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Protesters March In Cities Across U.S.; New NYC Protests Underway Over Chokehold Decision; Protesters Shut Down Miami's I-195

Aired December 5, 2014 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Here in New York, where protesters have been marching through the cold rain. Marching to places like an Apple store, Macy's and huge department store in New York, Grand Central Terminal short time ago. Chanting "I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe" the last words of Eric Garner lying down falling silent.

This was about half a hour ago, one of the busiest train station on earth on a Friday night, groups of people quietly at time, loudly with others voicing their anger, their outrageous, their frustration, their fear for a third straight night anger and frustration outage of the killing of Eric Garner during arrest.

And the grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who put him in chokehold and also put his knee on his back and compressing his chest on the ground.

Protest in Manhattan, Miami, Harvard Square, outside Boston, Washington, Chicago. Again tonight, demonstrations have been overwhelmingly peaceful, noticeably diverse and so far pretty broadly tolerated by local police. Again tonight, the images have been nothing short of remarkable.

I want to go first in Miami Brian Andrews reporting from our affiliate WFOR joining us by phone. Brian what's the seeing like in Miami, where is the protest now?

BRIAN ANDREWS, WFOR REPORTER: Anderson this is happening in the middle Wynwood Art District which is right now hosting one of art model (ph) event. We got 10,000 people in Miami for this. So, the protesters out here, a group called the Miami Community for State Violent. When on Twitter and say, "Hey, we want to protest disrupted art show" and that's exactly what they did tonight marching through the Art District raising their hand, raising their voices and really shutting down traffic, traffic scenario (ph).

They even made their way up on the I-395 which one of the crossways that connect Miami with Miami Beach. As you said Anderson no arrests, very peaceful, they circled back around, they probably did a 20-20 block loop and came back to where they started on the 36th Street if you're familiar with Miami right where Art District begin. And now they're started to go home, and they've said they maybe back on Tuesday. COOPER: Brian Andrews I appreciate that report. Now let's go to Jason Carroll who has been following a group of protesters throughout the street of New York. Jason, they left Grand Central Terminal a short time ago, where are those protesters now and about big is the group of protesters if you give an estimate?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Still about the same number Anderson. Where are now at Bryant Park. The staged a die-in here in front of the Christmas tree and now they're starting -- they're going to be on the move again.

Something that's interesting that just happen just a few moments ago. I run into actually a protester who I met down in St. Louis, in Ferguson one of the organizer there. He said the minute he heard about what it happened with Eric Garner he got here just a few days ago, started organizing protest up here. And that just gives you a sense of how some of these demonstrators move from city to city based on a particular cost.

He says this was something that immediately touched his heart and wanted to make sure that he came up here to organize his demonstration. It's been amazing in terms of what we've seen so far here tonight. In terms of the group here, smaller than what we've seen in the previous night as, you know, Anderson not thousands on the street of New York now more like hundreds.

I think this is probably at this point the largest group at about 200 plus. They start a Columbus Circle, staged a die-in Apple then marched through the streets, stopped it Macy's then stop at Grand Central. It's going to be interesting to see where they head to next, perhaps Times Square. It's been peaceful as we've seen so far.

At one point police tried to manage to get out of the street onto the sidewalk. It's been interesting to see the difference in the police response here versus Chicago. I was listening to my colleague Kyung Lah, you have conversation with her about the Chicago. Police response and how they're trying to contain the situation, much different situation here in New York where they're allowing them to freely move about into and out of stores as they go so long as they don't stay too long.

So, once again smaller numbers than what we saw last night, smaller group but very much a determined group. Anderson.

COOPER: And how do protesters know where they are heading next. I mean it seems like, just words just kind of pass from those who're in the lead there?

CARROLL: Well, what were their doing -- exactly, you've got some of the lead end of the group here talking to someone and telling into the group, they're communicating via cellphone also on walkie-talkie. I've seen some of them on headsets as they move through here.

So, that's how they communicating back and forth. In terms what they're going to doing to do next, I'm now hearing that they're going to try and head over to Times Square and we'll see if that works. I know you want me -- now I'm going to stop here so I get you sort of vantage point. You can see that's the top end of the group right here and behind me the group coming there from the back.

