Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Two Thousand National Guard Troops on Streets of Baltimore; Protesters Gathering in Baltimore, Just Hours Before Curfew. Aired 7- 8:00p ET
Aired April 28, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks, Wolf. We're continuing our breaking news coverage of the state of emergency in Baltimore tonight.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. Protesters lining up in the streets of Baltimore just hours before that new city wide curfew goes into effect. The city desperately trying to prevent a repeat of last night. Maryland's governor moments ago announcing he's doubling the number of National Guard troops on the streets tonight. Two thousand heavily armed troops will be at the ready. They will join another 1,000 law enforcement officers. That is an incredibly significant number, 3,000. It is extremely tense in Baltimore tonight. And while most of the protests have been peaceful today. Incidents like the one I'm about to show you show, show how the calm can disappear thanks to one person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man is back again. He has decided he wants to throw something at officers. The officers are moving in. He's now going to be arrested. Here we go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the anger clearly visible on the streets today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus say turn the other cheek, right? Oh, you only got two. But I don't smacked you like 16 times. How many times am I going to smack you before you smack me back, flat out? (bleep), (bleep).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's a pretty powerful moment when you look at the police commissioner and you look at that protester telling him, f-you, f-you. President Obama now weighed in for the first time on the riot in Baltimore. He placed the blame on, in his words, quote, "criminals and thugs." Also expressed his frustration, though, with the number of cases similar to that of Freddie gray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: It comes up, it seems
like, once a week now. Once every couple of weeks. And so I think it's pretty understandable why the leaders of civil rights organizations, but more importantly, moms and dads across the country, might start saying this is a crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Meanwhile, tonight's Orioles/White Sox game was postponed for the second night in a row, and in what will be a first in American sports history, the game will be played tomorrow afternoon. There will be no fans allowed. Camden Yards, the stadium for the Baltimore Orioles, will be completely empty. They will play that game alone. A lot of major developments tonight. We have our reporters across Baltimore covering all the angles.
We want to begin with Ryan Young. He is with protesters. Ryan, obviously a few hours until that curfew. I know people have been building on the street. You got 3,000 law enforcement, 2,000 National Guard. What are you seeing?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, people have been really policing themselves. And in fact, to walk you back in this direction. This was the center of a lot of the things that happened just last night. That's the CVS right across the street while on North Avenue, where you saw that fire burning so intensely. Now the flames are out, we have actually seen people working together to pull some of the debris out of there to help with the cleanup. But what we have really been struck by all day long is the peaceful protest that's been happening here in terms of the line that's been created between police officers and the people who have shown up to protest. We were standing here a few hours ago when that young man decided to throw that bottle toward police, and it was initially a crowd that reacted rather than try to hold him, but that didn't work for long because he came back and threw another bottle.
That's when that pepper spray was sprayed across the entire part of the crowd, and of course, we got some on us, but for the most part, the crowd here created a circle in this area. They have been playing music all day. And in fact, in the distance, you can hear the drums still playing here. Everyone was talking about keeping Baltimore safe tonight. They wanted to make sure the city was seen differently. We're seeing black people, white people, people coming out here with their families. Wanting to make sure that they took part in the cleanup, and that's something that we have witnessed all day long for the most part, for about six hours, nothing was wrong here until that one young man decided to toss his frustrations with a bottle toward police.
BURNETT: All right. Ryan, thank you very much. And obviously, these next few hours are going to be crucial to see what happens on the streets of Baltimore tonight. For most of the days, the protesters were camped outside of the CVS where Ryan just was. That of course was the CVS that was set on fire last night where the protesters actually cut holes in the firehose to prevent them from putting that fire out. We're going to go to Miguel. He was there. He saw that hose be cut. He's been covering the story from the beginning.
Miguel, the Sun will be setting soon. That's when last night everything took a turn dramatically for the worst. What are you seeing now, what are you feeling in terms of the tone?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, today has been sort of part political rally, part street festival. You can hear a band, actually. I'm going to put the mic out. You can hear a band still playing over on that side of things. Last night, we were just about 50, 60 feet away when those, the hose was punched two times with a knife by two different individuals. This is the scene tonight. So, this is north and Pennsylvania Avenue. Just a few blocks that way is where Mr. Gray was arrested. You can see the people that are lined up here. They have been doing this all day. An amazing thing. How are you guys? They're lining up here because this is the face that they want the world to see when they look down North Avenue.
