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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Ayatollah: Lift Sanctions Immediately or No Deal; New Dash Cam Video Shows Traffic Stop, Driver Fleeing; New Witness Speaks Out To CNN. Aired 7:00-8p ET
Aired April 9, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:08] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight. Breaking news, officials release the crucial dash cam video from the deadly shooting in South Carolina. What exactly caused Walter Scott to run from Officer Michael Slager.
And the mother of Officer Slager breaks her silence speaking out just moments ago in defense of her son.
Plus, breaking news on the Iran nuclear deal. The Ayatollah making new demands tonight. Is the deal dead? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Jim Sciutto, in again tonight for Erin Burnett who is on assignment. OUTFRONT tonight, we have breaking news. New dash cam video released moments ago reveals the final minutes leading up to the deadly shooting of Walter Scott, a black man shot four times in the back by a white police officer. In the video Scott pulls over in a parking lot. Officer Michael Slager seen here approaches the car and then goes back to his squad car. Questions arise at the time about whether Scott owns the Mercedes he's driving in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SLAGER, NORTH CHARLESTON OFFICER: So you don't have any paperwork in the glove box?
WALTER SCOTT, SHOT TO DEATH BY OFFICER MICHAEL SLAGER: No, sir.
SLAGER: No registration in there? No insurance?
SCOTT: No, he has all that stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: And then a short time later Scott opens the door of the car. You see him here. He takes off running and fast. This as a new eyewitness to those last minutes comes forward to CNN. She describes a confrontation that came just before the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don't know if it was a fight but it was a tussle. When I came to the corner of the advance auto parking lot and saw them, it was a tussle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Also tonight, the mother of Officer Slager breaks her silence in tearful interview with ABC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN SHARP, MOTHER OF OFFICER MICHAEL SLAGER: I can't imagine him doing something that, it's just not like him, it's not his character. But I just have to -- I just -- I just have to let it be and hope God takes care of everybody involved. Not only my family but the Scott's family. Because I know they are grieving just like I'm grieving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Two grieving families. A lot to get to tonight. We begin with Jason Carroll who is in North Charleston with that new dash cam video tonight.
Jason, take us through this video step by step. It's the moments just before the shooting. There's a lot of new information in there.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've watched it and I know you've watched it as well, Jim. That dash cam video gives a minute by minute moment by moment account of what happened during that initial traffic stop. Investigators call it a key piece of evidence to help them explain what happened that day.
CARROLL (voice-over): This is the dash cam video from Officer Michael Slager's patrol car. It shows what happened leading up to the traffic stop that ended in the deadly shooting. The video shows Slager following Scott who is driving a Mercedes. Slager pulls him over, still a routine traffic stop for a broken taillight. The North Charleston officer then approaches Scott's car.
SLAGER: License registration, your insurance sir?
CARROLL: Slager returns to his patrol car, then for a moment Scott gets out.
SLAGER: Stay in the car.
CARROLL: He's instructed to get back inside his car but then moments later Scott makes a run for it. Slager gives chase. The dash cam video does not show the struggle between Scott and Slager nor the fatal shooting that followed.
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Nothing in this video demonstrates that the officer's life or the life of another was threatened. And the question here is whether the use of force was excessive.
CARROLL: The cell phone video captured by bystander Faidin Santana still the most compelling piece of evidence. It shows Officer Slager shooting Scott in the back, firing several times and radioing dispatch saying Scott grabbed his taser.
SLAGER: 223 to dispatch, shots fired, subject is down. He grabbed my taser.
CARROLL: The investigation now in the hands of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division or S.L.E.D. which released the dash cam videos, Scott was not alone when he was pulled over. He was with a friend. Investigators at S.L.E.D. will want to speak with him as well. According to the police incident report an officer who responded to the shooting says, "I also spoke to the passenger of the vehicle that was stopped. The passenger was we detained and placed in the back seat of my vehicle." He was later released. An attorney for Scott's family says that passenger who has not been identified did not see the shooting. Investigators will also review the police accounts of what happened.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If it's determined that multiple officers attempted to cover for the shooting officer and it's shown that those reports were false, this will be a devastating blow for law enforcement everywhere.
