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People Celebrating Indictment In Baltimore; What Could Have Happened to Freddie Gray; Analyzing Freddie Gray's Injuries; Policemen Indicted in Freddie Gray's Death. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 1, 2015 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: It is. The big thing we are waiting for, Miguel, as we waited for, that is something that almost never happens in this country, going to be a major question in Baltimore.

Thanks For joining us. Our breaking news coverage continues with Anderson.

[20:00:13] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much. Good evening, everyone.

A week after anger boiled over in Baltimore, there is celebration if you just saw tonight, in the streets. People marching as they have all week. Thousands, we are told, heading to western district police station marching but in a very different spirit than we've seen before, savoring, and to many, an unexpected victory as they see it.

As you might imagine, others see what happened today with a different mix of thoughts and feelings now that six members of the Baltimore police department, as you see them there, have been charged with felonies, three with manslaughter and one with manslaughter and second-degree murder in the death of Freddie Gray.

The 35-year-old state's attorney who brought the charges herself, the daughter of two police officers is in the spotlight tonight. She is also on the spot accused by police supporters and surrogates of rushing to justice and have -- having a conflict of interest. She, of course, disagrees and seems tightly focus on something that people out here have been demanding, for that any citizen, anywhere, under any circumstances expects, accountability.

When asked today how she plans to deliver accountability, Miss Mosby had a blunt forward answer, you are getting it today, she said. Tonight, as we look at the charges she brought, we'll keeping an eye, one eye, on the courtroom and the facts of the case and another on the bigger picture in Baltimore and beyond.

I want to begin with our Jason Carroll who is on the streets of Baltimore tonight.

Jason, a very different scene on the streets of Baltimore all throughout the day since the announcement was made today.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I have to tell you, you know, several days ago it what a -- it was a much different experience than what we are experiencing out here. Right now, we got thousands of people who are weaving their way -- watch your back -- watch your back -- weaving their way through MLK boulevard here, through traffic. As you can these cars here, people here chanting, screaming, cars honking in solidarity for these marchers who would be going throughout the city. They marched past the interstate you know very well, Anderson, peninsula and north. And then they marched past the point where Freddie Gray was initially stopped by those six officers. Then to point where he was arrested. Then on to the police station. And now, it appears we may be marching our way back towards city hall.

I imagine a number of people here in the crowd are going to be very happy to see the booking photos of the six officers released. It is a feeling of elation but also skepticism as some people are saying, this is just one step in the justice process --Anderson.

COOPER: Jason, one step indeed and a step that was taken much quicker than many people imagined it would. Few people predicted, as you know, that today charges would be announced.

I want to go to our to Miguel Marquez who is also on the move with protesters.

Miguel, I was out by the CVS earlier today in Baltimore. There was a heavy police presence as well as National Guard presence there. While people were beginning to celebrate, I'm beginning to wondering, are there a lot of people on the streets following the protesters o is that because of the change in mood, not quite so monitored?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've seen no police today. We saw some yesterday for the first time and this -- this protest is absolutely amazing. I mean, look at this, Anderson. The truck there that you see in front of you, is actually going the wrong way down MLK boulevard here. There are thousands of protesters in this crowd. The three different protests descended on Penn and north. Hello, hello. I know half of the people of this crowd now, it seems.

Three different protests all to Penn and north and now they are snaking their way sort of toward downtown literally taking over streets of the city. And everywhere you go -- this. The honking. Everybody showing support for this. It is a sight to see.

One thing that everybody I have spoken to has said though, just like Jason has heard, that today is one day and it is a day for excitement, but they are waiting for the possibility of that trial, and what happens to those six officers, whether or not they actually serve any time -- Anderson.

COOPER: And the state's attorney pointing out the investigation continues and will continue. There is still evidence still to be gathered. And Miguel Marquez, thank you. We are going to check in with you through the next two hours that we're on the air, through the 10:00 hour.

Earlier this evening, Freddie Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, spoke to reports saying the family is satisfied with the charges today.


RICHARD SHIPLEY, FREDDIE GRAY'S STEPFATHER: Whoever comes to our city, a city that we love, a city that we live in, come in peace. And if you are not coming in peace, please don't come at all. Because this city needs to get back to work.


[20:05:06] COOPER: Reaction from the family tonight.

