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National Guard Deployed to Ferguson; Family Autopsy Shows Brown Shot 6 Times; Cedric the Entertainer on Michael Brown
Aired August 18, 2014 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You can almost feel the intensity on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.
Welcome, once again, everyone, to NEW DAY. It is August 18th, 8:00 in the East right now. Chris is on his way to Ferguson. Jim Sciutto is here with us this morning.
We're following the breaking news coming out of Missouri. The National Guard has been ordered to Ferguson after clashes intensified between riot police and protesters over the shooting death of Michael Brown.
The anger boiling over as a private autopsy requested by the teenager's family revealed that the unarmed -- the unarmed 18-year-old was shot at least six times.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The teen was hit in the front of the body and this could be key, not the back, twice in the head and four times in his right arm. Findings suggested the shots were fired from far away since no gunpowder was found. Two autopsies found on Brown so far, one more remains from the U.S. Department of Justice.
We want to go now to CNN's Don Lemon who witnessed much of this and what transpired over the last several nights.
Don, it's incredible to see those scenes again -- soldiers it looks like, they're policemen but they look like soldiers. The tear gas in the air, the gas mask, the violence, the gun shots, it must have been incredible to witness.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It was incredible to witness. And speaking of soldiers, I mean, the National Guard is coming in. So, it's going to look even more militarized, Jim and Kate.
You know, what we're seeing here, another way really to describe it just ugly. It is a case of bad characters really wrecking what started as peaceful protests, helping it spin way out of control. Police in riot gear taking on protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets.
The trouble started hours before a curfew was to begin and it lasted well into the night, well after people were supposed to go home, supposed to be in their homes. Police say Molotov cocktails were thrown at them and some protesters opened fire in their direction.
Now, two civilians were shot, but authorities are saying that the bullets were fired by demonstrators.
And President Barack Obama, of course, keeping updated on all of the -- what is going on here today at the White House. In a moment, we're going to give the police perspective when the president of the St. Louis County Police Association joins me here live.
But we're going to go first to CNN's George Howell, who has been on the scene as well. He's been caught in some of this and he's been witnessing a lot of what has been going on.
George, good morning to you. What are you seeing?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, good morning. Here at what you could call ground zero of all of the unrest that we've seen here over the last several days, the QT that was burned to the ground and if you look over here, you see all of the debris left over from another night of unrest.
I want to bring in Britney Banks (ph).
Britney, thank you for talking to me. You were here a moment ago.
Tell people what you're doing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm picking up trash. Picking up trash. I'm only about two miles down, and, you know it is an unfortunate situation, but I don't think the individuals of Ferguson should have to drive to work every morning seeing their city being trashed.
HOWELL: Britney, thank you very much.
And here's the thing: we saw all this play out overnight. Here's what happened.
HOWELL (voice-over): Peaceful protests turned into chaos overnight, leaving two people wounded by civilian gunfire according to police. Officers in riot gear firing smoke and teargas canisters into crowds ahead of the midnight curfew after police say some protesters turned violent.
Children and families were seen among the crowd, at times protesters were turning teargas canisters toward police and others trying to recover from the gas fired into the crowds.
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: The situation first started to deteriorate with a shooting of a civilian. We quickly responded with additional officers to reach the victim and got them to a safe position. That was followed by shots being fired on officers, a number of Molotov cocktails being hurled, and then the looting.
HOWELL: But protesters say otherwise. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were peaceful. This is unacceptable and this is not the law.
HOWELL: Violence erupting as a preliminary autopsy report done by the family's own pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, reveals Brown were shot at least six times, twice in the head, and four times in the arm, Baden adding that all of the bullets entered from the front, contradicting some eyewitness accounts that Brown was shot in the back.
Also in the report, no trace of gunpowder residue found on the 18- year-old clothing, which suggests Brown was shot from a distance, not up close. Dr. Baden says until he can examine the clothing himself, we won't know for sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless his soul. Police shot this boy outside my apartment.
HOWELL: This exclusive video obtained by CNN shows an up-close look at the aftermath from that day. Officer Darren Wilson accused of shutting the teen appears to be to the right. Earlier on Sunday, his parents grieving before a crowded church at the Justice for Michael Brown rally.
TY PRUITT, COUSIN OF MICHAEL BROWN: Michael Brown was not just some young black boy. He was a human being. He was not an animal, but that's how he was killed.
HOWELL: The service was meant to honor their son and to demand justice.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR BROWN FAMILY: They want to know that they will have their day in court, that the killer of their child will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.
HOWELL: Another night of unrest hijacking the message of many protesters who are just trying to send a message. Again, we know at least several people, two people were shot, several people were arrested and, again, another day where children will not be able to go to school because of fears of more unrest, Don.