You can see if you look again, the police have been lined up behind them this entire time. So they front the police. The police are manning this part of North Avenue. It is a little odd, only because you can drive around the block and you can get to where Freddie Gray was arrested. You can get down to western district. I can tell you the western district police station, that has been such a focal point for much of the anger and the protests in recent days, it is very heavily fortified. They pushed the perimeter back. There are National Guard troops there who are assisting police, filling in for police in some cases so that police officers can be on the streets. That seems to be basically what Baltimore is doing, having National Guard fill in for some of those places, and then allowing police to be the more public face for things here.
[19:05:58] The mood, still very tense. People are angry, they're upset, and one thing that I have learned since being in this neighborhood for the last couple weeks, that the anger that they have, that they have focused on police is very, very personal. Everybody seems to have a beef, everybody has a concern with police here. And that's what erupted last night. The protesters today saying that they are going to continue this, clean up their community, and hope that this is the beginning of something better -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Miguel, thank you very much. I want to go to Brian Todd who right now is marching with protesters. Brian, who are you with? Where are you going?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, I'm with a couple hundred protesters that are marching in the heart of downtown Baltimore. I think in the vicinity of city hall. They're marching towards the city hall. We're not sure exactly where they're going. They may not even be sure exactly where they're going. They have been determined to sometimes block intersections to make their point, sometimes they will stop at an intersection. Sometimes even sit down. And then they will move. So they have been doing this now for a couple hours. Last week, we were with them for about four hours as they hiked about five miles through the heart of Baltimore and through the heart of the neighborhood where Freddie Gray grew up and where he was arrested. So we're not sure exactly where this protest is going. The leader of the protest, his name is Jay Morrison. He's walking ahead of us. He's very energetic. He's been leading them in cheers all evening long. He's told us he is very, very insistent that this crowd not get violent. There's been no sign of it. We're, of course, hoping there's no sign of it later on -- Erin.
BURNETT: Of course, we are. As you can see there, obviously, there's children as well. Which we saw on other nights when things turned violent. And of course a lot of people responsible for the looting and rioting last night were teenagers. But still, important to emphasize there are children among the crowds tonight.
OUTFRONT now, former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, he's also a former congressman who represented Baltimore. He's been on the streets with the protesters and also with me, the Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes. And I appreciate both of you taking the time. Congressman, let me start with you. You just heard, you know, that one young protesters, you know, extremely upset, you know, when you have that moment next to the commissioner for police. He's throwing around the f-bomb repeatedly. The commissioner was stoic and did not respond to him. What's your reaction, though, when you hear that? When you hear what our Miguel Marquez just said, that they're angry, that they're upset, that this is visceral. When you hear the anger on the streets?
KWEISI MFUME, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, it's the anger that's been here for the last 40 years. It's just that it's boiled over and now the world is seeing it. It's poverty and that's its basic root. It's disparity, it's deprivation, degradation, it's disprivileged among people and a disbelief in the system that it will ever do anything for them. You hear the protests behind me now in cars that have engulfed this whole area downtown. People are trying to express themselves while they can under this curfew, and to do that peacefully. Those who can't do it peacefully are going to go to jail. I mean, it's real simple. You can't burn down property that belongs to other people. You can't put grandmothers and mothers in harm's way. You can't threaten kids in the neighborhood just because they're not joining you.
BURNETT: So, and I want to get more to that point in just a moment. Councilman Stokes, I want to ask you about the anger. Are you concerned it could turn into more violence tonight or does it appear that it's under control? After all, there are 3,000 now National Guard and police on the streets.
CARL STOKES, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN: Right. I don't think it's under control because there are 3,000 police on the street. I can't predict what will happen later, but I can tell you that today has been a tremendously good day in Baltimore. We woke up this morning at 5:00 a.m., cleaning up the streets, cleaning up the neighborhoods. People have come out of their doors, no one is staying behind closed doors in Baltimore. The residents are coming out and saying this is our town, this is our city. Our issue is justice being served. So, there were a few aberrant, and I know that was a terrible scene that we saw last night and a little bit on Saturday, but the greater majority, so a few hundred people versus hundreds of thousands of residents of Baltimore City, have come out of their homes and said, this is Baltimore. This is our Baltimore. And they're showing just who we are and why we're standing up for justice. Not only for Freddie Gray, but for all of the Freddie Grays that have been killed or brutalized in Baltimore.
