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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Baltimore Protests Building Over Police Custody Death; Police Union: "Something Happened In That Van." Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired April 22, 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] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, anger on the streets of Baltimore. Protesters demanding justice, the police union firing back saying the protesters resemble, quote, "a lynch mob." This as police double down saying they had every right to arrest Freddie Gray.
And Iranian warships tonight on the move heading straight for U.S. destroyers in the Arabian Sea. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight we begin with the breaking news in Baltimore. Outrage in that city for a second night. Protesters taking to the streets as an attorney for the police union doubles down. Today saying his officers had every right to arrest Freddie Gray. You're right now looking at live pictures of the streets of Baltimore. Protesters are angry, they're demanding justice for the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died a week after being taken into police custody. All this comes as we have new video surfacing tonight.
This was shot after Gray had been driven from the site of his arrest in a police van. So what happened was, the van stopped en route. Officers say that Gray had become unruly. They took him out of the van, shackle his legs. All along, though, police are insisting Gray was arrested without force or incident. A few moments earlier right before this picture, Gray entered the van, still able to speak, partly mobile. But when he arrived at a hospital he was unresponsive. At a late afternoon press conference today, an attorney for the Baltimore Police Union confirmed the central question in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL DAVEY, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE ATTORNEY: Something happened in that van, we just don't know what.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Meanwhile, ten days after Freddie Gray's death his body has still not been released to his family. The autopsy that police keep citing, the autopsy they say, look, this preliminary autopsy shows there was no force. It's the only document to support that claim at this point. That, too though has still not been released to the media or the family.
Brian Todd begins our coverage OUTFRONT on the streets of Baltimore tonight. Brian, protesters blocking streets already early this evening. What are you seeing now?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are indeed seeing that, Erin. Protesters have blocked several major intersections here in Baltimore. They're getting louder and they are growing in number as we proceed toward the Baltimore inner harbor, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city of Baltimore and now of course, in the evening as people are getting off work, there are probably going to be a lot of people where these protesters are headed. They've blocked several intersections as we've mentioned, they've actually been playing kind of a cat-and-mouse game with local police. They wanted to get away from the police barricades at the police precinct so they started marching. And the police would sometimes catch up with them and try to lead them.
Then the protesters would take another turn to get away from the police. They then set up a major barricade, a human barricade at a major intersection here and blocked traffic for several blocks, for several minutes. I asked one of the protest leaders why they were doing it. And they said basically to show them that we're going to be in their face over this whole story, over the death of Freddie Gray. And if they can put a police barricades at the police precincts then they can put up human barricades at intersections here and really disrupt the rush hour traffic. And they've succeed in doing that -- Erin.
BURNETT: And Brian, you know, we hear them chanting, there was some very loud chanting as you started talking. What are some of the things they're saying?
TODD: It's the very popular refrain after Ferguson and after the Staten Island case, "No justice, No peace." You could clearly hear in here. But also saying things like, they're going to fight for Freddie Gray. All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray, things like that. Freddie Gray has become a cause here, a very, very passionate cause and it's been palpable on the streets of Baltimore now for the fourth night running.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Brian Todd. We'll going to go back to Brian as he gets more. But as you can hear, you know, more and more people are gathering as rush hour finishes up there, blocking streets on the streets of Baltimore again. Now, what's interesting is that today the Baltimore Police Officer Union is strongly defending all six officers. Now, they've been suspended from the force. But the union said today that officers had the right to arrest Freddie Gray. They say that they were doing exactly the right thing when Gray took off running with a knife on April 12th.
Joe Johns is OUTFRONT in Baltimore.
DAVEY: Something happened in that van, we just don't know what.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What exactly happened to 25-year-old Freddie Gray remains a mystery tonight, even after an attorney for the Baltimore City Police Union tried to answer questions. Despite hundreds of protesters demanding the arrest of the six officers involved, the fraternal order of police is defending their actions.
DAVEY: In this type of an incident, you do not need probable cause to arrest. You just need reasonable suspicion to make the stop. And that's what they had in this case.
[19:05:14] JOHNS: Six officers now suspended with pay pending the investigation have been identified. Little is known about them, but according to reports one has at least two domestic violence complaints. We know now that five of the six have been interviewed about the case, even though the deputy chief said on Monday all six had spoken to investigators. An attorney for the Gray family calls this concerning.
