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Interview with the Mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice

Aired December 12, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, a conversation that we hope is more than just talk. You may have already met some of the people in it. They're the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice.

Before today, they've never done a joint interview. We talked in Washington today, where they'll be attending a rally tomorrow, along with attorney Benjamin Crump, one in many demonstrations either planned for the weekend, or happening as we speak.

Right now, you see the scene, hundreds of people, according to local reports, are gathered in Harvard Square, just outside Boston, blocking traffic, staging what they call a "die-in". That's a backdrop to our conversation today with Sybrina Fulton, Lesley McSpadden, Gwen Carr, and Samaria Rice.

Each has lost a son. They've all had to do what no parent should. They've been mourning a loss of a child, their babies, in the public eye, in the middle of another painful episode in America's never easy, never simple but important reckoning with race, which, of course, is a rule that no one seeks but these four women, as you'll see, bear with strength, dignity, purpose and clearly, mixed feelings about race and justice.


COOPER: Gwen, do you have confidence in the federal investigation that's going on now?

GWEN CARR, MOTHER OF ERIC GARNER: Oh, yes. I have much more confidence in the federal investigation than I did in the local prosecutors.

COOPER: Do you believe your son's civil rights were violated?

CARR: Yes, they were. Yes, they definitely were. Because if Eric Garner was a white man in Suffolk County doing the same thing that he was doing, even if he would have been caught selling cigarettes that day, they would have given him a summons. And he wouldn't have lost his life that day. I believe that 100 percent. BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY: Anderson, it's simple. The rules are

different. When it's a black kid laying down on the ground, the rules are different. And we have to address them and be honest with ourselves.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, because you talked to -- again, in these polls, you see white people don't view it that way, by and large. They don't --


SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Because it's not happening to them. They don't quite get it. They think it's a small group of African-Americans that's complaining. Oh, what are they complaining about now?


COOPER: It's part of our conversation today.

Also today, Samaria Rice got word that a county medical examiner has ruled the shooting death of her 12-year-old son by Cleveland police a homicide. It's the latest headline in her story, the latest in the entire story. It's not, however, the first.

And back right now from Deborah Feyerick.



DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands take to the streets of New York.


FEYERICK: Chicago.


FEYERICK: Oakland, and dozens of cities in between.

The protesters across section with race and socioeconomic status, a reflection of America -- united against a justice system in their eyes that's failing people of color.


FEYERICK: The movement gained momentum from a series of cases that exploded on to the national stage.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ACQUITTED IN MURDER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: I just grabbed my firearms and I shot him one time.

FEYERICK: February of 2012, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shoots and kills Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen. As the authorities investigate the case and prepare to take it to the grand jury, Zimmerman is allowed to go free.

Protests erupt. The story became page one news. The president even weighs in.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.

FEYERICK: Six weeks after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. His heavily watched and heavily debated three-week trial ends in his acquittal.

COURT CLERK: We, the jury, find George Zimmerman not guilty.

FEYERICK: In August of this year, another unarmed black teen is shot and killed, this time by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown allegedly stole cigarillos from this convenience store leading to his run-in with police.

Officer Darren Wilson encountered Brown and his friend in the street. A confrontation ensues. Wilson fires repeatedly at Brown and killed him.

The protests are almost immediate. The response by authorities swift and tough. Some in the crowd destroyed property. Eventually, the National Guard is called in.

A week and a half after Brown's death, a grand jury begins investigating whether the charges are warranted against Officer Wilson. The investigation goes on for months, as do the protests.

Finally, in late November, the grand jury's decision.

ROBERT MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: They determined no probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer Wilson.

FEYERICK: Within the hour, the worst fears of Ferguson and the rest of the country are realized. The non-violent majority drowned out by the destructive forces of the few.

As the grand jury near its decision, another tragedy was playing out in yet another city, this time in Cleveland. This confrontation between police and a 12-year-old boy seen in the security video, Tamir Rice is waving a pellet gun around a park in Cleveland. A witness calls 911.