[19:10:24] BURNETT: And Councilman, you know, it's interesting because the mayor of Baltimore, who has come under a lot of criticism, scathing criticism for her handling of this, referred to the people who were doing this last night as thugs, and she got a lot of criticism for that. And for people I saw on Twitter saying, why would you call them thugs? Then they're not going to listen to you. President Obama also called the protesters in his words today, quote- unquote, "criminals and thugs." He also carefully chose to use that word. Isn't it the right word?
STOKES: No, of course it's not the right word to call our children thugs. These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us. No, we don't have the --
BURNETT: But how does that justify what they did? I mean, that's a sense of right from wrong. They know it's wrong to steal and burn down a CVS and an old person's home. I mean, come on.
STOKES: Come on. So calling them thugs, just call them niggers, just call them niggers, no. We don't have to call them by names such as that. We don't have to do that. That is exactly what we have set them to. Now, when you say come on, come on what? You wouldn't call your child a thug if they should do something that would not be what you would expect them to do.
BURNETT: Look, I respect your point of view. I would hope that I would call my son a thug if he ever did such a thing. But congressman, let me ask you to respond to Councilman Stokes. Do you think calling the bad actors last night thugs is the equivalent of the n-word?
MFUME: Let me just do something here because it's important we not shift the focus into something that has absolutely nothing to do with poverty, despair, hunger, homelessness and a sense of not belonging. That's what this is coming out of. So, whether we call them a thug, a law breaker, a juvenile delinquent, it really doesn't matter. What matters is how do we take back our streets. And that's what men have been doing, going around, talking to these young men where they are in their face and letting them know, you can't control this community. It is not yours. You can't burn it down. You can't force people out. You can't threaten people. So I understand that. That people want to talk about a word. But I'm more worried about a movement, and it's not necessarily a movement for positive change. It's a movement for negative change right now unless we get it under control.
BURNETT: Councilman, in terms of the mother that got a lot of attention, and I know you know this, you have seen this picture. After the video captured her berating her son for participating in the protests. She spoke to CVS about why she was seen hitting her child. Which is what she was doing. She's telling him not to do it, but she was doing it by hitting him. Here's what she said to CBS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOYA GRAHAM, MOM WHO SCOLDED SON FOR PROTESTING: Lo and behold, I turn around and not look in this crowd and my son is actually coming across the street with this hoodie on, and a mask. At that point, I just lost it. That's my only son. And at the end of the day, I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, Councilman, what's your response to that? I mean, you know, you see her trying to do the right thing. Of course, she's doing it by being very violent against her son. What's your reaction to what she did?
MFUME: Well, you say violent.
STOKES: Go ahead.
MFUME: Violent. I mean, she's trying to tell him if you don't get off this street, I will drag you home. Now, if that's violence, then maybe that's necessarily violence, and a lot of mothers are reacting that way and a lot of us grew up with that. So you don't make the same mistake twice. But she's doing what she has to do out there in the streets to remind her son that's he is her son, that she's his mother and she won't tolerate it. So, I know for some people who might say oh, my God, she hit him. Yes, she hit him because she's trying to make him understand that she loves him and she doesn't want him out there.
BURNETT: And Councilman, what should police be doing --
STOKES: Trying to save his life.
BURNETT: Go ahead. Yes, go ahead, Councilman Stokes.
STOKES: What I was going to say is, she was trying to save his life. It is clear that it's better that she hit him than the police hit him and brutalize him and take his life from him.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of your time very much tonight. Thank you very much. A very provocative conversation.
Next, as we have now 2,000 National Guard troops ready here in Baltimore, another 1,000 police are on the streets of Baltimore, protesters are gathering. We'll see what will happen over the next couple of hours, before that curfew takes effect. And could the whole riot have been inspired by a movie? We're going to talk about the purge, and we'll go live to a Baltimore town meeting that as the tension tonight running very, very high in the room. Angry residents are going to be signing off live. We'll be right back.
[19:18:45] BURNETT: Breaking news. Protesters marching through the streets of Baltimore. You see our Brian Todd right now in the midst of a group of people. There's been some chanting. Very tense, but there has been some chanting, as you can see a bullhorn. Right now, there are 2,000 National Guard, 1,000 police in that area.