WILLIAM MURPHY, JR., ATTORNEY FOR FREDDIE GRAY'S FAMILY: They may make us more skeptical of the honest reporting of the Police Department. But I'm reserving judgment on that, and my skepticism is intense.
JOHNS: In a news conference, a fraternal order of police suggesting a lynch mob mentality by Baltimore residents. But the city's mayor has suggested that whatever happened to Gray happened in the van. And the union attorney implied that giving unruly prisoners a rough ride in the back of a police transport is an issue that has come up in the past.
DAVEY: It's something that people on the street tell us a lot that that happens.
JOHNS: More than three days after Gray died from a nearly severed spine, his body is still in state custody and expected to be released to the family in the next day or two. Before Gray's funeral, CNN has been told the family wants an independent autopsy for a second opinion on the cause of death.
(on camera): What would be the timetable if it were to happen?
JOHNS: Live now at the intersection of Westmount and rigs in Baltimore City. To my left are the protesters there behind a barricade. And to my right, there are police officers there behind a metal barricade. And we've seen some pushing and shoving here at this point, but it's been largely peaceful. A few things have been lobbed at the police officers including, I saw, a hot cup of coffee. Otherwise, though, I would tell you so far tonight, here in this part of the city of Baltimore, it is tense, but peaceful -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Joe Johns. Tense but peaceful. Tense the key word that we've seen the past two nights. You just saw that with Brian Todd who is walking down the streets with some of the protesters approaching the location where Joe Johns is, where they're gathering outside police headquarters. Joining me now, Andrew O'Connell, an attorney for Freddie Gray's
family. Excuse me, thank you Andrew for being with me. You just heard Joe John's report. Right? He said, the attorney for the Police Union, you heard it, defending the officers' actions. He said, they were in the right. They just need to have suspicion, they had it, they were in the right by arresting Freddie Gray. Your response?
ANDREW O'CONNELL, ATTORNEY FOR FREDDIE GRAY'S FAMILY: Well, that question has to be answered in the context of what Mr. Gray was doing at the time of the arrest. And what we know now is that he had no weapon in his hand. He was not hurting anybody and he was committing no crime.
BURNETT: So, you're saying there was no weapon. When they say he had a knife, you're saying he didn't have a knife. Or is the key word in his hand?
O'CONNELL: In his hand. He had no weapon in his hand. The knife wasn't discovered until after they affected an arrest. Mr. Gray -- the only thing they did was make eye contact with the police officer and run, which he's perfectly in his rights to do. He unfortunately didn't run fast enough.
BURNETT: We also just got this, Andrew, and I'm holding this up. This is a letter, this is from the Baltimore fraternal union of police. They just handed this out this afternoon. And in it, they talk about the protests thus far. They acknowledge they have been peaceful. They then continue though to say, and I want to read this because I don't want people to think we're throwing these two words around lightly or, you know, paraphrasing. Here is what they say. "We are very concerned about the rhetoric of the protests. In fact, the images seen on television looking and sound much like a lynch mob in that they're calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers." Lynch mob?
O'CONNELL: The choice of words is not only ironic. It's sad. Police officers are never the subject of a lynch mob. It's actually usually the other way around. And in the context of the powder keg that Baltimore City is right now, referring to the citizens of Baltimore City who are peacefully protesting as a lynch mob doesn't serve to keep the peace. It only heightens the flames or fans the flames of people that are already on edge. I think the police commissioner and his subordinates should apologize to the community for these words. They're irresponsible and they only cause an increase in the tensions. It doesn't decrease. It doesn't lower the tensions of this community which are on edge at this moment.
BURNETT: I spoke to the spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department. He said there's no evidence force was used by police against Freddie Gray. Let me just play exactly how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN ERIC KOWALCZYK, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: The deputy commissioner said that no force was used. All of the evidence that we have at this time indicates that there was no force used, there was no was no bruising, there was no indication of any sort of broken bones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:10:14] BURNETT: Are you open to the possibility that this is true, that force was not used against Freddie Gray?
O'CONNELL: No. And that we're having this conversation now is absurd. We've all seen the video. We've all seen officers piling on top of Mr. Gray who is screaming in pain. We've also seen Mr. Gray dragged to the police van while also in pain with his legs dangling beneath him. Officers on top of somebody affecting a restraining hold on the man is not a peaceful arrest or an arrest without force. That's absurd. We know that by looking at the video.
