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THE SITUATION ROOM
Police Charged in Death of Freddie Gray. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired May 1, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: officers charged. Six members of the Baltimore police force now stand accused of crimes, including second-degree murder in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.
This hour: the stunning announcement and the reaction that's unfolding right now.
Prosecutor praised. She's a hero to many protesters who have been demanding justice. But will the charges she leveled against the police officers stick? We will have the new interview with the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby.
And raw emotion. We're live in Baltimore right now as people take to the streets and this dramatic new turn in the Freddie Gray case sinks in.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE STATE'S ATTORNEY: I have heard your calls for no justice, no peace. However, your peace is sincerely needed, as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're following the demonstrations in Baltimore right now. You heard the city's chief prosecutor urging calm after her stunning announcement of criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
Tonight, the Gray family says it's satisfied with the charges. But the police union is accusing the prosecutor of a rush to judgment, saying the six police officers involved in Gray's arrest did nothing wrong. The most severe charge, second-degree murder for the driver of the police van -- we just got the court docket confirming that one of those six police officers, the driver of the van, is in fact himself an African-American.
State's attorney Marilyn Mosby says Gray's critical neck injury happened while he was in that van. She says officers repeatedly failed to buckle him in or give him medical care after they arrested him. And they say that arrest to begin with was illegal.
We have correspondents, analysts and newsmakers, they're all standing by. We're covering this breaking story.
Our Brian Todd and Miguel Marquez, they are out on the streets of Baltimore right now with the demonstrators.
But, first, let's go to our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, with all the new information about Gray's arrest and death.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Baltimore's chief prosecutor making a bombshell announcement today that all six involved police officers were complicit in Freddie Gray's death, first by failing to buckle him into the van and second by denying him medical help multiple times.
But even before the officers put Gray in the van, the prosecutor says they committed a crime.
MOSBY: We have probable cause to file criminal charges.
BROWN (voice-over): 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 has been committed by Mr. Gray.
BROWN: Gray was found carrying a knife, but the prosecutor said it was legal.
MOSBY: Mr. Gray was then placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back. It was at this time that Mr. Gray indicated that he could not breathe and requested an inhaler, to no avail.
BROWN: Mosby says not only did the officers fail to give 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 scene, and while the exact route is unknown, made its 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 to the floor of the wagon. Once again, Mr. Gray was not secured by a seat belt in 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, the driver stopped for a third time, and three other officers arrived to check on 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 says the officers 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 the van picked up this man, Donta Allen, who was put on the other side of a metal partition.
DONTA ALLEN, PASSENGER: The only thing I heard was a little banging. Like, I thought he was banging -- someone was over there banging their head or something.
BROWN: Mosby says Gray was once 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 serious charges, including second-degree depraved heart murder, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years. All officers are in custody and an attorney for one of them said today that this was an egregious rush to judgment by the prosecutor and vows to fight these charges.
Wolf, the process is far from over.
BLITZER: It certainly is.
All right, thanks very much for that, Pamela Brown.
The charges against the six officers caught a lot of people in Baltimore, indeed around the country by surprise, coming as quickly as they did after police wrapped up their investigation. It turns out the state's attorney had been conducting her own
independent investigation all along.
Let's check in with CNN's Brian Todd. He's on the streets of Baltimore getting more reaction.
Brian, what's going on?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a gathering of several thousand marchers that have gone from the Inner Harbor and they're going to central booking. That's the word that one of them has just told us.
I'm here with Wayne Call (ph). He's a graduate student at Loyola, 23 years old.
Wayne, why did you want to join this? Actually, tell me what was going through your mind this morning when you heard the prosecutor read out the charges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was going through my mind was, as a city, I don't care if you're famous or a regular person like me. I'm talking about athletes or we -- we're all human people. At the end of the day, we're all human and nobody should ever be above the law. So, I thought that justice was beginning to be able to be served.
TODD: You're studying school counseling. You're going to be dealing with a lot of young people in your career. What do you hope for the future of this city? Do you think it's bright? Or do you think this has maybe caused a divide?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's bright, because as a young man like me from Baltimore, a single-parent home, my mom and the help of mentors around me made me become the man I am today. So, I know if these kids had a leader that values and trust their opinion, anything is possible. Anything is possible.