Let's get straight to Brian Todd, who is there. And Brian, there was a lot of chanting where you were just a moment ago. What are they saying?
TODD: Erin, they're saying all night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray. That's been a popular refrain. They have been chanting that for blocks and blocks as they've marched here. They shouted don't shoot, hands up. That refrain made popular after Ferguson. This is the protest leader. His name is Jay Morrison. He has been very energetic all night long in leading these people, exhorting them to support Freddie Gray with his bullhorn. He's had kind of a pied piper effect, picking up people along the way. We have a couple hundred people with us. And we're panning to the left. We're at the foot of City Hall, and this is the dynamic that the protesters have encountered now that is different. As you've mentioned a moment ago, the presence of national guardsmen. They were not here before. They are here now in force. Thousands of national guardsmen have re- enforced the Baltimore police. Now they're manning city hall. We have seen them also along the route, down in the inner harbor, a few blocks that way, Erin, this protest, very spirited, angry, passionate. But so far, very peaceful tonight -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Brian Todd, thanks very much to you. And I want to go to Jason Carroll, also in Baltimore tonight. Jason, what do you see?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we started off at that CVS and about 100 protesters started marching through the streets. They ended up here at this basketball court about a half mile away from where we were over the CVS. I wanted to bring in some of the folks who started marching along the streets here. There were chants of we want peace. We want peace.
Who started that chant? What was the meaning behind that? Obviously, people want to see more nonviolence out here, not a repeat of what we saw last night?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was started by just members of the community, and we just basically want peace, we want justice, and we actually want media to get a glimpse of what Baltimore is really about. And this is exactly what it is, just a bunch of unity. And we're just trying to come together to make a bond of peace.
CARROLL: What happened yesterday? I mean, where did it go wrong?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started with a rumor for a flier that there was going to be a purge or something like that at Mondawmin Mall, but my question is, if there was announced threat to students, why would the schools allow the students to leave at normal time as opposed to keeping them until the outside threat was gone? CARROLL: I think a lot of people are going to be looking at what
was done and what was not done. What about the curfew tonight? Give us a sense, very quickly if you can, do you think people will honor the curfew, yes or no?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think some people will honor the curfew, but I believe a lot of people won't honor the curfew. And I won't say they won't honor it just because they want to disobey what the mayor has brought down. I think they want to do it because we had such a good day and it seems like it's just starting and we're not ready to end our protests. So, I don't think anyone is going to go home on time today.
CARROLL: Right. Thank you very much. And Erin, that becomes the question out here tonight. Will people honor the curfew, yes or no, and then what will the police response be if they decide not to honor the curfew -- Erin.
BURNETT: That's the big question tonight. The police and the National Guard. Jason, thank you.
I want to go to Reverend Jamal Bryant now. He's been on the streets, he was out there last night trying to restore calm. He delivered the eulogy at Freddie Gray's funeral, and he's going to be hosting a meeting for residents to vent their anger at town hall where he's standing right now. Reverend, good to have you with us. I don't know if you just heard that young man talking to our Jason Carroll saying he doesn't think people will honor the curfew. They're not ready to go home. When you hear that, what do you think?
REV. JAMAL BRYANT, HOSTING BALTIMORE COMMUNITY TOWN HALL: That it gives me tremendous pause and trepidation behind you, you'll see the church is beginning to fill up with citizens who are concerned and disenchanted with what they saw last night. Earlier today, a pact was signed by bloods and crips and black guerilla gang members. They're on their way here. They're going to help us enforce the curfew tonight and try to minimize the impact of any violence and any looting that may take place. So, I'm excited and optimistic that we can in fact change the tide and the narrative here in Baltimore.
[19:23:22] BURNETT: So you say some of the biggest gangs are going to be with you tonight and that they say they're going to enforce the curfew. They're going to be working with police, basically?
BRYANT: No, no, no. They'll be working with men of the church and the men of the mosque, not with the police. We're aiming to do it so there is not an infraction with the police.
