I cannot tell you things I do not know." He said that immediately when this happened, he called in the county and said the county should be handling this. Shouldn't -- the autopsy's been done though. Is that a good enough answer? Because my question to him was, you're dealing - you're also facing not only transparency - the transparency question is large, but the question that your - there's a selective release of information.

GERAGOS: Well, and you hit the nail on the head, as they say. He came out the very first day, you remember, and did that press conference and he put out the narrative that was obviously fed to him by the officer.

BOLDUAN: By the officer. GERAGOS: And then he waits three or four days and he starts saying,

OK, I want to be a little bit -- I'm going to be demure about this and I'm not going to give you the information. I'm going to predict this guy is going to go on disability and then retire very quickly. He has -- his job security is nil. He has handled this the worst way that you could. I've had, I can't tell you how many cases similar to this where they don't survive when they play this game, and he's playing a game that he can't win. This idea that he can't tell -

HOSTIN: But, you know -

GERAGOS: He can't tell the public what -- how many times the young man was shot. He can't tell you whether he was shot in the back, which is important. He can't tell you any - any information.

BOLDUAN: That is important.

HOSTIN: But, Mark?


BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Sunny.

GERAGOS: Yes, Sunny?

HOSTIN: Mark, I think - I think something that's important to note, though, is that the Ferguson Police Department did relinquish this investigation to the St. Louis County officers. I think that's important. It's sort of right out of the Zimmerman playbook now because I think -

GERAGOS: Yes, but -

BOLDUAN: What does it tell you? To the uninitiated -

HOSTIN: (INAUDIBLE) post Zimmerman -

BOLDUAN: What does that tell you?

GERAGOS: Well, well, he's tried to say, OK, we want --

HOSTIN: I think that's important because they can't investigate their own, and they should not.

GERAGOS: Yes, except -

HOSTIN: But let me also say - yes, let me also say this. I think that people now have sort of lost confidence in the St. Louis Police Department County doing this investigation, and that's why we're seeing the head of the criminal division of the Department of Justice's civil rights division there. That's why we're seeing the FBI I think probably taking over this investigation.

GERAGOS: But don't you -

HOSTIN: And so the public has lost confidence even now in the St. Louis County Police Department.

BOLDUAN: OK, Mark, last point.

GERAGOS: But, Sunny, I - the outrageous thing was I think that if he's going to lateral the investigation over to the county and knows that they can't investigate their own, then don't go out there in the first news cycle and start putting out the story of the officer to -- and basically not interview anybody else and adopt that and put it out into the news cycle as the official position, and then say, OK, now we're not going to investigate. I just think they get what they deserve there in a lot of ways.

HOSTIN: We can agree on that.

BOLDUAN: One thing we do know is there was calm for really the first time last night. That is at least allowing for the focus now to be squarely on this investigation, botched or not, under way, and that now people can start getting some answers. So Mark, Sunny, thank you so much. Sunny, enjoy vacation. It is vacation for you when you get to talk to Mark, I know it is. See you guys soon.

It was just made official, we should tell you guys, this is an important note, that there will be a police press conference at 9:00 a.m. Eastern today. CNN will bring you that live. We do expect, of course, that is when the identity of the police officer involved will be released.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a dinosaur named Sue.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): The story of the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found and the years long legal battle over her. We're going to talk to the director of a new documentary about Sue, it's fascinating. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE; He called up and said, "Neil, I need you to bring a lot of plaster and two-by-fours." Well, it took me a day to get everything ready and I came up, and I got up there with these materials and he took me over to this big cliff, and he said, "Take a look." And I looked at it and I looked at him, I said, "Is that T- Rex?" He said, "Yes. And I think it's all here."


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: That was a scene from the new film "Dinosaur 13" opening in theaters and on demand and digital HD today.


PEREIRA (voice-over): It tells a story, one of the greatest discoveries in history. The largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever found. Found back in the summer of 1990. There'd only been 12 others found before the Sue, that's what they call her, nicknamed after the woman, the field paleontologist who found it. The T-Rex soon became the object of a fierce ten-year battle over who owned it.


PEREIRA (on camera): Joining us now is the director of this fantastic film "Dinosaur 13," Todd miller. Saw the film last night, you did a great job with this.


PEREIRA: A labor of love, I can tell.

MILLER: Yes, you know, we spent about three years making it. It was just me and another guy for about the first two years and then we brought on our music composer, Matt.

PEREIRA: And music does play a big part in this. Sue is quite a lady.