CALLER: I'm sitting in the park at West Boulevard by the West Boulevard Rapid Transit Station, and there's a guy in here with a pistol. You know, it's probably a fake but he's like pointing at everybody.

FEYERICK: Police respond but the dispatcher fails to rely a vital piece of information, that it could be a fake gun.

DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE: The officers ordered him to show his hands and to drop the weapon and the young man pulled a weapon out and that's when the officer fired.

FEYERICK: Twelve-year-old Rice is pronounced dead at the hospital. The death is ruled a homicide.

A week and a half after his death, emotions from Ferguson still smolder, another high profile case coming to a conclusion. The death of Eric Garner.

Garner taken down by a New York City police officer with what appears to be a chokehold died shortly after his altercation with police.

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

FEYERICK: His death ruled a homicide. A grand jury investigates whether charges would be filed against the officer who did the takedown. After three months of proceedings, they decide not to indict.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Those are just some of the pieces of pictures that both national to for millions of Americans of all races deeply personal. None however more so that Sybrina Fulton, Lesley McSpadden, Gwen Carr, and Samaria Rice. I spoke with them this afternoon, along with their attorney Benjamin Crump.


COOPER: Samaria, I want to start with you. Just today, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner, ruled your son's death a homicide. Take me back to the day when you first heard the news. How did you hear what had happened?

SAMARIA RICE, MOTHER OF TAMIR RICE: Actually, two little boys came and knocked on my door, and said the police shot your son twice in the stomach.

COOPER: It wasn't police who came to your door. It was just two kids.

RICE: Two kids.

COOPER: Did you believe it at first?

RICE: I did not believe it. But my 16-year-old ran out the door before I did and I was still in disbelief until I've seen my son laying on the ground. And the police were surrounding him.

COOPER: There's audio that's been released of Tamir's sister screaming, they killed my baby brother.

RICE: Mm-hmm.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They killed my baby brother!


COOPER: What happened when you got to the scene?

RICE: When I arrived on the scene, like I said, I seen my son laying down and nobody was doing anything. It was like they was around him and they were just standing there while my other son was like down against the car and I guess they was trying to retain him. We were probably 30 feet apart, me and my 16-year-old and me and Tamir was maybe 30 feet apart. And I was probably 20 feet from my daughter because she was already in the back of the car.

COOPER: They put her in a police car.

RICE: Yes, they put her in a police car. So, she was actually in the police car looking at her brother just bleeding there and nobody was doing anything.

COOPER: As a mom, the video was released. Is that something you even watch as a mother?

RICE: Yes, I watched it. I had to watch it. I'm the one that released the video. They had to get permission from me to release the video.

COOPER: Why did you want people to see that video?

RICE: I think it's very important that the world knows what's going on with my son. He's only 12.

COOPER: A few seconds after arriving on the scene with police officers.

RICE: They scared him more than anything. If you could look at it, they scared him more than anything. It's like when they pulled up, he jumped up and they shot him. That's what I see.

COOPER: Gwen, just hearing this is hard for you.

CARR: This is horrible. A 12-year-old, not even a teenager, that's horrible for a mother to see her child laying there dead in the street. I know that was unbearable.

COOPER: Sybrina, I know early on we met, you were talking about your son, Trayvon Martin. One of the things you felt strongly about was that immediately, authorities, police were trying to paint a picture of who he was, and paint a negative picture of who he was. Is that something you see happen to all these moms?

FULTON: I noticed that they blame the victim and a lot of time, that gives people a kind of ease and a kind of justify why it was done. Regardless of what these kids were doing or even what Mr. Garner was doing, it's minor. Those are minor things that they were doing and it should not have cost them their lives.

COOPER: I talked to the head of the police union in New York, who said that if your son had just allowed himself to be arrested, he'd be alive today.

CARR: My son never resisted arrest. He had his hands up in the air as he was talking with the police. The police never told him he was under arrest. And he was just asking them to stop harassing him.

And for what they were about to arrest him for, like, OK. He did sell loosey cigarettes, but he wasn't selling them that day. He was just -- he broke up a fight. Just minutes before -- that's why the police was called because someone was fighting and he was breaking it up.