BURNETT: Okay, okay. Now, you've been critical, I know, Pastor, of city officials, their response to the rioting. I believe your words, that they were, quote, "caught with their proverbial pants down." They say they're prepared now. They say they're prepared. Do you believe them? Are they prepared? Are you concerned when you see all these heavily armed National Guard on the streets? BRYANT: I'm sorry. We're excited, but you can't hear because
we've got over 500 pastors from across the city of Baltimore who are now marching in, are saying that they're taking spiritual authority over the city. Imams, rabbis, priests, pastors. Bishops, and so the community is responding because the church isn't on the sidelines. The church is on the front line.
BRYANT: And so, you're seeing the community of Baltimore make a tide in a shift. I'm sorry I didn't hear what your question was?
BURNETT: No, that's alright. I know, the loud speaker was very loud. Look, I mean, I hope that you're successful tonight. I want to ask you something, though, Reverend, before you go. The police commissioner said that they were prepared to take everyone, arrest all these kids last night, but they didn't because they took into account that they were kids. Was that the right thing to do? I mean, you know, because a lot of people watch this and say, who cares if these were teenage kids. What they did was wrong.
BRYANT: Well, we've already found evidence that the Baltimore Police Department doesn't mind taking people in. We've got to be reminded of why we've assembled, as Freddie Gray was being taken in and he didn't have any charges. There was no reason for him to be arrested. So, they have proven that they would have done that. We're grateful that more were not arrested last night and we're hoping to stem the tide, but although more, we've got to turn around the cycle of derelict behavior and violence because it doesn't in fact reach us to our goal which is in fact reforming the police department.
BURNETT: All right, Reverend. Thank you very much, and good luck with that town hall. We are moments away from the start of that town hall. As he said, you have the gang members there, you have about 500 people. It's going to be contentious, it's going to be angry, it's going to be very important. We're going to be going there live.
And the mother chasing her son off the street saying she didn't want him to end up another Freddie Gray. This is a powerful and tough scene to watch and hear. We're going to have a special report.
[19:30:00] BURNETT: Breaking news: 2,000 heavily armed National Guard troops lining the streets of Baltimore, protests erupting in the city, 3,000 more troops are on stand by at this hour. This is in addition to over 1,000 other law enforcement officers who are on duty tonight.
Tensions are high. They're desperately trying to prevent the horrific violence, the riots and looting, that unfortunately the whole world had to watch last night.
Moments from now, the community is going to voice their frustrations. There's a town hall meeting as you can see this. This is completely packed. More than 500 people there. There are three of the biggest gangs in Baltimore there, many of the pastors.
Chris Cuomo is there in the room.
And, Chris, obviously, we expect to hear a lot of outrage in the room where you are.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's no question that there's a motivational outrage that's been going on in parts of Baltimore for many years. And now, it has found an opportunity in what happened to Freddie Gray.
However, what's going on in here and the reason for the applause is that they're saying that violence is the problem, not the answer. And you have some 2,000 people who have come into hear the Empowerment Church, where you have Reverend Bryant who was with you shortly before.
They're planning how to battle from now until Friday. They see that as the critical period. Friday is when the investigation findings are supposed to be held up. And that is their goal right now. How do they keep this community nonviolent and productive?
They're all hugging each other, obviously, in the spirit of coming together as one Baltimore, which they introduced as a hashtag, and they're going to fan out tonight and go into downtown and deal with the curfew to try to keep it calm until Friday. So, that's how they see time right now, Erin, is from now until Friday, to try to keep the young people who made so much violence as a display last night, into nonviolence, and then after Friday, that's going to be a function of what comes out. They say only clarity will build consensus.
As you can see, there's a lot of enthusiasm here for a better way forward.
BURNETT: All right, Chris. Thank you.
And as Chris points out, if there are no charges, you know, in a sense, all bets are off, and what the reaction might be. In terms of the Freddie Gray case, and those police officers, six of them, what will happen?
Now, Mary Koch, she's attorney for Freddie Gray's family is with me, along with Pastor Duane Simmons. His church is a block away from the CVS that went up in flames in yesterday's riots.
It was your neighborhood, Pastor, of course, that was destroyed. This has got to be pretty heart wrenching for you. I know, but sadly, also something that you expected.
PASTOR DUANE SIMMONS, SIMMONS MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH: Yes. It was extremely heart-wrenching. And it is nothing short of what I anticipated, because whenever you leave a pot on the stove too long, the pressure build-up will blow the top off. And last night, last evening, was indicative of the pot blowing. BURNETT: And, Mary, what about, as Chris Cuomo was pointing out,
how crucial this is going to be. This is just -- the next couple days as they're trying to get to Friday, that is when we're going to see what police are going to do, and if there are no charges, if they do not go ahead and charge those police officers, then what happens?
