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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Grand Jury Reached a Decision not to Indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Shooting Death of Michael Brown; Destruction in Ferguson; Protests in New York
Aired November 25, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
In a moment for the first time you'll hear Officer Darren Wilson describe second by second the minute and a half encounter with Michael Brown that he says was a case of kill or be killed.
First, it's quieter tonight in Ferguson. We wanted to show you live pictures from locations around the area. There are now 2,200 National Guard troops out and around on the streets tonight. That's more than tripled the 700 who were deployed just last night. They're out in force, including several dozen in full riot gear lined up outside the Ferguson police department. Missouri's governor ordered the increase today saying acts of violence and destruction would not be tolerated.
Earlier tonight in Chicago, President Obama said that while he understood the roots of the frustration that boiled over last night he had no sympathy for what rioters do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've never seen a civil rights law or a health care bill or an immigration bill result because a car got burnt. It happened because people vote. It happened because people mobilized. It happened because people organize, it happens because people look at what are the best policies to solve the problem. That's how you actually move something forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mr. Obama has yet to decide whether to come here. Spokesman saying he would make the call once things calm down a bit. At this moment, at least, it seems they have. In this hour, we should say.
On that note, before we go any further, that bad things were last night as ugly as they clearly got, the entire city of Ferguson was not in flames, even though it may have seemed that way at times when you looked at some of the pictures. You can see on the map violence were only in isolated hot spots and in some of those places there were just as many citizens trying to protect property as to destroy it.
But clearly, some who are unfolded was especially. Some of it in this picture, police under a holiday banner were almost surreal. Perhaps the most heartbreaking, though, was video from "The New York Times" of Michael Brown's mother and stepfather moments after the grand jury decision came down. Her anguish and the stepfather's boiling anger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN JR.'S MOTHER: I've been here my whole life! I've never had to go through nothing like this. None of you all know me but I didn't do nothing to nobody. Anybody say so they're a liar. They a damn liar.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want justice! (Bleep)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to get justice. We're going to get justice. (Bleep)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's somebody's son. That was somebody's child. (Bleep) (INAUDIBLE) Ferguson stands! Ferguson stands!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Michael Brown's stepfather. Tonight, 23 hours later we have correspondents out and around here in Ferguson and cities across the country where protesters have in many places taken to the streets.
We begin, though, with Chris Cuomo who joins us from outside the Ferguson police department which is now under National Guard protection.
Chris, explain what you're seeing out there. Because that's really where so much of the violence started last night.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hindsight is 20/20, Anderson. But what we are seeing tonight is what we should have seen last night. This is why the National Guard was called up with that state of emergency, was to protect our sensitive areas. That's exactly where we are with the fire department and, of course, the police department. That was the focus of so much outrage last night.
And now, as you can see you have full pile line of National Guard here. They are ready with their riot preparations. You do have some local authorities that are part of the command structure that are behind them.
But this is it. And it's the right way to prepare. It's also a lighter sense of preparation because you can also see that there is full traffic going on here. The street is wide open. Last night, this was occupied by people awaiting word of the grand jury decision. And we know what happened after that word came out.
Now, on the negative side what we've been hearing all day is a lot of chatter about repurposing what disruptive activities were done today. Some legitimate protests will be done up and down the sidewalks. But there has been a lot of chatter about finding places where the defense forces are not and targeting those areas. We're hearing about interstates and other artery streets that are being targeted to be shut down. And we're hoping those protests will be peaceful as well. but we will have to wait and see, Anderson. COOPER: And so, are there protesters now by the police headquarters?
CUOMO: It's very light. Mostly media. You do have, if you want to turn this way, John, and show them, you do have people there holding their placards. We have been listening to the conversations early on. Most of these are locals. These are community organizers. These are people who are looking for what the president was referring to earlier in the program about finding ways to be better and to change.
There are others here, however, who are not just chanting but they are talking about language of desperation. That what do you do when there is no more hope? When they feel that the system has failed them? That's what the violence is born of. When there is no other alternative at least in their estimation. But for right now it is very light out here, which is a promising sign for the residents of Ferguson who want to see their businesses and communities stay open.
COOPER: Yes. Chris Cuomo, I appreciate that. We'll continue to check in with you the next two hours that we are on the air.
Now, Officer Wilson's account. He remains on paid leave still with the Ferguson police department. He spoke with ABC news' George Stephanopoulos. We want to play you an extended section, about six minutes or so of the interview because this is the first time anybody has publicly heard from Darren Wilson.
OFFICER DARREN WILSON, FERGUSON POLICE: I'd gone to open the door and get out of the car. As I was opening the door I said, hey, come here for a minute. And that's when he turned and said, what (bleep) are you going to do about it and slammed the door shut on me.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Slam the door and shut?