So, that what -- that's what their doing here, moving slowly through as we stand here. Police has been escorting them out on the street through on foot. Also in terms off -- on motor cycle as well. So, it's just been interesting to hear their perspective, what they're saying, they're saying they're going to continue marching. They know their numbers are smaller tonight but they are hoping that throughout the weekend the numbers will continue to grow, Anderson.

COOPER: Jason Carroll, thank you very much. In Washington Athena Jones is been moving with group of protesters now for the last hour. She joins us now. Athena where is that the group now and about -- approximately what size are they?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Well, we are now in upper -- in Northwest Washington D.C. we've covered several miles by now. The group has been growing over the last couple of hours. It should be in the size about -- I'd say it's about 300 right now.

It's been mostly peaceful but there was real moment of intensity about three blocks away up a hill. Where there were several police officers surrounding the group and there was an ambulance that tried to get by, the group of protesters briefly blocked the ambulance but the protest organizers shouted to them to make way, to make sure that it did not block the ambulance. And so they let the ambulance go by.

And so, there was a little bit a tense moment there. But as you can see they are moving quickly, they're still chanting "no justice, no peace, no racist police". They're urging people on the sideline to join the group. And they're continuing to march as they talk about the need for better police training, into racial profiling.

And they're also pledging over and over again to keep this up, the protest organizer said until things change I'm going to shut things down everyday. So what we're seeing here in Washington, Anderson.

COOPER: And Athena throughout these protests we have seen moments of silence. Let's just watch as protesters now are pausing in the street.

JONES: All right.

COOPER: Interesting to hear the silence after hours of protesters chanting and marching to suddenly hear such a large group fall silent in the middle of the city street. Athena Jones, thank you. We'll continue checking with you. We're going to take a short break. A quick reminder make sure you set your DVR you can watch 360 whenever you like.

Up next, we're going to take a look at how closely Officer Daniel Pantaleo. How closely his grand jury testimony or a little I should say that really that we know about him which is through his attorney matches what we're able to see on the video that was taken at the scene. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. New protests tonight in Miami, Chicago other cities including New York where a grand jury on Wednesday decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner.

Now I want to take a closer look at the video of the officer putting Eric Garner in a chokehold to see how his testimony were -- I should say what little we know about it based on what his attorney has come forward and said was his testimony. How that matches up with what's on the video Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: During his two-hour testimony to the grand jury, Officer Daniel Pantaleo made this bold admission. Yes he told the juries he heard Eric Garner plead saying, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe". This was the moment captured on video.

ERIC GARNER: I can't breathe, I can't breathe.

KAYE: Pantaleo isn't talking, but his lawyers Stuart London confirmed to the New York Times some of what his client told the grand jury. He was the jury's last witness. According to his lawyer, once he heard Garner struggling to breathe, Pantaleo testified he tried to disentangle himself from the suspect as quickly as he could.

But it's not that clear-cut on the video. It appears the officer keeps his arm around Garners neck for at least eight seconds after Garner's first muscle gasps for air.

That's Officer Pantaleo in the green T-Shirt with number 99 on it. Watch he removes his arm but then uses both hands to press Eric Garners face into the pavement. The officer keeps pressing long enough for Garner to repeat at least five times, "I can't breathe".

The officer reportedly testified that since Garner could speak it suggested to him he could also breathe and there's more. Officer Pantaleo's lawyer said his client told the jury that he attempted to get off Garner as quick as he could.

Again look at the video. At least 16 seconds past between the time Eric Garner hits the pavement and when the officer removes both his chokehold and this hold on Garner's head. Did that square with his testimony about getting off as quick as he could or does officer Pantaleo seem to be keeping that firm grasp on Garner?

And what about this, Officer Pantaleo reportedly testified that he was using a maneuver from the police academy, hooking one arm under the suspect arm and the other around his torso, a movement to tip the person so they lose their balance and go to the ground. He's lawyer says, only as the struggle went on did one officer Pantaleo's arms move around Garners neck.

Again the video tape seems to tell a different story. The officer's arm was around Garner's neck by our account about two seconds after he first touch him. Watch again, one arm hooks underneath as the officer say but see the other arm? Does it appear to go around the torso or immediately around Garner's neck?

The officer's attorney told the New York Times he's client testify that he was trying to stop Eric Garner from possibly biting one of the officers. The attorney summed it up this way. He wanted to get across to the grand jury that it was never his intention to injure or harm anyone. Randi Kaye CNN, New York.


