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2016 Candidates Weigh In On Baltimore; A Closer Look At The Man Behind The Movement; Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 29, 2015 - 16:30   ET



CAPT. J. ERIC KOWALCZYK, BALTIMORE POLICE: We're also dealing with normal calls for service, normal things that we see in the city. Those are being investigated by our detectives. Those are being handled in the same way that we would handle any other crimes that occur in the city.

Anyone else?

OK. We will continue to brief every hour, hour-and-a-half. We will see you all in a little bit. Thank you very much.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you have been listening to Captain Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore City Police Department.

A few nuggets from that press conference he just gave, number one, no new arrests to speak of today, number two, no new incidents today to speak of. Number three, there is a protest, a demonstration planned for a little bit later today in the 5:00 hour from Penn Station, the main train station here.

People are going to march -- and there may be a bunch of them -- down I think right to where Anderson is standing at Boston (sic) City Hall. But this is a protest, a demonstration, and police say they hope it is a peaceful demonstration, the likes of which were seen here for a full week before Saturday and then really when things got bad on Monday.

But, Anderson, the most interesting piece of information there was we began to see them trying to reduce the expectations on this report that will be turned over to the state's attorney on Friday. There are a lot of people here, Anderson, in this city, I know you have been talking to them, who have this notion that they're going to find out a whole bunch of information all at once on Friday and maybe even find out if there will be officers charged. We were just talking to Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin about that.

This officer made clear that that is not likely at all. It's much more likely we find out nothing on Friday. He simply said they're going to turn over this information and there's a great need to keep much of this information secret.

He didn't, I suppose, rule out the possibility that the state's attorney, once she gets that information, can make some of it public. But Evan Perez was saying to me earlier today, they are talking behind the scenes right now to try to figure out a way, Anderson, to reduce these expectations by Friday so people are not disappointed.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And that's something I talked to the Gray family attorney about, as I mentioned, on my broadcast last night.

And it was interesting, because after he was talking about this on the air with me, there was a group of protesters standing behind me probably maybe -- at one point probably about 100 or so. He actually went to them and got them quiet and he kind of gave them that message directly. He wanted them to spread that message to other protesters, not to expect a lot of information coming out Friday that's going to answer questions about how Freddie Gray sustained the injuries that ultimately led to his death, because that information most likely is not going to come out Friday.

And it's interesting hearing the Baltimore police there talking about the demonstration that's going to come here. I'm not sure if he was referring to the demonstrators who actually we were broadcasting live during his comments, because that was a group which had arrived in front of the courthouse and that was actually a group somewhat different than what we have seen.

That was kind of a pro-Baltimore demonstration, a lot of people holding up signs saying, we love Baltimore, don't tear Baltimore down, build it up, kind of people wanting to show, I guess, a different side of the city and also emphasize kind of the need for rebuilding, for new growth in Baltimore.

They have actually now walked by and are continuing to move on. So it will be interesting to see if another group of protesters comes to this courthouse area. We will be following that, John.

The outrage obviously over Freddie Gray's death in police custody still very real and spreading across the country. We have already seen protests across the country, protests planned in several cities, though, tonight and last night as well. Crowds gathered in Ferguson. Rocks were thrown at police. That's coming up.



COOPER: Welcome back to the lead. I'm Anderson Cooper, live in Baltimore.

You're looking at a live shot of the courthouse. Demonstrators were out there just a short time ago as the tensions here simmer. There are signs that the movement to get answers about the death of Freddie Gray is spreading across the country.

I want to show you a map here. From Los Angeles to Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, protests are springing up in a show of solidarity. In Ferguson, hundreds gathered in the streets last night calling for an end to police brutality. Rocks were hurled at officers. During those protests, three people were shot. A cell phone video actually captured the sounds of gunshots as people ran for cover.

It wasn't shooting from the police, from what we understand. Police say a suspect is in custody. You can hear the shots there. Police say a suspect is in custody for one of those shootings. There were also reports of looting at a gas station and trash cans set on fire.

Now, a curfew remains in effect here in Baltimore tonight and for the rest of the week, though schools were open. Will that curfew be enough to help keep the peace?

I want to bring in the pastor, Reverend Jamal Bryant. He's a pastor at Empowerment Temple Church who's also organized peaceful protests for Freddie Gray since the beginning of all this.

Thank you for being with us.