And -- but when the police came, they looked past the fight and went straight for him. So, you know, they were -- why would they do that?

COOPER: When you heard that the police officer had testified that he didn't use a chokehold on your son --

CARR: Oh, please. What would you call it?

COOPER: He called it a takedown.

CARR: If it was a takedown, why, when he took him down, he continued choking him? Mashing his head against the ground. The rest of the police officers on him.

The video plainly shows how long he had his hand around my son's neck. He had no regard for his life. It's like it was a thrill kill for him. He never let up off of him.

Now, was that just a takedown? I don't think so.

COOPER: (INAUDIBLE), Lesley and Sybrina, when your sons were killed, people said, look, there was a videotape, there was a camera on the police officer, and Lesley seen clearly what happened with George Zimmerman and Trayvon, everything would be clear. There is a videotape in Gwen's case. When you saw the videotape, did you think, well, this time, the grand jury is going to indict?


COOPER: We'll have her answer after a short break and former President Clinton's take on race and justice in America. As always, make sure you set your DVR to watch 360 whenever you'd like.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Demonstrations now underway in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hundreds of people there in Harvard Square staging a die-in. We're talking tonight to the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice.

Today, former President Clinton spoke about the demonstrations that we've all been seeing, the incidents behind them, and the larger challenges he sees it for all Americans.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: The fundamental problem you have anywhere is when people think their lives or the lives of their children don't matter, that they're somehow disposable like a paper napkin after lunch or restroom or something. It just doesn't matter. And we have to -- if we want our freedom to be indeed as well as word in America, we have to make people feel that everybody matters again.


COOPER: President Clinton today.

More now on my conversation with Sybrina Fulton, Lesley McSpadden, Samaria Rice and Gwen Carr. In the last segment, I asked Ms. McSpadden whether the existence of video in the death of Eric Garner would lead to charges against the officer involved in her opinion.


COOPER: Did -- when you saw that videotape, did you think, well, this time the grand jury is going to indict? Lesley?

LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MOTHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: I really didn't know, to be honest for you. Because I was so for sure they would indict the officer that shot my son without a videotape because you had so many witnesses, which is real as the videotape, so --

COOPER: You don't have a lot of confidence in the system, as it is?

MCSPADDEN: Not at all. Not at all. Not at all.

CRUMP: And I know people are saying, make a difference in the Garner case but we've got to remember, the video wasn't broken. It's the system that's broken. The video showed us what happened. And can you imagine, Anderson, can you imagine what the narrative would have been if what happened to her son, if there was no video of a tall, big, black man resisted arrest, and we never would have known and they would have swept his death right up under the rug.

COOPER: Gwen, you believe that too?

CARR: I believe that.

COOPER: That if there hadn't been a video, the story --

CARR: Oh, yes. They already had a story put together before they've seen the video. They didn't know there was a video, so the police officers, all the ones that were involved, there was a statement and I saw it. That what they said happened to my son, the video came out the next morning and I guess the police were so surprised that "The Daily News" had it frame by frame in the paper.

COOPER: I talked to Eric Adams, who's the borough president of Brooklyn, in New York. A former NYPD captain, he was on the police force in NYPD for 22 years, African-American man.

And he said that all the stuff he learned in the police academy, as soon as he got on the actual force and got under the wing of veteran officers, they basically said, forget about all that stuff you learn in the academy. We're going to show you how you do real policing on the street.

And that he said the way he was taught to police in African- American communities was different than on Park Avenue and largely, white communities.

Now, I talked to the head of the police union who said that's categorically not true.

CARR: That's true.

COOPER: I'm wondering about your belief, your perception of the police.

CARR: That's true what he's saying because I have family in law enforcement and they tell me the same thing. There's that blue wall of silence, even if you don't want to comply. Then you are pushed to the side. You're given the dirty word. You are outcast.

So, you know, most of the time, even if they don't want to comply, they will.

COOPER: Do you think if your son had been, this is a hard question to ask you, if your son had been white and a police officer came to a park where there was a little white kid playing with a toy gun, he would have had the same perception (INAUDIBLE)?