COOPER: A lot talk about, joining me now Firearms and Homeland Security Expert David Katz is a former DEA Senior Special Agent and current CEO of Global Security Group, with me again Daryl Parks, Partner, Parks & Crump and attorney for -- one of the attorneys from Michael Brown's family.

So Daryl after watching that video I mean you have Officer Pantaleo according to this attorney saying that the officer got off Mr. Garner as quickly as possible. Do you see that in the video?

DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN"S FAMILY: Without question I think what we see one of the.

COOPER: Without question you do not?

PARKS: Do not.


PARKS: ... whatsoever. I mean you don't see and -- what you see is an officer being very aggressive, obviously there's no chance that Eric could have escaped, I mean you see several officers around, he subdued, he's not a threat anymore -- he was never a threat to the officer even when he was standing up.

But also, they seem to have a very lack, you know, (inaudible) for life. That this guy -- he's saying he can't breathe and no one seems take him seriously, no one responds to the fact that he can't breathe. Now, most of seasoned officers realize that position affixation is always a potential risk in his type of situation.

The person of size, when you put their arms behind him number one, but two, when you put a body or pressure against them while they're lying down.

COOPER: David I've had other police officer on the show say, "Well look, I've had plenty of suspect say, I can't breathe, I can't breathe" and weren't telling the truth. The fact that he's saying I can't breathe, I can't breathe should officers immediately have...


COOPER: ... lay it off?

KATZ: There's a lot going on. First of all, these scenes repeat themselves hundred of times a day and 99.99 percent of the time, the person is taken into custody without injury. So you have a situation here where you have a very, very, very large individual who's -- when it's time to arrest to them his going.

They tried to talk to him, he refused to comply. So now we're going to go. The issue is, what happened once he started complaining about the health emergencies? So, you got to remember, it's happening very, very quickly, you're under a lot of -- you get adrenalized, you get guy down, should they disengage? In retrospect yes, because if I -- I think if I was in that situation I would -- changed that from an arrest to aided case very, very quickly.

They got cuffs on him quickly, sat him up. But again, you have an unrecognized medical emergency here and maybe the training should be a little more sensitive to, I hope you've a person who is that large, that heavy maybe we're going to take this person in the same manner as we take, you know, literally everyone else...

COOPER: Daryl, when you hear that apparently he testified saying, "While I was trying to do a wrestling move, it wasn't a chokehold at all".

PARKS: Well, you know, what Anderson. Again, I think in this situation we have a think for ourselves. We really don't need his interpretation. And I think that regardless of what he had to say in the grand jury they have the tape. And the tape is plenty enough evidence for the grand jury to act and to have indict him they failed to do so.

COOPER: But David do you say that's a chokehold because again I've had police officer on the show say that's not really a chokehold that's a take down.

KATZ: Well, it is a takedown move that actually turn into a chokehold. But, I think it's important to realize that most law enforcement department across the country still teach the karate restraint. I've had a great discussion backstage with Dr. Kobilinsky (ph).

COOPER: Right.

KATZ: Really a guy really, really a learned a lot. I explained to him that I've done this literally hundreds of times in training and on the street. And why? Because it's the safest way to take the suspect because, five second of pressure they usually comply and that's when you disengage. If you maintain the hold too long you can cause injury.

I think in this case the whole -- in conjunction with the guy, the man's size of prior health conditions created this tragedy, and that's what it is a tragedy. You can't tell me that any cop there was seeking his death, seeking to injury him severely. That's absolutely impossible.

COOPER: It also seems like that fact that the officer didn't fell on him that it continue, it prolonged the chokehold far, you know, it continue to be maybe -- I don't know whether it was longer than the officer wanted to or not but it certainly the chokehold continued even while he was down on the ground.

PARKS: It appears he was already down and that they just held on to it too long. I mean he was restrained and they -- they had control of him. Once he said he couldn't breath right? He wasn't really trying to fight them. He wasn't trying to hit the officers. Never, and I think that's important because you can't say he was trying to bring harm to them. He was not trying to bring harm to them.

But once they realized that he was in distress they should have reacted to that differently. And at some point we have to start weighting decision, a decision as to whether they're going to protect the person's health or we concern about trying to make sure that we have him on strain.