TODD: Wayne, thanks for talking to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you.
TODD: And good luck to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Appreciate it.
TODD: All right.
A sampling of one of these marchers, Wolf. They say they're going to circle central booking here. I'm not sure exactly how far we're going to go, but this may be close to their final destination.
BLITZER: Yes, this is where those six police officers are being held at least right now.
Brian, thank you very much. Joining us from Baltimore is the majority leader of the Maryland
State Senate, Catherine Pugh. She's also president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
Senator, thanks very much for joining us.
I know you and Elijah Cummings, you two have really been on the front lines over the past few nights, trying to keep an orderly presence there and some peace. What's your reaction to the charges announced by the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby?
CATHERINE PUGH (D), MARYLAND STATE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I think that Marilyn will serve as a model. Our state's attorney will serve as a model for how these cases should be brought to justice quickly.
But let me just say, as she said earlier, she has looked at this case very thoroughly. She started immediately on this case. And I think that people thought that she would wait until she got the information from the police department, but, as she said, she conducted her own independent investigation. And I think that's what even adds more validity to the charges that have been brought.
BLITZER: What's your response to the police officers' representatives when they say the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, rushed to judgment?
PUGH: Well, I don't think that the state's attorney rushed to judgment. And I would hope that everybody in America knows that we believe that for the most part police officers who come into our community to protect and serve, for the most part, that they do.
But this case, with Mr. Gray, is a symbol. He becomes a symbol, unfortunately, for racial profiling that exists across this nation. And that is why you can see all of these protests, not just here in Baltimore, but in Philadelphia and in New York, because what people are saying is enough is enough, because people should not have to come in front of the police and feel intimidated or walk past them in fear and feel that their lives might be taken.
And we have seen enough of this across the country. And thank God for the media. Thank God for social media and independent individuals inside of our communities, who take it upon themselves to make sure that information like this is shared with the proper folks, and this is why we have ended up with this kind of indictment against these many officers.
And it's a sad day for the Baltimore Police Department, but at the same time, it is a bright day for the Gray family.
BLITZER: So, what I hear you saying, Senator, is that racial profiling, you used that phrase, you believe he was arrested simply because he was black?
PUGH: Well, let me just say anybody, nobody, black, white or indifferent, should ever have to encounter the police and feel for -- fear for their lives.
And I just think that we see too much of this, not just people of color, no one, no one. And I think that's why, as the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, one of the things that I'm calling for is that we continue to or we allow police officers to independently have psychiatric evaluations, so that we can know that they still have the propensity to protect and serve our communities.
Also, I believe that Police Departments should reflect their communities in which they serve and that there needs to be cultural diversity training among our police officers, so that they can understand how they deal with our neighbors and deal with our communities. No one, no one should be engaged in this kind of behavior.
But, also, what Mr. Gray becomes is a symbol. When you look in the neighborhoods and the communities in which he lives, he becomes a symbol of some of the transitions that need to take place, the economic development, the job opportunities, the economic opportunities, the housing issues that need to be dealt with in our community and in communities similar to us around the nation.
BLITZER: You think that 10:00 p.M. curfew needs to remain in effect now?
PUGH: Well, I hope that we see that lifted, not just because people are peacefully demonstrating, but because the economic impact that it's going to have on our city. So, you know, this is the mayor's call and we leave that call to her.
But there is call from around our business communities specifically and people in the community who say, we don't need to be policed at this time. We understand the process, we're willing to let justice roll and do what it needs to do in order to bring full, full, full restitution and what we need for Mr. Gray.
And I think that with, what the prosecutor has done today, that we will have that.
BLITZER: Is that the general reaction?
PUGH: We just need peace in the streets. And I think we have that as well.
BLITZER: That favorable reaction, is that the general reaction you have heard in talking to people in Baltimore throughout the day?
PUGH: Oh, absolutely. I have gone from one end of our district to the other. I'm down here in front of City Hall. And people are just ecstatic, because what this has done is given many of those young people in our communities faith in the justice system, that it can work on their behalf.