MARY KOCH, ATTORNEY FOR FREDDIE GRAY'S FAMILY: I have to tell you that I would be surprised if the police department actually is the one that levies the charges because normally what happens in this kind of process when you're contemplating charges is you present your investigation in this kind of case to the state's attorney's office, the state's attorney's office then reviews the evidence, makes the decision on what they think is the appropriate charge and who should be charged and typically in these cases presents that to a grand jury.
So, I hate to say this, but I think if people are waiting for answers or charges to come on Friday, I don't think that's going to happen based on the way the process works. And I think that the government officials need to advise people of how the process honestly works and to lower their expectations about what's going to happen this Friday.
BURNETT: Pastor Simmons, just a moment ago, Councilman Stokes, Baltimore City councilman, was on the show, and we were talking about the fact that the mayor of Baltimore and the president of the United States had referred to the violence last night, those who participated in it as thugs.
He took issue with that word. He said it was the equivalent of using -- well, let me let you hear exactly what he had to say because I won't say the word he said. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL STOKES, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCILMAN: Come on. So calling them thugs, just call them niggers. Just call them niggers. No, we don't have to call them by names such as that. We don't have to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pastor Simmons, do you agree with that defense, or is what these kids did thuggish behavior?
SIMMONS: No, of course not. I believe that what's going on now is nothing more but the distance, the repercussions of the distance between a crime and punishment.
[19:35:08] Because in case no one knows or understands that the greater distance you have between the crime and punishment is called no justice. And I'm praying, I'm praying in lieu of all that has taken place, that the community is satisfied with some kind of perception like we're moving in the direction of justice.
BURNETT: So, should --
SIMMONS: I think that is the only thing -- excuse me?
BURNETT: Well, I want to ask each of you, Pastor, I want to ask you, but also, Mary. I mean, should every one of those kids that went into CVS, that burned down the buildings, I mean, shouldn't they be tracking every one of them down and arresting them?
KOCH: I think that when people commit crimes, those crimes have to be dealt with. Those crimes have to be dealt with appropriately.
I don't think you can condone criminal actions. I think, and I would speak for the family in this regard, that what they really want is they want people to be peacefully protesting, to honor the memory of their son, to insure that there is an honest, transparent investigation, and to use their son's legacy to attempt to help all of those in the future and to resolve some of those issues between members of the community and the police department.
Whether or not it's possible for everyone who was involved to be arrested, I don't know.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of you taking the time to be with me. Pastor Simmons and Mary Koch, an attorney for Freddie Gray's family.
Next, President Obama addressed the unrest in Baltimore for the first time today. He called the rioters in his words, quote, "criminals and thugs." So, is he doing enough to address the crisis?
And Baltimore police seemingly incredibly outmanned on the streets during the riots. That's why so many of the people who are responsible were not taken into custody. Did the mayor fail by waiting to call in the National Guard?
[19:40:56] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight: Protesters marching through the streets of Baltimore. These are live pictures of Baltimore City. It is very tense there tonight. Police trying to prevent last night's rioting, looting, and burning, 2,000 National Guard troops are on the ground. There's another 1,000 law enforcement officers there, and there are thousands more National Guard on call if things do deteriorate.
Hillary Clinton weighing in just moments ago, saying, quote, "Baltimore is burning."
And the president of the United States talked about the riots today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I'd say is this has been a slow rolling crisis. This has been going on for a long time. This is not new. And we shouldn't pretend that it's new.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: I want to bring in our political commentator, Van
Jones, and Leigh Maddox, former captain of the Maryland State Police, and get at two issues here.
Van, first of all, has the president done enough? I mean, let's just -- let's just, you know, lay out the geography here for people. The Baltimore Washington Parkway is a very short road. The president is about 30 minutes away from Baltimore, if there's traffic. Should he be there?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He absolutely should not be there. Also, I think it was very important -- people said last night he should have been on the air, should have been talking to the country. That would have also been very bad because you needed to have the mayor and the governor who are in the middle of a crisis -- there was no loss of life last night. There could have been.
