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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Single Bullet Could Be Tipping Point; New Questions Over the Militarization of Police; Failed U.S. Rescue Mission Blamed on Bad Intel; American Ebola Patients Released from Hospital
Aired August 21, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, new details about the injuries Officer Darren Wilson sustained the day he fatally shot Michael Brown. Is this a game changer?
Plus an exclusive OUTFRONT investigation on why police departments around the nation are using weapons meant for the battlefield.
And the ransom ISIS demanded for the release of James Foley. The man who communicated with his captors joins us tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. We have new information about Officer Darren Wilson's injuries the day he shot and killed Mike Brown.
A source with detailed knowledge of the investigation tells CNN that Darren Wilson had a, quote, "swollen face" and that he went to the hospital to be treated for that injury. X-rays were taken.
But and this is crucial, the source tells CNN that Darren Wilson did not have a fractured eye socket. That contradicts reports from other news organizations. So will a swollen face save Darren Wilson from indictment? We have a full report on this as well as that crucial kill shot to Mike Brown's head.
But first we go to the ground in Ferguson and our Stephanie Elam. And Stephanie, a group starting to gather at the location where Michael Brown was shot and killed. What is the mood tonight?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. If you look out here, Erin, right now, you can see that people are out here. They're gathering. You can see the location where Mike Brown was shot. There's a memorial that has continued to grow out here and people are starting to gather.
We understand that people are coming out to apologize for the violence that may have occurred here over the last few days and some of the looting. We're waiting to see exactly how that plays out, but we're keeping our eyes, as this gathering here continues to grow, very peaceful, very quiet.
Nothing really loud or anything going on here, but we're waiting to see exactly what happened. They'll ask for the police to apologize as well. So we're here to listen for that too -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Stephanie, that's interesting that there could be an apology for the looting, but also of course, a request for similar from police. What more can you tell us about this crucial question about Darren Wilson's injuries?
You know, as I said, CNN reporting a swollen face, but not a more dramatic broken eye socket as others have reported.
ELAM: Right, this is something that CNN has been very careful about. The reporting on what exactly happened to the face of Officer Wilson. What we are hearing is that he did have an x-ray, that it came back negative. That his face was swollen and he was treated for that, but he did not have a fractured eye socket.
Now that's been out there in the media for a couple of days now. So this would go in the face of that it could be crucial for the investigation into exactly what happened here and whether or not he was actually fearing for his life at that time, in that moment.
So that's why people are paying attention to this. We're still waiting for more details on this. But at this point, what we're getting from a source close to the investigation is that his eye socket was not fractured, that there were x-rays taken and they came back negative -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, obviously a significant development. Thank you very much, Stephanie. We're going to be tackling exactly what the significance of it only being a swollen face in just a moment because the big question is what the grand jury will now do. Will Darren Wilson be charged with murder?
Our David Mattingly is also in Ferguson. David, what have you learned?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The grand jury in this case has its work cut out for it. This is a case where every detail could matter.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): The grand jury now trying to sort out the deadly encounter between the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown and the Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
A single bullet could be a tipping point toward an indictment. Attorneys from Brown's parents call it the kill shot. The fatal bullet that hit a very tall young man in the very top of his head.
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: Why would he be shot in the very top of his head, 6'4" man? Makes no sense.
MATTINGLY: The family's independent autopsy findings suggest brown was leaning forward, his head down. Maybe wounded and falling when the fatal bullet entered his brain. That could be the start for a grand jury looking for evidence that a crime had been committed. PETER JOY, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: So it's not what we see on television of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not even measuring the evidence like a preponderance of the evidence.
MATTINGLY: Law professor, Peter Joy, explains the grand jury could be flooded with evidence, but it doesn't have to decide if anyone is guilty or innocent. It can sort through eyewitness testimony.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He turned around facing the cop and put his hands in the air.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had his arms on his stomach and he was halfway down like going down.
MATTINGLY: It will be necessary when trying to figure out if Brown was charging and the officer feared for his life or if Brown was surrendering. The clinical evaluation of the fatal shot, its location and duration could be key.