LEMON: Yes, unbelievable.
OK. George Howell, thank you. Appreciate your reporting. Stand by.
I want to bring in Gabe Crocker. We're going to get the police side of the story, president of the St. Louis County Police Association.
Thank you for joining us.
GABE CROCKER, PRESIDENT, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE ASSOCIATION: Thanks, Don. Appreciate you having me.
LEMON: First, let's get to the National Guard coming in, because you were critical of having the Missouri Highway Patrol come in. You thought that wasn't handled properly.
CROCKER: Right, I thought that was an unfriendly takeover of the situation due to political pressure on our governor and certain local leaders. Now what we have seen here --
LEMON: Now, hang on, before you go to that, do you think usurped the local police powers?
CROCKER: Sure, I think it was an inappropriate response. I think it would have been nicer for our governor to come in and utilize his resources to join ours rather than have some kind of situational takeover.
LEMON: And now, the National Guard. What do you say?
CROCKER: Well, I think it goes right against what the governor and some of the other leaders have said from the beginning, where they were hoping to demilitarize the situation. Now, they're actually calling in the National Guard. I think that kind of goes to support what I've said from the very beginning, which is that the St. Louis County Police Department is doing a great job, and we could have used those resources, we could have worked together.
LEMON: You saw it devolve last night into tear gas and all of that. What do you think of the demonstrations? What is escalating?
CROCKER: You know, I'm not sure. I think a couple of things. I think there were some comments by some local leaders yesterday that could have caused this situation to kind of uprise. Certainly, the autopsy results that were released last night could have enflamed certain crowd members. But, again, I always like to delineate the difference between peaceful protesters, folks that are out there, having their voices heard.
LEMON: The majority of them are.
CROCKER: The majority of those folks that are out there, they have every right to be upset. We have police officers out there, they're upset. We understand that.
But there are those people out there that are really trying to devolve the situation into looting and rioting and violence.
LEMON: What do you think was inflammatory about the local comments and what are you speaking of specifically?
CROCKER: OK. Well, you know, there is local leaders enflaming I think both sides of the situation. I've seen certain Twitter feeds and Facebook postings by politicians in the area calling for this officer to be arrested before -- but yet asking for justice to move forward at the same time.
So, I find it quite hypocritical that some of the local leaders will call for this officer to be immediately arrested and tried and charged when really the investigation is still ongoing. It's unfair. It is too fast. It is too soon. And I also think that, you know, I saw some of the footage from some
of the individuals speaking to crowds yesterday of protesters where, you know, again, they're saying things that may not be true, they're saying things that they can't back up with facts. And they're inciting the crowd that way by putting information out there that simply isn't true.
LEMON: All the facts aren't in at the moment. It is going to be quite some time before they are.
LEMON: OK. So I spoke to you about, you know, the guys out in tactical gear and some of the things that were used last night, tear gas.
LEMON: People are concerned about that they are in an over- militarized situation. And by bringing the National Guard, more of a militarized situation? Do you think that will serve to enflame or to quell some of the violence that is happening?
CROCKER: Well, I don't know. I just heard about the National Guard coming in this morning. I don't know what purpose -- or are what role the National Guard is going to serve. I mean, they can certainly come in and be actively involved in the crowd control efforts or suppressing looters and violent acts, or they might be working more of a perimeter type detail which would free up more local resources to handle those crowds.
I am concerned about the term over-militarized being used quite often. It is really gaining a lot of popularity. I want to be careful about how we --
LEMON: Why are you concerned about that?
CROCKER: Well, because in the last 10 to 15 years, what we have seen is certainly, you know, you know, the events of 9/11, increases in school shootings and violent encounters in workplaces and mass shootings. And so some of that equipment and some of those resources are very commonly used in those situations. They're not very -- very rarely, Don, are they ever used just for regular patrol.
LEMON: Let's get to the autopsy. I mentioned you said if you thought -- you didn't think the autopsy results should be released, the initial autopsy results should be released so soon? You thought that enflamed the situation?
CROCKER: Well, it's not's my opinion whether or not they should or shouldn't have been, but they were, and now, we have to deal with that.
LEMON: So, as a member of the police department, what do you think of where the shots were, at least six shots and also kill shot they are saying, shots to the head? CROCKER: OK. I'm not a forensic pathologist, but what I can tell you from a law enforcement view is it is my belief right away, we have already eliminated quite a few witness statements from that day that were saying repeatedly that -- you know, that was a problem early on, folks coming forward with stories that weren't accurate or true, so now what you have is a lot of those statements have been eliminated or shown to be false to some level.