BURNETT: All right. Andrew, thank you very much. Appreciate your time. He says the claims from the police are absurd, demanding an apology from the Baltimore Police Union for saying that protesters were acting like a quote-unquote, "a lynch mob."
OUTFRONT next, the Baltimore police officer who came forward to report a case of police brutality speaks out to OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH CRYSTAL, FORMER BALTIMORE POLICE DETECTIVE: I had to deal with, you know, incident when I was working of not getting back on the street, somebody placing a dead rat on my car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, U.S. warships on the guard in the Arabian Sea, there's an Iranian convoy of warships heading straight towards them.
And we have new video taking you inside the Boston bombers jail cell. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we'll show exactly what he does after this.
[19:15:20] BURNETT: Breaking news, protesters demanding justice in Baltimore tonight. Right now some demonstrators are blocking traffic at multiple intersections. Our reporters are saying that's what they're experiencing. The situation is tense. That's what our Joe Johns was using to describe it. He's outside police headquarters. We have new video tonight of Freddie Gray, that's the 25-year-old black man, his death causing all of these protests you are seeing. He died of a severe spinal cord injury, in a coma after being in police custody. You can see Gray in this new video shackled by police. A Police Officer Union lawyer just came out defending the officers involved saying something happened to Gray in the van, but it did not happen during his arrest and that they were completely justified in that arrest. Gray, of course, screaming in pain as he is originally dragged into that van by police. That's when you hear him screaming and you first see his legs look like they're clearly not working properly. This is far from the first time that the Baltimore Police Department has been under fire. Jason Carroll is in Baltimore tonight for us. Jason, you're also
out there. You have a lot of protesters around you. What are you seeing?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think if you take a look behind me, you can see the crowd has definitely started to gather here in increasing numbers. But so far this protest has been peaceful. I've heard people describe it as tense. I think that's an accurate description, but I would also describe it in a way as people who are being out here, who I have spoken to are angry. But this is an anger that's been bubbling beneath the surface for a long period of time in terms of the way that police here have been interacting with people here in the community. They say it's time for a change in the way police police this community.
(Protesters): We will fight for Freddie Gray all night all day!
CARROLL (voice-over): Before protesters took to the streets of Baltimore to demonstrate the death of Freddie Gray, they had already been voicing concerns over police use of force at city hall.
CRYSTAL: Ever since I was there, there was always a distrust between police and citizens.
CARROLL: We caught up with former Baltimore police Officer Joseph Crystal, he's the son of two New York City police officers and grew up wanting to be a cop. He joined the Baltimore PD in 2008. Things took a turn for the worse three years later after he accused a fellow officer of beating a drug suspect.
CRYSTAL: I had to deal with, you know, incidents when I was working of not getting backed up on the street, somebody placing a dead rat on my car. Numerous forms of harassment.
CARROLL: Crystal left the department and filed a lawsuit claiming officers tried to cover up the assault of the suspect and that top brass failed to protect him for breaking the so-called blue wall of silence. Police would not comment on the case citing pending litigation.
CRYSTAL: Right now we're living in a day and age where people just don't trust the police. It's unfortunate and it's horrible. I think it's important that, you know, from top to bottom, we instill integrity back into the police departments.
CARROLL: Like many cities across the country, the relationship between police and Baltimore and the community it serves has been severely strained.
JACK YOUNG, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Well, right now there's a lot of mistrust in some of the communities with the police department. They feel like it's us against them or them against us.
CARROLL: According to "The Baltimore Sun," since 2011, the city of Baltimore has paid more than $5.7 million for 102 cases involving allegations of police wrongdoing. Police did not admit fault in the cases. A department spokesman also says within the past two years the department has been working to mend the relationship with the community, partly by instituting new police training guidelines and policies, pointing to what it says is a 50 percent reduction in excessive force complaints since 2012.
KOWALCZYK: None of that, though, helps if people don't feel it. And with this investigation we've made a commitment to be as open and transparent as we can be.
CARROLL: But is it enough? The city's mayor says more needs to be done.
MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, CITY OF BALTIMORE: We have to make sure that this investigation goes forward, that it's transparent and that we actually have independent eyes to take a look at it.
CARROLL: Now, Erin, critics of the department says it's easy to change policy. What they say needs to happen is a change in police culture. They say that needs to happen, not just here in the city of Baltimore, but in other cities like New York. They also mentioned Ferguson and places like North Charleston, South Carolina -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jason, thank you very much, live on the streets of Baltimore.