(on camera): Could this give this jury probable cause?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could but only if you look at it in the light of where the officer was to Mr. Brown and what Mr. Brown was doing.
MATTINGLY: The St. Louis grand jury has already started its secret examination of the evidence. The beginning of what promises to be a long process.
MATTINGLY: Experts familiar with this process tell me that of all the evidence we've heard about, of all the eyewitness testimony we've heard about also in public, it could only be a fraction of what this grand jury is in store for.
BURNETT: That's incredible just to imagine the deluge of information. Thanks very much to you, David.
Now OUTFRONT, Dr. Vincent DiMaio, the retired chief medical examiner for San Antonio and Paul Callan, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.
Dr. DiMaio, I want to start with you. You just heard David Mattingly reporting that that final shot, which has been called the kill shot, the shot that caused Mike Brown his life could be the tipping point in indicting Officer Darren Wilson.
You have seen the autopsy results by the Brown family. What can you tell from the autopsy about that kill shot?
DR. VINCENT DIMAIO, FORMER CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER, SAN ANTONIO: All you can say is that the top of the head was pointing towards the officer. You can't say if he was down on his knees or if he was charging. The shot itself will not tell you anything about that.
BURNETT: And can it -- you just also heard one witness say Brown's arms were up. Another witness say his arms were down. When you say the shot could have been to the head, he could have been charging. He could have had his hands up, right? It's unclear from the eyewitnesses. Will an autopsy be able to determine whether Mike Brown's arms were up in surrender or not?
DIMAIO: It can give you a probability. That is, he had a gunshot on the palm of his hand, a tangential wound. Well, that's not consistent with putting your hands up to surrender. It's consistent with extending your arm and hands towards the officer and the gun.
And then if this bullet that went into the lower arm or possibly the upper arm, then that reinforces your opinion that the arm was extended towards the officer.
BURNETT: So when you talk about that, Dr. DiMaio is talking about, that it's probabilities, right? That a grand jury will be dealing with that. It gets to this question of an autopsy shows six bullet wounds. That's what the autopsy pictures we have show, Paul.
Even if Darren Wilson was afraid, even if there had been an altercation, why would stopping Mike Brown necessitate that many shots including a kill shot to his head?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: A lot of experts in forensics and in use of weapons will tell you is. With a person as large as Michael Brown was, he was 6'4", weighed 300 pounds. The officer in firing the shots hit him in the arm for the most part.
I guarantee you the officer's going to say he was 30 or 35 feet away. He started running toward the officer and now the officer's pumped with adrenaline. He's nervous. His life is in danger and he starts firing. He misses. He hits the arm, arm, arm, and now --
BURNETT: But wouldn't you if you were trying to stop somebody no matter how big they are, shoot at the legs?
CALLAN: No. Because these officers are trained to shoot dead center in the body because it's so hard to shoot a handgun accurately. This misconception, why don't you shoot the arms, the legs, it's hard enough to hit the body.
And I'm sure you're going to find out the officer was trying to hit him dead center and missed because it's so hard to be accurate. He's going to say that Brown was so close to him and still moving, he had to continue shooting.
And he probably started to fall forward and he was hit in the top of the head. I'm not saying that's what happened. I'm saying that's what the officer will say.
BURNETT: Dr. DiMaio, will an autopsy be able to answer definitely anything here as to motive or what the officer may or may not have been trying to do when he aimed a shotgun -- the gun?
DIMAIO: No, all you can tell is whether the physical evidence is consistent with his account of what happened and, you know, we don't have the full details of his account. There are other things that enter into it like the blow to the face.
If it was to the eye, he might have had double vision at that time. He might not have been seeing very well. So the medical interpretation of the wound to a face is important.
BURNETT: And that is a crucial point, this issue of what happened to Darren Wilson's face. It turns out, CNN is reporting, Paul and I want to be very specific. CNN is saying there is not a fractured eye socket. Others have reported that.