COOPER: How, you know, it seems like from a police officer I talked to that it's very important to maintain their respect on this street. To maintain their power on the street and, so in the situation like this they don't necessarily -- for some officer do not want to de- escalate it because they don't want to...


KATZ: Honestly the older you get, the more experience you get you're more inclined to talk the guy into the handcuffs. I personally I think I could have got him to comply. It's the whole concept of verbal judo if you will and that's what -- maybe not enough. But at the same time, remember, police work is not pretty.

And when it's time for the guy to go and he's not complying, he's going to be placed in handcuffs. And if I could just make one point to everyone across this country to understand, if you think the police were acting improperly, in violation of your civil rights and they want to arrest you, submit.

You got a tape. People are taking video. Sue them later, but don't get yourself hurt. Don't make any -- don't do anything other than comply with the officer because at that point and time, it's not going to end well. So, comply and if you have an issue, you have videotape, sue. You'll...

COOPER: Civilian reviewers (ph). It's often not that easy. I mean, you know, a lot of people can sue. They, you know...

PARKS: But also to -- here's what's going to happen at amendment, Anderson. It's the mentality of the police, right? A mentality of, when they deal with a certain communities. So hopefully nothing else from this year, maybe our police officers many are great (inaudible) Anderson, you know what? Maybe I shouldn't be so quick just to jump into want to do (inaudible) put someone's life in danger.

So, that would be one of the things that we would home that we will get from the death of Michael Brown and the death of Eric Garner in this situation.

COOPER: Daryl Parks I appreciate you're being on, and David Katz as well. We both thank you for perspective

Coming up, as we look at the scene right now in Washington, we're going to respective form our legal panel a quick breaker first..


COOPER: Police have just been making a number of arrests in Chicago. Police firmly videotaping the suspect as part of that arrest process.

Our Kyung Lah is there. So Kyung, what's been going on there in Chicago?

LAH: Well Anderson, you can see all those police officers on the back of that vehicle. And what I saw was a group of about 8 to 10 people, protesters split off from the side of the street that I'm standing on and we're on the other side of the street and they were detained. I'm not exactly sure why they were detained.

They were standing on the sidewalk but it looks like the police officers are detaining them. I'm not sure if they're going to ticket them or they're going to arrest them but you can see that there are number of officers. They've been going into the back of that van and something is happening back there, but that has certainly been a question among the people who I'm standing with on this side of the street on what grounds were they arrested and why aren't these protesters being allowed to walk on the street.

One tactic that you've seen in New York is that the officers there, the NYPD allowing the protesters to move in and out of the streets, moving in and out of public places like even the Macy's as the officers are -- it looks like the officers coming back over here. You can see the reaction from some of the protesters on this side, they're getting a bit more vocal, a lot of questions from them about -- for what reason were they arrested.

A very different tactic here in Chicago instead of allowing the protesters to cross major streets like this one, this is Michigan Avenue if you're familiar with Chicago right and front of the Art Institute here. What they're trying to do is to say that they don't want protesters to cross the street. I heard one of the officers say, "Did you watch the news last night, was that safe?"

So, there's definitely a different sense among the Chicago police. They don't want traffic disrupted in the city like it was yesterday. You may remember Anderson some of the protesters ran unto one of the highways of Dan Ryan here in Chicago and also shutdown Lake Shore Drive.

COOPER: It was one of more remarkable scenes last night from Chicago. Kyung Lah, thank you very much for that. As we've seen over and over again in the video, again protesters in different parts of this country in Washington D.C. this -- the scene now and our, Athena Jones is there amongst the crowd.

Athena, where are the protesters at this point. JONES: Hi Anderson, we're now in central downtown. We're in the 6th of things (ph) and you can see that these protesters at this point are not actually blocking the street. They're here walking amongst the traffic chanting loudly, they continue to chant, "Off the sidewalks into the streets."

They've been chanting also, "Out of the restaurants into the streets". And there was a woman just a few blocks ago who said she actually left a restaurant to join in this protest. So they're energized. They're walking very, very quickly having covered several miles of the city already.

I should tell you too, that we've been talking about a lot of the emotion, the charge feelings people are expressing out here on the streets.