RICE: No, for the simple fact of my neighborhood is -- my neighborhood where I live at is just where I live at. The neighborhood I live at.

COOPER: You're saying, what, it's a tough neighborhood?

RICE: Yes, it is.

FULTON: It was a difficult question. It's not so difficult for us because we're on a different side. So, it's an easy question for us. I think absolutely my son's race and the color of his skin had a lot to do with why he was shot and killed.

COOPER: The way he was perceived --

FULTON: Yes. Originally, and I could be the first one to tell you I was under the impression it was the hoody. That it was the possibility that because he had on the hoody, that that's the reason why -- that was just one of the reasons.

The main reason why he was shot and killed was because this neighborhood crime watch was looking for an African-American who had been breaking in houses around there and he picked the wrong teenager. My son was not breaking in any houses. My son was not committing any crime.

COOPER: How do you change that perception?

FULTON: Well, I actually think we need a little divine intervention because I don't really believe people are just going to change overnight. And it's a more deep-rooted hatred that people have more African-Americans.

If you're not African-American, a lot of people don't understand, they don't quite get it. They just think we are complaining about something that doesn't really exist and we're living this everyday. This is our life.

CRUMP: We've got to have more people in the community. We can't have police officers that come in our community and police us and go home and live in another community. They're not vested at all. They don't care about Canfield. They don't care about, you know, Tamir's neighborhood.


COOPER: For instance, in Ferguson, you've got a police force, 90-some officers, I think only three African-American police officers. You would like to see a police force that more represents the community.

MCSPADDEN: That's more understandable to where it goes on in the community, first of all.


MCSPADDEN: They care. If you understand, then you'll care. If you don't understand, you'll never care.

Some people walk back and forth to the store all day, some people get in their car just to ride around the block not knowing anything, but you have these officers that come up and they think they're suspicious. Why do you think they're suspicious? They can't for a walk, they can't go for a ride?

I mean, you see people going out right areas, they come out just to walk their dogs, they come out just to take a jog. Does that make them look suspicious, even in their neighborhood?

COOPER: Gwen, when you saw the protest in New York City, in Miami, in Oakland, in really all around the country.

CARR: Yes.

COOPER: And you saw athletes wearing t-shirts that say, "I can't breathe", what went through your mind?


COOPER: We'll have Gwen Carr's answer and what all four women hope what will come out of all of this, right after a short break.


COOPER: Looking again tonight, that video from just a short time ago. Protesters from Harvard Square staging what's called a "die-in", taking part in the same kind of demonstrations that have captured headlines, in spaces across the country over the past week.

In a moment, we'll talk about what has now become a movement with CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, Syracuse University's Boyce Watkins, and former New York police detective, Harry Houck.

First, more of my conversation with Sybrina Fulton, Lesley McSpadden, Gwen Carr, and Samaria Rice.


COOPER: Gwen, when you saw the protest in New York City, in Miami, in Oakland, in really all around the country.

CARR: Yes.

COOPER: And you saw athletes wearing t-shirts that say, "I can't breathe", what went through your mind?

CARR: I just felt overwhelming -- overwhelming feeling of support. Like everyone saw what I saw, and everyone was behind me.

COOPER: You got caught up in the traffic.

CARR: Yes. I got caught up in the traffic, and then all of a sudden, I see this protest that's coming towards us. And I said, oh, it's the protesters, you know. And I opened the window and my sister said, if you don't close that window, you ain't never going to get out of here if they recognize you. But I said I have to wave at them, you know?

COOPER: It was probably the first time you didn't mind being stuck in traffic.

CARR: Right. One guy, he was white. He recognized -- you know, the first guy to recognize me said that's Eric Garner's mother, and he came over to the car, he shook my hand and said, we're with you. I said, thank you so much, sir.

And then the rest of them, they came over, they were touching my hand. You know, they just -- you know, they came briefly and they just kept on walking. Some took pictures.

COOPER: It helped.

CARR: It felt so good.

COOPER: Do you have confidence in the federal investigation that's going on now?