And people need to hear that around the nation. And that's why I said that Marilyn Mosby will become the model in terms of how these cases should be handled moving forward. And so we look forward to justice continuing to be served. We want to let the justice process continue and we have faith in Marilyn Mosby to prosecute this case and to make sure that justice is had for Mr. Gray.
BLITZER: Are you going to be out there tonight once again with Congressman Elijah Cummings, urging everyone to remain calm and not violate the curfew?
PUGH: I will be out there with my community, because, one, I think that they are celebrating. And all we're doing is encouraging people to do this in a peaceful manner.
We understand that people will be a lot more excited about this particular thing that has come down from our state's attorney and this indictment that has come down from our state's attorney. So we want folks to be joyous, but at the same time continue to be peaceful and we know that that will happen tonight. But it's just -- it feels good to be among the people anyway.
That's what we do on an ongoing basis, and that's why it's so easy to walk among your community members and say, look, let's just do this in peace. And as you see with all of the people who are demonstrating in Baltimore, it's been very, very peaceful. And I'm grateful for that.
BLITZER: Yes, we all are. And we should be.
Do you think it would be appropriate any time soon for the new attorney general of the United States to visit Baltimore? Is it too early for that, or, for that matter, the president of the United States?
PUGH: Oh, no, absolutely not.
I had a conversation with the White House on -- yesterday. And I think others have had conversations. And I know that Elijah Cummings, our congressman, has had conversations with our attorney general, Loretta Lynch, as relates to this case. I was on a call yesterday with the White House. And they have assured us, as members of the Legislative Black Caucus and as the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, that there will be justice, and they are in fact conducting a civil and a criminal investigation as well.
So, any time, we welcome both of them.
BLITZER: They would both be welcome.
Senator Pugh, I want you to stand by, if you can. I know you're very busy.
I want to quickly check in with Brian Todd. He's out there with the marchers.
What are you seeing, Brian?
TODD: Well, Wolf, we're a little bit behind the head of the procession. But we understand that the procession has at least come to one of the ramps that comes off of Interstate 83.
They have not gone on to the interstate. If they were to do that, that may cause an issue with the police. A police chopper just circled very low overhead. I don't believe they have made their way onto the interstate. They may be turning somewhere else or figuring out pretty much where they want to go.
They did tell me, one of the protesters told me they just wanted to come here to central booking. Photojournalist Tom Guric (ph) can kind of pan over and show you that we're at one of the holding facilities, one of the jails in Baltimore, where we believe the officers may at least be processed, maybe some -- one of these buildings in this compound. I'm not quite sure.
All right, well, if -- Tom, if you can pan over here, we can show the protesters seemingly turning right. Now, we will have to catch them, Wolf, to see exactly where they're going. They said they were going to stop here. But they don't seem intent quite on stopping here yet.
BLITZER: And there's significant numbers, Brian, right?
Wolf, this is one of the largest protest marches we have covered. This is several thousand people. It started at Baltimore's Inner Harbor and come several blocks this way. A lot of time, these things are very organic. And they don't necessarily have a plan on where they're going, where they're stopping.
I'm not going to venture a prediction on where they're going, because that be silly. But they are energetic, they're spirited, they're of course in good spirits because of the announcement of these charges, and of course, at least right now, tonight, they're largely peaceful.
BLITZER: All right, Brian, stand by.
I want to check in with Miguel Marquez. He's also with the marchers.
Where are you, Miguel?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're up at Penn and North, Pennsylvania and North Avenue, the epicenter of so much of the anger this week and the protests.
Want to show you something here, a complete turn of events. There's music going on here. I have been out here on the street. Excuse me. Pardon me. You can see -- excuse me. Pardon me. You can see that people are encouraging people to honk their horns. They have been doing it all day.
The National Guard is still out here. You can see them right there. And if we turn all the way around here, Eddie, members of the Omega Psi fraternity are here, as well as Nation of Islam. This entire area has gone from one of protest to celebration.
BLITZER: Interesting stuff. Fascinating stuff. All right, I want you to stand by as well. Miguel Marquez is standing by.
State Senator Catherine Pugh is with us.