JONES: If you had the president of the United States grandstanding on TV last night instead of giving the mayor and governor a free shot at the airwaves, that would have been bad. You don't want the president in the middle of all this. You need every asset focused on protecting life and property.
The president can talk about it next week, next month, but right now, the most important thing is protecting the life and property in the city.
BURNETT: All right. And, Leigh, in terms of life and property, just to go through the numbers here -- 144 car fires last night, 15 structure fires, including a home for the elderly. Then, of course, that CVS that we have all seen. There were only 235 arrests, though, Lee, and the commissioner for Baltimore police said it wouldn't be appropriate, his words, to use heavily armed officers using force to arrest students.
I'm trying to understand why it wouldn't be appropriate given what they did. Why wouldn't it be appropriate to take them all in?
LEIGH MADDOX, FORMER CAPTAIN, MARYLAND STATE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, I think the leadership of the Baltimore Police Department, the governor, the mayor, the Maryland National Guard, they understand the importance of de-escalation. It's very important right now that we focus on keeping things at the lowest level possible and, you know, arrests will wait. If it's determined later, you've got a year and a day to arrest for a misdemeanor and longer for a felony. You don't need to do that today. We can wait and do that later.
BURNETT: Interesting point, you have a year and a day.
All right. Vann, let me ask you because you heard part of what the president said. He also at one point referred to those responsible for last night's heinous acts as criminals and thugs. Thugs, of course, a word also used by the African-American mayor of Baltimore, but a lot of people take issue with that. One of them is the Councilman Carl Stokes from Baltimore, earlier on the show. I play this sound bite because he used a word I will not use, but I want to play it for you and get your reaction.
Here's Councilman Stokes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STOKES: Come on. So calling them thugs, just call them niggers. Just call them niggers. No, we don't have to call them by names such as that. We don't have to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Van, what do you think? Is the word thug the same as the N-word?
JONES: I understand where he's coming from. I wouldn't use that term, I don't use that term because it's becoming kind of a fashionable way of almost dehumanizing folks who are doing stuff that I make no apology for what those young people are doing. They need to hold themselves to higher standards.
They keep saying black lives matter. We know black jobs matter and black businesses matter and black homes matter and black neighborhoods matter. There's no excuse for what they're doing.
At the same time, further alienating them by pushing them away and calling them names I think is counterproductive. I would not counsel the president to use that term, I would not counsel my friend, the mayor, to use that term.
[19:45:03] It shows the indignation, but there's a backlash of making the young people feel even further marginalized. And we have a balancing act. We've got to hold them to high standards. Let's hold ourselves to high standards, too, while we deal with them.
BURNETT: It's a fair point. So, Leigh, what should the national guard and police do tonight if as some of the young member have said earlier on the program earlier tonight, said they're going to violate the curfew. Who knows whether they will? But they say that they will.
What do you do if they do it?
MADDOX: Last night, we saw an uprising of young black youth in Baltimore City. Tonight, I don't know what we're going to see. If we see outside agitators that come in with no regard for the city and no regard for the property and no regard for the people, then I urge all police to use restraint, but I do not want to see police harmed. I don't want to see anybody hurt tonight.
So, let's stick to the lowest level of force possible. Have open communications. Listen closely. And hold the line.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate both of your time tonight. Thank you. And, next, after a night of violence, many are asking whether the
mayor waited too long to call in the National Guard, a special report.
And Jeanne Moos with moms across America leading the cheers for this woman. Her son not going to be participating in more rioting.
[19:50:06] BURNETT: And we're following the breaking news out of Baltimore. Hundreds of protestors make their way to the city, at one point heading towards the downtown area. They are angry over how they are treated by police, city officials, include the mayor, who just moments ago defended her response to the protests that rocked Baltimore.
As you could see here there, appearing at a hastily convened press conference, casually addressed, defending her response. She has receiving some scathing criticism for it.
Ryan Young is OUTFRONT live in Baltimore.
Ryan, you were among the protesters earlier. You were pepper sprayed by police. And what was that liked? I mean, how high are tensions right now, as we get -- approaching darkness here and a curfew that none knows whether anyone is going to honor?
RYAN YOUNG, CNNCORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, that pepper spray was quite a different experience. But right here, this is where that line was, where they're making sure everyone was held back. You can see, the line has gone because no one is challenging officers right now. In fact, these people have been talking and saying hello to the crowd, all day long addressing them, while this has been sitting this way.