CARR: Oh, yes. I have much more confidence in the federal investigation than I did in the local investigation.

COOPER: You believe your son's civil rights were violated?

CARR: Yes, they were. Yes, they definitely were, because if Eric garner was a white man in Suffolk County doing the same thing that he was doing, even if he would have been caught selling cigarettes that day, they would have given him a summons. And he wouldn't have lost his life that day. I believe that 100 percent.

FULTON: Do a reenactment in each one of these cases and turn the wheels around. Make the person that did the shooting a black man, and the person that actually got killed was a white person, and you put that out there and see what people's perceptions are.

COOPER: I remember that was done in your son's case.

FULTON: Yes, I can guarantee you their ideas would be changed. Then they would say, oh, yes, that was a chokehold. Oh, yes, that was a toy gun he had. Oh, yes, Michael Brown had his hands up.

See, all of these things would be changed. They'll say, oh look at the little boy, that was -- the young teenager walking from the store with his drink and candy.

See, now when you change the color of these people, then you'll be able to really see.

CRUMP: Anderson, it's just it's simple. The rules are different. When it's a black kid dying on the ground, the rules are different, and we have to address them and be honest with ourselves.

COOPER: It's interesting, because you talked to, again, in these polls, you see white people don't view it that way, by and large.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't need to.

FULTON: So they don't quite get it. They don't quite understand. They think it's a small group of African-Americans that are complaining. Oh, what are they complaining about now?

COOPER: You hear that from people?

CRUMP: All the time.

FULTON: Oh, yes. The people say that all the time. What are they complaining about now? What are they protesting about now? What are they marching about now?

COOPER: What do you say to that person?

FULTON: To that person, until it happens to them and in their family, then they'll understand. They don't understand what we're going through. They don't understand the life and they don't understand what we're fighting against. I don't even think the government quite gets it.

COOPER: Until they walk in your shoes on a daily basis.

FULTON: I think this is shedding light on what's going on. This is not something that's new. It's been happening. But it's just bringing light to what's been happening. It's bringing it to the forefront, and that's why it's so much conversations. That's why so many rallies and protests, because people are now realizing, if you look at those footage in New York, it's not just African-Americans.


FULTON: It's not just about African-American rights. It's about human rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No parent should bury a child.

COOPER: Thank you very much for talking. I appreciate it.


COOPER: Thank you for your story.



COOPER: Let's talk about it. Joining me now, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, Retired New York police detective Harry Houck and Syracuse University's professor Boyce Watkins, founder of Sunny, let me start with you. What jumps out at you from what you heard from these moms?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, a couple of things: first, I thought at least they have each other for support and then I thought but who wants to be a member of that club? And there are far too many of them experiencing the death of their children and how very odd that is, but it seems to me that what ties them together is the fact that their sons were black men, black boys that were seen as threats to someone that was white. And it's striking to me that so many people don't see that. Don't see that that's what ties these stories together. It's sort of that implicit bias that exists and no one wants to talk about it. No one wants to admit it exists.

COOPER: There is a lot of people who do not see it that way, do not see this as a racial incident. That in each of these cases people say, well, look, there's things that you can point to as Mike Brown who just done a convenience store robbery, allegedly. And so, where do you see? Because it seems like that conversation, which I think is an important conversation to have, oftentimes, we just end up talking past it ...

HARRY HOUCK: Yeah, you know, I don't think - I don't see this as a racial issue myself though. Because ...

COOPER: You don't think race had a role in any of these?

HOUCK: I don't think it had a role in any of them. I don't - because I look through at the evidence, when I'm involved in something as a detective, I am not looking at the color of the person's skin. I'm looking about the incident I'm in, what I've got to do to either affect an arrest or save somebody's life. It's got nothing to do with the color of their skin. And that's what goes through my mind when I'm out there on the street to do my job.

COOPER: Professor Watkins, your thoughts?