Right now, I want to bring in our political commentator Marc Lamont Hill and Eugene O'Donnell, former police officer with the NYPD, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
All right. Marc, let me start with you. So, tonight we have this new statement, right?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
[19:20:08] BURNETT: This was released late today. And you have to read it, you have to get to paragraph three to see the headline. After they acknowledge, and I think it's important to say, the protests have been peaceful, the police officer's union continues to say, the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob.
HILL: It was stunning. It was offensive, it was obviously inaccurate and it's dangerous. First of all, lynch mob don't call for the immediate arrest of people, lynch mobs murder people.
BURNETT: Actually lynch and kill people. Yes.
HILL: The whole point of a lynch mob is extrajudicial violence. Extrajudicial violence is what happened to this young man, it's what happened to other people, like Charleston, South Carolina. That's what we need to worry about. So, honestly, is we're going to use the language lynch mob, it should be for police, not for the crowd. What I'm saying, let's not use it for anybody right now. Let's have an honest transparent process and use language that -- what's happening. Those protests are peaceful. People are angry because this man is dead. But there's no lynch mob out there.
BURNETT: No, they are peaceful. You just heard our reporters using words like tense and angry. Part of what he's referring to when he's talking about what the images Eugene that he's seen, I think is what happened live on this program last night. Okay. So, for people who that didn't see it, let me show you what happened to our reporter who was on the streets last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very much with the protesters. These young men are incredibly angry about everything happening here. Literally.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Straighten up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Obviously Eugene, the choice of the words lynch mob, I don't think it's possible for anyone to defend that in any case, unless you want to, please step up and do it. But obviously what happened live on this program last night was not acceptable either.
EUGENE O'DONNELL, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Well, we're seeing political failure. That's what we're seeing. I don't know what the mayor is doing down there, we have ten days, 12 days, nobody has a clear accounting of what's happening. It's predictable the conversation gets polarized in the absence of facts.
O'DONNELL: There needs to be an urgency, there needs to be a coming together. What family member in America would not be horrified to get a call that a family member was killed and there's no clear explanation as to how that happened. And we're going up on what, two weeks now and we still don't have this. So, people are taking sides and becoming on teams. There's no team here. I mean, when we get to the bottom of what's happened.
BURNETT: Okay. And what we have is what we don't have, Marc. Okay. Because what we don't have is we have a body that the police have that they haven't released from the family. And the family says they want it as soon as possible.
BURNETT: They're not being angry about it in their presentation but they want it. We also have a preliminary autopsy which police did that they say supports that there was no violence, but they're not releasing that preliminary autopsy to the media or to the family. There's some information out there. But no one in the family or anyone else is being shown it.
HILL: It contradicts the notion of being transparent. You can't have a transparent process and tell me that this man is dead and yet there are no facts that support the idea of force against him. The idea of force that the man ran, and now he can't run anymore and now he's dead. We know something happened to him. To suggest that something happened in the van when we see on tape that he's screaming in pain is problematic. I agree we need more facts. But there are enough facts right now for people to be outraged and sadly there are --
BURNETT: Eugene, I don't understand why -- all right, so they're saying it happened in the van. Now, to me I'm a little confused here, the van is still police territory, still their responsibility. If it happened in the van, it's still on them, it's still police brutality? Am I wrong?
O'DONNELL: It's going to be a medical examiner issue, it's going to be an investigative issue trying to get the timeline. Should we concern about these vans? How many of these vans are operating there? That does not seem like a good place to be throwing people in the back of these vans. The unions actually mentioned that. I wonder again where in the political leadership is here? Why are they using vans? It seems to me, I don't know if they can see what the condition of the people in the vans are in. Or that seems to me, if they can't, it's a serious issue.
BURNETT: I mean, Marc -- go ahead.
O'DONNELL: The mayor has been saying her own city Police Department has been broken for four years. So, I mean, and she seems to be a conscientious person. But fix your own department. They're going to the Justice Department, they're doing outside inquiries, fix the department. Elected officials acting like bystanders in these events is very troubling. And the triviality of this is also worth noting, Staten Island, very minor infractions. Why aren't the political leaders saying, we don't want the police --
BURNETT: Well, Marc it seems what's happening here is --
HILL: I'm not following, what are the minor infractions?
O'DONNELL: Cigarette sales.
HILL: Right. Exactly.