WILSON: Yes. I used my door to try to push him back and yelled at him to get back. And again, he just pushed the door shut. Just stares at me. And as I looked back at him, punches start flying.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He threw the first punch?
WILSON: Yes. He threw the first one and hit me in the left side of the face.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Because you know, some of the witnesses have said that they saw you trying to pull him into the car.
WILSON: That would be against every training ever taught to any police officer. I don't know what or how many hit me after that. There was a barrage of swinging and grabbing and pulling for about ten seconds.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And then what?
WILSON: I reached out my window with my right hand to grab on to his forearm because I was going to try to move him back and get out of the car where I am the one who are trap. And when I felt I just felt imminence power that he had. I mean, the way described it as it was like a 5-year-old holding on to hulk Hogan. That's how big this man was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hulk Hogan?
WILSON: He was very large and very powerful man.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're a pretty big guy.
WILSON: Yes, I'm above average.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you tried to grab him but you feel that force.
WILSON: Yes. And then as I'm holding him, I see him coming back around with his left hand. And in the shape like this and it comes through the window and just a solid punch to the right side of my face.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're still sitting there figuring out, how do I get out of this?
WILSON: Yes. I mean, the next thing was how do I survive?
STEPHANOPOULOS: How did you survive?
WILSON: I didn't know if I would be able to withstand another hit like that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Where is your gun at that point?
WILSON: I keep it on my right hip. I take it out and I come about pointing at him. So what said is to get back or I'm going to shoot you. And then his response immediately, he grabbed the top of my gun. And when he grabbed it, he said you're too much of a (bleep) to shoot me. And while he's doing that I can feel his hand trying to come over my hand and get inside the trigger guard and try to shoot me with my own gun. And that's when I pulled the trigger for the first time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What happened?
WILSON: Didn't go off. The gun was actually been jammed by his hand on top of the firearm. So I tried again and again another click. And this time like, this has to work or I'm going to be dead. He's going to get this gun away from me. Something is going to happen and I'm going to be dead. So I pull it a third time and it finally goes off.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That was the first time you'd ever used your gun, right?
WILSON: Yes, it was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In all your years as a police officer?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And then what happens?
WILSON: He gets even angrier. His aggression, his face, the intensity just increases. And he comes back in at me again. I wasn't looking at him. I was just rack it, expecting another hit, and I pulled my gun and opened fire. Then I go to exit my car. And when I'm getting out I used my walky and I said shots fired, send more cars, and I start chasing after Michael Brown.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not stay in the car? He's running away?
WILSON: Because he's not -- my job isn't just to sit and wait, you know. That I have to see where this guy goes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you thought it was your duty to give chase?
WILSON: Yes, it was. That's what we are trained to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And he runs out of the car, gets about 30 or 40 feet. You can now get out of the car, you start to follow him, and then he stops?
WILSON: He just stop.
WILSON: When he stopped, he turned and faced me. And as he does that, his right hand immediately goes into his waistband and his left fanned is a fist at his side and he starts charging me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What did you think when you saw that?
WILSON: I didn't know. I mean, my initial thought was, is there a weapon in there?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though he hadn't pulled anything out earlier when he was confronting you.
WILSON: It was still just the unknown. And again, we are thought to let me see your hands.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, some of the eyewitnesses has said when at that moment when he turned around, he turned around and put his hands up.
WILSON: That would be incorrect. Incorrect.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No way?
WILSON: No way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you say he starts to run. Does a stutter step, starts to come towards you, and?
WILSON: And that time I gave myself another mental check. Can I shoot this guy? You know, legally can I? And the question I answered myself was, I have to. If I don't, he will kill me if he gets to me. STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though he's 35, 40 feet away?
WILSON: Once he's coming in that direction, if he hasn't stopped yet, when is he going to stop? After he's coming at me and I decide to shoot, I fired a series of shots, and paused.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What did you see?
WILSON: I noticed at least one of them hit him. I don't know where, but I saw his body kind of just flinched a little. And after that I pause and I again yell, stop, get on the ground, giving him the opportunity to stop. And he ignored all the commands and he just kept running. And so after he can kept running again, I shot another series of shots and at least one of those hit him because I saw the flinch. Well, this time he's about 15 feet away. So I start backpedaling because he's getting too close and he's still not stopping. He was just about eight to ten feet. And as he does that, he kind of starts to lean forward. He is going to tackle me. And I look down the barrel of my gun and I fired when I saw his head and that's where it went.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right in the top of his head?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You'd never even shot your gun before and now a man is dead.
WILSON: After the supervisor got there, I gave him the brief rundown of what had happened.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What did you tell him?
WILSON: I told him I said I had to shoot somebody. And he asked me. So when he grabbed my gun and he charged me. He just want to kill me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you killed him first?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there anything you could have done differently that would have prevented that killing from taking place?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're absolutely convinced when you look through your heart and your mind that if Michael Brown were white, this would have gone down in exactly the same way?