We will take a quick break, resume our special coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, large crowds, very large crowds gathering tonight in Baltimore. They're responding to the criminal charges filed against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
Let's check in with Brian Todd. He's on the streets of Baltimore.
From the air, you can see the pictures, Brian. They're moving along very peaceful right now, almost, what, a celebratory nature of these protesters, these marchers?
TODD: They are celebratory, Wolf.
They just turned right on North Calvert Street from Chase Street. And we can give you a view ahead of us. This procession goes on for several blocks. They're very happy. They're relieved at the announcement of these charges, but still kind of defiant.
They're chanting, what do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now. A lot of these protesters have told us, Wolf, that they -- as happy as they are at the announcement of these charges against the six officers, they won't be completely satisfied unless there are convictions in this case. We know that may not be for several months.
But, for right now, they are still defiant. They are still gathering in large masses here. This is one of the biggest protest marches we have covered. And you can see just the density of this column of people. They're completely stretching across the street for several blocks, very spirited, very energetic, as many of these crowds have been.
Their tactic is usually to just walk as far as they can and occasionally block intersections. They do disrupt traffic. They have told us in the past that that is almost one of their goals. It's almost the way they can make a statement. But they do tend to move along fairly quickly when they do disrupt traffic, Wolf, but no traffic is going to get through these intersections as long as these people are walking through this section of town.
BLITZER: Very impressive march, very peaceful. Right now, they're moving. Clearly, traffic is being disrupted. But they're moving along and they're clearly celebrating what they think is an important development clearly in this case.
I want to bring in one of the protest organizers. Jay Morrison is joining us right now. He's the leader of the YMC Community Coalition.
Jay, we spoke yesterday. Tell us what you think about what happened today. What's your reaction?
JAY MORRISON, YMC COMMUNITY COALITION: Well, Wolf, my initial reaction is somewhat the same, that we are happy. I'm happy for the family of Freddie Gray, first and foremost, and happy for the city of Baltimore.
But I do want our youth and everyone to realize that it's a small step in a long process for justice for Freddie Gray. But, also, it's a very small step in the battle of oppression against African- Americans in America.
So, we have made some headway with one good case. And a state's attorney has stepped up. We have got a lot of work to do.
BLITZER: So, there will only be justice, you're saying, if in fact there's a conviction of these police officers; there's no justice, a step towards justice, you're saying, but not justice yet?
MORRISON: Yes. But we're all elated.
And, for me, Wolf, I'm so proud. I mean, I'm elated. I was marching on North and Pennsylvania with our youth. I'm so proud of the youth of the city of Baltimore. Had they not revolted on Monday, if that youth did not step up, the -- you know, Huey Newton said, the young inherit the revolution.
And they all stepped up and brought all the cameras out and made all the attention happen that made this a national issue, a global issue. And so we want to use that attention to make everyone realize that the Freddie Grays of the world, the Mike Browns of the world, the Eric Garners of the world happen every day in urban America, happen every day in black America.
And I'm so proud of our white and Hispanic and Asian and other ethnicities that came together in diverse groups to rally with us. I'm proud of the youth of America. YMC stands for Young Minds Can. And our youth stepped up and made this happen.
But justice is yet to be served until those six police thugs are convicted and behind bars.
BLITZER: I just want to get your reaction. We just got, Jay, the dockets for four of the six police officers who were charged today with various -- with various counts.
Caesar Goodson, one of those charged, second-degree murder, charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, which carries a 30- year sentence, he was the driver of the van. On the docket, he's listed as black, African-American. Another one of the police officers on the docket, William Porter, he was actually charged with manslaughter, assault, second-degree, facing maybe 10 years in prison, also listed as his race black, African-American.
Two of the four dockets that we have received so far. I want to get your reaction to that.
MORRISON: Yes, I'm not saying that all police brutality is white police brutality.
Again, my emphasis, saying, this is not a white/black issue at all. We love our white brothers and sisters as -- and everyone. This is a government-black people issue. It's the system. And police and attorneys and the president or anyone else that is within this government system is part of a government system that's been oppressive to black people for 450 years. That's a fact.
So it's now it's time for our youth to inherit this revolution, help blacks gain their freedom and independence, and for us to march forward for real justice. So, the fact that those officers were black, that means nothing to me. They're part of the same system that targets African-Americans every single day.
