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Police: Suitcase Now Part of Plane Debris Probe; More Debris of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Found; Passengers' Relatives Skeptical Over Debris Discovery; $1 Million Bond for Ex-Officer Accused of Murder. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 30, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00: 09] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Happening now, breaking news. Growing confidence, Boeing investigators now said to believe that a plane part that washed ashore on a remote island is from one of their 777 jets. And now the discovery of a suitcase nearby is officially part of the investigation. Are these remnants of Malaysia Flight 370?
On the scene, CNN is lived on Reunion Island even before investigators arrive. We're talking to people searching on and offshore for more debris. Will more plane parts be found?
Million dollar bond. A white former police officers pleading not guilty to murder charges in the shooting death of an African-American man. Tonight, new video of the deadly confrontation. Could it possibly exonerate him?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER (on camera): We're following breaking news, the investigation into the plane part that washed up on a Reunion Island outpost in the Indian Ocean. Now new debris has been located, remnants of a suitcase that washed ashore this morning. Police say it's now officially a part of the investigation as officials try to determine if wreckage from Malaysia Flight 370 has finally been located.
And there are now growing indications that may in fact be the case. Sources now telling CNN Boeing investigators are confident the wing component, called a flaperon, is from a 777 j like the MH-370 jet, because the number you see in this picture from the Reunion Island newspaper corresponds to one of the jet's components.
We're covering the breaking news and much more this hour with our correspondents in key locations, our expert guests, and our special analysts.
First, let's go to our aviation correspondent Richard Quest, who begins our coverage with the very latest. Richard, what are you hearing?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we now know pretty much that it's part of a 777 flaperon. We don't know still if it's the MH-370 flaperon. We're waiting for that piece to be confirmed. It's being transported to Paris over the next couple days, where it will be looked at by the French investigators.
And just as soon as we thought this one was being sorted out, now this real question about a suitcase. Could this suitcase also have come from MH-370? A piece of debris washed up on the western side of the Indian Ocean, and now questionable whether it's from the missing plane.
QUEST (voice-over): Tonight sources tell CNN there's mounting evidence that this debris found washed ashore on a remote island in the Indian Ocean is a critical part of a Boeing 777 wings, the same type of plane as the missing MH-370 aircraft.
WARREN TRUSS, AUSTRALIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: It's the first real evidence that there is a possibility that a part of the aircraft may have been found. It's too early to make that judgment, but clearly we are treating this as a major lead.
QUEST: While investigators still won't say officially if the 7 1/2- foot-long piece of wing, the first tangible clue in more than a year of this mystery, is from the doomed flight, sources inside the investigates tells CNN the plane's maker it just may be.
This photo, published by a local news website on Reunion Island, appears to show a code painted on the inside of the debris. In the Boeing 777's service manual, that code number, 657BB, corresponds to the flaperon on the right wing of a 777. And experts say that is the very part which is the same size and shape as the piece found washed ashore. It's the same part that's been found capable of floating, and tonight investigators are on their way to the remote island to take custody of the piece and begin examining it.
Sources say one thing they'll be looking at is the condition of the wing.
LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: It might tell whether the airplane was banking left, banking right, and the impact, and dents may -- may lend some clues to the accident investigators.
QUEST: Investigators are now also mapping where it was found, we believe, approximately 2,300 miles from the area where Australian search teams have been focusing. Everyone's trying to see if they are searching in the right place, or if months of efforts have been wasted.
PROF. ARNOLD GORDON, OCEANOGRAPHER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: The ocean currents from the expected area, west of Australia, to Reunion Island, sort of head right towards that region.
[17:00:00] And once it gets close to Reunion Island, the wave field around an island like that will carry it to the shore.
QUEST: CNN has learned marine biologists are also analyzing photos of these barnacles found on the debris. They're doing so to determine how long that piece may have been in the water and where it may have been come from.
All in all, there's no confirmed link with any of this to MH-370, not yet, but the goal in the days ahead is to make that connection and help the families get some form of closure.
QUEST (on camera): There's no doubt, Wolf, that they will be able to identify quickly whether or not -- it's just a question of time -- whether this flaperon is MH-370 or not. There's no doubt about that. The suitcase is much more challenging as to identify whether that came from the missing plane. That's going to be a real job for them to do.