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question? WILSON: No question.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You and your wife, I don't know if this word is appropriate anymore, but what is your dream going forward?
WILSON: I said, we just want to have a normal life. That's it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess it's hard to have a normal life after someone is lying dead.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Something you think that will always haunt you?
WILSON: I don't think it's a haunting. It's always going to be something that happened.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You are -- you have a very clean conscience.
WILSON: The reason I have a clean conscience because I know I did my job right.
COOPER: Right before we went on air I talked to two of Darren Wilson's attorneys and we are going to play you that conversation in our next hour. But I asked them what is next for Darren Wilson. Is he going to try to be a police officer somewhere else? Both his attorneys said it is highly unlikely. That is a possibility that he's going to have to find some other way to make a living.
You're looking now at images of protesters in New York and National Guard troops in Ferguson. I want to show you those images.
I also want to go now to our CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara and Jeffrey Toobin. Jeff, obviously, is a former federal prosecutor. Mark O'Mara is a criminal defense attorney, most famously for the George Zimmerman defense attorney. Also with us CNN political commentator and former adviser to the Obama White House, Van Jones.
Jeff, let me start with you. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on Darren Wilson, what he said to George Stephanopoulos. But also, I know you've been going over the testimony Darren Wilson gave to the grand jury.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He's an excellent witness. I mean, that was a very calm, articulate, clear discussion of what happened. I can see why the grand jury was impressed by him. It was also not very closely cross-examined. And, in fact, George Stephanopoulos asked harder questions than the grand jury did, which is hard for me to believe that the prosecutors were so passive when they had the opportunity to cross-examine the target.
I think the part of his story that is most problematic for him is that period after he leaves the car and before he starts shooting. It seems like there were other options available to him other than having this life-or-death confrontation. He could have, it seems to me, waited for assistance at some distance while keeping an eye on Mike Brown. But, look, he's an impressive witness. That was a clear story. And, you know, it is less surprising the result of this having heard him give this interview.
COOPER: Van Jones, is that your perception of that testimony?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know. I tell you what, you're right. That's great. I mean, he's like straight out of central casting. You know, this honest cop doing the best he can with this crazy kid attacking him.
The problem is, if that story is true why did it take six weeks for him he to write it down after all the evidence was in? If that story is true, why is it we are in a situation where, first of all, this guy is huge. We heard over and over again about how big Mike Brown was. This guy is 6'4", the officer, 6'4", 200 pounds. I'm 6'1", 190 pounds. I'm a big guy. This guy himself is huge.
Part of the problem with this story is you have to imagine that you have a black teenager who for no clear reason charges a cop in his car and starts punching him. That is very hard to get our minds wrapped around and it's also hard to understand why if this story is a story that could hold up under scrutiny why didn't the prosecutor ask him tougher questions during the actual presentation before the grand jury?
So you have a lot of people looking at this saying, hey listen, this guy waits six weeks, he writes down the perfect story. He spends three months practicing for it. He comes out now. He was never cross-examined and it just does not hold water if you know how most black kids are around most cops.
COOPER: Mark, to Van Jones' point, mark, what do you -- I'm sorry. These are actually live pictures you're looking at Atlanta, Georgia. It looks like trying to stop a sit-in at a highway. It's hard to tell if people are being arrested. Some of the images on my monitor are hard to see. There are demonstrations taking place in a number of cities across the can country.
Mark, I want you to be able to respond to what Van said.
MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Van. To what Van was saying, I agree it may be difficult to understand how and why Mike Brown may have done that. Nonetheless, the forensics do seems to support that the struggle happened at the car, happened inside the car and the most reason why (INAUDIBLE), unfortunately, it is still that Mike Brown inserted himself into the situation into the car.
I also agree with Jeff, that you know, he really has to look at what happened after the car incident because while that informs how Wilson looks at it, you still have to justify the shots. One thing that I see about Wilson's testimony, I've seen it in many other cases, witnesses tend to fill in the gaps with what they believe they must have been thinking or what they must have done. The reality is in a stressful situation like that we know, we
interview cops, they don't remember much of anything. They don't remember how many shots they fired, they don't remember the shot of it. They don't remember the flash out of the gun. And I think what happened in this case was Darren Wilson sort of realized that there were gaps in his memory as were appropriate in traumatic situations and may have filled it in a little bit. Because I don't think cops think about, you know, a mental decision, can I shoot legally now?
If, in fact, Mike Brown was coming at him, the raging bull mentality that he may have perceived, there's no time for rational thought. It's survival time.