BLITZER: The police representatives, they are calling for a special prosecutor. They say Marilyn Mosby, the state's attorney...
MORRISON: Of course they are.
BLITZER: ... really has a conflict. She shouldn't be doing it. They're looking for a special prosecutor. In fact, they say none of the officers involved in their words are responsible for the death of Freddie Gray. Your reaction to that?
MORRISON: Wolf, in all of your years of journalism, being this renowned correspondent, have you ever heard of a police brutality case or a police murder case where the police actually admitted their crimes?
Have they ever, or the Fraternal Order of Police? Have they ever said, yes, I'm a bad police? No. They always deny it. They never do anything wrong, even when caught on camera. So the fact that they want to draw these issues to the state's attorney general and conflict of interest, all more distraction.
We still haven't covered that video that we talked about yesterday, Wolf, where there actually was an injury that took place before the van. No one got charged with that injury. So there's still more to this case. And for them to keep defending their officers, knowing they're dead wrong and Freddie Gray lost his life at 25? I mean, look, when I was 25, I was a high school dropout, three-
time felon. I turned my whole life around to become a productive member of society. They ruined Freddie Gray's whole life. He has no more potential. It's gone. So, even with the justice with criminal acts and an indictment, this young man lost the rest of his future. And that has to be the focus by the police who are here to protect and serve, who are not passionate, compassionate or empathetic to his condition while in that van or while they wrongly arrested him and injured him on the ground before he even got into the van.
MORRISON: This is dead wrong, Wolf. And we got to draw more light to this.
BLITZER: Yes, but Marilyn Mosby, the state's attorney, she said the injuries that actually caused his death occurred inside that van, although, you're absolutely right, we saw him limp basically when they brought him inside that van. We don't know what happened precisely.
But she specifically said that the injuries that eventually caused him to go into a coma and die a few days later occurred -- and she didn't explain all the rationale -- occurred inside that van.
I want to get your quick reaction, Jay, before I let you go, to what a -- the Reverend Jamal Bryant -- he's a pastor from Baltimore. I spoke with him yesterday here in THE SITUATION ROOM. And he said, while it's an exciting day, he said it's actually a sad day when black people have to celebrate the system actually working.
What's your reaction when you hear that?
MORRISON: Well, I echo those sentiments.
The fact that we have to be relieved when finally there's a -- just even an indictment. I mean, officers did not even going to jail. But when an African-American -- really, and all Americans, right? It shouldn't just be a black issue. All of us should be -- should be -- we should be disgusted by the fact that officers who commit these kind of crimes, even like the Rodney Kings and just so many others that we see on camera, and then they get away with it.
And, as Americans, we all should participate in this freedom movement that we're starting it with YMC. Go to joinymc.org. Rally with us. We're talking about freedom and justice for African-American people who are under oppression here in America. Look at the word oppression, right? That's us.
So, we need all the help of all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, of all colors and races, to understand that the American government has been pressing down, has been cruel and unjust towards black people. And it's time for a change.
BLITZER: What do you expect to happen in the coming hours? I know there's still a 10:00 p.m. Eastern time curfew in Baltimore. It's supposed to continue through the weekend. Is that a good idea, a bad idea? Time to get rid of that curfew? What do you think?
MORRISON: It's time to get rid of the curfew. I mean, these people want to go out, have dinner. Again, this is a system controlling who? Black people.
Just like the young kid who smashed a police car, has a $500,000 bail as an 18-year-old. Just like the grandma who was part of the riots who took two things out of the store. The prosecutor asked for a $50,000 bail and the judge gave her $100,000 bail. A grandma.
Just like the father of one, who the prosecutor asked for a $300,000 bail, for having one pair of sneakers with a tag on it on the riot -- excuse me -- the revolution, and they gave him $100,000 bill.
The system consistently oppresses and targets black people. Why? I don't know.
BLITZER: I want to show our viewers a picture of the six police officers being held right now. That's where they're inside the six police officers. They face various charges, assault, second-degree, what's called depraved heart murder, 30 years. Some are facing manslaughter, involuntary, 10 years.