Now, a quick look at how we got here. Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown has that.


MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have probable cause to file criminal charges.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn Mosby not mincing words, saying even before police officers placed Freddie Gray inside the police van, he never should have been arrested.

MOSBY: No crime had been committed by Mr. Gray.

BROWN: Gray was found carrying a knife but the prosecutor said it was legal.

MOSBY: Mr. Gray was placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back. It was this time that Mr. Gray indicated that he could not breathe and requested an inhaler to no avail.

BROWN: Mosby said not only did the officers not fail to get Gray medical help, they made another grave mistake when they put him into this police van.

MOSBY: At no point was he secured by a seat belt while in the wagon, contrary to a BPD general order.

BROWN: The van drove away from the sea (ph). And while the exact route is unknown, it made the first stop here where officers took Gray out of the van to put shackles on his legs and flex cuffs on his wrists.

MOSBY: Officer Miller, Officer Nero and Lieutenant Rice then loaded Mr. Gray back into the wagon, placing him on his stomach head first on the to the floor of the wagon. Once again, Mr. Gray was not secured by his seat belt into the wagon.

BROWN: The officer driving the van made another stop here.

MOSBY: Despite stopping for the purpose of checking on Mr. Gray's condition, at no point did he seek nor did he render any medical assistance for Mr. Gray. BROWN: Several blocks later and the driver stopped for a third time

and three other officers arrived to check on Mr. Gray.

MOSBY: Mr. Gray at that time requested help and indicated that he could not breathe. Officer Porter asked Mr. Gray if he needed a medic at which time Mr. Gray indicated at least twice that he was in need of a medic.

BROWN: Mosby said they did not call a medic and once again failed to seat belt Gray. The van's driver decided to move on. It was at the fourth stop here, he van picked up his man, Donte Alan who was put on the other side of the metal partition.

DONTE ALAN, SEND PASSENGER IN POLICE VAN: The only thing I heard is little banging like I thought it banging. Someone was banging his head or something.

BROWN: Mosby says Gray was again neglected.

MOSBY: Sergeant Alicia White, Officer Porter, and Officer Goodson observed Mr. Gray unresponsive on the floor of the wagon.

BROWN: But it wasn't until 25 minutes later when the van reached the police station that a medic was called. At that point she says Gray was in cardiac arrest and not breathing. The medical examiner and prosecutor concluded Gray's death was a homicide.

MOSBY: Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the bpd wagon.


BROWN: All six officers are facing criminal charges including assault and misconduct. The van's driver facing the most charges including second degree depraved heart murder which carries a sentence of up to 30 years. All six officer are in custody. And today, one of their attorney says this was an egregious rush to judgment by the prosecutor and vow to fight the chars -- Anderson.

COOPER: Pamela, thanks very much.

One quick late note. We just learned that as of a moment ago, all six officers have now posted bond. And there is a lot to talk about tonight and throughout this next two hours in Baltimore. CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, as you know, she a former federal prosecutor, Baltimore area resident and friend of the mayor, Stephanie Rawlings- Blake. With us here, former NYPD detective Harry Houck, Forensic scientist Lawrence Kobilinsky of the John Jay College of criminal justice, senior legal analyst as well, Jeffrey Toobin.

COOPER: Jeff, you did not expect these charges today. What do you make of them and the severity of them?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is, not only faster, but also in more serious set of charges that I expected. She better be right. She better have the back-up to win these cases. And it will be a challenge because you have a lot of defendants. You are going to have to assign individual responsibility, describe the role of each one. So far it appears none of them are cooperating, although, that is something definitely to keep an eye on whether any of them, one of them cuts a deal and testifies against the other.

COOPER: That was my next question. Because -- I mean, is it possible that some of the charges were brought in order to coerce somebody -- one of them or several of them to cooperate against others. Because we've already seen, you know, the person who is deeply connected to one of the officers who I interviewed, that officer was already pointing the fingers at arresting officers as having caused this injury and that officer believed -- so there are already seems to be divisions. It is not as if there is a united front here.

TOOBIN: And the prosecutors will try to exploit the situation like that. And usually when there are divisions, there can be a race to the prosecutors' office to cut the first deal. Because the person who comes in first usually gets the best deal from prosecutors. But that is getting ahead. You know, I'm particularly surprised by the murder charge.