Earlier, one of the protest organizers said, "I'm not an angry black man. I'm an outrage. I'm an outraged and hurt black man because of the state of our society." I just spoke with too young black men a few blocks back who said that they actually believe that society wants to get rid of them, wants to get rid of not just black men but black people.

So there's a lot of charged emotion on the street. You can it's a diverse crowd and they all have the same goal in mind which is to change the system to make sure that this does not continue to happen, black men dying at the hands of police. They want a fairer justice system, and so they're out -- organizer has vowed to keep doing this.

And the crowd it keeps getting bigger and then smaller and then bigger and smaller. It seems as though people on the street are -- on the sidewalks are joining in a different moments along the say Anderson.

COOPER: Athena Jones, thank you very much. As we've seen over and over again in the video in which Eric Garner is brought down, ultimately killed. Daniel Pantaleo was not the only police officer who was involved in the incident that killed Eric Garner. There are other officers there that day who helped him too take down and ended up killing him but they were all granted immunity and the question now is, why?

With me again is Daryl Parks, Attorney for Michael Brown's Family and CNN Legal Analyst Mark O'Mara who represent George Zimmerman and Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Geragos joins us as well.

COOPER: Mark, why do you think all those other officers were given immunity in front of the grand jury?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Because the grand jury was rigged. The only reason the prosecutor took this case to a grand jury was so that he would not have to make the decision and say, I didn't file this case because I didn't take that there was a crime here. By putting it in front of the grand jury just like McCulloch did in Saint Louis.

What the prosecutor does is that they rigged a for non-conclusion which is they don't argue for a -- the grand jury to indict. They don't -- they present a skewed presentation of the evidence if you will and they know that once the grand jury votes no bill, they can say, "Well, hey it's not on my hands. The grand jury didn't bring back an indictment."

It's -- it really as a very perverse and stands on its head from the normal use of the grand jury. I've mean I've known prosecutors who have gone to the grand jury hundreds if not thousands of time and never have had a grand jury not indict. I mean this is absolute aberration. I mean all they're doing is using the grand jury as a CYA.

COOPER: Mark O'Mara I'm not sure if you've heard beginning Mark Geragos (inaudible) satellite issue, do you think this was rigged?

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, how do you want to define rigged? Prosecutors get what they want out of grand juries, we know that. And they're doing it in a way to get exactly the result that they want. So in this case, can we say that the prosecutor decided not to have an indictment? Probably so.

You know, I wish that we have the transparency that we had on a Michael Brown manner because at least we can look at it as analyst and review it. I don't know that we can indict the whole system of grand juries because of this but we do know that grand jury look at cases the way the prosecutors want them too.

COOPER: And Daryl Parks, I mean, one of the criticisms really now the grand jury system it went (ph) large is that these are prosecutors who, the day after the grand jury is done, they still have to work with the police department. And they rely on police to be good witnesses in future cases. And if they want to make those cases and they want their careers to progress, because their careers based on many cases, they need the cooperation of police that they have built in incentive to basically count out to the police or to kind of bend to the police.

PARKS: Without question Anderson, and you see this time and time again where these officers -- think about how culture they work together, the trust. I mean the police need trust the prosecutor, the prosecutor needs to trust of the police. And so, it really begs that we need to have a situation, someone independent, now the independent could be the feds in terms of having FBI investigate and the U.S. Attorney's officer for those jurisdictions investigate.

Or it could be a prosecutor from another jurisdiction within that particular state. But we know we're at a point, when we have to have something new because we have too many young black men who are losing their lives, too many African-American communities that are having this issue. We have to do something about this.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, I mean state immunity does that equal also federal immunity because now you have the federal government investigate it.

GERAGOS: No. It does not necessarily. I mean there is all kinds of complex issues as to whether or not they can use the grand jury testimony, generally they don't. They're not able to do. You have to do what's called a (inaudible) before they can use that. But, the fact remains that the feds, my prediction is will not step in on this. I just don't think they're going to do it.


GERAGOS: Part of the problem they've got is because it's already run through a grand jury once, you've locked in witnesses' testimony, the immunity that was given of the -- to the various officers would make it a problem now if they try to uses those officers again. And frankly, this whole thing I think was got bullet (ph) stuff from the beginning.

I mean when they did not -- when they realize that it was going to be this particular D.A. in this particular borough and he was going to use the grand jury and there were calls for special prosecutor, look, I'm no fan of the special prosecutor but I think at the time that was when the guy was cast.