COOPER: Jeff, it's interesting. Because, you know, I've heard a number of people say, well look, if you believe Darren Wilson's account, then Mike Brown from the very first moment he was interacting with officer Wilson, he was aggressive both verbally aggressive, punching the police officer, grabbing for the police officer's gun, all of which are extraordinary steps for anybody really to take --
JONES: Against a huge cop, against a very big cop.
COOPER: Particularly somebody who doesn't have, you know, a long criminal record. I mean, this is a young man who allegedly took part in a strong-arm robbery moments before. So perhaps take that into account, his mind frame, but he was also heading to college. So what do you make of that interaction which seemed to be if you believe Darren Wilson, immediately aggressive from the get-go?
TOOBIN: Well, I don't think you can separate it from the context. I mean, this was less than ten minutes, it was nine minutes after the confrontation in the convenience store. And that was an aggressive confrontation and an apparent shoplifting.
Now, we don't have the death penalty in the United States for shoplifting. That is not something that entitles -- you know, that in and of itself gives Darren Wilson the right to shoot him. But in terms of showing aggressiveness on the part of Mike Brown, it certainly showed an aggressive personality.
The other thing is, again, the forensic evidence shows Mike Brown's DNA inside the car and his blood inside the car. It seems crazy. It seems irrational. Why would he do this? But it seems like he did it. And that is just, you know, that's what the evidence shows.
COOPER: Van, you could also say it would seem irrational that officer Wilson would reach out and grab Mike Brown around the neck, as Dorian Johnson, you know, claimed early on. I mean, you could make the counter argument that would be completely rational.
JONES: Something unusual happened. You do not usually see that kind of interaction between a cop and a kid on the street. But what I'm saying is the portrayal of this officer of himself, that all he said was, young sir, would you please get on the sidewalk and, my God, you're attacking me. That part seems completely unrealistic. When you talk to young people in Ferguson, all of them, whether
they're on the protesters side or neutral, say the police in Ferguson are hostile. They're racially hostile. So many young people say, listen, I'm just trying to become a beautician, I'm trying to become a mechanic, I drive around in my own town, I'm constantly pulled over, I'm verbally attacked. I'm called out of my name, they say. So this idea that he has no culpability. He did nothing to instigate anything with this kid. I just think it's hard to believe in the overall context.
Also, let's not forget you are talking about an officer who comes from an earlier police force that had to be disbanded because that entire police force was so racially hostile. I just think that it's so frustrating for people not to hear from this guy for so long and when he comes out it seems to be a perfectly coached story.
COOPER: All right. We are going to have more from Mark O'Mara, from Jeff Toobin and from all our panelist throughout the next two hours.
Van Jones, thank you. Mark, thanks. Jeff, as well. Stay with us.
Just ahead, how did the eyewitness accounts that we've heard all of these months and you've heard Dorian Johnson, you've heard other alleged eyewitnesses come forward, how does it actually stack up to what the grand jury heard? To the grand jury record. There are hundreds of pages of it. We've had people pouring over it since it was first released last night. We are going to look at the questions that remain. And what has been cleared up. What's still up for debate. Still ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back.
You're looking at live pictures from Atlanta. Looks like there have been demonstrations on one of the highways around Atlanta, this from WSV. Also looking at a march going on in New York through the streets of the city. We saw some of that last night.
And I want to show you also images from Boston now. Protesters in the streets there as well. In Atlanta confrontations have broken out people and authorities. Once again a busy night around the country in response to what has been going on in Ferguson. Thankfully so far a quieter night here, at least so far.
In addition to following all the developments moment by moment today, we've been looking closer to hundreds of pages of grand jury records, what they reveal about the Brown shooting and what they failed to clear up. We'll talk about the clear points with our legal panel tonight as we have been already.
But first I want you to see how the very first witness accounts that we heard right after the shooting, how they actually stack up against what grand jurors heard in the following three months.
Our Randi Kaye has that. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who saw what and when began to trickle out first from Michael Brown's friend Dorian Johnson who was with Brown at officer Darren Wilson's car when the shooting started. Johnson always said Wilson was the aggressor.
DORIAN JOHNSON, MICHAEL BROWN'S FRIEND: He grabbed on to my friend, big Mike's throat, and he's trying to pull him in the vehicle and my friend, big Mike, very angrily is trying to pull away from the officer.
KAYE: Was Brown trying to pull away or was he going for the officer's gun? Johnson had told CNN Brown never made a play for the officer's gun. But officer Wilson testified that Brown forced himself in said the car telling him, get back or I'm going to shoot you.
Wilson said Brown immediately grabbed his gun and said, quote, "you are too much of a (bleep) to shoot me."
Wilson told the jury he'd been punched twice by Brown. Dorian Johnson had simply called it an altercation. But these photos given to the jury show officer Wilson with red bruising on his face and scratches along his hairline. We now have Officer Wilson's medical records, too, which show he suffered a facial contusion resulting from assault by bodily force.
