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Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Shot 6 Times; National Guard Called to Ferguson
Aired August 18, 2014 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone.
We're following breaking news: the National Guard is being deployed to Ferguson, Missouri, following another round of intense clashes between police and protesters there.
It spiraled out of control after results from one of three autopsies that are set to be performed on Michael Brown showed the teen was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. There is a diagram of that preliminary autopsy report. Brown's family and attorneys will be discussing those results later today in a press availability. More violence protests erupted as the results were being reported.
For more on all of this, let's discuss. We're joined once again by CNN anchor Don Lemon, who's live from Ferguson for us and has been. Also with us CNN political commentator, host of "Huff Post" live, Marc Lamont Hill, and CNN legal analyst Paul Callan a former defense attorney and prosecutor. He has a lot of experience with autopsy reports, which is going to be key for us today.
Marc, let me start with you, though, on the ground. You were -- as Don was, you were in the middle of it last night. You got caught up in that back and forth with police and teargas.
What was the scene like around you? What was going on?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The tension was incredible. We thought it was going to be calm night. We just left a peace rally. We were with the church with Brown family, with Reverend Sharpton, with a lot of people.
We were ready to watch the peace march. In fact, some young people had peacefully marched down the street. And then we went to the Northland Shopping Center. When we got there, we started to hear shots and see a lot of movement.
And, apparently, that's when young people had clashed with law enforcement. We were caught inside. Police swarmed the area, wouldn't allow us to leave. Teargas came in, we couldn't see, we couldn't breathe.
We were on the trail end of the teargas. More law enforcement moved in. We were stuck there for about two and a half hours. BOLDUAN: Then, what was the eventual -- did it seem, as Don has been
discussing this morning, did it seem that these were -- there are a bad element that was mixing in with otherwise peaceful protesters?
HILL: There is a very small element that is setting things off. The night before I was out there beyond curfew and I saw people throwing Molotov cocktails. We actually had to put the fire out next to a restaurant for people who had done that. We saw a young man shot, again, a small group of people. Some from in town, most from out of the town.
The group I saw actually was from Oakland. But last night I didn't see or hear about any violence. It seemed people were moving peacefully toward or down the street and suddenly police approached. I don't see what happened.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about now, Paul -- Don, stand by, I want to talk about the National Guard in just a second.
But, Paul, I want to talk about this also, really the breaking news coming out of this autopsy report. This is the private autopsy requested by the family, a well-known forensic pathologist who conducted this. This is the preliminary autopsy report, a diagram we're being shown right here.
The big headline out of it, and I want your take, Michael Brown was shot six times, all to his front. What does this tell you?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, a couple of fascinating things. First of all, you almost never see a situation where a private family autopsy becomes public before the official autopsy in the case, kind of unusual.
BOLDUAN: Yes, I did want to ask you about that.
CALLAN: Yes. But we can talk about that in a minute. But these findings are so interesting, I don't want to get away from it.
CALLAN: You know, Dr. Baden, when he was asked, I saw one of his comments was, he said the autopsy results don't show that the shots were justified nor they assigned blame. So, it sounds like he was kind of edging a bit, although he did say he thought there were too many shots fired against Michael Brown.
Now, with respect to where the shots are, I find it to be very, very interesting, because it looks like four of the shots may be in the arm. Now, this is sort of typical of officer-involved shootings, because through years in handling these cases as a prosecutor and defense attorney, I'm almost amazed how often the cops miss when they're shooting somebody. It's very hard to be accurate with a handgun when you're under a lot of tension. And obviously, he's probably trying to hit dead center on Michael Brown. Instead he's hitting him in the arm. Only the head shots probably were the things that stopped Michael Brown and put him on the ground. Now, the real question is, was Brown charging the officer?
BOLDUAN: What does the head shot indicate? Can you make a definitive conclusion?
CALLAN: Baden says and others who looked at this had observed that this means Brown could have been charging the officer. He also could have been surrendering to the officer. But the real question is, did he turn and charge the officer?
Remember, he reportedly weighed over 300 pounds. He's over six feet tall. And the officer -- now, I'm playing devil's advocate here. This is what the officer's attorney is going to do. He's going to say this man struggled with the cop at the car, maybe tried to take the cop's gun. Then he begins to flee, turns around and comes back and tries to attack the officer. The officer in fear for his life opens fire.