BURNETT: They're doubling down, said we have the right to arrest him. I mean, okay, he did have a rap sheet.
BURNETT: And maybe they knew that. And they thought he was up to no good, they're not saying that --
HILL: He was dangling from his neck, they could see it when they were chasing him. It's bizarre --
BURNETT: They're saying he had a knife that was in his pocket.
HILL: Which they recovered after they had already arrested him and contained him.
HILL: So, they didn't know that that wasn't the reason for changing them chasing him. That's why all of these excuses of bizarre to me including the van excuse. First of all, the site of arrest to the western district is, we could run there in the time that we've been having this conversation.
HILL: So, even if he were there for two minutes, it's not like some major violence happened there. I don't think it did and if it did, it's at the hands of, again, the police department. They want to leave open the possibility that something happened in that van without any police participation. As if he got banged around in the van when they hit a bumper, as if he somehow hurt himself in the van.
HILL: They would say that but they wouldn't leave that possibility open by saying, well, it wasn't us, it was in the van, as if the guy drove his own van there.
BURNETT: Right. Which again, I don't understand. It's their van, it's their responsibility. It's their property. If it happened in the van, it's on them.
HILL: What they want to do is --
BURNETT: I understand --
HILL: That's what they try to do.
BURNETT: Legal distinction.
[19:25:26] BURNETT: But certainly in terms of what people view about police brutality and race in this country would not be a distinction at all. Thanks very much to both of you.
And next, more of our breaking news coverage of the protests in Baltimore. We'll going to be live back on the streets as protesters are gathering once again starting to build as darkness descends.
And there's a standoff at sea tonight. Iranian warships closing in on American destroyers in the Arabian Sea. We have a live report.
[19:29:46] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, these are protests, live pictures of what is happening in Baltimore. Protesters gathering right now, blocking several major intersections. As light fades in Baltimore, rush hour ending, darkness descending. Our reporters are describing the situation that they are seeing and experiencing on the streets, in front of police headquarters and on the streets as protesters are sort of gathering in that area as tense. Some describing the situation, people are feeling angry, deeply angry. Now, we're going to be going live to the streets of Baltimore in just a moment.
I do though want to get one other crucial story in tonight. And that is Iranian warships heading toward s American navy destroyers. We have learned that a convoy of nine Iranian ships, which includes warships, is moving closer to the coast of Yemen. That is where nine American destroyers and aircraft carriers are waiting. The American ships are deployed to prevent Iran from sending weapons to rebels in Yemen, and the standoff is growing even more tense tonight.
Jim Sciutto has the developing breaking story tonight.
And, Jim, what do you know about these Iranian warships?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Erin, because, initially, this Iranian convoy had been described as cargo ships and there's concern of what's in that cargo? Is it weapons for the Houthi rebels?
We now know that small Iranian warships are in that convoy, which raises additional questions about what its actual function is. As you said, it's also moving closer now to that Yemeni coast. Still in international waters, but it's now about near the border of Oman and Yemen.
And right now, it's just a few miles from U.S. warships. They're keeping a safe distance, the Pentagon tells us, but they're also within visual range. They can see them through their binoculars. They're just a handful of miles. They're not moving closer right now.
But it's designed to send the message -- we are watching. And as the president said yesterday in his words, the U.S. is the dominant force here. That's what they're showing with that American presence along with allies as well.
BURNETT: So, you're saying they can actually see them through binoculars. I mean, this isn't just that they're steaming towards each other. This is, they can actually physically see each other.
Obviously, that raises the specter of what happens, what could happen here as possibly very frightening. What will the American destroyers do about it when that Iranian convoy actually approaches, right? They said, oh, no, only cargo. Now, you actually have Iranian warships that could have weapons on them there. There are nine American aircraft carriers and aircraft destroyers that are deployed to stop those Iranian ships.
Are they actually going to do it?
SCIUTTO: Well, it's a great question, because you hear from defense officials is that there are no plans to board or to blockade. That would be -- might be seen as an act of war. They want this presence to be enough to send the message.
But what happens if those ships keep going to shore. There is the possibility that some of the U.S. allies here, you have Egypt, Saudi Arabia, ships from the UAE, that they might make their own decision to board. And part of the U.S. presence here is to show they would back them up.
SCIUTTO: Yes, you know, help buttress them. But no one is making that promise right now. The hope frankly is the presence is enough to drive them away. As you say, Erin, if they move closer, what do you do? That's going to be a tough question for the president.