[19:05:07] CARROLL: You look at that dash cam video, Jim, and the questions arise in terms of why Scott decided to run. Well, according to the Charleston County court documents, record that we've obtained, Scott owed more than $18,000 in back child support, had not made a payment since July of 2012. There was actually a bench warrant issued against him. So, perhaps that's one of the reasons why Scott decided to run. Of course, investigators at this point, also trying to determine why Slager decided to shoot -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Scott's brother raised that very concern last night. Thanks very much to Jason Carroll, he's in South Carolina.
OUTFRONT tonight, retired NYPD Detective Tom Verni. Attorney Daryl Parks, he represents the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen shot and killed by white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. And we also have CNN legal analyst Paul Callan. Tom, I want to start with you. Because this new dash cam video shows this initial traffic stop between Officer Slager and Michael Scott. We see Scott open that car door and run. This is the second time on video we see him run. Because in the shooting video, you see him running away from the cop. I just wonder from the police perspective, when A, I don't want to say suspect because we don't know if there's enough information to call him suspect, the one, a person of interest runs from you, what's the protocol? What right are you taught that you have to use there in response?
TOM VERNI, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Well, I mean, clearly, in this case we had someone who stopped for a traffic infraction.
SCIUTTO: Light was out. Brake light was out. VERNI: Yes. Just a minor every day traffic infraction. The officer
comes to find out that he's wanted on a bench warrant. Now, this has jumped out, he can't let him go. He can't issue him a summons. He has to arrest him.
SCIUTTO: You say the officer knew that he had warrant out or you believe --
VERNI: We don't know yet exactly --
SCIUTTO: Yes. All we can tell from the video is that there's questions arise about who owns the car. Because he didn't have insurance, he didn't have the registration --
VERNI: That is going to raise his level of suspicion to what's going on there. He's got the taillight out. But now, he doesn't have any documents for the vehicle. For me, that's going to raise my suspicion and it's going to make me think, well, does the guy own this car? Is this guy up to something? And then I'm going back to review and if everything checks out then that's great then he just gets the summons.
SCIUTTO: At that point he runs.
VERNI: Once he runs then you know that something a little bit beyond that is going on and we're going to have to investigate that.
SCIUTTO: As a police officer, are you told to chase him. He runs and you chase him?
VERNI: Yes, he runs. I would attempt to get ahold of him, you know, yes, for sure if I can do that.
SCIUTTO: Paul, legally, so you have him. He's stopped at a traffic stop here. He's got a brake light out. You know, no threat from the brake light, really. It's a question. Now, there's a question about why he's running. And then later in the video the shooting video we see him running from the cop as well. From a legal perspective, is deadly force or any kind of force justified based on what you've seen in the videos, in the two videos now?
PAUL CALLAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: No, I don't think so. And I say that because this is a rapidly evolving situation and the officer's right to use force can change during the course of the situation. He had a right certainly to run after him to find out what was going on, why he was running. He had been stopped to be given a ticket presumably and he's running to avoid that. Maybe the cop over the radio has heard about the warrant. We don't know a lot about that at this point. But of course, if there's a second confrontation where the two men tussle. Now, we heard the witness identify that.
SCIUTTO: Yes. This witness and you can also on this video, just to warn our viewers, you hear some audio in the video later. It's off camera but you hear something of a tussle, you hear the word taser mentioned. So, some signs of a tussle.
CALLAN: Had the officer been struck by Mr. Scott during that tussle, the officer would have had the right to use force to defend himself, including the use of his weapon if he felt that he was under that kind of a threat.
SCIUTTO: Even if that tussle though because based on the timeline here, that tussle that's off camera happens at least a couple of minutes before, possibly several minutes before the shooting.
CALLAN: I'm not talking about the final shooting. I'm saying if he had used force at that time because he was afraid, for instance, the suspect was trying to take his gun, was trying to hurt him, possibly force could have been used at that point. But now remember, I said evolving situation. The suspect now apparently runs again and puts a considerable amount of distance between himself and the officer. The suspect is unarmed. He doesn't appear to be endangering anybody else and the officer shoots him maybe as many as five times in the back. That's clearly an excessive use of force under the circumstances because at this point in time the suspect poses no threat to the officer what so ever.
SCIUTTO: And you have some space and time between whatever -- took place.
CALLAN: That's correct. So, you have to evaluate it at each step in the proceedings and at that final step when the shots are fired it doesn't appear to be justifiable.
SCIUTTO: Right. Daryl, I want to get to you because in that dash cam video we hear the officer's original conversation with Walter Scott. Let's have a listen, let's play that tape again and so our viewers can hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SLAGER: So you don't have any paperwork in the glove box?