COOPER: The governor said earlier he believes a corner has been turned. There's still obviously a lot of work to be done. Do you believe a corner has been turned?

BRYANT: I do. I really believe Baltimore is about to be a phoenix rising from the ashes.

There's a glimmer of expectation and of believing that it's going to turn around. All over the city today, people were cleaning up and really believing that the best in Baltimore is getting ready to happen.

COOPER: One of the things you have been doing today is, you have been out in schools talking to people. And we have been talking about it a lot on the broadcast. How concerned are you that there's this expectation among people that Friday they're going to get an answer about what happened to Freddie Gray?

BRYANT: Not necessarily of people, but of teenagers specifically.

We have been in high schools and they resoundingly have been saying, pastor, so, what are we going to do Friday? About what? And they really had to have the understanding, a verdict is not being rendered. It's just seeing whether there's enough evidence to even press charges.

And the people have to understand, we have three different investigations happening, Baltimore City, the state's attorney and the Department of Justice.


It is my hope that one of the three is going to get it right. And so having to really do that educational process is really a Herculean task.

COOPER: And that's one of the things. Even the preliminary investigation by the police, which is going to be handed over on Friday, supposedly, unless it leaks out, that information is not going to be made public, in all likelihood.

BRYANT: That's what the community leaders are begging to not happen, is that maybe by Monday or Tuesday, but Friday, in the event that it is not the expected end, that we don't have a weekend of chaos and confusion.

COOPER: There is turning a corner in terms of violence that we saw on Monday night, and clearly last night was a different story, largely thanks to efforts by you, other community leaders, faith leaders, who stood on the barricades, who stood between the police and crowds.

There's also longer-term issues that have existed in Baltimore long before the death of Freddie Gray, are still existing in Baltimore. Do you see a renewed interest, a renewed commitment to forging ahead, to making progress on those issues?

BRYANT: I think a renewed commitment by the people, not by the establishment. The Band-Aid has been ripped off. And you need more than iodine. We need open heart surgery.

The reality, Anderson, that nobody is dealing with is that Freddie Gray was apprehended 8:48 in the morning. And he was not headed to work. When you will consider that 64 percent of those who live in that zip code are on some level of public assistance, it's a great economic disparity. It's not just criminal justice. But when it is that these people have to hear that the officers are on paid vacation and they don't have money to feed their children, it raises the ire of why it is that they're upset.

COOPER: I was just talking to Toya Graham, who now famously grabbed her son Michael and brought him out of the protests.


COOPER: She was saying, look, there's no -- there's nothing for my son to do in this neighborhood. There's no community center. There's no -- he loves to play basketball. There's not a basketball team at his school. There's just nothing to do for a lot of young people in a lot of the communities.

BRYANT: Here's the difference from the other two cities that are protesting in allegiance with us, both Ferguson and in New York and if we drop further to Sanford, where Trayvon Martin is from.

Both of those -- three of those cities have a white mayor, a white president city council and a white police commissioner. Ours is black. So, ours is not a black and white issue. It's a blue and green issue. One is about the police having greater protection than citizens and the economic disparity.

You can go blocks before you find any level of business. And there got has to be a demand on, what are we going to do for the thriving and the development of small businesses in their community? Anderson, I host the largest job fair in this city, and, quite frankly, businesses don't want to come because they believe that Baltimoreans by and large are only prepared for entry-level jobs.

And so there has to be some area of job training, so that these young people can have a better day and a greater option in front of them.

COOPER: Well, Pastor, I appreciate your work. And I appreciate you talking to us.

BRYANT: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Thank you very much, Pastor Jamal Bryant.

John Berman at Camden Yards, I will send it back over to you, John.

BERMAN: Anderson, so interesting, saying the wounds here, the pastor did, require not just iodine, but open heart surgery.

And there's a political aspect to that, a national political aspect to that. And this -- what's happening in this city has become a campaign issue, and rightly so, for the 2016 presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, former Maryland Governor, who was the former mayor of the city of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley are all among those weighing in.

During a speech today, former Secretary Clinton used the events here in Baltimore as really the backdrop for her call for criminal justice reform.

I want to go to our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar.

And, Brianna, I suppose we should be encouraged that the candidates are talking about one of the most important issues facing this country today.


And you will see, though, John, it's definitely a fine line that they're walking between supporting law enforcement and keeping the peace and then, on the other hand, really acknowledging the frustration over the deaths of Freddie Gray and other young black men.