BURNETT: What do you do when you deployed your destroyers saying they could on the come there and they come there.
Jim Sciutto, thank you very much.
Now, .the former CIA operative Bob Baer joins me, case officer for the Middle East for two decades, the author also of "The Devil We Know: Dealing With the New Iranian Superpower."
Bob, it's a big question. President of the United States has sent destroyers to make sure that Iran doesn't send weapons to Yemen. Now, Iran is sending a convoy that includes warships. So, they can see each other through binoculars. All of a sudden, they get close.
What's the U.S. going to do?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Erin, I mean, we've sent ships to that part of the world to prevent a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Those are really the two adversaries in Yemen. And the catastrophe, of course, would be if the Saudis, for instance, bomb those Iranian ships.
We're hoping our ships are a deterrent to separate those two forces. We in no way would intend to engage those ships, and I doubt we'd even try to board them. We're just very worried about this conflict in Yemen spinning out of control and catching the whole region on fire, and for good reason, we're worried.
BURNETT: And you have the Iranians, you know, we have a reporter in Tehran saying, look, they're saying things that we will respond to the United States being the implication with hot leg. They're saying that they're going to be defiant. They won't tolerate this from the United States. You're saying the bottom line is the U.S. simply will not engage
militarily, go to war if you want to use the strongest term out there, with Iran.
BAER: No, we don't want to. I mean, the Iranian navy, we would be able to prevail in a conflict against the Iranian navy or against Iran itself. But on the other hand, it could do a lot of damage to our forces. This is -- they've got very sophisticated Chinese weapons on their cruisers, on land and the rest of it, which could take out some American ships. They've got swarming tactics.
The navy is very wary of fighting the Iranians, either in the Persian Gulf or off the coast of Yemen.
But we have a good reason for being there. We are worried about the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Shia and Sunni spreading even farther.
BURNETT: All right. Bob Baer, thank you very much.
[19:35:01] And next, the outrage in Baltimore. We're going live to the streets of Baltimore. The protests over the death of Freddie Gray are heating up, at about 7:30 this evening, Eastern.
Plus, this woman was filming on a public street, perfectly legal. She was filming a takedown. So, why did a U.S. marshal take her phone, stomp on it and utterly destroy it? We have an exclusive report.
BURNETT: We're following breaking news in Baltimore tonight.
You're looking at live pictures, protest now building for a second night running. Protesters are on the streets. Our reporters describing it as tense. Many of them extremely angry, demanding justice for Freddie Gray. That is 25-year-old black man who died a week after being taken into police custody. His spine had been severed.
CNN captured this scene just moments ago. A protester led away by police after he jumped a police barricade, which is out there to separate police from protesters outside police headquarters.
Brian Todd has been walking with the protesters, getting closer I believe to police headquarters.
Tell me exactly where you are, Brian. What you're seeing now?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we're right in front of city hall in Baltimore. We got a little jostled over here with the crowd getting a little active. The protests here have been very peaceful but very, very passionate. The crowd is getting very, very angry.
Again, they just want more answers in the Freddie Gray case and they feel they have gotten from the police and the mayor's office. So, they brought this protest several miles through Baltimore over the last couple hours, right here to the foot of city hall in Baltimore.
Along the way they have blocked several intersections, disrupted traffic, confronted police, chanted in front of police, kind of played a cat-and-mouse game dodging police as they tried to make several turns to get away from them. And now, they have come here in front of city hall.
So, again, I would describe the crowd as angry, passionate, but peaceful so far. They've brought the protest to city hall.
Let's move this way -- here is another common theme. A lot of young kids have joined this protest, coming with parents, coming with older siblings and things like that. They picked up a lot of them along the way. So, you know, this has become a common theme all night long, Erin. Very passionate protests, angry we would describe it as, but peaceful so far.
BURNETT: What is their intent at this hour in terms of what they're planning to stay out?
TODD: They have said they're going to stay out a little while longer. We'll see what happens when nightfall descends --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) police.
TODD: Let's move over here. Sorry about that.
Let's see what happens when nightfall descends. When nightfall came last night, the crowd started to thin out a little bit. So, we'll see what happens when it gets darker here, which will be in just a few minutes. They have not really said how long they're going to go. They haven't had a tangible plan --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fuck the police everywhere worldwide.
BURNETT: All right. We're going to obviously get off that shot. But, again, obviously, you heard this happened last night on this program.