[20:10:17] COOPER: For the driver of the wagon.

TOOBIN: For the driver, because that is what we call a specific intent crime. That crime of intentional harm inflicted on someone. And I think it is going to be a real challenge in the absence of some sort of admission, you know, where he said something to someone to make a charge like that stick. But you know, when you think about what it was like for Freddie Gray to be trussed up like that and to be bouncing around with his head exposed, I mean, it is a horrific, horrific thing. And if it was done in a criminal way, these charges are going to be very tough.

COOPER: And Sunny, because the state's attorney would not go into detail in terms of the actual evidence, obviously, because it now ongoing investigation, but an upcoming trial. We don't know the full detail or the medical examiner's report which would give a much more, much better sense of what happened to Mr. Gray inside that van?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think that is right. We don't know everything. Although I will say I was surprised that the state's prosecutor was comfortable enough with giving so much information. Because investigations are basically ongoing, even when you've already charged someone. So the fact that she is now tied to the narrative that she gave to the world that was a bit surprising to me. It must mean she is very -- very convinced of the probable cause here. It must mean she has an exceptional trust in her investigators and perhaps that is why she came forward so early with these charges. Because we now know she was conducting this independent investigation with investigators in her office as she explained, from day one. And so perhaps that is why she did this so quickly.

COOPER: Harry, the police union called this an egregious rush to judgment. HARRY HOUCK, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE DETECTIVE: Right, without a

doubt. I think -- you know, it is really interesting, but Thursday or the other day when the officers turned over the investigation to the state's attorney's office, everybody was talking about how nothing will come out on Friday, even the state as attorney's office was talking about it, alright? Then all of the sudden, Friday comes, and then we all have these charges and you have police officers arrested.

COOPER: In order to bring some peace in the streets.

HOUCK: Right, bring some peace in the streets, so we don't have a riot. And then we will see if we get an indictment later.

COOPER: Jeff, do you think politics played a role?

TOOBIN: If that is true -- well, I mean, if that is true, that would be hugely irresponsible. You don't file criminal charges for any other purpose than -- that you think that you have a race you can make.

And Harry, I have to say, unless you have evidence of that --


COOPER: I mean, Sunny, there were number of people I talked to in Baltimore today, many were elated, some did believe that this was influenced by the violence in the street and influenced -- the speed with which this came about was influenced and it was a desire to kind of calm things down?

HOSTIN: No, I don't think this is a fair criticism. I agree with Jeff. I mean, prosecutors don't do that. A prosecutor has a duty under the law to only bring cases that you believe you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And let's be clear f. She has been conducting this independent investigation on her own, I don't think it is fair to say there I was rush to judgment because this was never a who-done-it case, it was about what happened.

COOPER: I want to bring in professor Kobilinsky here because we haven't heard from you. The medical examiner part, we have not heard it, based on the charges, have you learned anything more based on the severity or the exact nature of the charges?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: Well, first of all, I mean, we have a murder two charge. And I agree with Sunny, it is highly unethical to charge somebody if you don't have enough information and evidence to convict. But what we do know, although, we don't have an autopsy report, we do know that Miss Mosby has said that the cause of death, we don't know exactly of course, but the manner of death is homicide. And that simply means death at the hands of another person. It doesn't mean that it is murder. You know, you can have justified homicide, for example a police officer shooting in self-defense. This is what medical examiners do, they make a decision based upon the autopsy, based upon police investigation, based upon all kinds of information that all comes together, they decide whether it is an accident, whether it is a homicide, whether it's cause unknown.

[20:15:09] COOPER: Sunny, it was interesting, though, to have the state's attorney go through point by point, officer by officer, not only describing the charges against the officer but basically what she believes was their failing during this arrest. Not only what she called an illegal arrest because he didn't have a switchblade which the police early on reported but she detailed basically failures by each police officer all along the way.

HOSTIN: That is highly unusual. And not only just because we typically don't see it because prosecutors don't want to be tied to that kind of native when you have an ongoing investigation. It is also unusual because under Maryland law, and this under sort of our code of ethics, Maryland attorneys, you are generally prohibited to give that sort of pretrial publicity, that sort of narrative out to the public. And as a chief prosecutor, it is something that simple not done.