CNN is saying the x-rays came back showing that that was not the case, but he did have a swollen face. So when this goes to the grand jury, is a swollen face enough to save Darren Wilson from being charged with murder?
CALLAN: Well, first, I'm quite sure that the officer never claimed he had a fractured eye socket. Now I don't know where that information came from --
BURNETT: But what I'm saying is, is a swollen face enough to say I thought I was going to lose my life?
CALLAN: No. But the officer will say or his attorney will say that swollen face is an indication that there was an altercation at the car where he was struck by Michael Brown. So he knew and was fearful that Michael Brown would attack him again.
So the swollen face supports that hypothesis that there was violence to begin with. And remember, an officer has the right to effect the arrest of a suspect without being submitted to violence. That's called resisting arrest. So that's how that will be used by the officer.
BURNETT: All right, well, thanks very much to both of you. Obviously this grand jury going to be watched more carefully than almost any other. And we're told that they may not even have all the evidence until mid-October to make that choice on an indictment.
Next tanks used in the battle in Baghdad are now in the hands of police around the United States. Why? An OUTFRONT investigation.
Plus growing mistrust of police after new video reveals how officers responded to the scene you're looking at right now.
Two Americans with Ebola are out of the hospital tonight. They speak out for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is a miraculous day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news, we have new video tonight that is fueling mistrust of police in Missouri. This is video of another black man shot and killed by police just miles from where Mike Brown was killed. Police say this man was waving a knife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got his gun out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop it, bro.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That shooting happened this week. The release of the video comes as the St. Louis police officer has been suspended for what you see here, pointing his gun at protesters in Ferguson and saying, quote, "I'll f-ing kill you."
Police tactics in Missouri are under fire since Mike Brown, an unarmed black teen was shot and killed by police 12 days ago. Today, the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, the first black governor of that state, weighed in on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I'm sick of it. I'm sick of -- I'm sick of unarmed black men being shot by police. I'm sick of the lawlessness on the streets. I think everybody's just tired. When are we going to get through with this kind of -- this kind of thing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: These pictures are of police at Ferguson protests. This looks like a war zone in a place far away, but it's in the United States and it's causing big questions about whether police should have this equipment. Deborah Feyerick has this exclusive OUTFRONT investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bullets will not go into this. You can have an explosion in the road, it will not disrupt the vehicle.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This 2006 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle once saw action in Baghdad and Fallujah. The inside still looks like it was in the desert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty big capacity in here.
FEYERICK: Now it belongs to the Nassau County Police Department on Long Island.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This vehicle because of its heavy armament could enter a hot zone. As you've seen it's very, very heavy.
FEYERICK (on camera): Unbelievable. Have you ever taken this vehicle out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This vehicle has not been used yet.
FEYERICK: It hasn't?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And hopefully it never will be.
FEYERICK (voice-over): The Defense Department is giving out billions of dollars' worth of surplus military equipment to police agencies across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will withstand gun fire like this one would not.
FEYERICK: Things like Humvees, backhoes, watch towers, in some cases even weapons, all of it handed out for free.
STEVEN SKRYNECKI, NASSAU COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: They're downsizing the military now rather than dispose of these vehicles or have them sitting in a lot rotting, they've made them available to police agencies such as ours and we've taken advantage of it.
FEYERICK: Nassau's chief of departments, Steve Skrynecki oversees police operations here. He says the equipment is a key part of the city's emergency response and rescue plan. Whether responding to natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy or active shooting situations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, when it comes down to saving lives, I don't think there's ever too much.
FEYERICK: But do these weapons from the battlefield belong in the hands of police officers? Even before the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the ACLU accused police of becoming dangerously militarized.
KARA DANSKY, ACLU: Many police departments across the country are using these paramilitary weapons and tactics without receiving the specialized training. Nassau has strict protocols and monthly training for its officers. Other cities with smaller police forces do not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are not toys to play about. They're to be used under certain circumstances only.
FEYERICK: The ACLU has criticized lack of oversight and inconsistent training within the nation's many police departments.