There are some out there who are expressing their anger in that way. You just heard that again, F the police, you're out shooting our kids and someone else coming up yelling those expletives.
OUTFRONT now, Captain Eric Kowalczyk, Baltimore police department spokesman.
Let me just give you a chance to first of all just to react to what we just heard. I want to emphasize, the protests were seeing tonight are peaceful, our reporters describing it as tense, people as angry, but we have seen young children out there. We have seen them largely peaceful. But then, we have seen this again expletive-laden anger at police.
CAPT. ERIC KOWALCZYK, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Erin, first of all, thank you for letting me have the opportunity to come on. When we talked yesterday and what we've been saying all week is we hear the frustration, the anger in the community. I think that is pretty clear that the protests have remained peaceful and we're appreciative of that. We've asked for people to remain calm.
But clearly, there is that continued sense of outrage and concern. We understand that. We're listening to the community, doing everything we can to support these peaceful protests, we're going to continue to allow people to march so they can express their frustration to their voices can be heard.
There are times where you'll see us shut down certain roads just to maintain access for emergency vehicles like ambulances. Again, this is about allowing the people to come out and express their frustration and we're listening.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you two important things on that. When you say you're listening, the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police today, as you know, were talking to reporters, to the public and put out this letter which they handed out afterwards. They noted the protests have been largely peaceful.
But the sentence continues to say, and I want to read it straight from the letter, Eric, "We are very concern about the rhetoric of the protests. In fact, the images seen on television look and sound like a lynch mob."
You know, I just spoke to one of the attorneys for Freddie Gray's family. They're demanding an apology from you all from referring to it as a lynch mob. Obviously that intent is to lynch and kill somebody.
Do you apologize for the use of that term?
KOWALCZYK: I want to be clear that that's not from the police department. That came from the union. They speak for themselves. Our focus in the organization continues to not only be building strong bridges.
BURNETT: OK, let me just interrupt you there. I understand there's the union and there's the police and you're the police. But do you find that acceptable, that the union used those words, lynch mob?
KOWALCZYK: Erin, it's not appropriate for me to comment on the opinions of the Fraternal Order of Police. They have an elected president who does that and speaks for them.
What we are here to talk about and for us our concern is making sure we're listening to the community, that we have people on the ground able to make contact, listen to the concerns, interact, the police commissioner has been out. We had senior command out engaging with the crowd. We'll continue to listen to hear that frustration to make sure people have the opportunity to voice their concern and provide them safe ability to do that. [19:45:05] BURNETT: OK. So, you're not going to condemn it.
Let me ask you one final question. The preliminary autopsy you keep citing that shows no bruising, that you're saying shows there was not force used against Freddie Gray. The family tells us they haven't yet seen that. When are you going to share that with them?
KOWALCZYK: That's actually a state document. That's not in our purview, or state issue, it's not our purview to do that right now.
And again, I just want to clarify here. It's not our position to speak for other organizations. We speak for ourselves and our commitment, it has been for the last 2 1/2 years, is to have a reverence for life, to make sure that people in our city have the opportunity to work with us and again to let people know that we're listening and trying to do everything we can to address their concerns.
BURNETT: I understand. I just am a little surprised. I thought you'd say, look, we wouldn't use those words, we don't think they're appropriate. But I understand you're not able to say that.
Thanks very much to Eric.
OUTFRONT next, cell phone video of a U.S. marshal smashing a woman's cell phone, as she films police activity. Was he hoping no one else actually saw it? That's next.
[19:50:01] BURNETT: So tonight, a deputy U.S. marshal is under scrutiny. He was caught on video smashing the cell phone of a woman who was on a sidewalk, a public sidewalk. She saw an incident going down between the marshals and suspects and she started to film it.
The woman whose phone was destroyed tells our Kyung Lah she was worried for her safety.
BEATRIZ PAEZ, CELL PHONE OWNER: I was holding the phone like this and I was recording.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Capturing police activity in her neighborhood, says Beatriz Paez. This is Paez on this cell phone video. She was walking on her neighborhood when several houses away, she saw a heavily armed officers arresting suspects. And the U.S. marshals turned to her.
(on camera): What did you think as the officers started to walk towards you?
PAEZ: I was horrified. I was getting really scared.
LAH (voice-over): You can hear her say that to the officer carrying the rifle.
PAEZ: You're making me feel unsafe.