These six police officers being held right now, I assume they're going to be out on bail. What do you think? What do you think about what's going on? When you hear this, Jay, what goes through your mind?
MORRISON: The first thing I want you and all your viewers to pay attention to is watch the bail limits for these six officers committed of assault charges, manslaughter, wrongful arrest. Let's see if their bail is any of those match or exceed a $500,000 bail from a young kid for smashing a window? Let's see that first and foremost.
Second of all they have the right to the process to defend themselves and to go to court and get bail. I have no issue with that. The fact of the matter remains is that those six officers means they their colleagues know what they really happened. They know it's aggressive policing. Everyone in the black community knows how police police us.
It's evident, now our white brothers and sisters are able to see that this happened. We've seen Eric Garner get choke to death on camera, aggressive policing. We see Michael Brown get shot in the head with no weapon on him, aggressive policing. We see Oscar Grant get shot, aggressive policing. I mean, we see Walter Scott get shot in the back running away, aggressive policing.
What the hell else do we need to know that it's the system. It's wrong. It's not coincidences. It's the government system, how it looks at and targets African-Americans. I'm not complaining, stating the facts. Let's change it.
All together, change the system, free black people. We're under oppression here in America. Great country for opportunity. But listen, we didn't ask to be here, we're the only nation here brought here forcefully. Free us, let's get our own independence, sovereignty. Let's do something about this. It's too late, too long.
BLITZER: Jay Morrison is a leader of the YMC Community Coalition -- Jay, thanks very much for joining us. You joined yesterday, you joined us today. We'll have you back next week. I'm sure the story is not going away. Thank you.
MORRISON: Young minds can.
BLITZER: Thank you very much. Young minds, what do you say? Young minds, what?
MORRISON: Young minds can.
BLITZER: Young minds can. The YMC coalition. All right. Thank you.
Just ahead, how was Baltimore's chief prosecutor coping with the enormous pressure and the scrutiny? She's speaking to CNN's Don Lemon about her big moment in the spotlight. That interview coming up.
And can she win a conviction against the officers involved in Gray's arrest? Was there a rush judgment as the police union now claiming? Our legal and law enforcement experts are standing by.
[18:38:27] BLITZER: People are marching in Baltimore right now. A lot of them are celebrating the charges filed against six police officers in connection with the death of Freddie Gray.
Let's check in with Brian Todd, he's marching along with them.
Where are you guys right now, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, several thousand protesters have just turned west on North Avenue. If anything holds from our experience this week, we think that they're probably going to go to the intersection of North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, several blocks west of here. That's where most of the protests have gone on.
These people have really wanted the legacy of Baltimore to be about this, active and energetic civil disobedience, they don't want the legacy to be the violence that happened on Monday. They wanted a victory to celebrate today. They wanted justice. They feel like they've gotten it today, at least temporarily until the case goes to trial.
And we're heading back with them towards the epicenter of these protests, probably towards Pennsylvania and North Avenues, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Brian, we're going to stay on top of this. We'll be with you. We'll check back with you later.
Let's get some more now from former FBI assistant director and CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, our CNN analyst Sunny Hostin, our CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown, our senior local analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and the former NYPD chief of department, Philip Banks.
What's your reaction to what's going on, Chief Banks?
PHILIP BANKS, FORMER NYPD CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT: Well, you know, it's very unfortunate, Wolf, that we had this particular situation. When I say unfortunate, not the fact that you had six police officers who were arrested. If in fact the police officers committed a crime, they should be arrested.
[18:40:02] But you have another unfortunate incident that brings mistrust to the criminal justice department and there are no winners here today.
BLITZER: What does it say, Chief Banks, that three of the six police officers on the dockets listed themselves among their race, as black African-American?
BANKS: You know that's not surprising to me, Wolf, because all of the talks that I've had with people in the community when they have a complaint about how they were being treated, by the police day, if there's a perception of how they were being treated by the police. I never saw in my time with NYPD, that there was any race or persuasion of officers over the other.
So, the fact that they were Latino, African-American Asian, female, it doesn't surprise me at all. I think people complain about the culture of a system. And that's what you're seeing at least the peaceful protest out there today.