(on camera): People are demonizing the use of military grade vehicles in small town police departments. Is that fair?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot has changed in the world since 9/11. Terrorist groups are attacking us from abroad. Terrorist groups are springing up here in the country. Police departments today in the 21st Century are a giant component to our national security.
FEYERICK: Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Nassau County, Long Island.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, our Van Jones, a former member of the Obama administration and Neil Bruntrager, the general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
All right, Van, you just saw Deborah's piece. Obviously there's been a militarization of police. They are getting this equipment for free. Why are these weapons from the battlefield to police officers? Does it make sense to you?
VAN JONES, CNN CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": It doesn't make sense to me. When you look at some of this footage here in Ferguson, you can't tell, is this the Middle East or is this the American Midwest? We're not fighting ISIS here. We're not fighting Saddam Hussein here.
And the problem is when you start to -- when you can't tell the difference between a soldier or a robo cop and a police officer, it begins to add to the distrust. I don't think that the situation here was enhanced by having so much militarization.
We have to be honest. You have protests and rallies and demonstrations in the United States this size or bigger every day. The difference here was this massive militarized response that provoked a lot of what you saw here. The minute you started pulling away from that, things calmed down. It didn't make things better, it made things worse here.
BURNETT: We just played a sound bite from Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts. You spoke out on this today. He said he's sick of unarmed black men being shot by police. "USA Today" says that between 2005 and 2012 a white police officer killed a black person nearly two times a week. Does that shock you?
NEIL BRUNTRAGER, GENERAL COUNSEL, ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: Yes, it does and I will tell you that, again, I can't speak to what happens around the nation, but I know it happens locally. We unfortunately have officer-involved shootings all the time.
Candidly, I don't pay attention to the racial aspect of that. But any time a life is lost, Erin, it's a tragic thing. And anyone who is going to look at those numbers is going to say it's a tragedy. How could you ignore that?
BURNETT: Van, what do you think about that statistic? A white police officer kills a black person nearly two times a week in this country.
JONES: Well, it's something that's shocking when you hear it, but I think it does give a sense of why the African-American community is so sensitive to this. I've heard so many people say, listen, you've got a homicide crisis going on in the black community with so-called black on black crime.
Why are you so sensitive to this? I think it's because at least when there's a homicide in the community, you think that maybe somebody's going to go to jail, they're going to be charged. In this situation there's a sense of abuse of authority and impunity and if somebody can be shot without there being any consequences maybe other kinds of abuse can happen.
This is a very sensitive issue in the black community. It has a very longstanding history here. Those numbers I think really bear out why there is that sensitivity.
BURNETT: Go ahead, yes.
BRUNTRAGER: I was going to throw this in, Erin. The other thing though you have to look at and again while that number, there's no way the make that a good number in any way, shape or form, you still have to look at the circumstances in each of those instances.
Again, you can't ignore that. You can't just blanketly say people are shot and here is the circumstances. It's not the sort of situation that's there is a universal one. You have to look at each case.
BURNETT: All right, let's look at a specific case then. The cell phone video that we just obtained here at CNN that shows another black man shot and killed by police right in the St. Louis area this week on Tuesday. Police say that this man came at them with a knife. I want to play the video again for viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's ganging up. He's got a gun out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You represent the officer in the video we just played. Why did he go straight for his gun? I mean, why were there nine shots? That suspect has a knife, but he's sort of strolling up to him. I mean, is this something you think is justifiable?
BRUNTRAGER: Yes, absolutely. He's not just strolling up to him. I've looked at the whole thing and I've heard the entire video. You have to listen to the audio as well as watch what's going on.
But in addition to that, I will tell you that the St. Louis Police Department has released the on-air tapes. They've released the 911 tapes. They know exactly what the officers knew when they approached. There's a witness in the store.
The individuals right in front of that store. She said this person had two knives, one in his right pocket and one in his right hand. When they come up, the person who is taking the video, he's talking and he's laughing about this fellow and says he's clearly agitated and he's challenging someone.