I mean, people see what they see and they may report what they see, but we know that's not always accurate.
CROCKER: The president of the St. Louis County Police Association, Gabe Crocker, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Kate, again, we're going to be out here, Jim, we'll be out here. There is the family attorneys holding a press conference and, of course, new information released throughout the day and we will be here.
BOLDUAN: Sure has been a lot of new information just overnight, Don. I mean, you were up very late. We have seen the video of it. You were also in the middle of it. Some of those protests last night.
What did you see? We all -- as from the perspective of the police association, one account is not everyone's account, sure. But what did you see? It's important.
LEMON: Yes. OK. So, it is important, because I was on the scene and so I am a witness to a lot of it. When my producer and I arrived last night just before the curfew went into effect, obviously we saw a very heavy police presence. As we arrived to the scene, we tried to get to an area that was sort of cordoned off and get to the perimeter of that so we can find a place to go.
As we drove up, we were in a parking lot and we heard shots, at least six shots. And we drove up and the police officer pointed a gun at us, with a flashlight on it and said, stop wherever you're going, hands up, we put our hands up and said, "We are with CNN, we're member of the media" and the state police backed down and said, OK, I need you to go over there, park there, we get to that place, another police officer, same thing, with the gun, with the flashlight on it, "Hands up, get out of the area," we said that police officer over there told us to come over, we're members of the media, immediately again backed down.
And then, moments later, they said we have been told by the state that the hot zone that you're in now, everyone needs to be evacuated and cleared, and we immediately left.
We had been issued just, you know, this for us, when we're not with the police and we're not with some of the officers out there -- this is just to protect us from rubber bullets that may be going off. Again, if the situation becomes very violent, we don't stay. We get out. We do what the police tell us. And this is what every single person of our team and every single
person who is with law enforcement, they're wearing these. We put these on because there have been -- obviously, we have seen gas that has been, you know, hurled into the crowd to try to disperse them and also Molotov cocktails, this won't protect us from that. But, again, we're having to take these precautions and every member of law enforcement taking these precautions as well.
Last night, you know, I hate to say this, I want to be extremely cautious about the language, but it felt like a city under siege. Not only under siege from the heavy militarized presence that it felt like, but also under siege from some of the residents, some of the people who were there, who were causing problems. Some of the people who are causing the problems and not the good folks, not the law abiding citizens who have every right to protest, the majority of them, but it felt like the community was being terrorized by those people. The good citizens of this community who are trying to do a good thing and bring light to a situation that needs light shown on it.
And that's being overshadowed by people who are looting, stealing, setting off Molotov cocktails, shooting at people. It really is disgusting to see and embarrassing not only for the citizens, not only for the man in charge, Ron Johnson, but also for the family and the legacy of Michael Brown -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And that's an important note to end on.
It also changes the situation on a dime there on the ground. That's why you have to be prepared. And when you think you're in the safe zone, you end up being in the hot zone in the next second.
Don, thanks so much. We'll be getting back to you throughout the show. Talk to you in a little bit.
So, coming up next on NEW DAY, one Ferguson native is well known to many Americans. We're going to speak with Cedric the Entertainer, get his take on what it is like to be from the area, and also what it is like now to look at this unfolding before our eyes.
SCIUTTO: And we have a CNN exclusive, new video from the shooting of Michael Brown that shows Officer Darren Wilson at the scene. We're going to hear from the eyewitness who shot that video.
LEMON: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live in Ferguson, Missouri.
And the National Guard we're hearing headed this way after another spike in chaos overtook the city last night. For most of us, what we see of Ferguson on television is all we know about this city. But for those who call it home, for those who call it home, the last week has torn a hole in the heart of this community.
And one person who knows this area really well is my next guest, and that's Cedric the Entertainer. He calls Ferguson his hometown. He joins us now live this morning from Los Angeles via Skype.
Good morning to you, Cedric. I'm so glad to hear your voice.
What do you make of the events that have unfolded? You've been watching them. I'm sure your heart is broken by a lot of it.
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER, COMEDIAN & ACTOR: Yes, good morning, Don. First of all, yeah, my heart is broken by this, of course. The loss of Mike Brown and to his family, and I just think to watch this degree of national attention on my city like that, to see this violence being escalated between the police and the citizens is nerve wracking and it is disheartening to see it continue on for this many days.
LEMON: What do you make now that the National Guard is being brought in? Because initially, you know, Ron Johnson, who you know, was wrought I brought in and the violence stopped for a couple of days and now, it spiked again. What do you make of the National Guard coming in and what do you make of the situation now with Ron Johnson?