Also in dispute what happened after the two men left Officer Wilson's car. This eyewitness had said that the officer fired on Brown while Brown was facing away from him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is when he turned around with his arms up and got shot down.
KAYE: Dorian Johnson backed up that claim.
JOHNSON: I definitely saw his hands go up.
KAYE: Even these two contractors who caught the final moments of the shooting say they, too, saw Brown's hands up. Watch the man in the pink shirt gesture. Again, Officer Wilson's testimony along with at least three other witnesses disputes that.
The officer told jurors Brown's hand was in his waistband and he was charging Wilson. In other words, he didn't have his hands up indicating surrender. He said Brown made a grunting sound, then took a step to start running toward him. The key question, was Brown charging the officer? These same two eyewitnesses have always said no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At no time did I see him move towards that police officer. He may have taken one centimeter of a step forward before he was gunned down.
JOHNSON: He turned around with his hands up beginning to tell the officer that he was unarmed and to tell him to stop shooting. KAYE: But new testimony from witness number ten supports Wilson's
claims. He started charging towards the police officer, the witness told the jury. Several witnesses had also said they never heard Officer Wilson tell Brown to stop. But the officer insisted to the jury that he did, twice.
After months of back and forth, it seems one of the few facts not in dispute is that just 90 seconds from the moment officer Wilson and Michael Brown first met, Brown was dead.
Randi Kaye, CNN.
COOPER: And back with our panel, Jeffrey Toobin, Mark O'Mara, also former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.
Jeff, I know you're critical how the grand jury process was handled. But the various eyewitness' account, some were consistent than others, some very inconsistent with forensics. Does it make sense to you that the grand jury ended up making a decision they did.
TOOBIN: It's certainly a plausible decision in light of the evidence that was presented to it. The fact that new witnesses, new to us, supported Officer Wilson on the key, key question of who was charging at the last minute, that, to me, suggests that a conviction in this case would have been virtually impossible. Sure under certain circumstances you could have got ten a grand jury indictment based on this evidence. But that to me is not the appropriate standard for a prosecutor.
The appropriate standard is could you get a conviction? And based on the evidence that I have seen, I don't think they could have got a conviction for anything right.
COOPER: Mark, I know you have gone through all the documents all day long or all night long. You challenge anyone to find something that forensics that is not in act by Officer Wilson's account of what happened, right?
O'MARA: And that's what's most, you know, intriguing to me and I think dispositive in a case like this, while Wilson may well have filled in some of this lack of memory with information, when we look at the forensics, it is in line with what Wilson said. And one of the most compelling parts of it that we've talked about before with you, Anderson, is we now know that the forensics support that Mike Brown came back about 21, 22 feet towards Darren Wilson and what is that - charging, walking, surrendering, staggering? I don't know. And the other thing that we do know is that the shell cases were found about six or eight feet away from Mike Brown's body meaning with the trajectory of shell casings that they were very close. Wilson's testimony is eight to ten feet when the final shot was fired and that, I think, is the second most compelling piece of forensic evidence that supports not only what Wilson said but just the event that a shooting was imminent or maybe necessary when they're that close in contact.
COOPER: Sunny, do you believe the forensics backs it up?
HOSTIN: No. I can't actually believe what I'm hearing from ...
O'MARA: I can't believe - you can't deny forensic evidence.
HOSTIN: ... both from Jeff and from Mark.
O'MARA: That' indisputable. It's unbelievable that you can't acknowledge ...
HOSTIN: It's not indisputable, Mark. That is not true. That's inaccurate.
COOPER: Let Sunny finish her point.
HOSTIN: In fact, you know, Mark is talking about 25 feet. Well, we heard from the first witness, the medical investigator was that, one, he didn't take any crime scene photos because his camera was out of batteries and, two, he didn't measure anything because the distances weren't in dispute. And so, we do have that information, and that's fascinating. I think what is also interesting, Anderson, quite frankly, is when you talk about, you know, probable cause, which is the standard in front of the grand jury and you saw, you know, Randi's package and you heard some of the witness testimony, it's fascinating that with so many divergent stories many, many witnesses saying that he had his hands up in surrender.
COOPER: It's a variety of eyewitness testimony that they could have taken this to a jury.
HOSTIN: Of course, not only could they have. They should have taken it to a jury.
COOPER: Mark, you say clearly, though, the forensic evidence in that, there was measurement done.
O'MARA: There was enough measurement done. It was there. We have the pictures of it. We have the measurements of it because one witness out of the 50 law enforcement officers who showed up didn't do her job because of batteries doesn't mean that the evidence wasn't retained. So, how can we explain away the 21 feet if it wasn't that Mike Brown was coming back? I'm not saying he deserved to die because he was coming back, but let's not be inconsistent or unbelievable in our presentation of an analysis of something because it doesn't support a position. And the fact that they were eight feet away, we know as lawyers that that is a danger zone. We know that. We know 21 feet and in is a danger zone for cops. All I'm saying is let's acknowledge it.