BOYCE WATKINS, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, racism is a social disease that really lies in grain of the very fabric of this nation. It's been here since the nation's inception. And I think that this disease actually has the greatest impact on those who think they've been cured. If you really look at these situations, what you really see are situations where we perceive officers to be good people. And some of them are. Many of them are. There're a lot of good cops out there. But there are a lot of officers, who, for some reason, think that they're above the law. Sometimes they may operate like a street gang or a like a bully. And the way bully operates is, they kind of know where they can throw their weight around. And so, if you're policing in a black neighborhood, you know that you can get away with certain things that you couldn't get away with in, say, a wealthy white neighborhood because you know that the other person on the other side of that offense or of that interaction is going to be one of the least trusted most disrespected, most feared group of people in America meaning the black male. So, when that police officer, especially a white cop goes into court, against a poor black male especially the benefit of the doubt is so heavily skewed, that the truth kind of gets lost in the process.

COOPER: I want to - I just want each of your quick take. We are going to take a quick break and then we are going to have a longer discussion, about six minutes or so, because I think there's a lot to get into, particularly about what you just said there, professor. We'll be right back. The conversation continues in just a moment.


COOPER: As we continue in the conversation tonight. We are looking at video from protests in the streets outside Harvard University. Hundreds people in Harvard Square just outside of Boston, the first of what are expected to be a number of demonstrations across the country this weekend including a big one in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. With us tonight, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin, Retired NYPD Detective Harry Houck. And Syracuse University professor Boyce Watkins, founder of Harry, I want to ask you about a survey that was done by the Justice Department back in 2000, and it's interesting because it showed differences among police officers in the way they perceived things. Discrepancy between what white officers and African-American police officers thought when it came to using physical force against other African-Americans, minorities. 57 percent of African-American police officers thought that African- Americans and other minorities were given unequal treatment. Only five percent of white officers thought African-American minorities were given unequal treatment. I mean so, it's interesting to see that difference in perception even among police officers.

HOUCK: That's interesting. That definitely is. I mean I don't know how they ran that survey. I don't know the questions they were asked. But I can't dispute it in any way. But all I know is from my experience and what I've seen. Listen, are there some bad cops out there? Of course there are. You know? There is racists out there everywhere, in all parts of the world. There is racism today, there will be racism 100 years from now. You got whites killing whites, over in Europe somewhere. You know, I mean this happens. I mean it's a terrible thing. I think it's a human condition - racism.

COOPER: Professor Watkins, do you think this is about racism or is this - I mean, you know, I was reading today about implicit bias tests that are done and people, you can take the test online and just peoples' inherent instant gut level reactions when they see somebody of a different race, when they see somebody of their own race, do you think it is as clear cut as somebody's racist?

WATKINS: Well, you know, I think that we often make the mistake of believing that racism is sort of a conscious decision. That there are police officers who get up every day just with an insatiable appetite for the blood of young black men. And I don't believe that. I believe that most people want to believe that they're good people. I know a lot of cops. My dad was a cop for 25 years and I know a lot of cops who took the job because they want to actually serve and help the public. The problem is that the image of the black male is so tainted, even in media and in other places, to the point that they somehow sometimes misconstrue the process and think that by dealing with poor young black men in the inner city. That they are somehow fighting the enemy that we are these enemy combatants that have to be controlled and managed.

So, to some extent, you get to a point where the humanity of the black male just gets tossed to the side. I mean people think that we love our children less, that we work less. That we're just these big barbaric monsters that need to be put down. And what really touched me, though, which gives me hope in America, actually, is the fact that if you look at all the people that are protesting the life - the death of Eric Garner and these are the young men that were killed, many of these protesters are white and many of these people that want to do the right thing. And I think that that's what we can hold on to as we move forward as a country.

COOPER: Sunny?

HOSTIN: You know, I think it certainly is about implicit bias because the bottom line is Anderson, whether or not people want to admit it, whether or not Harry wants to admit it, when you look at all of these cases that we've been talking about, you hear that Michael Brown is described as demonic. That Trayvon Martin was so aggressive. That he was using the concrete as a weapon. You hear that Tamir Rice looked like an older kid because he was 5'8" and 190 pounds. Guess what? So was my son. You've met him, Anderson. He's not aggressive. And so, the threat is always the same. That these boys, these men are aggressive and they're demonic and they are giant and I think that officers really go - I think there are a lot of great officers, but when they go into the field and they are policing in African-American communities, they are more apt to decide that these kids and men are threatening and until we start to admit and recognize that there is a problem of implicit bias, we are not going to go anywhere. We'll be covering these stories until the end of time.