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: Well, I think it is a catch-22. One, I've been knowing Ron Johnson many years, he's a serious person, I think it was the right call to bring him in at the time. It was able to de- escalate the situation, those initially.
But I do feel that there is a large group, St. Louis is a very racially divided city. And I think that this, you know, the police on one side and some of the citizens feeling like they're actually on the other side is what is causing this problem, why it continues to be this us against them kind of mentality and not specifically to the officer who should be questioned about the actions he took against Mike Brown.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. You're right. I live in St. Louis for a while, it is a very racially divided town. People may not realize that.
And there is -- listen, everyone will admit, every -- the police department, every member at least the brass from the police department, from the county, to the city, to Ferguson -- they will admit there is some -- they have to -- they have soul searching to do. What should police do, not only police, but also the community, to try to get this community back together again?
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: Well, I think, you know, again, I heard one of the police commissioners you talked to earlier explain. I think that right now, it feels like the officer in question is being protected by the blue line that if this situation was the opposite, if a person had attacked the police and they knew exactly who that person was, and they could -- there was any question that there was, you know, a question of guilt or doubt, that person would be in charge, would be under arrest, or would be being questioned right now.
Right now, it feels as though the young man had no weapon, he was shot six times, and the officer is being protected by other officers. So, it just feels as though this is what the people -- the outcry is all about. It's all about the justice of what the appearance is and where the person is right now, and why hasn't this person been charged or brought in for questioning. Why can't they get to the results or to the bottom line of this nine, 10 days later?
Again, if this was a regular citizen, and they knew exactly who it was, he would have been arrested immediately and then he would have had to defend himself from there.
But right now, this officer is being protected by the situation and this is what got -- this is what has the young people upset so much. This is why they feel like they're constantly under attack in the city of St. Louis when it comes to officer stops, when it comes to being profiled.
This is what -- this is why, you know, the leaders can't get this fraction of folks under control. They are upset about it. It happens more often than not. If someone is not necessarily shot or killed, then it is not reported.
But it happens more often than not and this is what, you know, the whole kind of underground anarchy is all about toward what I'm understanding from the people I'm talking to. They just mad about it. And that's what they -- and they want something to happen, and they need to see some results.
And I think the officials have to try to say what they're going to do about the problem, about the six shots, about the officer in question, and show the people that they are trying to solve this problem as opposed to continuing to attack the people who are protesting.
LEMON: And, Cedric, you mentioned young people. You have a son. I wonder if you worry about him growing up as a young black man in America and if you're concerned about him being stopped by police. Do you have that conversation with him?
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: Yes, indeed. My son is 13. But I also have it with my daughter, I have a 25-year-old daughter right there in St. Louis right now. And that is -- that is something that, again, in a city that is so racially divided, where the power sources are so one group higher than the other, you know, it is something I am very concerned with, raising a child in America about you just being able to comply.
But even if you comply, that person still has the right or feel he has the right to dictate his authority any way he pleases at anytime. And that is the thing that is being very questionable right now. And I think that these are the kind of, you know, the messages that we try to get across to our kids to comply with the police officers, but, again, in these short -- these sometimes instances when the officer takes it upon his own authority to be the -- to be the ultimate authority, you know, it is hard to, you know, question someone, you know, rising up against you.
LEMON: You know, Cedric, it's so important that your voice be heard as someone who comes from this community and someone who really has a platform and people listen to you and has authority. I really appreciate you coming on. Anytime you want to come back, we will have you. Thank you, Cedric. CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: Thanks, Don. I want people to abide by the
laws, though. Right now, keep calm. Do what the family says, St. Louis.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Cedric the Entertainer.
And, Kate, you know, his voice is very important. Very important that someone like Cedric the entertainer be heard. He has a lot of influence and a lot of power and you hear him calling for peace. He says abide by the law, St. Louis. Back to you, guys.
BOLDUAN: That's the important message that seems to be said over and over, but has not yet been heard obviously enough quite yet.
Don, thank you.
SCIUTTO: You get a sense from a conversation like that, this Ferguson event is really just scratching the surface of a larger conversation about race in America.
SCIUTTO: Visions, hopes, dreams, segregation, you name it.
BOLDUAN: And Cedric got to that very well. Greet to have his voice there.
Coming up next on NEW DAY, a CNN exclusive for you, video shows Officer Darren Wilson at the scene of Michael Brown's shooting. The eyewitness who took this video is going to tell us what she saw.
SCIUTTO: Did the White House ignore State Department warnings that Syrian militants would spread into Iraq? We'll talk with the former U.S. ambassador to Syria about the surge of ISIS terrorists.