BOLDUAN: Right, the --
CALLAN: The family is going to say he had his hands up in the air, he was unarmed and shot without justification. Now, the hands up in the air is another interesting issue because --
BOLDUAN: That's what we've heard pretty consistently from the few eyewitnesses that have spoken out to the media.
CALLAN: But what does the autopsy tell us about the hands up in the air? I found that to be an interesting fact.
CALLAN: And I haven't seen -- we've got to look at that autopsy report and see were the entry wounds here and here as you would have with hands or are they here, here and here where your hands would be down? At what point in time were the shots fired? Maybe he had his hands up at first and he dropped his arms.
So, you can build a lot of scenarios out of an autopsy report.
BOLDUAN: It gives us something but it definitely doesn't give us everything.
CALLAN: Tone definitive thing it gives us, by the way, is he was not close enough to have powder burns on his body when the shots were fired. I can tell you statistically more often than not, officer- involved shootings, the person shot is at least 24 feet away in the average case where an officer fires his weapon. I'm not surprise that were no powder burns on the victim in the case.
BOLDUAN: Stick here with me, Paul. I want to bring Don in on this.
Don, this autopsy report, this is the first of three to be released. But I also found interesting and Paul was kind of alluding to this at the very beginning, Michael Baden, this well-known forensic pathologist, he told "The New York Times," this is the type of information that could have and should have been released on day one by the county.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Right, transparency. But also remember, Paul, as well that I don't think this forensic pathologist had access to the clothing as well, and the clothing could have powder burns on it.
CALLAN: Absolutely right, absolutely right. Yes, could.
LEMON: So, once someone does have access to the clothing, they may find that out. But, yes, that is one of the issues here. And it's transparency. You heard, you know, the Ferguson police chief saying, you know, you guys wanted transparency so I released it all on the same day. And what have you, and that was sort of the excuse they made.
But there was all sorts of information that could have been released earlier, information that has not been released so far, and that's all part of it. This is about transparency, at least in the very beginning, not sure exactly what it's about now when it comes to some of the violent protests. Again, not the majority of the people who are protesting here, just a small group of people who are making it bad for everyone.
CALLAN: You know, I want to be clear, Kate, I wasn't saying that I would have expected law enforcement to have released the autopsy. Usually, you see the autopsy later in the game. What's unusual here is that you have a family autopsy that's been performed and is made public right away. Usually, a private guy is brought in later in the game, after a grand jury has decided --
CALLAN: So, this case is moving differently.
LEMON: -- the number of shots that were made, you would have heard about that. You would possibly in many cases hear who the officer was, what his record was like.
CALLAN: Absolutely. But you wouldn't see the autopsy --
BOLDUAN: I think that's one of the motivations for the private autopsy, is the family said they haven't heard anything --
CALLAN: Well, they don't trust. They're obviously indicating they don't trust the law enforcement authorities.
BOLDUAN: I want to get your take because obviously we're not the experts here. You're definitely more the expert. You've now have -- you're going to have three autopsies. One is the preliminary autopsy although he says he doesn't have access to everything he wanted access to.
You have two other autopsies. Would you expect they're going to differ greatly? Can they?
CALLAN: Well, yes, they can. I mean, these are expert witnesses. You'd be surprised how often expert witnesses differ. And in murder cases, it's not unusual for there to be a defense expert who differs strongly with the state's expert.
BOLDUAN: But they're not going to differ on where the gunshots were, right?
CALLAN: No, but they may differ on whether it was ricochet. They may differ on angle of entry. They may know -- some may say, well, it's the front or they may say it came in at a certain angle, that would be consistent with a man surrendering as opposed to a man charging.
So, I would expect there may be a lot of disagreement about specifics of the autopsy.
BOLDUAN: We have much more to learn there, Paul. Thank you.
Marc, I want to get the last question to you. When we talk about -- Don and I have been talking about it as well. We talked about this autopsy report has been being released. Finally, you know the information at least that this man was shot at least six times.
Do you think that is going to be another instigating factor to inflame tensions today? Or do you think getting this information out there finally will somehow calm things, especially in the addition of the National Guard coming in?
HILL: Well, it's certainly not going to do anything to calm tensions here. Just the sheer number of shots is going to upset people. People will say and have said on the ground, we can't understand how there's any justification for six shots. As well the autopsy report is not being trusted. I spoke to Attorney Crump. And he's said we're already looking forward to the next autopsy.
Everyone has been saying no one trusts the initial autopsy. So, the number of shots combined with the general lack of trust is going to make tensions probably intensify tonight.