I mean there is a real problem and I hate to say it but isn't just in the African-American Community. There's a real problem with police brutality and people looking the other way specially prosecutors. Prosecutors are imbedded with the police and they can't afford to police the police.

That's why you have civil rights cases. That's why you sue and federal court civilly to try to get something done but, you know, when your previous guess said, well, just comply, you don't have to comply.

You know, you have a right to resist an unlawful arrest. This arrest was unlawful there was no reason in the world to arrest this guy for selling cigarette...

COOPER: But ultimately, but Mark Geragos I mean ultimately resisting arrest, it's a losing battle. I mean, you're not going to win that one so, that's why I think the previous guest has been saying is, look if you want to end up suing you sue but in the end the police are going to take you in if they are insisting on taking you in and so is resisting really a wise thing?

GERAGOS: Well, I mean at a certain point what do we going to do. Do we just elevate the police so that we become an occupied country? I mean this happens so often. I've got five cases in the office right now of people being shot and killed by police for virtually doing nothing. And not all African-American and part of the problem is, is that politically the whole politicalization of crime, nobody wants to touch this problem, nobody wants to do it.

You can't go and sue. There are only a handful of lawyers who will take on police departments and municipalities. I mean the idea that somehow they're going to just resist and sue later there aren't enough lawyers around who can afford to do that in contingency basis.

COOPER: Mark O'Mara, I want to get your thoughts in this because I mean the argument in contrary is that, well look resisting, you're going to, there's a higher likelihood you're going to end up getting injured resisting against the police.

O'MARA: We empower our law enforcement officers to protect us. And in protecting one citizen (inaudible) citizen from an accused citizen we give them a very difficult balance as to how to handle their job. And we tell them you have the power to arrest.

The battleground for whether or not that is a proper arrest or whether there was crime occurred, it's really not the cop's domain and it's not on the street. Unfortunately, it has to happen where the cops do have the authority on the street to do we authorize them to do and they make arrest.

Will they have bad arrest? If Garner should not have been arrested, fine that's OK, but the reality is, we tell cops to arrest people and we'll figure it out later. We have to give them that authority and respect that we've given them that authority. If they're wrong and they are on occasion wrong, then we hold them responsible and we deal with it.

And it's very unfortunate that Eric Garner gave his task (ph) to give his life on that, but that's doesn't mean that we throw out everything and say we start over with some different procedures in place.

This is a police state. There are other countries that have a police state. We still have the freest system that we have but it needs polices. So Mark I would disagree with you and going to say it's inappropriate.

GERAGOS: I was going to say, Mark there are people who are watching this in other countries. If we were watching this in another country, in China amnesty international would be jumping in and saying what the heck is going on here. You watched this kind of stuff that's going on in America and I will tell you I respectfully disagree.

I think we do live in a police state. We live in the state where the police are not question, where prosecutors are given immunity. I do beg it's different and I see it all the time. If we look at this from a...

O'MARA: Except...

GERAGOS: ... if this is happening in a different country we'd be jumping up and down about human rights violation.

O'MARA: Mark here's a thing. If this was happening in China, this right here would not be happening. We will not be having this conversation in China. Anderson will not be in T.V. in China and we wouldn't be talking about the fact that maybe Pantaleo got away with should something she should have away way and that Garner's life was taken without reason.

We have that free here.

GERAGOS: At least in China and North Korea, they actually have show trials. We don't even get to that point. We just have show grand juries. Cooper: Well Mark.

O'MARA: Come on.

COOPER: This is not -- I mean is it, do you really believe this is a show grand jury a show system.

GERAGOS: Yes, this was...

O'MARA: Come on Mark.

GERAGOS: ... this is a show system. When they announced, when (inaudible) announced that he was going to the grand jury that was a foregone conclusion, when this guy took it to the grand jury, it was a foregone conclusion. Why is it that everybody says, we've got the best system in the world in America? We don't.

COOPER: I should just -- I do just want to point out just about a show trial in North Korea is in front of a judge who's already made up their mind and that there are, you know, the legal...

GERAGOS: Right. And so, a show grand jury, a show grand jury in America is when a prosecutor who's made up his mind, who goes through and gets the result that he wants. You have to understand.