And then there's the final question -- is there more debris out there. And that, of course, relies on the tides, the currents, and the time.
BLITZER: Richard, I want you to stand by because we have other information that's also coming in, but I quickly want to bring in our meteorologist Jennifer Gray.
Jennifer, this debris washing up, as Richard said, more than 2,000 miles from the Flight 370 search area, could ocean currents actually have moved it that far?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, absolutely, Wolf. You know, we've been talking about these gyres, the North Pacific -- there's a North Pacific gyre, but if we spin the world around, you can see the Indian Ocean gyre. And this is the one that the debris would be flowing within, and you can see that counter-clockwise motion that the Indian Ocean gyre is.
Now, we'll zoom in just a little bit because you can see the search area and you can see where all of this -- or this debris, rather, has shown up. So it's very complicated, because this is the general flow of this gyre, but within it there are very tiny eddies, very small currents, and so things could actually drift within it for long periods of time, years even. The stronger currents on the outside, but look, I'll stand within the gyre, and you can see these very, very small lines, some of them barely moving. And so things can get washed and sloshed around this for a very long time. However, it is possible that something were to start on the Australian coast and end up in Africa. Apparently that's exactly the way it would flow from west to -- or from east to west, rather, and end up possibly off the coast of Africa.
BLITZER: Fascinating stuff. All right, Jennifer, thank you.
I want to get more insight right now. Joining us, once again our aviation correspondent Richard Quest, along with former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes and Peter Goelz, former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board. Also joining us, our aviation analyst, Miles O'Brien.
Richard, quickly back to you. There's new debris, appears to resemble the suitcase you were talking about, now officially part of the investigation. How crucial potentially is this suitcase?
QUEST: If they can link it to MH-370, it's just another piece of the jigsaw. It's not as significant, in my view, as the flaperon, because it won't necessarily show you the same tear structures and the same sort of waves and forces to put upon it. But it's another part in this mystery of aviation that gives closure, but we're a long way -- I think the suitcase, we are some way, and it will not be easy to prove this one.
BLITZER: Miles, I want to once again keep showing our viewers a picture of that suitcase. The condition of it could be significant in terms of determining what's going on, right?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, that's true, Wolf. There have been some reports that there was evidence in that suitcase perhaps that it had been burned. And tat would obviously be very significant. But if it can't be links in any definitive way to MH-370 with a bag tag or some sort of identification, we can only assume it fell off a cruise ship or something like that. So we shouldn't go down the road on this red herring just yet. However, it's time to be looking in that part of the world, doing some beach combing, and looking in the water to see if there's any other debris, for sure.
BLITZER: Peter ,if they do have a chance to take a look inside that suitcase, really examine it, there's potentially going to be some information in there if in fact it came from that plane.
PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Sure. The most important is what Miles pointed out. If there's any evidence of fire or explosion or soot that's still there, that would be critical. But I think I agree with both Richard and Miles, this is a real long shot to tie this suitcase to the aircraft unless there is a definitive piece of evidence inside.
BLITZER: What's more intriguing, Tom, is that first you find what possibly is the flaperon of the plane, and then a suitcase possibly from the plane.
[17:10:02] I assume they're going to be finding more stuff on this Reunion Island, or not that far away, if in fact both of these initial pieces of debris are indeed genuine.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's true. If it's part of the plane or came from the plane, there will be more, more than likely. But as far as the suitcase itself, if it doesn't have the obvious thing of luggage tags that survived being in the ocean, they get inside of it, does it have a hairbrush? Is it possible to still extract DNA that could be matched to a passenger on that aircraft? So that's still a possibility, that could be evidentiary material linking it directly to the flight.
BLITZER: But if you take a look at it, Miles, you see there's really not much of it left there of that suitcase. I'm sure forensic experts are going to have some clues if in fact it came from the plane, but it doesn't look like much.
Miles, the serial number, that's what they really want to find on this flaperon, right?