But this issue is so pressing, that you're seeing so many of these candidates and potential candidates weighing in. And, today, that included Hillary Clinton.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we have seen in Baltimore should, indeed, I think does, tear at our soul.

KEILAR (voice-over): Hillary Clinton responding to the death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore riots with a call to reform the criminal justice system, her first major policy push of the campaign.

CLINTON: It's time to change our approach. It's time to end the era of mass incarceration. KEILAR: Clinton lobbied as first lady for her husband's 1994 crime

bill that many critics say contributed to high rates of incarceration in the U.S.

Now she's calling for dramatic changes to sentences for nonviolent offenders. Referencing the recent police-involved killings of Eric Garner in New York and Walter Scott in South Carolina, she proposed that body cameras be mandatory for police departments across the country.

CLINTON: For every tragedy caught on tape, there surely have been many more that remained invisible, not every problem can be or will be prevented by cameras, but this is a commonsense step be should take.

KEILAR: In Baltimore, former Mayor Martin O'Malley seemed as a likely Democratic challenger to Clinton took to the streets. The reception at times, angry over O'Malley's zero tolerance approach to policing as mayor nearly a decade ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people are saying, get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People have been very nice to me. You've got to be present in the middle of the pain, man. We're all -- everyone's needed right now in our city. Everybody needs to step up. You see a lot of really good people out there that are stepping up.

KEILAR: Criminal justice reform is a crowded political space. A book of policy prescriptions out yesterday includes chapters by O'Malley and Clinton as well as Republican candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who made this quip --

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I'm glad the train didn't stop.

KEILAR: On conservative Laura Ingraham's talk radio show, he discussed what he sees as the cause of the riots.

PAUL: The breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of sort of a moral code in our society. This isn't just a racial thing. It goes across racial boundaries.


KEILAR: Conservative candidate, Ben Carson, also weighed in. You may recall, John, he was a longtime doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital there in Baltimore. And he said that parents and guardians need to take control of children so that they can protect them.

You also had Jeb Bush in Puerto Rico weighing in talking about the balance between rule of law and also getting answers that are so key in this case of Freddie Gray.

BERMAN: And Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, actually sent law enforcement help here to help in the city of Baltimore, too. It's an issue all the candidates should address and will address in the coming months. Brianna Keilar, thanks so much. Coming up for us, who was Freddie Gray? Had a difficult life, he was raised by a heroin-addicted mother, who couldn't read and trouble in school possibly connected to lead point poisoning. I went to his old neighborhood to talk to those who knew him best.

Plus, police just minutes ago saying they are preparing for large crowds tonight, protests, demonstrations, but will be there actual tension, violence between protesters and police as the 10 p.m. curfew approaches? We'll tell you what police have to say coming up.



COOPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Police just announced that they expect the crowds to grow tonight here in Baltimore. Schools are now out for the afternoon. We have seen groups of peaceful protests all day long in different parts of the city.

Also on the streets right now, a much heavier police presence, backed up by the National Guard. I want to go to CNN's Miguel Marquez in the middle of one demonstration. Miguel, explain where you are and what you're seeing.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is North and Pennsylvania Avenues, North and Penn as it's known here and perhaps maybe just out of the chaos that we've seen in recent days, a little bit of order is starting to take place.

The intersection here is now open. We did see National Guard with their Humvees come through earlier. It's a little strange to see that in a city like this. The CVS that burned the other day was here.

What also happened here today was a bit of an impromptu jobs fair. People from Washington, D.C. coming up here that needed employees and they were coming up to talk to the community here about getting them employed.

Also there was a food drive here earlier in the day and then it's sort of turned into a chess-off here in the neighborhood as well. I think there's expectation that things are going to happen that are probably negative in the days ahead.

But for now, there's a sense of optimism that perhaps the worst is behind this neighborhood and the city. A couple of points coming up in the next couple of days I think will press the people of this neighborhood.

And it's something that they are looking for, whether it's the report from the police to the D.A., they will certainly want to hear that it's on the right track. All of those things very much in play here and people hoping, though, at this point that the worst is behind them -- Anderson.

COOPER: Miguel, you and your team have been doing really impressive work. Thank you so much for joining us again. I want to go back over to John Berman at Camden Yards -- John.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Anderson. It's now been ten days since the death of Freddie Gray, the man who suffered what is literally an inexplicable brutal injury while in the custody of Baltimore police.