BURNETT: But if it was scary, why would he be laughing?
BRUNTRAGER: No, this is the guy taking the photograph. I don't know why he's laughing.
BURNETT: He's close enough, he wasn't terrified.
BRUNTRAGER: Well, you know, again, I can't speak for him, only from the video. He's walking down, the fellow, the man that's shot here sees that he's being videotaped. When the officers pull up and he moves towards the officers, he turns around and you see his head turn around just for the briefest of moments.
And he said, I'm going to be on Facebook. I'm going to be on Instagram and he continues towards those officers. Now, the thing you have to know here, Erin, is the time. This all happens very quickly.
When these officers went there, they knew that this man was armed with a knife and he doesn't meander. He beelines for them and they shouted, stop, stop, stop, and he didn't stop.
BURNETT: All right, Van.
BRUNTRAGER: They gave him a chance and he didn't stop. Once he gets within 21 feet, Erin, that's the point of no return. That's the point where they open fire.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Van, reply.
JONES: Well, first of all, you know, my father was a cop in the military. My uncle just retired from the Memphis police force. I'm from a law enforcement family. I get the pressure and in that situation what happened was probably legally justifiable, but it was also probably avoidable.
I spent a big chunk of my life working in California to get law enforcement to have a different approach to these very situations where you have someone who is probably -- has a mental health issue, who is known in the community.
He can be talked down and not shot down if from the very beginning the police have that training. The problem is that we now have so many people with mental health issues, we have so many weapons from knives to guns awash and we're not training our police to talk people down rather than shoot them down.
I do believe it's probably legally justifiable, but it was probably also avoidable with different training. You got to begin to talk about -- one last thing. Everybody in life has to deal with crazy people, bus drivers, nurses, school teachers. Most people learn how to talk people down, not shoot them down.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to both.
OUTFRONT next, two Americans with Ebola escaped death. They are out of the hospital today, but there is a big question, are they still able to spread the disease?
Plus frightening words from American Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on ISIS late today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: They are tremendously well funded. This is beyond anything that we've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news tonight. A dire new warning from the Obama administration about the terror group ISIS, the brutal militants who beheaded American James Foley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAGEL: They're beyond just a terrorist group. This is beyond anything that we've seen. So, we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is you take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And just get ready.
We also have new details about the American mission to rescue the Americans held hostage by ISIS, including Foley. It was mission that came up empty handed.
Barbara Starr has our report.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was July 4th weekend. A daring nighttime raid just outside the city of Raqqa in northern Syria, a stronghold of ISIS. U.S. Special Forces were sent into danger because the intelligence showed the target was a likely location where the hostages were being held, a senior U.S. official tells CNN.
But it was not certain. The intelligence failed.
HAGEL: Intelligence doesn't come wrapped in a package with a bow. It is a mosaic of many pictures, of many factors.
STARR: The mission was unprecedented.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: In a situation where you're going into a country which is fraught with danger, which is potentially going into a city that's controlled by a nefarious and horrific force like ISIS, the risk levels go up considerably.
STARR: It began under cover of darkness. Several dozen elite commandos from units like Army Delta Force and the Navy SEAL Team Six landed in specially equipped radar-evading helicopters. They quickly made their way to able where they were told James Foley and other American hostages were being held. No one was there.
A firefight broke out with nearby militants. Several of those militants were killed. The U.S. team got back to their helicopters and left.
The operation, including the helicopters, similar to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Fighter jets patrolled overhead. Syrian radars were jammed. Team members moved to block nearby access roads.
The entire mission lasted about two hours. Now, questions about whether the lives of the other hostages are at risk for the administration's revelations.
HAGEL: It's responsibility of our government and our leaders to do all we can to take action when we believe there might be a good possibility, a good chance to make a rescue effort successful.
STARR: But what's the long-term strategy to deal with ISIS? Well, U.S. officials say a number of options are under review, including stepping up the air strikes in Iraq and even possibly conducting airstrikes across the border inside Syria, but they say all of this is just being discussed, it is just an idea, no decisions have been made -- Erin.