FUENTES: Well, Wolf, I would put it at a very high probability right now that this is a piece of MH-370. After all, there's not another 777 missing out there in the Indian Ocean. We know this is a part from a 777. But it's very important to dot "i"s and cross "t"s for the families and for everyone else, and to ensure that this serial number does in fact match the aircraft. And of course every part of that plane is cataloged in the maintenance records; it just takes a little bit paperwork to go through hit all and go through the pedigree, if you will, of that part. And so it's just a matter of time.
BLITZER: Well, Richard, on the flaperon, a healthy flaperon, a real flaperon, the serial number is on a metal strip that's attached there. In this particular flaperon, it's gone, presumably destroyed. What does that say to you?
QUEST: Nothing really. It's been in the water for that length. I mean, one could make a case for saying it was ripped off as it went into the water, the impact, whatever took place. One could make an argument for that, but it would just be sheer, unadulterated speculation about that.
Much more significance is looking at the structures of the flaperon. I'm with my colleagues on all of this. It's pretty hard to see how this doesn't come from MH-370. I'll keep an open mind, but it's heading in that direction. And, really, you're looking to see the nature of the barnacles, the depth of them, the integrity of them, the strength of what was ripped off where and how. And that will give them a lot of valuable information.
It doesn't -- I said this last night and I sort of had to go around in circles a bit, Wolf, but it doesn't tell them any more about where the plane currently is. That, I can't keep emphasizing that. At the moment, merely having the flaperon doesn't advance the search, per se.
BLITZER: And Peter, that's why they presumably are hoping they'll find more debris in the coming days, presumably near this island of Reunion, not far from Madagascar, right?
GOELZ: That's right. I think they're going to go comb the beaches along the Reunion Island, any adjoining atolls, and they're going to put some boats out to sea around Reunion to see if there is anything else out there. They have to. Because this thing cannot stay unknown.
BLITZER: I assume, though, Miles, there are teams of experts combing those beaches now on Reunion, helicopters flying around. It's pretty remote, as you and I know, but it's obviously a potential source for good information. O'BRIEN: Yes, I think the more debris you find, the better, but I do
-- I want to take up a quick issue with Mr. Quest on this. I've been looking carefully at this damage all day today. And if you look at the leading edge of that flaperon, it's almost perfect. It's not damaged whatsoever. The trailing edge, however, looks like paper that has been torn. I've been talking to some engineers and mechanics about this and they believe that is evidence that it was fluttering in the air and fell apart from the aircraft at altitude during a high- speed dive. Whereas if it had hit the water, there would be damage to the leading edge, and it wouldn't have that kind of tearing effect.
Now that is crucial, because what that tells you is that it's probably very close to the so-called seventh arc. It didn't fly onward, as a lot of people have suggested might have occurred. So I think this helps refine the search significantly. And I think once the experts take a look at this damage I think they might bear this out, that this actually fell off at altitude.
BLITZER: So what does that mean? When you say refine the search significantly, Miles, what do you mean by that?
O'BRIEN: Well, the question has always been did it glide for some dance past the so-called seventh arc, the last blip, if you will. In this case, if it was diving straight down, the data you get from Immarsat puts it much more closely to that arc on the map. You might have to go a little bit farther to the south or north but you can stay on that arc with some degree of assurance that it is there as opposed to something that glided further.
[17:15:09] BLITZER: Richard, what do you -- what do you think?
QUEST: Oh, I'm with Miles on this for most of what he says, except in one crucial respect. They're already looking in that part. They're already looking over the seventh arc.
And yes, Miles, you're absolutely right, of course. The modeling in the update from the NTSB does have the plane looking at a 40-mile radius, and all that sort of stuff. But they're already there. And what I wonder is, what does this tell you? If you're already looking in that place on the seventh arc, at the most likely destination, what more does that tell you?
O'BRIEN: Well, I think if you're on that -- I think if you're on that boat in the high seas in the middle of the winter in the southern Indian Ocean, it makes you feel a little bit better about where you are. That's really something.
BLITZER: Tom, you want to take a quick...
FUENTES: Yes. Don't dismiss the luggage so quickly. Because if that's a piece of luggage that was in a forward cargo hold. And it was in the interior of the plane. That means that the air inside that plane, if there was fire or chemicals inside that plane, the luggage might have evidence of that. That outer flaperon will not have evidence of what was going on inside the air in that plane.