I kind of moved this way because I wanted to protect the phone -- the footage and that is when you see me struggling to keep this. He yanked it from me. He dropped it on the ground. He stomped on it many times, kicked it.
PAEZ: He says there is your phone and they call walked away from me.
LAH (on camera): Were you doing anything wrong?
PAEZ: I don't think so. This is my right. It is my right. It is my constitutional right to film. And I was on a public sidewalk.
LAH (voice-over): The officer may have smashed Paez's phone but he didn't see another cell phone across the street, belonging to this woman. She fears showing her face after she saw how officers treated Paez.
(on camera): You can hear your voice on the phone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
LAH: What are you thinking at this point?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, complete shock. It was unexpected. I didn't expect that. It is making people more accountable. There's more transparency.
LAH (voice-over): The U.S. Marshal Service says they are reviewing the incident and in this case like others, the video made the difference. And like cell phones, it is now everywhere.
In South Carolina, a citizen caught Walter Scott as he is shot in the back by an officer. In Baltimore, Freddie Gray limp and carried to a police transport van, law enforcement actions captured by not but just one, but often multiple cameras.
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: He smashes her camera and someone across the street is videoing that. And if they had gone across the street and smashed that guy's camera, probably somebody else further down the street would have been recording that. So, the idea you can escape this kind of scrutiny and video coverage any more in a public police action, those days are long gone.
LAH: Now, Paez did go to the local police agency, the South Gate police. She filed a complaint. She wants a criminal inquest into this but the South Gate police are in a bit of a pickle here. They say this is a gray zone because they don't have authority over the U.S. Marshals.
Paez does, Erin, intend on filing a civil lawsuit -- Erin. BURNETT: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you.
And now, Democratic Congresswoman Janice Hahn joins me OUTFRONT. She represents the district in southern California where this happened.
Thank you for being with me, Congresswoman. This woman is a constituent of yours. When you see this and what happened with the marshal, what do you think?
REP. JANICE HAHN (D), CALIFORNIA: When I first saw that video, I was horrified as well. There were so many things about it disturbing. Beatriz is a constituent of mine, South Gate is a city in my congressional district, and to see that U.S. marshal really come and almost attack her, grabbing her phone, kicking her phone, not to mention his weapon was sort of -- you know, flying around a little bit on his back. I mean, it was a very dangerous situation.
So, I am going to do two things -- one, I have written a letter to Eric Holder, attorney general, asking him to launch an investigation into the actions of this U.S. marshal.
And the other thing I'm doing is introducing a resolution on the House floor called the sense of Congress and hopefully the members of Congress will join me in reminding the citizens of this great country that it is their right to video law enforcement activities as long as they are not impeding an arrest or an investigation. It is their right and it is illegal for law enforcement to take their cell phones, take their iPhones, destroy the evidence. That's completely illegal.
BURNETT: It certainly would seem that way. It also seems, of course, that, you know, if we didn't have the footage of recent incidents, we wouldn't have known about some of the horrific things that have happened. Just look at the North Carolina case as one example. Cell phone footage bringing something very important to light, U.S. marshal, though, federal law enforcement agency, this could have been some sort of a drug bust, this could have been something where identities needed to be concealed.
[19:55:04] Is it possible that how he handled it was wrong but that this urge everybody has of now I'm going to film something, I'm going to catch this on tape is actually also causing a problem and preventing police from doing their job?
HAHN: I don't think so.
And let's just say, most of the men and women in law enforcement in this country do an exemplary job to protect and serve us. But if it wasn't of the video tape by average citizens, I don't think we would have had the light shed on some of the police abuses. Remember, one of the very first ones was in my home town of Los Angeles in 1991 when the Rodney King beating happened, and a bystander in an apartment filmed it and filmed it, whether it is Eric Gardner, or Eric Harris or Walter Scott, or Tamir Rice, or how about Marlene Pinnock who was punched by a highway patrol officer in Los Angeles.
So, I'm urging citizens to continue to do this. It is their right and they should know that.
BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman, thank you very much for your time tonight.
And more of our breaking news of the protests in Baltimore continues. We'll take a brief break. We'll be back live, next.
BURNETT: All right. These are live pictures right now outside the Baltimore police precinct. You can see police officers on one side. There's barricade and protesters on another. We want to emphasize, we have heard some swearing, some pushing and aggressive expletives, but you also have people feeling safe, bringing their children out to protest as well.
Our breaking news coverage continues now with Anderson.