HOSTIN: He was unarmed, Mark. He was unarmed, and the officer.
O'MARA: It doesn't matter. You and I both know the unarmed matter doesn't matter when you're within eight feet of somebody.
HOSTIN: Of course it matters.
O'MARA: They are trained. No, you're wrong.
HOSTIN: Of course it matters.
O'MARA: They are trained ...
HOSTIN: I'm not wrong.
O'MARA: That that's a danger zone. There's no reason to ignore what we know they're trained to do.
TOOBIN: Can I just ...
COOPER: Jeff, Jeff ...
TOOBIN: Go ahead, Anderson.
COOPER: Go ahead.
TOOBIN: I just think, you know.
Anderson, you go.
COOPER: All right. Well, basically what I was going to ask you, Jeff is, how much of this case would have gone differently had -- whether it was Darren Wilson or the chief of the Ferguson police department set out some of these details, some of these facts early on? Because early on all we heard really was Dorian Johnson's narrative of events of this execution of an unarmed teenager.
TOOBIN: And that was, as I recall, within a day or two of Mike Brown's death that Dorian Johnson came out with that story. I think the fact that this was done before the grand jury, which was so much a departure from usual process and so much -- looked to me like a document dump approach to the case as opposed to an aggressive criminal investigation. I think that was an inappropriate way. But the facts that have come out are facts that I think suggest that the grand jury's decision was a rational one. Yes, it's true as Sunny has pointed out that you could have found evidence that was probable cause. But probable cause is not good enough to bring a criminal case. You should only bring a criminal case if you can find proof ...
HOSTIN: That's the standard.
TOOBIN: Yeah, I know that's the standard. But as a responsible prosecutor like you used to be and like I used to be, you don't bring a case because you can just get probable cause. You bring a case because you think a trial jury will find proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And given this evidence, I don't see how any jury could have found proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, I appreciate it, Mark O'Mara, Sunny Hostin as well. We're going to have more with our legal team all throughout the - up until the 10:00 hour in our coverage. As always you can find a whole lot more on this and other stories, of course, at CNN.com. Coming up amid the senseless destruction of local businesses that we saw last night some protesters tried to step in, stop the looting, stop the vandalism, and there were sign of strength here in the community. We'll take a look at that next.
Also, those are live pictures coming out of Boston from WCVB. It looks like police responding to protesters who seem to be in the street. Again, this - we're seeing from Boston, we've also seen pictures from Atlanta and New York as well. We'll be right back.
COOPER: The protests across the country tonight including in New York where Miguel Marquez is, this is the scene, obviously, there in Ferguson on the left-hand side of your screen. I believe Boston there is on the right-hand side of your screen. If we can let's go to New York, Miguel Marquez is standing by. Miguel, you're with demonstrators. Now where are they and how big has this gotten?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've gone several blocks from 14th street. We're now on the FDR, which is, as you know, a very major road along the east side of New York. They have shut down the north lane and now are moving on to the south lane, the entire area blocked. You can see they're still coming down the - on ramp here and there are hundreds, perhaps 1,000 people now they have picked up and they are moving north along the FDR on both the north and southbound lanes. Police, I will say, have only allowed this to happen. They are nearby in very big numbers, only uniformed police and they're only watching at this point. People chanting "Justice." They want to stop the police shootings and police brutality. It is a very peaceful protest. People are extremely upset, though, and as they have gone on through the night, the anger, the level of voices has only gotten louder and they've picked people up along the way. And as you can hear, they don't exactly love CNN either.
CROWD (CHANTING): Fuck (ph) CNN. Fuck (ph) CNN.
MARQUEZ: These people are willing to protest anything.
COOPER: All right. Got it, Miguel. It seems like people are now playing for the cameras so let's move on for that. The protests in Boston, students from Boston College, we've seen - we're learning that Boston police headquarters has now made its way to the Roxbury section of town. The images from our affiliate WCVB, despite the looting destruction that went on in some parts of Ferguson last night, the vast majority of protests were peaceful and there is a sense of resolve in this community today to rebuild and to be there for one another. I've spoken with business owners throughout the day who say in many cases their customers, their neighbors offering to help them get back on their feet. I've talked to one business owner when she got to her business today that was vandalized last night, her customers were out there helping clean out - clean up. Even last night when there were these pockets of property damage, others in the community stood together to try to protect local businesses here. Once again here is Sara Sidner.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On a night of chaos Andre Thomas wasn't a part of it. He and his friends stand in front of a wig shop with its windows smashed out.
(on camera): Tell me what you're doing out here.
ANDRE THOMAS, MOLINE ACRES, MISSOURI: Stopping people looting. That's not what I'm about. So, just want to protect it.