WALTER SCOTT, SHOT TO DEATH BY OFFICER MICHAEL SLAGER: No sir.
SLAGER: No registration in there? No insurance?
SCOTT: No, he has all that stuff.
SLAGER: But you're buying this car?
SCOTT: Yes sir.
SLAGER: Did you already buy it?
SCOTT: No, not yet. I'm about to buy it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:10:22] SCIUTTO: Daryl, does that raise any questions for you? Again, I'm not making a leap period to say that there's any justification for the use of deadly force, just about the sort of progression of reactions from the police officer. He stopped for a broken light. That's something small and simple. But now there's questions about who owns the car. As you get that information of a possible tussle, does it change the way you see this case at all?
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: Not at all. I think when you listen to the questions by the officer initially they are the typical questions that you would see in the traffic stop. All of that seems to be well within line. Obviously --
SCIUTTO: But the answers to the questions are, when I get stopped I say, yes, I got insurance and here is the registration. Yes. He has sort of a wishy washy answer is to who owns the car.
PARKS: Well, it's obviously an issue. So, it's not clear as to what the ownership is of the car, what the issue maybe of the insurance. But none of those issues have anything to do with the tape that we ultimately see and the death of Walter Scott.
SCIUTTO: Fair enough. That's something to be clear. It's only five minutes. But still, there's a considerable amount of time here between that to allow for decision making. Tom, we were talking earlier, you were on the force for 22 years here in New York. You describe violent encounters you had with people but you also said you never fired your weapon during your time. So, I mean, there are -- you can still be in a tussle and that doesn't lead to justification for using deadly force.
VERNI: Whether or not you have the ability, it all depends on your threat level at that point as well. Whether a deadly physical force is an option, a viable option. I mean, here, it seems based on the video that there were a couple of options. He could have either chased him again.
VERNI: He could have called over the radio to have someone intercept him essentially in distance. He could have done both, you know? To go right to deadly physical force as you have mentioned before, that didn't really seem like the first viable option to choose based on what we know and based on what we've seen.
SCIUTTO: Yes. We're talking to the military about escalation before. I mean, this was a massive and very quick escalation of the use of force.
VERNI: Right. And it happens sometimes but there has to be a justifiable reason for that in order to use your firearm.
SCIUTTO: So, it raises some interesting questions, we're very early on this case. Tom, Daryl, Paul, great to have you on. Appreciate your analysis.
OUTFRONT next, a new witness is speaking out for the first time. What did she see in the moments just before the shooting? That exclusive is coming up.
And did Officer Slager try to plant a taser gun by Walter Scott's body after the shooting? New details on that question, next. And breaking news, a large and extremely dangerous tornado just
touched down in Iowa. Tonight, severe weather across much of the country. A live report is coming up just after this.
[19:16:39] SCIUTTO: And welcome back. Breaking news on our top story tonight. The shooting death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in South Carolina. Tonight, a new witness speaking out exclusively to CNN. Gwen Nichols says she saw how it all began. She witnessed those crucial moments after Walter Scott was pulled over but before he was shot and killed by Officer Michael Slager.
Brian Todd spoke exclusively with Nichols and has much more of her account.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The video of Walter Scott's shooting not only shows the end of his life, it shows the end of a confrontation that began hundreds of yards away. But in an exclusive interview tonight, Gwen Nichols tells CNN, she saw how it all began. Nichols says she was in the neighborhood when she heard the police cars disputing by. Curious, she followed them to the advance auto parts parking lot where Officer Michael Slager pulled Walter Scott over. At that point she said, there was chaos. She didn't want to get any closer. She says, she saw the two men at the entrance to a vacant lot less than a black away.
GWEN NICHOLS, WITNESS: I didn't hear Mr. Slager saying stop or halt.
TODD: Nichol says, that's when she saw a physical confrontation.
NICHOLS: Before what you saw on the video tape, there was like a little tussle over there like at the end of that gate down there.
TODD: Were they on the ground rolling? What were they doing?
NICHOLS: No, it wasn't on the ground rolling. It was like a tussle type of thing like, you know, like, what do you want or what did I do type of thing?
TODD: She says she has yet with speak with police. Newly released dash cam video from Slager's vehicle shows Scott car pulling over. Slager having a conversation with Scott, and then later Scott opens the door of his vehicle and takes off. Why would Scott have run? Faidin Santana who recorded the amateur video told NBC of one possibility.