BLITZER: And we know that piece of luggage washed ashore just recently, in the last day or so, so it's obviously potentially significant. They're taking a close look at that.
I want everybody to stand by. We're following the breaking news here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Up next we'll also go live to Reunion Island, where the debris washed ashore. CNN is there, as this dramatic new chapter unfolds in the search for MH-370.
[17:21:14] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Police on Reunion Island say that a suitcase that washed ashore today is now officially part of the investigation into an airplane part discovered yesterday. Sources telling CNN that Boeing investigators are now confident the part, called a flaperon, is from a 777, like Malaysia Flight 370, which is the only plane of its kind in the world unaccounted for.
Let's go to our senior international correspondent, Nima Elbagir. She's on Reunion Island for us.
First of all, Nima, what are you finding out about this suitcase?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, authorities are including it in part -- as part of their broader investigation. They're being very careful to describe it as appearing to resemble the remnants of a suitcase. They really don't want to give anyone any unfounded hope as yet, but they're treating it very seriously.
Especially as it seems to give credence to this broader theory of a current pattern, a consistent current pattern that is bringing this debris from further afield, coming as it does the day after the plane debris made its way to shore.
And what's been really extraordinary as far as the investigators are concerned, is not only that this debris made its way to shore but also that so much of the crucial evidence surrounding this debris is still intact. It's not just the debris itself. It's also the barnacles, the sea life that's on this.
And that is down to one man. We spoke to the man who found that initial plane debris, and while his colleagues, as part of the beach clean-up crew, had been starting to scrape much of the barnacles and plant life off this plane debris, he actually told them to stop. This is what he told them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY BEGUE, FOUND DEBRIS (through translation): I thought perhaps it's from plane crash, so I said don't touch it anymore. Because if it's a plane crash, then people died, and you have to have respect for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: Absolutely extraordinary that that was the first thing that came to his mind. Because of him, now investigators have much more to work with. They're hoping that that evidence will be making its way to Toulouse, but we still don't have confirmation as to whether it is on its way to them or whether they're going to try and get here and see as much as they can here on the ground, Wolf.
BLITZER: Nima, describe what's going on, on the ground over there, especially the beaches. Are there a lot of people walking the beaches, looking for more wreckage, helicopters flying around, search off the coast of Reunion? What's going on?
ELBAGIR: Well, so many people here are trying to take part in this. They really do hope that they can be part of some kind of closure for these families. The local people, police officials, some of the intelligence services have been taking part in this. There have been a lot of low-flying flights by the helicopters services, really scanning the shore, hoping that whatever it was, whatever current was that brought those two initial floats of debris onto this beach, that it might bring more. And they want to make sure that they get to it as soon as possible.
But this is a tiny little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The infrastructure really isn't there yet. And that's a balancing act. Whether there is enough here now to pull into play a broader search, or whether they need to wait and see what else they can find and risk losing time on this, Wolf.
BLITZER: Nima, thanks very much. If you get more information, please share it with us immediately. Nima Elbagir is on Reunion Island for us.
Let's get some more, though, from the search right now. Joining us, the oceanographer, climate scientist Eric Van Sebille. He's a lecturer at Imperial College in London.
Eric, thanks for joining us. What's your take on the new debris that has been found, potentially the suitcase?
ERIC VAN SEBILLE, OCEANOGRAPHER/CLIMATE SCIENTIST: Well, I would say it's very remarkable if two pieces of debris actually end up on the same beach. So the way that the ocean currents work is that they're very chaotic. Yes, there's this big-scale pattern going from east to west, as you've covered just ago. But on top of that there's all the eddies; there's all the vortices; there's all the mixing.
And we know from our experiments that we do as oceanographers, if you put two pieces of debris in the ocean just a few feet away, by the time that you're one and a half years later, they might have dispersed hundreds of miles. And they might be separated by hundreds of miles.
What's even more, of course, is that the windage on a flaperon might be very different from the windage on a suitcase. They didn't -- they just behave differently in the ocean. So I would think it would be extraordinary if two very different pieces of debris that start their journey one and a half years ago stay so close together.
BLITZER: If both of these pieces of debris are from Flight 370, would that suggest to you that there's more debris not too far away?