SIDNER: Thomas lives a few miles away. He doesn't know the owners, but he says it is his duty to protect it. He wasn't the only one defying the destructive behavior unleashed mostly on two streets in Ferguson. Less than a block from the Ferguson police station, a show of force outside another business with its windows smashed out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not Kathy's. Not Kathy's.
SIDNER: Kathy's Kitchen is owned by an African-American businessman who has also coached many of the young men in this town. He did not board up, but the looters did not pass the human chain. Some of his neighbors did board up. We he were there when salon owner Constance Garnett secured her salon. Now she's glad she did.
CONSTANCE GARNETT, TASTE OF HONEY SALON: I just pray that somehow the business, you know, they find it in their hearts to come back because the neighborhood needs the business. Ferguson is a good place to be.
COOPER: I know that Kathy and her husband, I talked to her earlier today, they're actually going to be opening up another restaurant as well. They still plan to open up that second restaurant and to reopen up the restaurant that some of their customers protected last night. So, do the business owners still feel that they're dealing with so- called outside agitators, or it was in this case some people from the community itself, neighbors, people - who even some of their customers involved in some of the vandalism last night?
SIDNER: You know, we talked to some of the residents here who were out last night, some of the young men who were out last night and a couple of them told me there were definitely people from Ferguson and St. Louis involved in some of the destruction here. And I just want to give you a look at what the destruction looks like kind of away from where the crowds are. None of these businesses here, Anderson, boarded up before all of this. All of these businesses decided they were going to take their chances and they didn't think it was going to be that bad. But every single one of them now has boards on the front, on their windows, on their doors. And it is disheartening to see all of these businesses who thought that they could sort of trust that things would be peaceful, that protests would be peaceful. It's turned out that many of them have had their windows smashed in and some of their items grabbed. Anderson?
COOPER: Sara, thanks very much for that. Up next, the church that Michael Brown's father goes to, that was set on fire last night. The pastor joins me ahead. And protests, we continue to see protests around the country. We're bringing you those images throughout our coverage tonight. We'd be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back for continuing coverage from Ferguson. Those are live pictures in New York. We understand police have now warned protesters there that they are -- that they have been assembling unlawfully in New York (INAUDIBLE) permit to protest. Normally, the route of that protest is very carefully controlled and agreed to in advance. Clearly this is something, which is much more impromptu. This is on the FDR drive, which is a major highway around New York. To have that be shut down at a time like this is highly unusual. Also I want to show you images from Ferguson. Chris Cuomo joining us now. Chris, what's going on there?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, if you can hear us, there's an arrest in progress, protesters have been in the street. They were told not to be. They disregarded it and they were getting aggressive with the police. And police came out in a show of force, making the arrest. Four of them being provoked, for the protesters refusing to leave the street. The announcement was made but it was not heeded. Most of the protesters returned to the sidewalks. The ones you're seeing face down on the ground right now did not, were mocking the instruction and now they're getting arrested.
COOPER: Chris, it seems like a change of tactics than what we saw last night, which was much more kind of allowing people to vent, allowing people almost to throw bottles and things at police. Here it seems kind of a return to some of the tactics we saw towards the end of the protest during the summer of isolating people police believe or troublemakers going into the crowd, arresting them, and allowing the other people to protest, correct?
CUOMO: Absolutely. But what I would contextually, Anderson, is that this is more of the norm tactic in situations like this. Where police give the instruction. When the instruction is failed to be heeded, they come out in big force to get rid of the problem before it grows. That's what's going on now. That's what you're seeing right in front of you right now.
COOPER: It's hard to tell. We see one man being arrested. How many people are being arrested, do you know?
CUOMO: Two. There was a man and a woman. They were doing -- they were doing their best to get the protesters to stay in the street. They were kind of, you know, in street parlance they were punking the protesters saying you're going to listen to the killers, you're going to listen to the killers, and they did. The protesters, they went back, listened to the police, got back on the sidewalk. These two did not. And they got arrested. And there have been no other arrests so far. As you can see -- John, pan to the right -- the protesters are all back within the - where they're allowed to be. There is now officers who are lined up in front of them and, again, now they're moving back into the street. We see here the instruction is not to be in the street. That's what they're being told and now we're going to see what happens here. The officers are not giving another instruction. They backed up. They're giving the protesters some space. They're being told to stand by their commanding officer. Now, remember, Anderson, what they are told is that when their instructions are not followed, they're supposed to act in force early on, they believe that's the best way to keep control. We'll have to see what happens. You're watching it.
COOPER: Do you have a sense of how many protesters there are out there, Chris, now?
CUOMO: Probably several hundred. It's hard to tell. There's a lot of media. And there's a lot of partial media. We are listening, we are moving over. The officers are telling us to move over. I've got you. I've got you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. We need you to keep moving.