FAIDIN SANTANA, FILMED FATAL POLICE SHOOTING: Before the video, I saw that he was trying to get away of the taser. And his reaction was just, you know, to get away of the taser.
TODD: The confrontation ended up a long way from where it started. More than two football fields by our measurements. So far it appeared Faidin Santana was the only bystander in the immediate area where the fatal shots were fired.
(on camera): This house abandoned. This apartment building also abandoned. This is the spot where Faidin Santana picked it up and started filming. Had he not done that, we might never have found out what happened.
Gwen Nichols says her son also had a run in with the North Charleston police after a routine traffic stop. She says, she was overwhelmed when she heard the gunshots that killed Walter Scott.
NICHOLS: I started to cry. Sorry. I started to cry because I thought about the altercation with my son and it could have been my son. It could have been any one of these young black young men around here.
TODD: Gwen Nichols says, she still believes there are a lot of good police officers in North Charleston but she says they have to do more community policing. Just more kind of pounding the beat on foot getting to know the neighborhoods on a day-to-day basis. We have to point out also Jim, there's one other potentially very important witness in this case. That is the passenger who was in Walter Scott's car. So far we have not yet heard from him -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: No question. We see that passenger in that dash cam video. Thanks very much to Brian Todd, he's down there in South Carolina.
OUTFRONT tonight, Pastor Thomas Dixon who leaves in North Charleston and has been meeting with the family. He's going to join us in a moment.
First I want to go back to our Paul Callan. So, Paul, one of the pieces of new information in this dash came video plus speaking to that eyewitness is there was a tussle before we get to that infamous video of the actual shooting. And I just wonder, does that, in your view, as a lawyer decrease the chances of murder and start bringing up other lesser charge, manslaughter, et cetera, if you had some sort of confrontation before?
CALLAN: Well, Jim, let me talk about how defense attorneys for the police officer will handle this. They will say that this is not a murder case because in murder cases in South Carolina you need malice aforethought. That's the word that they use. In other states they call it premeditation. Defense attorneys will say this was a heat of passion shooting. This was something that he did suddenly after some type of an altercation, physical altercation with the suspect. And that would constitute manslaughter under law as oppose to murder and it makes a huge difference in sentencing.
[19:21:16] SCIUTTO: And even if that altercation took place sometime because based on the video he had some time to think about it, the shooting video. Yes, it's a couple of minutes at least to remove from it, you know?
CALLAN: Well, I don't know if it's a couple of minutes. People ran pretty fast. But you can form the intent to kill, premeditation quickly, matter of seconds you can form it. But jurors being sympathetic to police officers as they usually are might say it's a heat of passion killing. It's bad judgment by the cop. On that sense, it's going to play out that way, but I'm telling you, that's how defense attorneys will urge the prosecutor to go lighter in this case.
SCIUTTO: New information coming out every day. Pastor Dixon you've been very outspoken against the Police Department here. You think this is cut and dry that the Officer Slager had no reason to shoot Walter Scott. When you hear this new witness, you see this new dash cam video, does it change your mind at all?
PASTOR THOMAS DIXON, MET WITH WALTER SCOTT'S FAMILY TODAY: No. I believe that Officer Slager, Mike Slager had no right or reason to feel that it was okay to draw his firearm and to level it and to fire at this fleeing suspect. There's no reason that I can see why Walter Scott is dead today.
SCIUTTO: Pastor Dixon, I want to ask you because we're hearing now from Officer Slager's mother. Here is what she told ABC News a short time ago. I want to get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARP: I can't imagine him doing something that it's just not like him. That's not his character. But I just have to -- I just have to let it be. And I hope God takes care of everybody involved not only my family but the Scott's family because I know they are grieving just like I'm grieving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Pastor Dixon, she says two grieving families. I wonder what your reaction is.
DIXON: It's heart wrenching to hear how his mother relate how her heart feels at this particular time. But we must take into consideration that there's another mother who has lost her son and will never see him again. At least she can go to wherever he winds up at and to visit him. This mother -- the other mother's son, she'll never be able to visit with or hug or to caress anymore in life. Any way that I look at it, the mentality of an individual who will in cold blooded fire eight shots at an individual who is fleeing from him, an individual who's worst crime was the fact that he was stopped randomly with a criminal background that included failure to pay child support and driving under suspension and he had to flee for his life and then a sentence of life was doled out by this officer. You can't discount that. And I don't even understand what kind of mind would even do that.