BLITZER: Yes, five men among the police officers charged and one woman.
Sunny, you're a former prosecutor. This is by no means, a slam- dunk for the state's attorney, is it?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. It is not. I don't like to say any case of is a slam dunk actually. I think what we did see, which was so unusual, Wolf, was the state's attorney really outlining a case, very, very transparent. That is something that is quite unusual.
So we actually do have a sense of what the evidence is. We don't have a sense of all the evidence. She made it very clear that she wasn't giving us all of the information. But I think it's unusual that we got that much information. And I also think that what was very important in this case is that she made it clear that she hired or weather employed independent investigators and that's why we saw these charges come forth so quickly.
So, obviously, she has a lot of confidence in those investigators, a lot of confidence in this case, because she did move rather quickly.
BLITZER: As you know, Jeffrey Toobin, you're a former prosecutor yourself. Convicting police officers before a jury in cases like this is very difficult. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It is and what makes
the case particularly unusual is that it's not one police officer whose misconduct is at issue. It's a whole group of them.
One thing I think is going to be very important to keep an eye on is if any of them decide to plead guilty to lesser charges and cooperate against the others, there's certainly going to be a lot of effort made in that direction, because the prosecutors are going to need at least one witness to tell the story of what happened, because someone's got to say, what went on in that police van.
Now, sure you can try to prove it through forensic evidence, through autopsy evidence, but it would be much more powerful for a jury if at least one of those officers said, look, I was involved, I did wrong and so are my colleagues.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by. Everyone, stand by.
The marchers are continuing in Baltimore. We'll check back on what's going on in the streets. We'll take a quick break. More right after this.
[18:47:29] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news: large crowds of people gathering in Baltimore. Many of them celebrating the announcement of charges against six police officers involved in the fatal arrest of Freddie Gray.
CNN's Don Lemon is in Baltimore for us.
Don, you had a chance to sit down with the Baltimore City state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, right after she announced the charges.
Update our viewers, what did she tell you?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Wolf, it was fortuitous, because we had the interview scheduled before she announced the press conference this morning. Then, when she announced, we thought we would be the first interview after she had the press conference. So, I was very happy that I got to do that.
She is a very competent woman at this point. And what I wanted to know -- can you -- can you imagine being the youngest prosecutor in, you know, in the United States, one of the youngest prosecutors in a major city in the United States, and then having the whole world watching you, just four months after you got the job? Now you have this.
Here's what she said about being confident about her investigation and being in the spotlight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: This has been a really important -- it's been a tough time for you. You are in the spotlight under the microscope. MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE STATE'S ATTORNEY: I don't think it's
tough. The people of Baltimore voted for me to do my job and to carry out justice and that's what I'm going to do as the state's attorney for Baltimore city.
LEMON: Let's talk about what's happening now, what you just did. You just completed. Your investigation has left you with no doubt that these six officers are responsible for Freddie Gray's death?
MOSBY: I can't really get into the specifics of the case, but as a prosecutor, you should not bring charges if you don't believe that you have probable cause that these individuals are responsible for the charges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: She says her job as a prosecutor is not to -- she doesn't want to have a bunch of convictions under her belt, Wolf. She said what she wants is to seek justice in all of the cases that she does, and that people should have confidence in her, that this case will be handled professionally and accurately and of course they will do it as quickly as possible. Most of all, she wants to do it accurately and she wants to seek justice.
BLITZER: And we're watching these protesters, the demonstrators, the marchers continue.
Don, there's no doubt, though, that she has a personal stake in this. She comes from a long line of law enforcement.
LEMON: She does. She has uncles, relatives, cousins, even her grandfather was one of the founding officers of a black police officers association in Boston.
[18:50:00] She talked about losing him recently in her press conference. She also talked about her -- to me, her 17-year-old cousin, when Marilyn Mosby was just 14, she lost her cousin. It was mistaken identity. Someone mistook her as a drug dealer and her cousin died. It was her best friend. They were on the same track, they were going to school together, planning to go to college to get into law enforcement.
And after she lost her cousin, she said that really inspired her -- really inspired her to become a prosecutor.