LEMON: Completely agree.
BOLDUAN: Don, Marc, Paul, thank you all very much. A lot to continue to talk through throughout the morning. We're going to have much more coverage on this. Thank you all so much.
Coming up next on NEW DAY, we're talking about just that. The National Guard is heading to Ferguson, Missouri, after last night's protest spun out of control. We will speak with Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who coordinated the military relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We're going to talk about what the governor's security orders mean for the city of Ferguson. That's coming up.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you back with us here on NEW DAY. Here's a look at your headlines.
PEREIRA (voice-over): Ukraine's military reportedly making gains in the rebel-held city of Luhansk. According to Ukrainian officials Army troops penetrated deep inside Eastern Ukraine and raised their national flag over a police station in Luhansk. That city that had been under rebel control during much of the four-month conflict. Talks aimed at ending the fight continue in Berlin.
A powerful earthquake this morning in Western Iran has left at least 250 people hurt, cut off also from water, power and phone lines in one city. An official near the Iraq border tells state media there could be heavy damage in the rural areas surrounding the city. It was 6.2 quake, its epicenter was near Iran's oil production facilities.
PEREIRA (on camera): We'll stay on top of that story, bring you updates when we can.
A bit of an embarrassing gap (ph) by German intelligence.
PEREIRA (voice-over): German magazine "Der Spiegel" reports the country's intelligence service intercepted phone calls by Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton. Unnamed German sources claim the spying was accidental and that the recordings were destroyed once officials realized. The German government has been highly critical of eavesdropping by the NSA.
President Obama is taking a time-out from his summer vacation to attend to business at the White House. Attorney General Eric Holder will brief the president on the latest developments in the on going conflict in Ferguson, Missouri. The president will also meet with the National Security Council about the situation in Iraq and he will have lunch with Vice President Joe Biden and then the president is scheduled to return to Martha's Vineyard tomorrow. So a break from his break.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Its been one hell of a working vacation for the president. We want to go now to meteorologist Indra Petersons, keeping track of the latest forecast for us. I'm surrounded by women, its like growing up with my three sisters. It's great.
INDRA PETERSONS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: So you're very happy is what you're saying.
SCIUTTO: I'm very happy.
PETERSONS: Extremely happy. You better be, right? Especially on a Monday, not bad there. Okay. Here is what we're going to be looking at. We're talking about showers really across the entire country thanks to the jet stream lifting to the north. So with that the Gulf is open and all the moisture is kind of making its way to the North, right? So that's where you get those scattered showers, nothing too major out there, except maybe the concentrated spots. Its going to be in the Southeast seeing those scattered showers today, getting better by the end of the week. Meanwhile, if you're in the Midwest, we're starting off with some of those showers today. Northeast looks good for the first half of the week, but gets worse by the second half of the week as that system kind of kicks on over.
Rain total is not too big, about one or two inches. The bigger story is going to be a lot of heat making its way in. So first, we have all of these scattered showers, the kind of hot, muggy feeling. Now temperatures into the South are going to be climbing to a good ten degrees above normal, guys. We're talking about a lot of heat out there, want to give you the perspective. Take a look at what it feels like today. Seeing a lot of these 90s here into the South. Meanwhile, into the Northeast, keep an eye on this, the 80s will be dropping. Its going to get cooler into the Northeast. Now I'm taking you to Friday, look at the flip-flop here. Look at these temperatures climb to triple digit heat. Meanwhile, we're going to be talking about showers and cooler temperatures into the Northeast. Its going to feel a lot better there. The last thing I want to end on is have you ever seen the planets kiss? Yes, it happens like once every 14 years. We're looking at Venus and Jupiter so close right before sunrise this morning. Northeast, sorry it's already light out. But in the Midwest, like Chicago, right now it looks pretty cool. I actually snuck outside and looked at it myself. It almost looks like a plane. The planets are so close to each other.
BOLDUAN: Sounds dangerous.
PETERSONS: But its a little kiss from the planets.
BOLDUAN: Sounds like the plot of a movie we had once called "Armageddon."
SCIUTTO: I was going to say, do we have to get Ben Affleck up in a space shuttle or something to save us?
PETERSONS: Just look outside.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra. Alright, let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, violence erupts again in Ferguson, Missouri.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Now the National Guard is being sent in to try to calm the violence. Will they be able to stop it?