Ask anybody who's been a prosecutor if they have ever not gotten a true bill. If they ever not gotten a true bill when they asked for what. It is as rare -- it's extremely rare.

COOPER: Mark, I just want to -- Mark O'Mara, the final comment, we got to go.

O'MARA: Your solution Mark is what? That we throw it out -- the grand jury system is much better than any other system, there's 12, 24, 23 people who look at the case and decide how it should be handled and prosecutors are the ones who view that.

We have to trust the system works.

COOPER: Daryl, you're saying, no it doesn't need change that that -- you look for other prosecutors to be brought in outside prosecutors.

PARKS: Without question.

O'MARA: Yeah, special prosecutors.

PARKS: Special prosecutors are the way to go. It's a common practice throughout the country and especially that when you have law enforcement involved.

Think about what we saw in Ferguson, when the prosecutor's office is St. Louis County put all of the cases on hold that Daren Wilson was involved with. That alone indicated they realized that there was an issue, right? We had to (inaudible) to the governor and say, "Hey, look if they think there's an issue to put all these cases on hold, isn't there's some indication of bias there, that you should bring in the office of prosecutor", and then didn't (ph) get a response.

COOPER: Daryl Parks, good to have you, and Mark O'Mara, Mark Geragos. Good discussion. Thank you.

Up next, what we know about Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the past accusations against him at the -- why the President of the Police Union call some, "Literally an Eagle Scout."

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, we're learning more tonight about who Officer Daniel Pantaleo is, aside from the officer at the center of the case that has been, that has crowds taking this -- over parts of the streets in New York in protest.

This is not a first time he's been accused of wrongdoing as when police officers sometimes are. But the head of the Police Union says he is a model officer.

Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An eight-year veteran of the New York Police Department, Officer Daniel Pantaleo comes from a family that has long served the city. His father is a retired New York City fire- fighter, his uncle an officer with the NYPD.

PATRICK LYNCH, PRESIDENT, PATROLMEN'S BENEVOLENT ASSOC.: He's the model of what we want the police officer to be.

KAYE: Pantaleo who is 29 has a younger sister. His mother now retired worked as an assistant administrator of a nursing home. He is single according to the Police Union and doesn't have any children.

LYNCH: He is a mature police officer who is motivated literally by serving the community. He'd literally is an Eagle Scout.

KAYE: Pantaleo joined the NYPD in 2006 as a beat cop. And in 2011, he moved on the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit. A year later, he joined the anti-crime unit dealing with serious crime like rape, murder, and guns on the street.

LYNCH: He is a good man. And more importantly for us all here today, he's professional police officer.

KAYE: That same police official told CNN, Pantaleo had over 300 arrests with very few complaints adding that he's not a hot head but he has been at the center racially motivated cases before.

In the last two years, three men have filled lawsuits against him alleging unlawful racially motivated arrests. In one case, from March 2012, two black men said they were forced out of their vehicle handcuffed and strip searched on the public street. The lawsuit alleges they were forced to pull their pants and underwear down squat and cuffed. Then later at the police station, the men were subjected to a second humiliating strip search and forced to lift their genitals. The charges against them were eventually thrown out. They settled with the city earlier this year for $30,000.

In the second case, a man accused Officer Pantaleo of misrepresenting the facts to substantiate charges. The charges against this suspect were also dismissed. The man's lawsuit against Officer Pantaleo is still pending.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Joining us now, CNN Political Commentator Van Jones and Former NYPD Officer Dan Bongino, he's also a Former Secret Service Agent.

So Van, the fact that three men have filed lawsuits against this officer alleging unlawful racially motivated arrest. Do you put much significance to that? I mean, oftentimes, you know, police officers have lawsuits filed against them.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, you know, I did a police misconduct work as an attorney for about 10 years. So, you know, you can have officers who, you know, pick up, you know, complaints that kind of thing. Lawsuits were often trial but they're also usually thrown out.

When you're talking about an officer that has caused the city $30,000 with those kinds of fact, humiliating, strip searches in public and also possibly fabricating evidence and those cases are still moving forward. That is something to really pay attention to.

And I say that because we have this new standard now where when someone dies, they have to be perfect. We've gone from innocent until proven guilty, to guilty until proven innocent, until you have to be perfect or you can die and nobody seems to care if you're on a grand jury.