SCIUTTO: Paul, there's a legal standard for when police can use deadly force, when a suspect is fleeing, one I think being when that person possess they believe a threat they might have a weapon, this guy didn't have a weapon, Michael Scott didn't have a weapon, do you see anything in here that would justify that? And can you explain the standard?
CALLAN: The standard, there was a doctrine called the fleeing felon doctrine. And, you know, you're watching old TV movie, if you run away from the cops they're going to shoot you. Everybody knows that. Well, in 1985, the Supreme Court of the United States said you can't take a person's life just because they are running away and committed a felony. That person has to pose a substantial threat to the officer or to the community. Only then can you use deadly physical force. I don't see any threat to the officer. I see no threat to the community and hence, I don't think he has a viable defense to some kind of a homicide charge whether it's murder or manslaughter. That will be up to a grand jury.
SCIUTTO: Pretty clear cut judgment in your part. Pastor Dixon I know that you met today with the Scott family. Tell us how they're doing.
DIXON: They're holding up well. They're holding up well by their faith. Their faith and the fact that they will get through this. Their belief in the fact that everything happens according to the will of the God that they serve. And even with the loss of a loved one they can move forward knowing and believing that out of his death something good will happen. And that something good they are expecting to happen will be that there will be a new sentiment across this country that will stop the deaths, the senseless killings of African-American males that has gone uncheck and unreserved for many, many, many years now.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Searching for meaning in all this. Thanks very much, Pastor Dixon. Paul Callan, as always, good to have you here.
[19:26:02] OUTFRONT next, a key issue in the shooting investigation. Did the video show the officer planting a taser beside Scott's body? Our report on that is next.
And the man who captured the video, his eyewitness account of the shooting. Was there ever a struggle for that taser?
[19:30:15] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.
Our breaking news tonight, newly released dash cam video shows the initial moments when Officer Michael Slager pulled over Walter Scott for having a broken taillight. The very beginning of what ultimately led to this -- Officer Slager firing off those eight shots, four of them in Scott's back and killing him.
There are now many questions about this particular moment Slager is seen dropping something near Scott's body. Was he trying to plant a taser gun next to him?
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officer Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott is shocking enough, but it's this moment says Los Angeles defense attorney Darren Kavinoky that is something he's never seen.
DARREN KAVINOKY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It looks like the officer is dropping an object. We see him drop the taser there, or what appears to be a taser. I've never had this corroborating evidence that this particular tape represents. But I've heard the complaints over and over and over again. It's a common experience.
LAH: Frequent claims by suspects alleging police planting evidence have been difficult to prove. In the late 1990s, more than 70 officers in the LAPD's Rampart division were implicated in tampering with and planting evidence in thousands of cases. Officers were fired or prosecuted, but the public never saw the LAPD planting evidence. With more smartphones, more cameras and policing, there's more video capturing how police engage with the public.
Earlier this year, dash cam video captures a police stop in suburban Detroit. Inkster Police Officer William Melendez approaches gun drawn. Fifty-seven-year-old Floyd Dent opens his car door and is dragged out. The police officer then repeatedly punches Dent in the head.
In the police report, Melendez says he was only protecting himself. After seeing the video, the judge dismissed resisting arrest and assault charges against Dent. The video also captures Officer Melendez handling what appears to be a plastic bag. He says he retrieved it underneath the seat but the lawyer says alleges the police planted drug and charged Dent with possession of crack cocaine.
Officer Melendez is now on paid administrative duties while the city and state investigate.
HARRY HOUCK, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Does it happen? Yes, it happens. Does it happen often? No. It's very, very rare that something like that does occur.
LAH: Harry Houck is a retired NYPD detective. When he was an officer, he worked for the department's internal affairs. He says just like there are bad people, there are bad cops. What haunts Houck now, the fired officer's video appearance in court.
HOUCK: What really caught my eye was the stoic look on his face. I saw no emotion. Here was a man standing there who just murdered a man as a police officer standing there with no emotion at all. I thought that was very, very telling to me.