VAN SEBILLE: Well, if they both are, then -- then maybe yes. Then, apparently, it might have been caught in what we call an eddy, and that eddy might have carried stuff kind of coherently all the way across the ocean.
But really all our modeling, all our model theories, our oceanographic theories say that this is a very, very large debris field that we are looking at, and one of these debris ending up on a beach is certainly possible. Two of them would be very remarkable.
BLITZER: How hard will it be for investigators, Eric, to determine where this debris came from, what, at 17 months or so since the crash.
VAN SEBILLE: Absolutely. So what they want to do now is essentially reverse time. They want to have as best an understanding of the ocean currents over the last 1/2 years, and they basically want to track back where you are 1 1/2 years ago if you end up in -- in Reunion Island.
The problem is again, because of all these eddies, again, because of all this turbulence, this chaos, this is not something that you can just draw down one line. It's actually clouds, and it becomes bigger and bigger, over time the uncertainty really adds up, and you end up with a few hundred miles of uncertainty.
BLITZER: Eric Van Sebille joining us from London. Eric, thank you.
Coming up, the families of the 239 people who vanished with Malaysia Flight 370, how are they reacting to these dramatic new developments?
Plus, a closer look -- what clues might that debris hold to the fate of this missing plane?
[17:32:07] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're following the breaking news in the reenergized investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Now debris that appears to be a torn suitcase washed ashore today on a remote island off Africa. The same island where an apparent plane part also turned up.
Our aviation correspond Rene Marsh has been working her sources. Doing an excellent job in the process.
You've got new information for us in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Rene, what are you learning?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I can tell you tonight that confidence is rising. That the debris found on that island is that of a Boeing 777. The same type of aircraft as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Now four things are aligning today. A newspaper on the island
publishing images of what it says is debris with a component number stenciled on it. Then images posted online of an internal Boeing 777 maintenance manual, also shows a key section of the aircraft wing and that same component numbers, 657BB, which appears on the debris.
Now a source close to the investigation tells CNN Boeing engineers have scrutinized the photos and they, too, see a component number that, quote, "corresponds to a 777 part." Now add all of that to the fact that only one 777 has crashed in this area of the world and remains missing, and that is MH-370. So the piece of the plane that investigators have and you're looking at that video there is called the flaperon. It's essentially a back edge of the wing and that helps pilots control the plane at lower speeds, Wolf.
BLITZER: Important information. Rene, don't go too far away.
This renewed attention on the mystery of Flight 370 is reopening emotional wounds for the passengers' families. Many of the 239 people aboard the plane were in fact from China. Their relatives spent days -- they spent days waiting for word before the airline informed them via Twitter, it was assuming none of the passengers survived.
CNN's Will Ripley is on the scene for us in Beijing right now with more on this very sensitive part of the story.
What's going on over there, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The pain and frustration continues to mount here in Beijing, Wolf, as the families still have yet to receive official word from the Malaysian Airlines themselves, from the Chinese government. They don't have any assistance, no official channel for communication, and they have a lot of mistrust right now as well. Mistrust in the information because they say there've been so many false leads, so much false hope, and now even they say if this is a piece of the plane, they still may not believe that their loved ones have perished.
Listen to the son of one of the passengers, Jang Hui.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANG HUI, SON O MH-370 PASSENGER (Through Translator): So last night, when we heard of this information, everyone consoled each other. Discussed together. Then finally everyone thought that there's no need to believe it. Even if we find out this piece of debris belongs to MH-370, there is no way to prove that our people were with that plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:35:12] RIPLEY: So here we are, Wolf, some 500 days on and even if this is confirmed debris a lot of these passengers, a large number of them that we're talking to, say they still will not have closure until they find that plane, until they find remains and until they find out exactly what happened with those data recorders. That could be a very long time from now even if this discovery turns out to be legit -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's not forget there were 239 people aboard that plane. The flight was supposed to go from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Obviously about an hour after taking off it made a U-turn and went in the opposite direction.
Will, stand by.
I want to bring back our law enforcement and aviation experts, the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, the former National Transportation Safety Board managing director Peter Goelz, along with our aviation correspondent Rene Marsh.