BURNETT: Barbara, thank you very much.
And we're learning more tonight about ISIS, the terror group that beheaded American journalist James Foley. Apparently the group demanded 100 million Euros. That's $132 million as ransom, something thought that they demanded it of did not take seriously.
CEO Phil Balboni was Foley's boss on that fateful assignment in Syria. He was the one who received e-mails from ISIS. And Phil Balboni s OUTFRONT.
Phil, thank you very much for talking about this. I know for a long time this was something that you were enduring alone, along with James' family, as you tried to secure his release and save his life. I know you've also been in contact with the loved ones of those who are still missing, the Sotloff family who is hoping that their loved one, their son, will survive.
What can you tell us about the Americans who are still there? How many of them are there, to your knowledge?
It sounds like we have an audio issue with Phil. I don't think he can hear me. No, he can't hear me.
So, we're going to be working on that. But I do -- sorry.
All right. We're going to get that back. I was going to read to you from the e-mail actually that ISIS had sent him. But I want to save our time. We're going to take a brief break. Come right back and we'll have that audio fix and we'll share that e-mail that ISIS sent him right after this break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: American journalist James Foley was beheaded by the terror group ISIS this week. We are now learning ISIS' demands. They wanted $132 million as ransom for Foley.
Phil Balboni was Foley's boss. He was the one who received these demands and he is OUTFRONT with us now.
Phil, thank you and thanks to our viewers for bearing with us that audio issue we had. We're thrilled to have you with us.
And, Phil, what I was saying was I can't imagine what it was like for you over such a long period of time when you couldn't talk about this to be trying to secure his release, talking to his family, trying to have this end in a different way than it did. I know you've also been in contact with the loved ones of those still missing.
Do you know how many Americans there are?
PHIL BALBONI, GLOBALPOST CEO WHO NEGOTIATED WITH ISIS TO GET JAMES FOLEY BACK: There are three Americans still being held by the Islamic State. And, you know, as devastated as we are about Jim, you know, our thoughts and I know the Foley family's thoughts are with those three Americans who are facing, you know, imminent death.
And I hope and pray that our government is able to take steps to secure their freedom and to prevent the horrible end to Jim's life.
BURNETT: What steps should those be? I'm aware that you were trying to do whatever you could along with the family to try to arrange money possibly for a ransom. But I know the U.S. government would not pay -- would not pay that.
Do you think they should pay for those other three Americans?
BALBONI: You know, it's a hard question, Erin. It's been a longstanding policy. There's good and sufficient reason for it. You know, over the last 48 hour, I've come to feel that we should take another look at it.
I don't know if it's going to make a difference now for the other three. I think when the bombing began in Iraq, it changed all the ground rules. And I think the Islamic state is expecting other things to be done.
In reading the e-mail that they sent us last Wednesday night, it was filled with rage and anger at the American government for the bombing and ended with the statement that they were going to execute Jim. Even though we did not give up hope at that moment, we knew that it was going to be far more difficult than any other time in the two years we've been searching for Jim.
BURNETT: So, I want to quote part of that e-mail that we have here so our viewers could hear a little bit of it. As you talk about it full of rage. There were misspellings in it, it was written clearly in a fanatical sort of way. And here's part of what it said. It said, "Today, our swords are unsheathed towards you." And then this begins in all caps. "Government and citizens alike! And we will to stop until we quench the thirst for your blood. You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings! The first of which had will be the blood of the American citizen James Foley!"
There were exclamation points everywhere, there were misspellings. As I said, it was fanatical. What did you read when you read it?
BALBONI: Well, we were horrified because we believe that we were moving closer to the time when we could secure Jim's freedom by ransom, as a dozen European journalists and others had been ransomed out. The family was busy raising the money for the ransom. I knew and the family knew that when the bombing began, we moved into a new place and that it placed Jim's life in greater jeopardy and it made our job more difficult. But we never gave up hope.