COOPER: Is that because of race - Is that because of race or is that because they were operating in a community that has - a high crime community and therefore they are more on their guard?

HOSTIN: I think that it is because of race. I think it's because of bias. To be sure, there are plenty of white kids, Anderson, that are shoplifting, that are criming wild, but they are not policed with the same aggression that African-American men and boys are policed. That's a statistical fact.

HOUCK: I don't believe that.

COOPER: Harry, do you believe that there's different policing in different communities?

HOUCK: Not strategy ...

HOSTIN: Bretton admitted that in September.

HOUCK: No, but strategy.

COOPER: No, not strategy - I'm talking the way - we had ...

HOUCK: Listen, that other gentleman ...

HOSTIN: Police Chief Bretton admitted that in September.

HOUCK: Saying that he thinks police officers wake up in the morning and they just want to go out and harass and kill people in the black community.

COOPER: No, no, he didn't say that.

HOSTIN: He said the opposite.

COOPER: He said some people may think that, but he does not believe that.


COOPER: He believes they're trying to do a good job.

HOUCK: I take it back. COOPER: No, yeah, he is absolutely - he doesn't believe that.

But we have Eric Adams who is now the borough president of Brooklyn, 22 year veteran NYPD (INAUDIBLE) captain. He was saying that, you know, what he learned in the academy was different than once he got on the job and he had veteran officer saying, I'm going to show you how the real police - that the way he learned to police in communities, African-American communities was different than he would police on Park Avenue.


HOUCK: I never saw that.

COOPER: You didn't see that?

HOUCK: I worked in both communities. You might work a little different in an area where the crime rate is really high, it would be on guard more, all right?

COOPER: But you're saying ...

HOUCK: Listen. Listen, you know, you'll be different officer, when you go in a black neighborhood. And then you go ...


COOPER: Go ahead, Boyce.

WATKINS: But you've got to understand, racial profiling is kind of where it all begins. Part of the reason that many of these interactions with police between police officers and black men end badly is because there are so many interactions that black men are forced to endure that many white citizens are not. I can tell you this. With all the kids sitting up at Riker's Island right now serving long sentences over small bags of weed, I dare you to go raid a college campus on the weekend. You'll find all kinds of drugs there, but you don't do that because police will not raid the college campus the way they will go into an inner city community. So, if we simply find a way to confront that, in fact, any officer who doesn't believe the racial profiling is real - is not a real officer. I think most officers will agree that racial profiling does occur and is quite rampant in our society.

HOUCK: I don't think so. I disagree. This whole racial profiling is something that somebody made up, you know, and ...

HOSTIN: How could you say that?

HOUCK: Let's just use this as -- police officers - just go on with black men. I mean, black people are committing the majority of these crimes in the inner city of the neighborhood, all right?

HOSTIN: So, black people are just inherently criminal?

HOUCK: When the officer is pulling over - when is pulling somebody over that fits a description as a perpetrator. OK, now, I stopped three guys, three black males who fit this description. Now, should I go stop a white guy - three white guys, you know, to make it even? I mean this whole profile ...

COOPER: No, but ...


WATKINS: I dare you - I dare you go police on Park Avenue the way you might police ...

HOUCK: I have ...

WATKINS: In the projects in Brooklyn. You're not going to do that. And that's one of the reasons ...

HOUCK: I have.

WATKINS: Why you see so many African-Americans incarcerated for drug crimes even though white use drugs at the same rate as African Americans.

HOUCK: And they get arrested.

WATKINS: I think that you are wrong. I think you are lying. I think ...


WATKINS: You're one of the cops that make the good cops look bad.

COOPER: Oh, we ...

HOUCK: I'm one of the cops that make the good cops look bad. Is that what you're saying?