SCIUTTO: So, Kyung, one of frustrations in this story, there's not a lot of good data, for instance, of police shootings. Is there comprehensive data of police misconduct specifically where officers have planted evidence? Has anyone studied this? LAH: There's certainly nothing that we could find, nothing
comprehensive. We certainly couldn't find any governmental agency that was looking at this. And even outside agencies, you touched on something, it's very difficult to police local police as far as the data front.
Now, there has been a long held suspicion among defense attorneys and activists that poor minority communities are predominantly affected by this. But, Jim, there's no data to support that.
SCIUTTO: That leaves a lot of questions open. Thanks very much, Kyung Lah. She's in L.A.
Tom Verni is back with us now. And also, Marc Lamont Hill, he's a CNN political commentator joining us tonight from Los Angeles.
So, Marc, I want to replay parts of this video that we're talking about here just to remind our viewers. Here we see a dark object that could be taser on the ground as Scott is running away. After Walter Scott was shot, we see the officer leave him and go back to that stop, pick up what appears to be that same object, possibly the taser and he walks back next to where Scott's body was.
See it here. Drops that right next to Scott's body. It's hard to say for sure it's taser. It's possible.
You're watching this video. What do you see here, Marc?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I see at least what looks to be an officer planting evidence. Again, I would need to see a closer look. I would need to get more evidence. But I think a reasonable person, if we're invoking a reasonable person standard here, I would say a reasonable person given the context, given the evidence, given the back story, would say this is an officer planting evidence and attempting to construct a narrative that he was assaulted and that he was fearing for his life.
SCIUTTO: Yes, it's incredible as you see him doing it, assuming that's what it is. He just looks so calm and cool and collected as he does it.
[19:35:00] Tom, I want to ask you, because President Obama alluded to this shooting today during a visit to Jamaica town hall here.
Let's play for our listeners what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to have effective policing, which means policing that's actually protecting as opposed to some of the things we have been seeing of late in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: What do you think of president's comments? That's pretty direct criticism of the police force.
TOM VERNI, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Yes. I can agree with him. He's the president. I probably should agree with him.
I have no problem with the actual statement that he made in one sense because we do need police officers to be responsible, to be professional, and to be setting a certain standard that people expect of the local police. Some of the instances that we have seen over the last year that have been very high profile cases, some of them reinforce a lot of preconceived notions that people have about policing and this case just really reinforces the worst of the worst beliefs that people have.
SCIUTTO: You know, here's the question, Marc, we have seen more of these recently. You have the Ferguson shooting, you have other ones caught on video. You know, the question, we have tried to report this out, there aren't good numbers.
The question is: are we seeing it more people more people have cameras, or is it happening more, or perhaps is it just it's been happening for a long time and because through are more cameras out there, police get caught in the act? What do you think is the most credible?
HILL: That's it right there.
I think the last claim is the most credible one. The numbers of black people and brown people and even poor white people who claim that they were assaulted on the business end of excessive force or had evidence planted on them haven't gone up in the last decade or two. People have been saying this for a very long time. What's gone up is the number of officers we have caught on tape.
So, even in this exact case, it would be naive of us to think that this was -- this guy's first time at the rodeo. Look how calm he is. Look how cool he does it. Either he's done this before or he's been instructed on what to do in this type of circumstance, unless he's the world's biggest sociopath.
And even if he is the world's biggest sociopath, it would be naive of us to assume that this happened because the world's biggest sociopath on tape and everybody else is OK. The odds don't suggest, common sense doesn't suggest that. This is pattern.
SCIUTTO: Yes, it stretches credulity.
I wonder what you think, Tom. And again, as a network, as others have said, we're not tarring all police with the same brush but in your experience, do you believe this is a systemic problem or very isolated that we happened to be catching isolated incidents here?
VERNI: This is not the norm. I mean, this is the exception of the norm. I've policed for almost 22 years here in New York City. And I'm obviously as white as you're going to get and I worked in many communities of color. And, you know -- and had involved in a couple of shootings, I never fired my weapons, never had any complaints from people of color against whatever action I took against them whether it's verbally or summons-wise or arrest-wise.
That didn't by accident. I attempted to be the best police officer and detective I could be. And, by the large, the majority of them right now, there's hundreds of thousands of interactions that take place every day that we don't hear about. It's these incidents that we do hear about.
And as Marc had mentioned, I do believe that with the oncoming of this digital age that we're in with cameras all over the place, yes, you are going to catch more people doing more things. But, you know, that's a good thing, because if there are officers then they should be taken off the police department that they are in.