BURNETT: And they mentioned the $132 million ransom that I know you said you didn't take seriously. But were you aware of the price that the Europeans had paid for others who were taken hostage and held with Jim who were released, and how much money was that?
BALBONI: We were. We interviewed almost all of those released hostages, and we knew the range of dollars that were paid, and it was between 2 million euros and say 4 million euros. So we thought that something in the range of $5 million was probably the right amount to pay for the ransom.
BURNETT: Well, Phil, thank you very much. And a significant new detail there, that the -- at least according to Phil's understanding, that it was about $5 million that other governments had paid to secure the release of journalists from their countries. Of course, that was not paid by the U.S. government for Jim Foley. Thank you, Phil.
BALBONI: You're welcome.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, two Americans with Ebola are out of the hospital tonight. How did they cheat death and can they still possibly spread the disease?
Plus, back to our top story, the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, why it may be crucial that brown was only 35 feet from Officer Darren Wilson's police car when he was killed.
BURNETT: The two Americans infected with the Ebola virus cheated death. Now, they're not only out of the hospital but speaking for first time. Dr. Kent Brantly was released from Emory Hospital this morning. The other patient Nancy Writebol was discharged Tuesday.
This is a picture of Dr. Brantly from this morning, just a couple of weeks ago he was near death. This is just incredible.
But can they still infect others? We're going to get to that in a moment.
But, first, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has Dr. Brantly's incredible story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a day some thought might never come, a day full of lots of smiles and gratitude.
DR. KENT BRANTLY, CURED OF EBOLA VIRUS: Today is a miraculous day.
GUPTA: Dr. Kent Brantly, it's the first time we're seeing him look like this, vibrant, healthy, a far cry from the hooded figure that staggered into the hospital a little bit three weeks ago.
(on camera): But this is standard for --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would be standard for our unit, yes.
GUPTA (voice-over): Just one day before that arrival, Dr. Bruce Ribner showed me the protective suit he and other staff would have to wear every time they saw Brantly.
Today, a completely different picture -- in fact, it wasn't so much what we heard as what we saw. Brantly, who was in isolation just a day ago, now holding hands with his wife Amber, and hugging every one of the 26-member team that he credits with saving his life.
Brantly had moved to Africa last fall with his family, for a two-year medical mission. It had nothing to do with Ebola. But that all changed in the spring.
We were in West Africa as the outbreak began to heat up. Brantly made the decision to fly his family home to the United States on July 20th. And then just three days later --
BRANTLY: I woke up feeling under the weather. And then my life took an unexpected turn as I was diagnosed with the Ebola virus disease.
GUPTA: There's no way to know exactly why he's done so well. A lot of attention was due to a story that we first reported, about an experimental drug ZMapp that he received, the first of three doses given to Brantly as he lay near death in Liberia. Never before had it been given to a human being.
But what happened next was described to us as miraculous. Within an hour, Brantly's doctors said he made a dramatic turn around. By the next morning, he was able to stand up on his own and take a shower.
Coincidence or not, doctors are still being cautious.
DR. BRUCE RIBNER, EMORY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL INFECTIOUS DISEASE UNIT: And frankly, we do not know whether it helped him.
GUPTA: Brantly's colleague Nancy Writebol also received ZMapp. At one point, according to the missionary group they work for, friends and family expected to plan a funeral. When she arrived at Emory, she was still unable to walk. But, today, we learned Nancy is also Ebola- free and she left the hospital two days ago. BRANTLY: My dear friend Nancy Writebol, after her release from the
hospital, wanted me to share her gratitude for all the prayers on her behalf, as she walked out of her isolation room, all she could say was "To God be the glory."
BURNETT: Sanjay, incredible that could have happened. The doctors seem confident they beat this. They're not going to be able to spread Ebola to others.
But, you know, we had heard today that it is possible to transmit it sexually even post-recovery. Is that a concern?
GUPTA: Well, they really downplayed that concern. I mean, it's interesting because they check the blood. They do a blood test to make sure there is no Ebola and they do another blood test a couple days later, a confirmatory test, if you will, to confirm there is no Ebola in the blood.