In fact, guys, stand by for a moment. I want to take a quick break. There's important new information coming in. We'll assess what's going on, right after this.
[17:40:47] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news in the investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Now new debris that appears to be a torn suitcase washed ashore today on a remote island off Africa. Officials say it would be part of the plane debris investigation along with an apparent wing part that washed ashore on Wednesday.
We're back with the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, the former National Transportation Safety Board managing director Peter Goelz, and our CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh.
It looks -- correct me if I'm wrong, they're very, very close to making a definitive announcement that the debris at least the wing flap part is from this Malaysia Airlines flight.
PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSB MANAGING DIRECTOR: Yes, I think they're going to get it back to Toulouse, to France. They're going to take it apart. They're going to confirm the internal registration numbers on the parts and they'll probably make an announcement sometime tomorrow.
BLITZER: You agree with that assessment?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I would think so also.
BLITZER: Rene, this component number they have on this flaperon, this piece of this thing, it's different than the serial numbers as we've been pointing out that they would like to find. The component numbers on all of the flaperons, of all 1200 Boeing 777s flying around, that same number, the serial number, if they could find that, that's unique to this Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?
MARSH: Right. Absolutely. And so far we don't have any information that they do have a serial number. What we do know is that component number that we've seen images of that that is what they have. So, you know, I've been explaining this all day today. Essentially what that is, is imagine if you go to a department store, you get a piece of furniture, it's in a million in one pieces, and this component number essentially tells you this goes here on the aircraft. And that's all it simply is.
It is not identifiable in that it will tell them that belongs to Malaysia Flight 370. So that's why we hadn't heard definitively, I'm going to guess, that this is indeed the aircraft.
BLITZER: But we are told, Peter, that inside that flaperon, that wing part, there could be different serial numbers inside, that they really have to take it apart to examine.
GOELZ: That's right. When we reconstructed TWA Flight 800 we had thousands of parts. And we were able to put it back together again because we had these internal numbers. We knew where these parts went. We knew their pedigree. We were able -- and the French will be able to do the same.
BLITZER: You've been involved, Tom, in a lot of these international investigations when you worked over the FBI. All, whether it's Malaysia or Australia, or France, or the U.S., they're all working together right now. I assume they're all on the same page.
FUENTES: Well, normally, but we don't know how many people are involved specifically on this piece of wing or the flaperon. It could be a much smaller group of Boeing, the French investigators, the Malaysians, it wouldn't necessarily require everybody in the world that has the skill set to be involved in it.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by. Don't go too far away as I like to say.
Coming up, we'll have the latest on that torn suitcase that washed ashore on the very same remote island where a plane part appeared Wednesday.
Also other news we're following, onlookers applauding as a judge sets a million dollar bond for an ex-police officer accused of murdering an African-American driver after a routine traffic stop. And now new police video of the incident has been released.
[17:48:33] BLITZER: Stand by for new reporting on the Malaysia Airlines investigation. We're getting new information, but we're also following important developments in the murder case against the white police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed African-American man.
Today the former University of Cincinnati police officer, Ray Tensing, wearing striped jail clothing, pleaded not guilty. People in the courtroom applauded when the judge set a million dollar bond for his release.
The shooting happened on July 19th during a routine traffic stop and was recorded by different video cameras.
Our former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, our law enforcement analyst, is here to walk us through these pivotal moments before the shooting.
Walk us through what happened in those moments.
FUENTES: OK, Wolf, what I'd like to do is start this and then stop it at key points that I'd like to make, and then we'll run it all the way through at the end.
BLITZER: Go ahead.
FUENTES: So there's a couple of points I want to make.
First of all, it's actually important that you see this fence or rail that runs behind. So as the officer is standing, facing the car, this rail is behind him. And that will become important later in this thing. OK. Then stop it. You hear the sound of the engine start, he reaches up, DuBose reaches up and you hear the whirring of the ignition as the engine starts.
And it's been said by the prosecutor and others that he shoots him first and then DuBose goes forward, and steps on the gas and that's when the car accelerates. But as I listened to this more closely with the sound amplified, what I heard is that the officer starts yelling, "stop, stop, stop," as DuBose accelerates.