HILL: I think we have to make a distinction between saying something happens all the time, like every day and saying something is not the norm. Snowstorms in New York are the norm. It very often snows in the weather time. It doesn't mean it snows every day. It doesn't mean it snows most of the time.
But I would say snow storm is a norm in winter time in New York. The same thing with policing. We see lots of bad officers that do things. It doesn't mean that all officers are like that. That's not the point. We shouldn't have to offer that as a perfunctory.
SCIUTTO: It doesn't have to be the norm to be a problem. It could be an extensive problem without affecting the majority of police, but something that is now revealed by the presence of cameras.
Tom, great to have you on. Marc, always good to have you on as well. We appreciate it.
Coming up on OUTFRONT next, the young man who captured the shooting on his cell phone says he almost erased it because he feared for his life. Hear him in his own words, next.
And the ayatollah of Iran making new demands tonight. Is the nuclear deal dead?
[19:43:19] SCIUTTO: We have breaking news on another story now. Shots fired tonight at the gate of the U.S. Census Bureau in Washington. A guard now in extremely critical condition with a gun shot to his upper body.
CNN affiliate WJLA in Washington reports that the gunman is still barricaded inside the Census building. That building located in Suitland, Maryland, just a few miles outside of Washington, D.C.
We're going to continue to follow this breaking story. And we'll have more as developments warrant.
And back to our main story tonight as well, new dash cam video showing Officer Michael Slager pulling over Michael Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina. It was this traffic stop that ultimately proceeded this -- Officer Slager firing his gun eight times. Half of those shots hitting Scott in the back and killing him.
The video is key. It's what led to Slager being charged with murder.
Now, the man who captured it has come forward and is providing investigators with key details about what happened Saturday morning.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man who took this now world famous video on his cell phone adds details. Critical eyewitness information about what led up to the deadly shooting of 50- year-old Walter Scott.
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: You heard the taser. What did it sound like?
FEIDEN SANTANA, SHOT SHOOTING VIDEO: The taser, it was sounding like, like I say like, he was using taser with Mr. Scott.
MARQUEZ: When the taser does not make a proper connection, the sound is loud.
STEVE TUTTLE, TASER INTERNATIONAL: When you deploy this in the open, it's a loud spark. Clearly, you can hear that.
MARQUEZ: Steve Tuttle from Taser International, the maker of the X26 taser use in the North Charleston incident says that Feidin Santana heard the taser is a telltale sign.
[09:45:10] (on camera): What is the saying in the world of taser when you train police officers?
TUTTLE: Silence is golden.
MARQUEZ: Meaning what?
TUTTLE: That means if you're not hearing that cycle and you delivered the two probes to a good target area, you should have an effective deployment.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): From the Scott where he was pulled over to where the video starts is about 500 feet. Scott runs approximately another 150 feet before falling. Hit five times with rounds from Slager's Glock service weapon.
Feidin Santana off to one side was about 100 feet from the incident when he started filming. He told NBC'S Matt Lauer, Officer Slager had Scott down on the ground when he first heard the taser sound.
FEIDEN: Before the video, I saw that he was trying to get away of the taser. And his reaction was just, you know, to get away of the taser.
MARQUEZ: Slager radioed the dispatcher, Scott grabbed his taser. Santana says he only saw Scott try from the taser, not grab. If Slager had proper hit Scott and connected the taser with all 50,000 volts, it should have incapacitated the 5'9", 180 pound man, something like this training video from Taser International.
Walter Scott clearly running, unaffected by any taser deployment until Michael Slager made the decision to use deadly force.
MARQUEZ: Now, another witness tells CNN that she never heard Slager say anything about stopping or stop where you are to Mr. Scott as he ran. Also Mr. Feidin who shot that video, or Mr. Santana who shot that video, says that he nearly erased it out of fear for his life -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Fear for his life, incredible.
Miguel Marquez in New York, thanks very much.
OUTFRONT next, the ayatollah saying not so fast on the Iran nuclear deal. Is the deal already dead tonight?
[19:51:01] SCIUTTO: Tonight, could the Iran nuclear deal be dead? Iran's supreme leader, the man who has the final say on any agreement, challenging two key American demands on the pace of sanctions relief and inspections of some of the most sensitive nuclear sites. Ayatollah Khamenei tweeting today, "All sanctions should be removed just when the deal is reached. If sanctions removal depends on another process, then why we started to talk?"