PEREIRA: I'm not sure we've determined if she actually is female or not, but the identity of Sue. We've fallen in love with her. And that's what I wanted to talk about this film, what drew you to this story? It's a little bit of David and Goliath, its a little bit of a love story. Obviously you have an affinity for the world of science, but what was it that drew you to the story?

MILLER: You know, I had read the book that we based the film on called "Rex Appeal." It was written by paleontologist Peter Larson and I just fell in love with it. It was a moving, sweeping visual epic to me, so in fact we wanted to make the film more of a docudrama, so we were going to get first person interviews from everybody that was involved and then go back and shoot the entire thing with actors and re-enact all the scenes, and then they started handing us footage. Not only them, but other people that were involved that hadn't told the story for sometimes 20 years.

PEREIRA: They were hungry to tell the story.

MILLER: Right, they really were. So, I mean, shoe boxes were getting, you know, released from, you know, closets and full of photos to us, and VHS tapes were dusted off and given to us.

PEREIRA: Look, it was the '90s but made it look like it was way back in the 1890s. That footage is so old it makes you a little humble, doesn't it?


PEREIRA: Look, let's start at the very beginning. The discovery of this, such a big discovery because it's the most intact T-Rex dinosaur ever found. Right there in a small town in South Dakota. MILLER: Yes, it was right outside of Faith, South Dakota, in the

badlands of South Dakota which was found the Hell Creek formation, which is where Tyrannosaurus Rex lived. Only in Western U.S. North America. They found the T-Rex in 1990, got it back to their institute. They started preparing the fossil and then cut to 1992, the FBI 35 agents.

PEREIRA: Nightmare sets in.

MILLER: Along with nine different government agencies and the National Guard raided the institute, seized it on behalf of the U.S. government. That led to a few years of a custody battle. there was four claimants which led to the largest criminal trial in South Dakota's history, which led to an auction, which led to some other things I don't want to give away.

PEREIRA: Yea, we don't want to give away everything because I want you to put your seat in the theater. Lives were changed by this discovery, and not necessarily in the way that I think people would have thought at the outset.

MILLER: Yes, I think everyone, you know, even today, people are still coming to terms with, particularly in the town of Hill City, South Dakota, where a lot of the events in the film take place. And they're just now kind of getting closure to it. I hope that the film has helped that in some way, but it's also given a vehicle for others to tell their story, too, that were involved in everything

PEREIRA: Let me ask you about that town because it rallied and fought to keep Sue. They felt she was a part of their community. Is the spirit of Sue still alive in that town?

MILLER: Yes, absolutely. There's always hope, there's always hope that, you know, I think that even a part of Sue might make it back to Hill City, and again I hope that the film could in some way inspire some action to make that happen.

PEREIRA: And I'm sure it's not lost on you the state of education, the importance of S.T.E.M., science, technology, engineering and math, in our schools right now. I bet you're hoping that this might plant a seed in some budding paleontologist's mind.

MILLER: Absolutely, I mean, the other half of the film is just showcasing the wonderful work that these paleontologists do, you know. They represent all of us, you know. Learning about history of past life on the planet is so important, and if we can get people excited about going out and digging dinosaurs and getting out there and giving people the freedom to donate money to science education, I would be very happy.

PEREIRA: It's a great film. Look, when I was 7, I wanted to be a paleontologist Look where I ended up. Who knew? But I'm talking to you, so there you go. It all comes full circle. The CNN film's presentation "Dinosaur 13" in theaters today. You can also watch it right here on CNN later this year, trust me you'll enjoy it immensely. Thanks so much, Todd. Next up on NEW DAY, in just a few minutes' time we're going to hear

from police who are scheduled to hold a police conference. We are expected to learn the name, the identity of the officer who shot Michael brown in Ferguson. CNN is going to bring that to you live. Stay with us.


PEREIRA: Alright, here's a quick Good Stuff. We've been talking so much this morning about distrust between the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and the police department there. Here's a story about a police officer in Missouri doing a good thing.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Here's a story about a police officer in Missouri do a good thing. Kansas City police officer was caught on camera in a dance-off with kids in the neighborhood.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh wow, is that what that is?

PEREIRA: Officer Jeffrey Krebs' partner offered Jolly Ranchers to the kids if they would show off their best moves on take on Krebs. He said he hopes the competition will help him build a better relationship with the community, start with the kids, show them your humanity.


PEREIRA (on camera): done and done. How about that?

BERMAN: That's humanity.

BOLDUAN: That's adorable. Good dance moves. I know someone with better dance moves. Let's get over the "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello right now.