WATKINS: Yes, absolutely. I know the difference between good and bad cops.

HOUCK: You are out of your mind, sir.


WATKINS: I've been around my whole like, and you're lying.

HOUCK: You are using, you are going to the point where ...


WATKINS: You are embarrassing your profession. But all of these people are dying and you're not being realistic about this. You need to go look at the data. Go look at the data.


HOUCK: The data, right. HOSTIN: You know, I think the bottom line is that the data does

support the fact that African-American communities are policed more aggressively than other ...

HOUCK: Because - crimes.

HOSTIN: Than other neighborhoods. Black people are not inherently more criminal. That is just not true and the stats do not support what you're saying, Harry. Racial profiling is alive and well. And until we recognize that, we're not going to go forward as a society.

COOPER: Let's continue this conversation on Twitter at Anderson Cooper. We've got to live it there. Boyce Watkins, Harry Houck, thank you very much. Sunny Hostin as well. Coming up, more breaking news tonight. Rocks out of the debris of the rooftops in one neighborhood. We'll take you there next.


COOPER: High winds, high tides have claimed another home on the coast of Washington State. Check out the video. Vacation home sliding partly into the Pacific Ocean. Unbelievable. This is in wash away beach. And this is the third home in a week to suffer the same fate. The beach has been eroding about 100 feet per year. Meanwhile, there is breaking news, a massive storm brought torrential rain flooding and mudslides to Southern California, driving some people from their homes, damaging others. For those who stayed, tens of thousands of people still without power right now in one area, a mud slide piled rocks as high as the houses themselves. Stephanie Elam joins us now. So, the scene behind you, what exactly is that?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, believe it or not, we're standing along the side of the house here. And this is a garage. I'm actually going to use my phone to light in here. So, we can show you just where all of this mud is and how far - the mud came in breaking through this door and cascading up. And you see the side of the rocks, boulders that came cascading down. Remember, this happened after 2:00 in the morning. So it was in the middle of the night. Look at this. Just the thickness of the mud that's caked in the side of the gutter. And I'm walking now above the roofline here of this one house. All of this debris carried by all of this mud cascading down here. It is absolutely amazing that there were no reported injuries from this, Anderson.

COOPER: What's the weather supposed to be like in the coming hours?

ELAM: In the coming hours, we may have some more thunderstorms, but at the beginning of next week, there's more rain that's expected. And California is in the middle of a devastating drought. This is not ending anything. And while we do need the water for people who live in communities like this one here, it's definitely a situation of too much of one good thing. As they try to figure out how they're going to clean up with all of this massive situation of rocks and mud that have left ten homes here that we know that have been damaged and heavily damaged at that, Anderson.

COOPER: Wow, Stephanie Elam, incredible pictures. Thanks very much. There's a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks has a "360 Bulletin." Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a manhunt is under way tonight in Portland, Oregon, for a shooter who wounded four teenagers near a high school. Three of them are hospitalized, one is in critical condition. All of them run back into the school to find help.

And there are flight delays and cancellations for travelers going in and out of London after the city's airspace was temporarily shut down due to a technical glitch with the air traffic control system. Now, officials say it was not hacked, but they are trying to figure out exactly why this occurred. And a rough Friday for the Dow. Take a look, it fell more than 300 points. It was down nearly four percent for the week. It is the Dow's worst weekly performance in more than three years, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, thanks very much, Susan. We're going to update you on the breaking news next. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. Quick update on protest in Harvard Square. The Harvard Crimson reporting a march stage, a so-called die- in in Harvard Square that stretched several hundred feet down the Main Street in Massachusetts Avenue. Then they march into Central Square nearby stopping traffic there before marching back toward university. According to Crimson, the Cambridge police department brought in additional officers. Patrols are gathering, spokesman telling the paper there were no arrests made and again, more demonstrations are in town for this weekend, especially on the nation's capital and elsewhere around the country. That's where I interview today the four mothers you saw earlier in the broadcast. They are going to be taking part in those demonstrations in Washington tomorrow. CNN obviously will help full coverage of those demonstrations. That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching. Death Row stories start now.