We're going to talk to the State Department's point man on Iran and ISIS in just a moment, but first, OUTFRONT tonight, Jim Acosta is traveling with the president.
Jim, this kind of language from Iran at the moment, at a minimum, certainly couldn't have been helpful.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Definitely not helpful, Jim. As they are going to only cause more doubts up on Capitol Hill where lawmakers have lots of questions about the wisdom of this nuclear deal with Iran and after all, Jim, as you know, the timetable for lifting these sanctions is the backbone of any final nuclear deal. The White House insists, they said again today that these sanctions will be lifted on a gradual basis. Not as soon as a deal is reached, as the ayatollah was demanding earlier today.
And senior administration officials tell us, Jim, that they sort of expected this kind of bluster to come out of Tehran. You know, this is something they think is really an appeal to hard liners that they have to keep satisfied during the course of these negotiations for a final deal. And they recall just a couple weeks ago, Jim, and you know this -- the ayatollah was agreeing with a crowd chanting "Death to America". And so, they're expecting this sort of rhetoric over the next couple of months as we move forward here. But, you know, asked about this deal earlier today in Jamaica, the president said there is no deal until there is a final deal. He did say he wants the Iranians to prosper but he said that's not going to come at any price.
Here's what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We also want to make sure that our allies in the region have confidence that they're not going to be threatened by the looming cloud of a nuclear Iran. And we're going to make sure that that happens hopefully through diplomatic means.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, the president is going to have his hands full down here in Panama over the next couple of days. He's trying to normalize relations with Cuba. He's expected to have his first face to face conversation with Cuban leader Raul Castro down here for the Summit of the Americas.
And, Jim, the president just landed here in Panama City in the last couple of minutes but hanging over his head over the next couple of days will be this nuclear deal with Iran and all the questions about it. You were asking earlier, is the deal dead? This kind of rhetoric coming out of Tehran means more near-death experiences like this as we move forward, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Lot more work to do before that June 30th deadline. Thanks very much, Jim Acosta, with the president in Panama.
ACOSTA: That's right.
SCIUTTO: We're joined now OUTFRONT tonight by Brett McGurk. He's the deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs.
Brett, great to have you on.
Increasingly, when you listen to the public comments of American and Iranian officials, it seems like the tale of two agreements -- immediate sanctions relief, really a non-starters for the Obama administration, a refusal to allow inspections and nuclear, another non-starter. Do these public statements kill this deal in your view?
BRETT MCGURK, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR IRAQ AND IRAN: I would just say, let the negotiators do the work. As the president said, the secretary said, there's about three months here to hammer out the details and they'll do that behind closed doors. There's going to be a lot of background noise.
The implementation of the joint framework has gone extremely well. And it has really beat the expectations and answered the questions of those who said it would not be implemented well. That framework agreement that JPOA freeze every pathway that Iran had to a nuclear capability, a nuclear weapon, and the comprehensive joint plan of action which the negotiators will try to close by the end of June will work to do that on a multiyear and long-term basis.
So, there's a lot of work ahead and I just -- you know, I can't speak for the Iranians.
[19:55:01] But let's let the negotiators do the work and hammer out the final details of this accord.
SCIUTTO: As ISIS has reared its head beyond Iraq and Syria, you've seen them active in Libya. Some changing into -- from AQAP crossing over to ISIS in Yemen. Some signs of possible training in Afghanistan, perhaps some of it symbolic, but still, getting a regional presence.
Is U.S. military action against is outside of Iraq and Syria on the table as an option?
MCGURK: Well, Jim, we have a lot of tools to protect ourselves and our national security interests. Some of which are military tools and, of course, we apply those tools when the president determines and our chain of command makes the recommendation that that is the right thing to do.
I will say, however, Jim, it's very important -- we are focused first and foremost on what they describe what Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as his self-proclaimed caliphate and that is in Iraq and Syria.
SCIUTTO: Ambassador Brett McGurk, thanks very much for joining us.
MCGURK: Jim, thanks so much.
SCIUTTO: Stay with us. We'll be right back.
SCIUTTO: Tomorrow, a special edition of OUTFRONT live from South Korea. Erin will sit down with Ashton Carter for his first in-depth interview since becoming secretary of defense. That's tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern.
Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Jim Sciutto. It's been great to be here in New York.
"AC360" starts right now.