CUOMO: All right, so let's find a little bit of a better position here for John and me to show you what's going on here without becoming a part of the problem. We're going to move over here to the side. One of the complications, Anderson, is that the police get hemmed in by media, there's so much media here. John, let's come up and around to this other side. We are going to go over to the protesters' side of this. So you can see what's going on, Anderson. We're walking around here. Right now everyone we're walking by is media. So, you have a couple of hundred protesters here. You have just as many people with cameras. Who knows who they work for or if they're just doing this for themselves? All right, so now we're on the protesters' side, Anderson, and John and I are walking through here, the officers are starting to move back into the middle of the street and toward where we are here. The official instruction is the protests have to be on the sidewalk because they didn't close this street to protest. So, we'll see how much leeway is given.
COOPER: You know, Chris, while we're watching these images and sticking with you, I also want to bring in Lieutenant General Russel Honore who is joining us as well. General Honore, as we continue to see the scene outside the Ferguson police department, I'm wondering what you made of what you saw last night in terms of the response by police, by the National Guard, what did not work? Because police today, I saw law enforcement today, officials kind of touting it as a success last night. Certainly for the business owners and businesses burned down to the ground last night, it was not a successful night at all.
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yeah, I think by the police own admission, Anderson, they should have pre-deployed into Ferguson and for whatever reason the centralized command and control system they got, which controls when the National Guard get deployed, I think they wanted to respond as opposed to be in position before anything happened and a lot of that could be attributed to doing this operation at night, Anderson.
COOPER: You think that was a mistake, to wait until nightfall, to wait until 8:00, to announce the verdict? HONORE: In previous interviews last week, the recommendation was
create an established time and do this in the daytime so everybody in the community knew and started do at daylight. You know, when we deal with enemy forces, we like to overwhelm them at night because we have got security capacity. When you're dealing with the American people, we need to give them the benefit of the doubt and give them the safety option of being able to assemble, which is a right, a civil right, but understanding that when people are this emotionally attached they're going to do civil disobedience. That civil disobedience may be blocking a road. Police can tolerate that. But if it moves to violence, then it becomes a criminal act. And I think that is the action people need to understand that how do we control the violence because violence is a criminal act whereas disobedience, standing in the street, you might go to jail but you may be out in a day.
COOPER: I want to -- we need to take a quick break, General Honore. We're going to continue to talk to you even throughout our next hour as we continue to monitor developments outside the Ferguson police headquarters. When we come back we're going to talk to Pastor of Michael Brown Sr. (INAUDIBLE). His church was burned last night, set ablaze. We are going to talk him. And I'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back. We're live in Ferguson. I want to show you live pictures from Los Angeles, in MLK Boulevard in Crenshaw, protesters on the street, I should say dozens of police cars on the scene there as well. Again, we have seen protests in Boston, in New York, protesters were just warned by police of unlawful assembly. Atlanta obviously as well. Back here in Ferguson, I want to introduce you to Pastor Lee who is from the Flood Christian Church, which is Michael Brown Sr.'s, the church that he attends. Pastor Lee, I appreciate you being with us. And I wish you were here under better circumstances but your church last night was burned, was set ablaze.
PASTOR CARLTON LEE, THE FLOOD CHRISITAN CHURCH: Yes, sir. Last night that was - into West Florissant, and the police called me and said, hey, you need to get down here to the church. I said for what? They said it's on the fire. I said it can't be the case at all. Nothing is going on there (INAUDIBLE). Everything is going on down on this end. He said, no get here. As soon as I hung up the phone with him, one of my members called me and said, hey, my friend stays right across the street, and they've set up the church is on fire.
COOPER: How bad is the damage?
LEE: From what I heard it may be totaled.
LEE: Yes, sir.
COOPER: Does it make any sense to you? I mean what happened?
LEE: It makes no sense at all, men. I've been trying to (INAUDIBLE) in my mind all day long. You know, literally just stopped crying and even now as I'm talking to you I'm tearing up about it. But it makes no sense at all. I feel like one of my children has died.
COOPER: What do you tell people in the community? What do you - you know, a pastor has played such a role here over the summer in terms of - trying to police the community and help stop violence in the protests. What's your message to people tonight?
LEE: My message is still the same. You know, we still promote love, we still promote peace. And, you know, we are looking for justice to be served. We don't get justice by acting violently. But we - it's a due process, and so I still encourage the people in the communities to still remain peaceful, to still act in a spirit of love and, you know, as for the Flood Christian Church, somebody asked me today, what are you going to do? I said we're going to rebuild.
COOPER: You are, no doubt about it?
LEE: No doubt about it. No doubt about it. But we haven't been knocked out.
COOPER: It's a hard thing. You've got everything invested in this.
LEE: I have everything invested.