But studies have shown it can stay in the sperm of a man up to 60 days or so after they have been recovered and in the breast milk of a woman, as well, after they have been recovered.
So, they are given special precautions, you know, about this potentially being a sexually transmitted disease but I think they're point is it's not a general risk to the public and it's a very low risk even in that particular regard. It's hard to transmit that way.
BURNETT: Right, right. Low risk but certainly still when you hear that and know they are no longer in the hospital and among the public, it's still -- sort of you stop a second when you hear that. Do they have full immunity themselves? I mean, could they go back to West Africa? Can they go around Ebola again and not get re-infected? I mean, are they immune?
GUPTA: It's a fascinating question, Erin. Here's how I would put it, is that in a way, Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol sort of got the ultimate vaccine. That's what vaccines are. You give some of virus to somebody, and you teach their bodies how to fight that virus if it ever sees it again. They both are essentially now immune to this particular strain of Ebola, but there is a couple big caveats.
First of all, there's more one strain of Ebola. So, while they maybe immune to this one, there are other strains that are still potentially going to be a problem. The second thing is that, you know, viruses do change a little bit. It's why you get a different -- it's why you get a flu shot every year, as opposed to one flu shot. So, if that Ebola strain were to change, mutates just a little bit, then their immunity may not be as strong.
So, what I would say is if he were to go back there, despite the fact he has some of this immunity, they'd still want to exercise all the precautions, those space suits that you've seen I think would still be necessary, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sanjay, thank you very much.
And I want to bring in Bruce Johnson now, president of the SIM USA. That's the organization Nancy Writebol was working with.
And, Bruce, Nancy's husband issued a statement. And in it, it said, we'll read a brief part of it for our viewers. "During the course of her fight, Nancy recalled the dark hours of fear and loneliness but also a sense of the deep abiding peace and presence of God giving her comfort."
Dr. Brantly also talked about God. How big of a role do you think faith played in the fact they did not die, that they recovered?
BRUCE JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, SIM USA: Well, I think that statement really shows that they had a realistic picture of what they were facing, but it also showed the deep faith they have and that brings great comfort to us as followers of Jesus Christ. So, I think for them, they were facing this but certainly, people of faith, people of prayer and really people around the world lifting them up in prayer.
BURNETT: How is Nancy doing? We saw Dr. Brantly today. We know Nancy is home, but we haven't yet heard from her. Can you tell us?
JOHNSON: Absolutely. I've been able to talk with Nancy, as well as her husband, David. Nancy's voice sounded strong, had a good conversation with her. It was classic Nancy. She was just expressing great gratitude and appreciation for all those that have helped her.
In talking with David, while she is healthy and free of the Ebola virus, she's weak. You can imagine, this is a very devastating virus.
JOHNSON: Takes a lot out of you. And so, she is resting and recuperating.
BURNETT: And, you know, Sanjay Gupta was just saying they received the ultimate vaccine, Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol, they are vaccinated. Would she ever go back? I mean, I know this may sound crazy but she was risking and dedicating her life to help others. Would she consider that now that she's immune?
JOHNSON: You know, I wouldn't be surprised if Dr. Brantly and Nancy and their families, their spouses return to Liberia to be able to help in the fight against Ebola. It's that kind of spirit that they have demonstrated when they were there. The kind of spirit they demonstrated when they contracted Ebola and even in their recovery, being able to talk to David, he said, you know, we trust in God for the future. We're not sure right now what it holds because our focus is getting back to good health. I'm sure that's the same for Dr. Brantly.
But their spirit is one of "how can I help?", and so I wouldn't be surprised at all.
BURNETT: That is an incredible thing to say and I think something that made anyone watching stop for a moment and consider the incredible statement that is.
Thanks so much, Bruce.
And we'll be right back.
JOHNSON: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: Tomorrow, OUTFRONT, the shooting of Mike Brown unfolded in seconds. So, how long did it take for Darren Wilson to react and fire six shots? We investigate.
Anderson starts now.