You can obviously call this intersection, maybe the intersection of redemption -- we have officers moving through the crowd right now. This is happening. They are moving out. We don't know why they're doing this. This happened just a second ago.
We do not know why these officers are moving toward the crowd. They have pepper spray in their hands. Once again, we haven't heard any noises. No one is threatening the officers. They have decided to walk right down North Avenue.
We are walking right behind the officers. Not sure where they are going right now, Erin. We're going to follow this as it is happening live.
So, they are pulling up into this intersection where everybody was playing drums and everything else and we are following, not sure what's going on right now. Not sure if there was a call of a threat or anything like that.
We are following these officers who have being surrounded now by the crowd. The crowd is walking faster behind the officers. We'll continue to follow them. There are at least 15 to 20 officers, some SWAT officers. The entire crowd wants to know what is going on. Pepper spray is in the hands.
There is some -- there is some -- there is somebody -- here we go. There is a confrontation here in the middle of the crowd. The officers are trying -- they are walking down the direction.
So, we are trying to see what the officers are doing right now. So, right now, the officers have decided to confront somebody. They are putting their hands up. Now, they are saying it is a medical emergency.
We are being told it is a medical emergency and the officers are trying to come over here and help. This is happening live. We are being told by people in the crowd it is a medical emergency. They're bringing a medical in to help somebody who needed some help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the fuck is going on?
YOUNG: Of course, you could hear the crowd around the officers --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the fuck is going on?
YOUNG: So, Erin, this is all happening live right now. We are in the crowd. The officers are here. They are bringing in the EMT to help somebody who may have helped somebody who may have passed out here on the crowd. This is happening right now live.
BURNETT: All right. As Ryan said, as the police and National Guard moved in to the crowd, they had pepper spray. Obviously, you heard some expletives, you also heard people yelling there was a medical emergency, unclear as Ryan said exactly what it is right now, whether it was a confrontation or an emergency --
YOUNG: Right, we're told it's a young person -- we're told it's a young girl who needed some medical assistance. We're looking over in the crowd now. We can't make it out. But the officers are putting up a perimeter, so they can bring in some help. They're not trying to arrest anyone. They are trying to help somebody out right now.
BURNETT: All right. Ryan Young, thank you very much -- live on the scene as those officers and National Guard are sort of moving through the crowd to go to help somebody, but you can hear all the expletives and, of course, the officers were laden with pepper spray.
All right. These are live pictures in Baltimore right now as darkness falls. Crowds are gathering.
We're going to take a brief break. When we come back, we're going to have more on the Baltimore mother who decided this was the best way to get her son out of riots and back into the house.
[19:58:17] BURNETT: And now, a report on the most talked-about video of last night from Baltimore.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was the one moment from the chaos in Baltimore that had people cheering for more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mother of the year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I leaped out of my chair and said yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was captivated.
MOOS: Captivated by a Baltimore reading the Riot Act to her 16- year-old son.
TOYA GRAHAM, MOTHER: Take your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mask off!
MOOS: To remove him from the riot --
GRAHAM: You're going to be out here doing the dumb (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) over here.
MOOS: We now know her name is Toya Graham. She's a single mom of five girls and a boy. Here's what she told CBS News about her brand of tough love.
GRAHAM: That's my only son and at the end of the day, I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray.
MOOS: The Baltimore man whose death in police custody sparked protest. Her tough discipline one muttered admiration, and outright applause.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A mother desperately trying to keep her son from joining the rioters and you know she wants (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
MOOS: She quickly started to trend on Twitter, #Baltimoremom.
She went to pick up her son at the mall because she heard trouble was brewing there.
GRAHAM: He said, mom, when I see you, my instance was to run. You know, I'm a no tolerant mother. He knew he was in trouble.
MOOS: The video was shared and analyzed from the right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right there is the moment that I think just gripped my heart.
MOOS: And the left. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is a kid that will take a brick and
throw at cop, but that's when his mother comes to slap him.
GRAHAM: Is he a perfect boy? No, he's not. But he's mine.
MOOS: Send in the moms, read one headline.
Maybe you really are the mother of all moms when you can inspire this kind of look in your tough-guy son.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And we can report, that boy is staying home.
Thanks for joining us. Our breaking news coverage continues now with Anderson in Baltimore -- Anderson.