SCIUTTO (voice-over): And the attorney for Michael Brown's family will join us. His reaction to the autopsy results and what we can expect to hear from the family in their news conference later today. (END VIDEOCLIP)
SCIUTTO: Breaking news. Some dramatic pictures from Missouri. The National Guard is headed to Ferguson after every other step to contain rowdy demonstrations after Michael Brown's shooting have failed. This follows another volatile night with gunshots, Molotov cocktails and looting on the streets. So how can the guard help get the situation under control? We're now joined by Lieutenant General Russel Honore,
SCIUTTO: He's the author of "Leadership in the New Normal." He also coordinated military relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Very good to have you here, General Honore. Thank you for joining us.
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.): Good morning.
SCIUTTO (on camera): So we're watching a number of steps, just in the last 24 hours. You have 200 National Guard troops deployed, you have the curfew reinstated. Also, just seeing those pictures, I think our viewers back home certainly noticed this. The police again in what looked like military uniforms, the gas masks back on. As you see developments there, the violence overnight. Do you think these are the right moves by Governor Nixon?
HONORE: It's a logical sequence. The governor by constitution has a responsibility to maintain civil control inside the state of Missouri. This is one of the measures and that is why we have the National Guard in each state who do a mission. First to the governor, then to the president of the United States as required. The good news is that inside the state of Missouri, you have two military police battalions. As I recall from my four years mobilizing and training the national guard between 2004 and 2008, most of those units have trained, localized and deployed even to Afghanistan, Iraq or to Kosovo. So they're a well-trained, well-equipped unit. Missouri also has the 35th infantry division headquarters that they have an option to use to provide cop cover as required. But, yes, these troops are MPs by and large. I would assume that's the unit they're sending. I have not seen the details yet. This thing has two battalions of MPs.
SCIUTTO: I'm glad you brought that up. First of all, I'm glad you brought up your connection because you helped train these National Guard troops, but also their military experience here. I don't mean to minimize at all the danger. We saw that danger, we heard it from our reporters on the ground. Molotov cocktails, people shot, mind you not by police, but by others. But you also know the potential to further inflame the situation with military-like tactics. Is it your concern, can it be a concern that military experience among the law enforcement responders could conceivably make the situation worse rather than better?
HONORE: Well, I think the law enforcement, if you're talking about the militarization or the type of tactics they used, I was somewhat surprised they didn't use more of a riot control posture. It appeared to be more of an assault posture. Hopefully these MPs will pick up the their control kit. We had several of these kits throughout the United States available to the National Guard. And knowing Gerald Dan (ph) and his troops there, the (inaudible) general. The other thing is Missouri is the home of our military police school. I would imagine these troops that are coming in will be well equipped with riot control equipment which is basically a lot of shields and face guards, as well as body protection to protect them from any debris. That's what I'm hoping to see, but I haven't had the opportunity to collaborate with them and get any information yet. They certainly have the training and they should come with the right equipment which is riot control equipment.
SCIUTTO: It sounds like you're saying more defensive than an offensive posture. You rightfully got great praise during the Katrina situation. You brought in the 82nd Airborne division so you brought in military troops to help respond, but you were lauded for keeping them under control, famously cursing a soldier that had his gun pointed at people saying this is a rescue mission, not an assault mission. How do you, as a commander, instill in the law enforcement people who are responding here that kind of emphasis? How do you make that happen so it doesn't get out of control?
HONORE: Leadership at the point of the incident. You can't be sitting back inside St. Louis someplace and managing this from a TV screen. Senior leadership is going to have to be on the ground down there with the captain of the state police, Captain Ron Johnson, and his crew as well as collaborating with the police department. You might have 200 National Guard troops working with the police at the direction of where the police, where the governor wants them to go, but they'll be higher headquarters command dealing with support and collaboration to make sure that those troops have the intelligence they need and working with the police. They will have to be integrated there with the police. You talk about 200-plus National Guard. That state has the capacity to put 9,000 National Guard in there immediately. So they've got the capacity and they have the right kind of troops which are MPs, to get this mission done.
SCIUTTO: MPs on the streets of an American city. Thanks very much Lieutenant General Russel Honore. Kate, you know you get a real sense from that interview just the difficult balance that law enforcement has on the ground there, letting people demonstrate, express themselves, but obviously keeping the violence under control.
BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly right and we've seen how difficult that balance is because we've been seeing it play out every night. Jim, thank you so much. We've got a lot of news we're following on the ground in Ferguson and beyond, so let's get right to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is unacceptable. Until we get justice we will not stop.