Since then, Gray's name and image have been used as a symbol for the notion of the movement against police brutality. But it is important to keep in mind that Gray is much more than a symbol.

He was a 24-year-old man, a son, a brother, and in many ways a product of the problems that have plagued Baltimore for decades.


BERMAN (voice-over): Before America heard his name chanted in the streets, before his own cries echoed across news reels and spurred riots across his city. Freddie Gray was struggling to make a life for himself here and building a long rap sheet along the way.

(on camera): This right here was the home that Freddie Gray lived in toward the end of his life. People in the neighborhood say he didn't grow up here. He'd been here for about a year or so. He came and went, always said hello, seemed like a nice guy, they say. They never saw any sign of any trouble.

[16:55:06] But "The Baltimore Sun" reports Gray's life was marked by financial hardship from the very beginning. His mother and stepfather raised Freddie and his siblings in a home so squalid, they won a settlement from the landlord because of lead paint exposure. It is an issue in older homes here that can cause brain damage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to the court documents, crumbling lead paint, holes in the wall, and lots of dust that was suspected to be contaminated with lead. They made the connection to problems he ultimately had in school. He was put in special ED classes. His sisters testified that they had to repeat grades.

BERMAN: His mother has given only brief statements to the media.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't kill the whole city just for him.

BERMAN: Family friends tell CNN she lost a son to violence just 18 months before Freddie's death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It hurt my heart to know that she lost one son due to street violence and another due to police brutality.

BERMAN: But her own deposition in the 2009 lead paint lawsuit revealed much more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His mother spoke about never getting past middle school. She said she has never been able to read and she was not able to help her children with their homework past a certain level.

BERMAN: She also testified at the time that she was getting treatment for a daily heroin habit, a long list of drug-related arrests show her son was no stranger to narcotics either. His brother-in-law says the drug business helped gray support his family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people come to buy narcotics or gamble or anything with their money in their hand and they put it in your hand, what makes you so bad? He had responsibilities. Responsibilities don't stop because you don't have a job.

BERMAN: In some Baltimore neighborhoods, a life like Freddie Gray's is all too familiar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want justice for all the future Freddie Grays out here.

BERMAN: His death, while in the hands of a strained police force, is a fate his fellow residents don't want to fear so they're using his name in an effort for change.


BERMAN: You know, Anderson, it's really interesting. People are talking today how the city is returning to something close to normal. But I think it's important to note that normal isn't always good.

When we were back in that neighborhood, that house where Freddie Gray lived for the last year or so, people were very nice to me. They didn't want to appear on camera. They were very nice but it was notable there were so many people around, working age men mostly, who were not at work.

I don't know if they had jobs or not, the unemployment rate among African-Americans here is very, very high. So it's just a reminder that the challenges, even when the situation is normal here in Baltimore, those challenges are considerable -- Anderson.

COOPER: There's no doubt about it. That was reiterated to me just a short time ago. I talked with Toya Graham, the mom who famously grabbed her son, Michael, dragged him out of a protest on Monday night, that's the video now that people have seen all around the world, frankly.

She has six kids. She got laid off from a job recently. She's been a caregiver for a long time. She doesn't have a job. She's going to have trouble making her rent. So for all the attention she's getting, she is very much in need of employment and is looking for a job.

And so we're going to talk to her tonight about that moment that has now been watched so often and commented on by so many people. We'll also talk to her son, Michael, about what it was like the moment he made eye contact with his mom.

He had a rock in his hand. He had a mask over his face, but she recognized him from his baggy pants. And he said when she made eye contact with him. It was like World War III started for him when she came after him. So we are going to talk to both of them tonight on my broadcast -- John.

BERMAN: Police have noted here, by the way, we should note, there are 111 people who were arrested Monday night in the violence and the riots here, 111 people who were arrested but have not been charged as of now.

And if they are not charged within 48 hours of their arrests, they're going to have to be released. Police say they will try to make the charges over the next days and weeks if they can. But they don't have the police power to charge them because all the police are out here on the streets trying to keep things safe -- Anderson.

COOPER: An important thing to point out and to continue to follow. John, thank you very much for joining us. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Anderson Cooper with John Berman. Jake tapper will be back tomorrow. I'll be back tonight live from Baltimore, 8:00 p.m. Eastern until 10:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. Here's Wolf Blitzer now in "THE SITUATION ROOM."