And so, if we're going to hold individuals in the community to a standard literal perfection then we also have to look at the police. And -- not just because he's being sued, that's not unusual, but to have a $30,000 judgment against you, that is unusual.

COOPER: Dan Bongino, do you agree?

DAN BONGINO, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: No, it's not that unusual. Listen, he had 300 arrests. He was anti-crime cop. And I'm not disputing Van's point of view. These facts should be looked at in totality.

There's no question, it has had a behavior can lead to a (inaudible) pattern to made (ph) to give you an idea of intention. But it's really isn't that unusual for lawsuits to filled and the city to pay out. New York City, in my experience of the NYPD very rarely takes these cases to court because they're afraid of losing. They just settle and most of them go away.

You're better off looking at his history of interaction with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the CCRB. If there's a long history of civilian complaints, that's actually probably more indicative of the pattern of behavior than anything. But I don't think he would have gotten into that anti-crime unit if he had that.

COOPER: Well also Van, just -- I believe, you know, in fact as much as possible all the time, so just to let viewers make up their own minds. According to WNYC, court record show that other officers in this precinct have been sued a lot more frequently.

JONES: One thing to be sued, it's another thing to actually have a large settlement.

Let me just say something else too. There's a lot of trying to litigate whether or not, is this particular officer a racist. Is he racially motivated? At that moment, was he thinking, I'm going to kill this black because he's black. I think that is not very helpful because I seriously doubt that he was thinking that way.

There's a bigger pattern in practice here, that policing of our communities have become so aggressive, that it creates a context in which these kinds of things are more likely to happen. You don't see police go and kicking in the doors on Wall Street arresting the people who we know are using a lot of drugs in Wall Street, a lot of insider trading (ph).

They don't police that way there. They don't go to go I.V. league campuses where there's a lot of drug use and police aggressively there. There's a meth epidemic in the white community. You don't see them kicking in doors in the white community, policing aggressively there.

When you have a pattern of overaggressive policing in our communities, it sets up a dynamic where these things can happen. And again, this is not a situation where he's going after a violent drug dealer. He's going out to somebody selling cigarettes and yet look at the level of aggressive police and so, it's the overall pattern in practice of aggressive policing that I think creates this context. And mean that's having (ph) a richer more sophisticated discussion about why people are as concerned as they are.

COOPER: And I want to have that discussion because they -- and that's a long discussion and an important discussion to have.

We're out of time tonight. So, unfortunately, I'm going to have to table it for -- I do want to have the discussion because there's a lot of interesting points and important points. Van Jones, Dan Bongino, I appreciate it.

Up next, we're going to quickly jump back in with the protest here in Manhattan. We'll show you where they are now. We'll be right back.


SCHULTZ: Let's get quite tonight a protest in major Inner-City Miami, shutdown tonight by marchers, police detaining people outside Chicago's Art Institute, a dye-in so called at Grand Central Station.

Grand Central Terminal now, let's go to Time Square and our Will Ripley.

Will, last night in Time Square certainly after we went off to air, there were a number of arrests made. I'm wondering the scene there now and whether police are kind of preparing for what may happen.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the past several hours, Time Square really has been remarkably empty. You're hearing some fire engines unrelated to any protest activity. We know that about three hours ago, 100 protesters moved through this area. They were encircled by police as they walked up 5th Avenue. The police are trying to prevent them from causing any traffic disruptions in this city.

But you can see tonight, even if they were to stop right here in Time Square because there aren't that many people, they wouldn't have much of an impact. Which is why Anderson we're seeing them focusing on indoor areas, a lot of people staying out of the cold and the rain this evening. But we know that the protesters are communication on social media and these groups can pop up at any moment.

You saw a dozens of arrest here at Time Square last night the situation intensified as it got later into the evening.

So we'll be watching to see what happens.

COOPER: So, there is a police presence -- obviously, most of the police presence is following the protesters but there is a kind of a static police presence right there right now.

RIPLEY: A handful of officers, some of the officers that are routinely stationed here normally just to monitor Time Square and there are some additional NYPD out here as well.

COOPER: All right. Will Ripley, I appreciate the coverage. Thanks very much.

That does it for us. There's a lot more to talk about today. A special edition for us. We appreciate you joining us for the last two hours.

A special Edition of Erin Burnett OutFront is going to start in a moment.