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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
No Charges Against Wisconsin Police Officer. Aired 16-16:30p ET
Aired May 12, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISMAEL OZANNE, DANE COUNTY, WISCONSIN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Tony is going crazy. He took shrooms or some type of drugs.
Caller said he couldn't talk to Tony. He couldn't get through to him. Tony is acting insane right now, and it is scaring the caller.
The second call came in at 6:31 p.m. It was reported that a man was attacking pedestrians and had punched the caller in the face. The attacker was light-skinned, not wearing a shirt at this time, which description fit that of Tony Robinson Jr.
The incident occurred near 1125 Williamson Street across from the gas station. The third call came in at 6:32 p.m. It was reported the caller was at the gas station when Tony Robinson Jr. was screaming across the street. He said Tony was acting kind of crazy and then came up to him and tried to choke him.
But he was able to get Tony off of him. Tony was also seen trying to assault two people on the sidewalk. Tony had his shirt off and was roaming around blocking traffic. Tony was then seen trying to break into 1125 Williamson Street, Apartment Number Two. Each of the callers were interviewed and confirmed the information they had reported in their 911 calls.
Dispatch conveyed the general information from the calls to officer Kenny. That was that there were three possible victims. Tony Robinson was a male black, light-skinned, jumping in front of cars, no weapons and seems to have entered 1125 Williamson Street upstairs apartment. This was conveyed by officer Kenny through radio transmission.
Information was also sent to officer Kenny's mobile data computer. That information was that the caller was not aware of any weapons. They're assuming Tony Robinson took shrooms or some other drug today. Tony had punched another of their friends. Tony is 19 years old and lives in McFarland.
He was chasing the caller's car. Tony Robinson Jr. is outside yelling and jumping in front of cars, said he is tweaking, male black, light-skinned, and tan jacket.
The first caller also gave a statement with more detail regarding contact and observations of Tony Robinson Jr. in his apartment prior to the 911 call at 6:28 p.m. He witnessed Tony damage a wall in one of the bedrooms and blinds in the kitchen. He observed Tony speaking to Tony's father or others who were not present.
Tony's behavior was aggressive, violent. And he feared for his safety and that of others as well, and for the safety of Tony Robinson Jr. He also indicated that he locked the apartment door, as everyone moved outside, and that he and his brother were the only people with keys to the upstairs apartment.
Follow-up with this resident revealed that the damage to the wall in the bedrooms was much greater than what had been witnessed prior to him leaving the apartment the first time and locking the door. The exterior door to Apartment Number Two frame was not damaged prior to the first 911 call.
But crime lab photos reveal damage to the door frame was present and the deadbolt was still engaged on March 6. There was also damage to the right side of the stairwell near the eighth step up. There was 12 steps total. And this damage was not present when the resident had left Apartment Number Two, locking the door behind him.
Interviews with those present in the downstairs apartment indicated that they also heard a disturbance which sounded like a fight occurring in the upstairs apartment approximately 30 or 40 minutes prior to the shooting.
Neighbors in the downstairs apartment later heard what they believed to be the door to Apartment Number Two being forced open and a person going upstairs. Approximately five minutes prior to the shooting, they also heard what they considered to be another fight and that just before the shots were fired, there was a sound of someone coming down the stairs.
Now, the interviews of other independent citizen witnesses confirm Robinson was seen running into a moving car, jumping in front of another moving car in traffic. Robinson was witnessed jumping on the customer at the gas station, as well as observed punching the pedestrian on the sidewalk.
Now, according to reports from Tony's friends, later confirmed by toxicology reports, we know that Tony Robinson had used control substances, to include psilocybin mushrooms, or shrooms, THC, or marijuana, and Xanax.
Next, a review of officer Kenny's squad video and another officer's audio recording revealed the following evidence. Officer Kenny is observed walking up the driveway, checking around the back corner of 1125 Williamson Street, prior to approaching the entrance of Apartment Number Two. He is observed speaking into his radio, then reaching for his firearm before entering Apartment Number Two.
From the video, it does not appear as if officer Kenny had to open the door. Officer Kenny is inside the residence for approximately 20 seconds, before he reappears exiting the residence in a backwards motion, appearing to almost lose his balance. At this time, he is seen firing one shot while outside the residence.
Tony Robinson's feet appear almost instantly in the doorway after officer Kenny is seen exiting the residence. The audio recording from a responding officer captured the sound of seven shots fired in approximately three seconds, three shots, followed by three shots, followed by one shot.
There were seven shots fired. All seven shots hit Tony Robinson Jr. at close range. This was confirmed on autopsy. All bullets hit Robinson from front to back. There were seven casings which were recovered from the scene, and I believe it is reasonable to conclude all shots had to have been fired near the bottom of the stairs.
All shots were fired within three seconds' time span and all shots hit Tony Robinson from front to back. Now, officer Kenny's statement indicates, when he exited his squad, he could hear sounds of a disturbance, sounds of the disturbance seemed to be coming from the upstairs apartment.
He went around the corner of the house to verify where the sounds were coming from. The sounds were coming from the upstairs apartment. He heard incoherent yelling and screaming. When he got closer to the stairwell, he could hear yelling and what sounded like a fist hitting something and items being thrown or breaking.
He heard someone say, "What are you going to do now, expletive"? He indicated he believed Tony Robinson was the person he was looking for and was upstairs possibly assaulting someone else. He radioed dispatch that he was going in and upstairs.
As he went in, he drew his firearm. He indicated he could hear thumping, smacking sounds, and yelling which was incoherent. As he got to within a few steps of the top of the stairs, he yelled, "Madison Police." There was then silence and someone yelled, "Well, the police are here."
He said Tony Robinson immediately turned the corner and struck him with a closed fist on the left side of his head, knocking him back and into the wall on his right. He struck the wall with the right side of his body and the right side of his head. This is consistent with the discovery of fresh damage to the drywall on the right side of the stair near the eighth step.
He stated that Tony Robinson continued to aggress towards him, swinging at him. He indicated he was rocked back and was losing balance on the stairs. He indicated he was afraid he would be struck again and lose consciousness or hit his head falling backwards on the stairs, and that his firearm would be taken and used to shoot him and possibly the other person in the apartment.
He indicated he shot two strings of fire. The first was three rounds. The second was two or three rounds. He did not know how he got to the bottom of the stairs. He retreated five or six steps away from the door and yelled, "Don't move." At this time, he did not see anything in Tony Robinson Jr.'s
hands or his waistband. Tony Robinson Jr. was still conscious. He radioed shots fired and requested an ambulance. He directed another officer upstairs, believing someone was still upstairs. He began rendering aid to Tony Robinson until paramedics were able to take over.
I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force, and that no charges should be brought against officer Kenny in the death of Tony Robinson Jr.
I am concerned that recent violence around our nation is giving some in our communities a justification for fear, hatred and violence. I am reminded that true and lasting change does not come from violence, but from exercising our voices and our votes.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, violence brings only temporary change. Violence, by creating many more social problems than it solves, never brings permanent peace.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
I'm in -- welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'm in New Hampshire.
You were just hearing from the district attorney in Dane County. That's Madison, Wisconsin. His name is Ismael Ozanne. He was announcing his decision to not charge a police officer in the shooting death of unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson.
Let's get right to CNN's Ryan Young. He's live in Madison, Wisconsin -- Ryan.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we are right across the street from where that shooting happened. I can tell you, across the street, you can see that group of people over there. They are a group of faith leaders and communities members who arrived here to listen to this and watch it together. And, of course, a lot of them have their phones. They've been streaming this and they've been watching it.
When that announcement was made, they didn't even make a noise. What we're told is there will be a march sometime soon. There will be one tomorrow. But there's talk tonight about a march to the capital.
I want to set this up for you. This is the street where Tony Robinson was apparently coming down that night. And several 911 phone calls came in.
We're actually standing at the gas station where there was surveillance video of some of the interaction that you just heard about. The fact that there were people walking down the street and Tony Robinson according to the report attacked some of the people walking up and down the street. And it's at that apartment right there that the officer decided
to try to confront Tony Robinson. When he got on the inside of the apartment, he was hit in the head and then he fired those shots. Now, you heard for the first time, seven shots were fired, first three shots and then another three shots.
As we get the details, of course we're putting this together and make and open records request to see the evidence for ourselves. Now we know there is dash cam video of the scene -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Ryan Young in Madison, Wisconsin -- thank you so much.
Let's talk about this decision with CNN legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin, joins us, as well as criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos.
Sunny, let me start with you. What do you think about this decision to not bring charges based on what you heard in painstaking detail from the district attorney? Do you understand the decision he made?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I certainly understand the decision, Jake. I think that many people in the legal community that have been watching this case aren't necessarily surprised by this decision. If you look at this district attorney's history, he's had seven cases involving fatal shootings by police. He found all 13 officers involved in those shootings were justified in the use of deadly force.
What I am surprised at is the detail with which he described his investigation. That is something that is very unusual. I'm calling it the Mosby effect. We saw it with Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore and now we're seeing it again.
Perhaps is the move of transparency that many protesters have been asking for. I'm certain this is not the result that perhaps many people wanted. But I think certainly the transparency that we are seeing is a move in the right direction. Surprising detail, yes. The decision, given what he has outlined, is not unusual.
TAPPER: Danny, let me get your reaction to the district attorney's announcement. I think a lot of people in Madison probably disappointed with the fact that in this another shooting of a police officer killing an unarmed young African-American man. There are not going to be any charges.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Given Wisconsin's law of disclosure, I'm surprised that he chose to go into that level of detail about his reasons for not prosecuting because those records would have been released to the public anyway.
But as you listen to his speech, as you listen to his announcement, in the beginning, he spent a lot of time discussing things that had nothing at all to do with this case, but instead about his own personal experiences in race and his belief that race is still an issue in law enforcement today. Which I think legal observers would agree sort of laid the foundation or laid the ground work for an announcement of no prosecution.
And sure enough when he announced that the would not be prosecuting, that became less of a surprise than it might have been before that initial prelude, the discussion of how he acknowledges that race is an issue in America today. However, I decline to prosecute.
TAPPER: All right. Danny, Sunny Hostin, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Our world lead today, it's one of the most horrific days in U.S. history, September 11th, 2001. And now, an alarming admission from the former number two at the CIA that if the U.S. government does not take the proper steps to stop ISIS, ISIS could pull off an attack right here at home with equally devastating consequences.
The man who issued that warning, Michael Morell, former deputy CIA director, will join me next.
[16:24:04] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper live in beautiful Manchester, New Hampshire, by the banks of the Merrimack River. We're going to have my interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in this first in the nation primary state coming up.
But, first, let's turn to our world leaving lead and an ominous warning that the terrorist group ISIS could carry out a 9/11 style attack against the United States unless the terrorist group is brought under control. This warning comes not from a politician from either side of the political fence, but from Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA who spent much of his 33-year career trying to protect the American people from terrorists, held bent on waging jihad abroad and here in the United States.
He is joining us, with a new book titled "The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism from al Qaeda to ISIS."
Mike Morell, thanks so much for joining us.
So, that's a very scary proposition -- the notion that ISIS could launch a 9/11 style attack on the U.S.
[16:25:06] Does ISIS do you think have the capability currently to undertake a large scale attack like that here in the homeland?
MIKE MORELL, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Jake, first of all, it's great to be with you.
To answer your question, today I think ISIS poses two threats to the homeland. One is the self-radicalization that its social media is doing of young men and young women here that resulted, for example, in the Texas attack last week. I think the other is they have the ability to direct individuals to conduct small scale attacks. So, not a 9/11 style attack today, but I am absolutely convinced that looking at the al Qaeda model in Afghanistan, I'm absolutely convinced that if ISIS is allowed to have safe haven in Iraq and Syria over the long term, they will eventually pose that kind of threat to our homeland, the same kind we saw on 9/11.
TAPPER: Mike, what keeps you up at night? What are you most worried about as somebody who knows all of the threats that this nation faces?
MORELL: So, I think, Jake, at the top of the list is a terrorist group with access to weapons of mass destruction. And it is not -- that is not farfetched. You know, we had -- we knew for certain that Osama bin Laden was meeting with the Pakistani nuclear scientist to try to get his hands on a nuclear weapon. We knew that al Qaeda prior to 9/11 was working on anthrax. A number of different terrorists groups have shown an interest in weapons of massive destruction. ISIS talked about getting his hands on weapons of mass destruction.
So, that would be the nightmare scenario, you know, a terrorist attack here in the United States, here in New York, another major city that involved either chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
TAPPER: You write in your book about a number of things that the CIA did right, a number of things that the CIA got wrong. One of them of course is about weapons of mass destruction which you said CIA analysts didn't approach with the same rigor that it approached other challenges, another analyses. What does the CIA need to do its job better than it has done his job over the last decade?
MORELL: So, Jake, I think one of the critical pieces for getting the story right for the president of the United States is clandestine collection of secrets, right, against the hardest targets. Against Iran, against North Korea, against proliferation networks, against terrorists networks, is getting those secrets that then the analysts are able to knit together for the president.
One of the problems with our analysis on Iraq WMD is we didn't have very much information. We did not penetrate the inner circle of Saddam Hussein to understand what he was doing. So, it really starts with great spy work and penetrating those hardest targets and getting those secrets so we can tell the president of the United States what's really going on.
TAPPER: I want to ask you about this new report from Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who is claiming in a new story that the details of the raid and the killing of Osama bin Laden released by the White House and the Obama administration were false. Specifically, one thing I want to ask you about is NBC says they've confirmed one part of the story, that the U.S. was tipped off to bin Laden's location by a walk-in. Somebody from Pakistani intelligence or the government years before the mission was launched. Is there any truth to that part of Hersh's story? MORELL: So, Jake, we get walk-ins, right, people walking in to
U.S. embassies overseas on a daily basis trying to tell us information that they think is important. They're trying to get money from us. And I can't tell you that somebody didn't walk into a station somewhere and say, I know where Osama bin Laden is.
But I can guarantee you that no walk-in ever provided information that actually led us to Osama bin Laden. The way we got to him was by following the courier, from Peshawar, to Abbottabad, finding his residence and watching that residence over a period of months. That's how we found him. Not from somebody walking in and certainly not from a Pakistani official telling us and us paying him $25 million.
TAPPER: All right. Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell, thank you so much for your valuable insight, for your service. And, of course, it was a very interesting to read your book. Good luck with that.
MORELL: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Next in Nepal, you can see the panicked look on people's faces as they're trying desperately to get to safety as another earthquake rocks the country. We'll go live to Nepal next, to the center of the damage. That's coming up.