So I suspect we are going to be hearing from some of the defense attorneys in this case challenging her, asking her to recuse herself for having been I think so vocal and almost provocative about what she thought the evidence was in this case.

COOPER: We are going to continue the conversation through the next two hours.

But coming up next, the more on who these six officers are, what they are facing and at the end of quite a week in Baltimore and cities around the country. More from the streets ahead.


[20:20:00] COOPER: Looking there, Jason Carroll with marches on Prat street.

Jason, what are you seeing out there? How are things?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, you know, basically, when you see everything that is happening here, these thousands of people who are now passing Charles street and Prat downtown, you are hearing from voices of people who feel for generations that haven't had a voice. These are people who have felt disenfranchised, not listened to, abused by police departments, grandmothers and grandfathers telling their children feeling this way.

I spoke to one woman, she said I finally feel like people are listening. I said we have been marching out for what, close to five miles, how much more can you keep going? She said I've waited for a night like this all of my life. That is how so many of these people feel.

And if you look up the street there, up Prat, they are still a thousand strong. I put my photographer on the truck in front of me so we can try to get you a better viewpoint of all of the people who have come out here. I know we're coming up on a curfew at 10:00. Still remains a question in terms of whether or not these people who are feeling so much elation will decide to go home at 10:00.

In the meantime, Anderson, we are going to keep marching right along with them -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right and we'll keep checking in with you.

We want to expand on the conversation we had just a moment ago about the six officers and what they are facing. Again, the four charged with manslaughter and murder have a lengthy procedural road ahead of them. None of them have it easy. All six we have learned a moment ago have now posted bond.

For more on what we know about them, senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin joins us now.

Drew, so what do we know?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: You know, collectively, this is so serious, they are collectively facing up to 173 years in prison. As we've been reporting, up until the time of the booking we didn't know the races. Now we know three of the officers are white, three are African-American, including the driver of the van, Anderson, who faces the most serious of charges, Cesar Goodson, Jr., 45 years. He has been on the Baltimore police department since 1999. We have checked his record thoroughly, found only a civil case against by Citibank for about $5,000. Even his driving record clean, according to the DMV. Goodson faces six charges, including that second degree murder and manslaughter. That is a possible 63 years in prison for this officer.

Also facing six charges, the most senior officer involved with the arrest, Lieutenant Brian Rice. He is 41. He is white, with the Baltimore PD since 1997. And his recent past, he has been involved in a nasty domestic situation with another Baltimore police officer. In 2012, they, a couple, were fighting over custody of their child. The mother of that child, Anderson, called police fearing Rice by harm himself. Police has actually respondent, removed seven weapons including his service weapons from Lieutenant Rice's home including his service weapon. He was driven to a hospital. But the case seems to end there. Rice faces now charges including involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, possible sentence for him, 30 years behind bars.

Now, the next two offices that you are going to see, there in yellow vest and bike helmets, the bike cops originally arrested Freddie Gray, they are much younger.

Edward Nero, 29 years old, white, has been on the force just three years. Five charges her is facing, the most serious assault, in the second-degree. His total sentencing could be 20 years.

Garrett Miller, 26 years old, also white. It was Miller and Nero that you frisking Freddie Gray. They claim this is when they confiscated a switchblade. That's what the officers claim gave them cause for arrest. The prosecutor, of course, today says that knife was a pocket knife, not illegal. There is no reason Freddie Gray should have been arrested at all says the prosecutor. For that reason Miller, Nero and Lieutenant Rice are charged with false imprisonment.

Officer William Porter, 25 years old, he is black, hired in 2012, three charges, including involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault.

And finally, a woman, Sergeant Alicia White who is black, charged with three counts. Charges that could bring 20 years in prison.

Anderson, as far as our record show right now, none of these officers have been charged in any crime relating to their duties in the past. They are obviously now facing much more serious charges here.

COOPER: Yes. Drew, thanks very much.

More perspective now. Joining us CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, also former LAPD officer David Klinger, currently he is a professor of criminal justice in the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Mark, earlier, I think it was Sunny who said, well, it would be unethical for the state's attorney to bring charges that she didn't believe she can prove. And as soon as she said that I heard your voice in the back of my head saying that is absurd because prosecutors all the time lob on charges in order to get somebody to roll on to somebody else. Do you think that maybe were going on here?