[17:50:16] You will hear the engine sound in the background going, like a car accelerating. You'll hear the shot after the beginning of that sound. And I think that's important. It's not he shot him first and then he fell forward and made the car go forward.
And then what you're going to see, right after that -- that's hard to hear but when you hear it amplified you hear the sound of the acceleration of the engine, the officer yelling stop before the shot is fired.
OK. Doing a terrible job of operating this today. What you're also going to see is this. I'll just stop it now so I can explain it. The officer is standing facing this car. He reaches in to presumably try to get the ignition shut off or to get control of the car. And then what happens, the car is accelerating. His gun comes up. He does shoot DuBose at the time. But you'll see this acceleration of the vehicle has caused the officer -- you'll see the shaking start.
You'll see him --he completely spun around. You actually won't see it, but he gets spun around so that his back is to the car and he's facing directly to the guardrail behind him. And he actually ends up on his back first because you see the sky off his body cam. So he gets knocked backward on to the ground, facing the other way. So it's clear that the movement of the car did catch him and knock him down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and take your seatbelt off. Stop. Stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Stand by for a moment, Tom, because I want to get some more on what's going on. I want to bring our CNN legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin, into this. Both are former federal prosecutors.
Sunny, let's take a closer look at the new body camera video released today, showing another responding officer running toward the scene. You can hear that officer, he knew Officer Tensing, he was the arresting officer, the guy who shot this driver, saying he thought he was going to be run over by the car. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY TENSING, FORMER UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI POLICE OFFICER: I thought he was going to run me over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you OK?
TENSING: I'm good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. So, Sunny, after the incident, you're also hearing Tensing, the police officer, say this could be a game changer. What's your analysis?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think the problem is that he shoots before being run over, right? Before allegedly being run over, before anything happens to him. And I think that's really what is going to be the operative fact. I mean, the grand jury reviewed this videotape and these videotapes, and indicted him for murder and involuntary manslaughter.
And the prosecutor made it very clear that after viewing it many, many, many times over, the prosecutor felt that this was a murder case. And so I think we can fast forward it and stop action it and give all of our analysis, but the grand jury has spoken. The prosecutor -- you know, prosecuting this case has spoken. And as a former prosecutor myself, this looks to me like excessive force, it looks to me like a murder case, and I think that the jury will decide.
BLITZER: What's your take, Jeffrey?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I just don't see where the threat to the officer was. I mean, that seems to be clearly a lie, that he thought the guy was going to run him over because he's standing to the side of the car. Cars don't go sideways. And even if, as Tom pointed out in his demonstration, the engine had started, that certainly doesn't give him the justification for shooting DuBose.
I mean, we don't have the death penalty in this country for traffic stops. So even if it's true that he started the engine when they were having that conversation, that doesn't appear to remotely justify, you know, the shooting of the guy.
BLITZER: And, quickly, Sunny, Tensing, this cop, was a University of Cincinnati campus police officer. Do they have the same kind of training as a city of Cincinnati police officer might have? HOSTIN: I actually reached out to Mark O'Mara yesterday, representing
the DuBose family. And I haven't gotten an answer to that particular question yet. Because I think that is a question that's on many people's mind. I mean, we're talking about a University of Cincinnati police officer. Does that type of officer have the same training as an officer that we see sort of on the streets in our cities all over the country?
What my understanding from Mark, though, is that the university had some sort of agreement with the city of Cincinnati that they would somehow share responsibility for patrolling and because of this particular incident, Wolf, that agreement is no longer in place.
[17:55:06] BLITZER: Very quickly, Tom Fuentes?
FUENTES: Every state has a training board that dictates the minimum number of hours, firearms, law, sociology for every officer in the state that's going to be a sworn officer carrying a firearm. Now the bare minimum would have to be met whether you're a campus police officer, a railroad police officer or a regular police officer.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to have more on this story coming up, guys. Thank you.
We're also following the breaking news. A suitcase washes ashore, becomes part of the investigation on Reunion Island. Is it wreckage from the missing Malaysian Airliner.
Plus why Boeing officials are now confident this wing component is from a 777 like Flight 370. One official calls it a major lead in the search for the plane.