BLITZER: Don is going to be back later tonight with more of the breaking news from Baltimore, special edition of his program, "CNN TONIGHT", 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
Don, we'll be watching the full interview with the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby. That's coming up.
Plus, a second interview that Don did with the other passenger, the other prisoner that was taken in the van with Freddie Gray. Much more on that coming up.
An important note to our viewers as well: for more on the ways you can help the people in Baltimore right now, go to CNN.com/impact.
More breaking news coming up as we follow these rallies.
[18:55:46] BLITZER: We're back with the breaking news. Rallies in Baltimore after six police officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray.
We're also watching demonstrations in New York, in Seattle. There are shows of support for Baltimore as well as May Day protests of racial and economic inequality.
Right now, we want to follow up on a story that touched on financial disparity right here in the nation's capital. Our chief correspondent Dana Bash is here with us.
Dana, I want you to update our viewers on what's going on.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, the events in Baltimore have really focused on disparity in the inner cities, poverty, but also shining the light on the inequity. And one congressman noted on CNN's "NEW DAY" this week that it's happening right under the lawmakers' nose, it's here in Washington. And he cited our story of a homeless man who works in the Capitol.
Others are noticing it too, including one using his fame to help.
BASH (voice-over): Nathan Morris made millions in the band Boyz II Men. But he struggled growing up.
NATHAN MORRIS, MUSIC STAR: I grew up in the bad neighborhoods. You know, my mom did the best she could.
BASH: That's when he saw our profile on CNN about Charles Gladden, a homeless man who sleeps on the streets at night but serves senators by day in the Capitol cafeteria, it struck a deep nerve.
MORRIS: It bothered me that someone in Charles' situation would have to deal with something like this.
BASH: So, he acted, starting a crowdfunding site to raise money for Gladden, saying if he could raise $10,000 online, he'd kick in another $10,000 as a start.
Then he came to D.C. from his hometown of Philadelphia just to meet Charles Gladden.
MORRIS: How are you, sir?
CHARLES GLADDEN, HOMELESS: I'm good, man.
MORRIS: Good to see you, man.
GLADDEN: I'm glad --
MORRIS: Appreciate you, sir.
It killed me to hear the story. I had to come up here. I had to see you, I had to meet you and I had to pool all of my resources in to try to help you, man.
BASH: He took out his phone to show people how much Gladden had already donated.
MORRIS: $21,137 and still going. And these are just people giving in their kindness of their heart.
BASH: Morris says his first priority is getting Gladden off the street, perhaps to a halfway house.
MORRIS: Trying to take some of the burden off of him having to worry about where he's going to sleep at night.
GLADDEN: Got a lot of workers in there that has a problem, people losing their homes and can't keep up their mortgage because they're not making enough money.
BASH: Once reluctant to talk about being homeless, he's now eager to share his story.
GLADDEN: I sleep up at the subway up on 14th Street about a couple of blocks from the White House.
BASH: Hoping it helps colleagues in less dire circumstances but still struggling. They want the private contractor that runs Senate restaurants to raise their pay to a minimum of $15 an hour.
MORRIS: There's no reason that you should feel disgraced in this company. The people in there making the laws, that's a disgrace.
BASH: Like his new Boyz II Men friend, Charles is quite talented, an artist and it turns out a singer.
GLADDEN (singer): I love you, I love you so madly --
GLADDEN: -- without you I can't go on --
MORRIS: We might have to get us another member.
BASH: Now, the contract with the private company that runs Senate restaurants expires at the end of this year. Sources tell me that senators are already in negotiations to reup with that very company. And now, Wolf, Democrats on the committee that's in charge with this, they are pushing the Republican chairman to demand at least that this company gives a minimum of $15 an hour to its workers. Right now, they make little more than $10 at least as a bare minimum.
BLITZER: Did a good deed. Thanks for reporting that story to us. Dana Bash, reporting.
We're continuing also to keep a close watch on the demonstrations from Baltimore and other cities right now. We're getting fresh reaction to the criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. You're looking at live pictures coming in from Baltimore right now. They're moving so far so good peacefully, they're moving along. We're going to continue to watch what's going on obviously throughout the night.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
CNN's live coverage continues right now with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT".