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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Russian Passenger Jet Crashes In Egypt; U.S. Sending Special Forces To Fight ISIS In Syria; Investigating Airplane Crash over Sinai; Officer Not Charged with Shooting of Unarmed Teenager; Black Lives Movement Protest at Hillary Clinton's Speech. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired October 31, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These forces do not have a combat mission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: But the U.S. is putting troops on the ground in Syria to fight ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to beat ISIL. We got the beat ISIL. These guys are evil.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's that feeling. Yes, they do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: A Hillary Clinton speech interrupted during a stop in Atlanta and a civil rights icon stands up for the Democratic frontrunner.
The parents of a teen killed by police, heartbroken and furious over the investigation into their son's shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are more disappointed by an investigation that seems for focused on attacking the victim.
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ALISON KOSIK, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik in for Christi Paul. A very busy morning with a lot of breaking news.
BLACKWELL: We do. I'm Victor Blackwell. We want to welcome our viewers around the world joining us this morning. We are beginning with that breaking news out of Egypt. A Russian passenger jet carrying 204 people has crashed in the Egyptian region of Sinai. The story is unfolding rapidly so let's get you up to date now with what we know. Russian state media reports that this airbus, A321, was operated by Kogalymavia known as Metro Jet. It took off just before 6:00 a.m. local time.
Flight 9268 was headed from the resort town of Sharm el-Sheik to St. Petersburg. There were 224 people on board including 17 children. Now Egyptian officials say the plane lost contact with air traffic control 23 minutes into the flight.
Egyptian officials also say that wreckage has been found and dozens of ambulances have been sent to the craft site. Recovering this story from around the globe, Nic Robertson, will join us from Moscow in just a moment.
But we want to start with Ian Lee in Cairo. Ian, what are you hearing at this hour?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know is this flight took off at 5:58 local time here in Egypt on its way to St. Petersburg at 6:20 a.m. That's when the flight disappeared in the north central region of Sinai. This is a mountainous region in Hasna.
The crash was located by Egyptian fighter jets that were patrolling the skies. We are hearing right now that Egyptian emergency personnel have roughly 50 ambulances on its way to the crash site. Now we don't know if those ambulances have been able make it. If anyone has been able make it to that crash site yet.
We are hearing if anyone does survive and we are hearing from some Egyptian officials that at this point seems unlikely. Those people will be brought to Cairo. Right now, we don't know the cause of this plane crash.
There have been reports here in local Egyptian media, that it could have been a technical issue. Egyptian official, according to state and local media, are ruling out any sort of foul play at this moment.
Although, it is too soon to tell exactly what was the cause of this airplane going down. This is a popular route. We see planes like this come home at time with Russian tourist, escaping the cold weather coming to Sharm el-Sheik to enjoy the beaches.
And that's where you get a lot of families on these planes and 17 children among those presumably dead at this hour.
BLACKWELL: Ian, tell us more about this region, Sinai. The terrain there and what these crews will face as they try to, from the ground there, look for the wreckage?
LEE: It is in the northern part of Sinai and I point out that it was Egyptian fighter jets that initially spotted the wreckage that's because right now in the northern part of Sinai there is an insurgency taking place against ISIS aligned to militants.
Now what we're hearing, and we need to make this clear, there is no indication that this insurgency had any involvement in this plane going down. But it could make it difficult for emergency personnel to try to make it to the site of the crash as insurgents have killed hundreds of people over the past two years.
[06:05:03] So that could be one possible delay in trying to get to this site. But right now, Egyptian officials are meeting with their Russian counterparts. Russia is sending aid as well. We are really just getting a few bits of information as it comes out will be given to you.
BLACKWELL: All right, Ian Lee, for us there in Cairo. Ian, thank you so much.
KOSIK: All right, let's get more now and go to Moscow for that, where CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, is following the story. I know you have been talking with Russian officials, what are they saying?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: President Putin has already called for a special commission of investigation here. The Emergency Ministry is sending three planes to aid with the investigation and recovery operations.
A hot line has been established here for families to call into. The Foreign Ministry here says that it is trying to gather whatever information it can get from Egypt and from other places.
We will provide that to the media as soon as they get it. We understand that there were seven crew members on board, but perhaps most significantly, trying to understand precisely what happened at this early stage.
It is an early stage. There have been no official briefings yet to provide a detailed account of what officials believed took place, however, many Russian media here, state media and other outlets, are reporting.
And obviously their reporting will be heard by the families of many of the people on board the aircraft. What those families will be hearing and what is being reported by many of the Russian media outlets here is that the pilot called to say that he was having technical issues and that he requested an emergency landing at the nearest airport.
That's what's being reported here. That's what the families of those on board the aircraft are learning at this stage, very few other details. And I do have to stress that information is yet to be corroborated by officials here.
But President Putin is already calling for a special commission to investigate precisely what took place here.
KOSIK: Nic, can you tell us more about Kogalymavia, the airliner that has crashed here? How has it been if service? What's its safety record?
ROBERTSON: In 1993 is when the airline began. It's commonly known as Metro Jet. If you look at the airline, what you see written on the side is Metro Jet. The details we have about this particular air frame, the early details we have from our aviation expert, Richard Quest, is that this air frame, itself, is 20-years-old.
It came into service in 2012 for Metro Jet. That's when they took possession of it and began using it. Prior to that, it had been used by various other Middle Eastern carriers. So those are the slender details that we have so far.
The question, though, that I think is sitting out in everyone's mind at the moment is what was it apparently that the pilot was calling about? What technical issue was he having? What may have preceded this?
Were there any warning signs in the days ahead? And of course, this investigation for the president is pushing for willing to get to the bottom of some of those details.
KOSIK: All right, lots of questions hopefully will be answered as the wreckage is uncovered. Nic Robertson, thanks so much for your report.
BLACKWELL: We have analysis. We have aviation expert, Julian Bray. Julian, good to have you with us this morning. I want to take this with us in two parts, this reporting from Nic Robertson that right now in Russia that they were called from at least one of the pilots to the ground that there were some technical issues.
First, let's talk about the reporting. Is it credible to believe that that reporting would be accurate so soon after the crash to say that that would be public so soon after this crash?
JULIAN BRAY, AVIATION EXPERT: It is credible. But whether it's confirmed or fought, that is something we can find out when the black box is released or we actually get the conversation between the pilots and ground control, air traffic control.
So if he had actually requested the landing. That might rule out it being attacked by a missile because it sounds so something might have gone technical. This is pure speculation at this stage and this is a rapidly changing story.
Now, the actual aircraft itself, the A321 is a work horse. Many airlines have them and as we heard, this one was actually owned by other people. What airlines do they lease aircraft and at the end of the lease, they give up the lease and another aircraft operator will take it over.
But all the time, these aircrafts are maintained to the highest standards because the lease holder, the owner of the aircraft demands it.
[06:10:07] So I don't think it's a maintenance issue although I hear that again speculation, that some of the crew were complaining about the condition of the aircraft. At the end of the day the captain has the right to reject an aircraft, if he doesn't think it's fit to fly. BLACKWELL: So beyond the concerns about the maintenance of this aircraft, are you seeing anything here, any other variable to which you would point to or ask if that's a red flag that investigators should be concerned about?
BRAY: Well, let us put it this way. It is a very, very difficult area. There is local insurgency there. So as your correspondent said, many hundreds have been killed over the years, it's in a difficult position.
But I understand that the various authorities are actually getting fleets of ambulances there. The Egyptian fighter jets originally spotted it and apparently the reports I'm receiving is that it is a debris field. It didn't come down if one piece, which is the sad part about this.
BLACKWELL: Yes, still waiting for some confirmations from our teams both in Moscow and in Cairo. But one more question for you, as you look at the weather beyond the geopolitical situation there on the ground, any concerns about the weather that that could have played some role here, any anomaly there?
BRAY: Well, you get weird things called wind shear. The weather, in fact was pretty good. But you don't know, but its pure speculation at this time. We have to get the weather experts on it.
If the pilot has, in fact, radioed and says he's got technical issues that do mean that he's actually gone through all his procedures to correct these technical issues, and if he is getting warning flag, or whatever, it could be a fuel blockage. We just don't know.
There are many things, but hopefully we'll soon find out exactly what is happening -- to get through this area of conflict to see the debris field.
BLACKWELL: Yes, we are, of course, putting those questions to the Egyptian authorities, the Russian authorities. Again, as you said there, Julian, more than 20 ambulances rushing to that area, 224 people on board, 217 passengers, seven crew members.
Julian Bray, thank you so much. We will likely come back to you throughout this show to get more of your analysis as more information comes in.
BRAY: Thank you.
KOSIK: We will continue to follow this breaking news story. Reaction as well from world leaders this morning on a major White House reversal, the U.S. on the verge of sending ground troops into Syria. Details still ahead.
Plus, Hillary Clinton cut off by protesters from the Black Lives Matter Movement. We will show what happened next.
KOSIK: New this morning, the war on ISIS is intensifying. A video purportedly from the terrorist group has surfaced online. It shows the beheading of four Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and at the end of the video, a masked man addresses President Obama before he executes one of the prisoners. He tells the president that these actions are in retaliation for a daring rescue that happened in Northern Iraq.
BLACKWELL: Now this comes as the White House announces that U.S. troops will be deployed on the ground in Syria. The deployment of fewer than 50 special op forces is the most significant escalation of the American campaign against ISIS to date in Syria.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, is talking about the importance of the U.S.' role in assisting rebel forces there.
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ASH CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We got to beat ISIL. We will beat ISIL. These guys are evil. They are -- you know, we are as I said the noble and they are the evil. We can beat them, but keeping a beat means somebody who lives there has to be a part of the defeat and take cover, and that's the tricky part is finding capable and motivated local forces when we can enable.
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KOSIK: CNN's Chris Frates joins us now to discuss. You know, Chris, a lot of criticism coming out about the Obama administration, flip- flopping, and then not sending enough forces to Syria. What are you hearing?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Well, I'm hearing that about two dozen Special Operations Forces are heading to Syria, and they're bringing U.S. troops that much closer to the frontlines.
President Obama secretly told Defense Secretary Ash Carter a few months ago, he wanted faster progress in the war against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. He told carter to come up with a plan, a U.S. official tells us.
Now the president has ordered a small number of special operations soldiers into Northern Syria to help local forces fight ISIS. The teams, no more than 50 troops total could include members of the Army's elite, Delta Force and Green Berets as well as Navy Seals.
Their mission is to provide ammunition, communications, intelligence, and supplies to local Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground. Now until now the president has long said he would not put troops in combat especially in Syria.
The White House insists that's still true. Here's how Josh Earnest explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: These forces do not have a combat mission. This is not in any way an attempt to diminish the risks that they will face or the bravery that they will need to summon to carry out these operations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: Now, the special operations forces are expected to be sent from Iraq across the border into Northern Syria. The U.S. will use F- 15 and A10 jets from an airbase in Southern Turkey. All a part of an effort to help anti-forces eventually take back ISIS' self-proclaimed capital city of Raqqa.
But make no mistake here, Alison, Obama wanted to avoid putting troops on the ground where they are likely end up in combat situations and that's what's happening here.
KOSIK: If it isn't the thought that you said you open the door to some special ops troops going in, and then you sort of really swing the door wide open for a bigger combat mission here.
FRATES: Well, that's certainly what a lot of the observers are saying.
[06:20:03] But the concern, Alison, still does remain that if you put combat troops even in advisory roles, they end up in these combat situations, and you can see casualties when that does, in fact, happen. The U.S. puts people on the ground if combat occurs, U.S. troops don't run away. They end up in those situations and that's the concern here.
KOSIK: All right, Chris Frates, thanks so much.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in to talk more about this, CNN military analyst, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. The president, as Chris said there, has repeatedly promised that U.S. grounds forces would not be engaged in combat against ISIS. Let's listen to the president and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground in Syria, American boots on the ground in Syria, would not only be good for America but also would be good for Syria.
I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan.
The resolution resubmitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, combat forces, that's the important phrase here, the president and Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, would also say that some of these conversations were about the fight against Assad, and not the fight against ISIS. Does this correspond with the president's promise? Is this a flip-flop, a reversal?
LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It is not a flip-flop, Victor. Again, part of the challenge here is when civilians use and I include the president in that, even though he is the commander-in-chief, use the phrase boots on the ground because it is not doctrinal.
It is not truly descriptive of what is happening. We aren't talking about uniform parts landing somewhere. We are talking about what the mission is of these individuals who will go there. I think there is an attempt to portray people who are in combat on the ground.
When you have large forces there, that's a combat force. They conduct operations. They go after the enemy. In this case, special operators are advisers.
They are helping knit together a very strange patchwork of not only Sunni-Arab coalition but also Kurdish fighters. So they can be more effective in Northern Syria and also in Iraq.
BLACKWELL: You know, let's put that graphic back up. I think this is excellent context, the numbers of forces in Iraq, 300 and 1,700 then more than 2,000 and then 3,500. We now know that there will be more than 5,000 at the end of the president's term, fewer than 50 going into Syria.
Lieutenant General, is there any reason to believe that this will stay at fewer than 50. A few doesn't can get the job done?
HERTLING: I don't expect them to, Victor. Now these special operators are a force unto themselves. There will probably be more of them in the future. So 50 is the initial crunch, but they can do a great deal because they are connected with each other as different Syrian and Kurdish forces try and fight.
So they make that connection. More importantly, they are connected very closely with these F-15s and A-10s that are rapidly going into interlicht to re-enforce the force there.
So you are talking about an unbelievable combat power generated by just a few individuals on the ground, who can gather intelligence and bring the fight to the enemy in cooperation with the Kurdish and Arab forces.
BLACKWELL: So let's extrapolate from there. Such a small number that you expect will grow. We heard this from Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said this, if we have to put it up on the screen, if not. I'll read it.
Unfortunately, this limited action is yet another insufficient step in the Obama administration's policy of gradual escalation, such grudging incrementalism is woefully inadequate to the scale of the challenge we face. So if you expect this will grow to more than 50, why not send in the number likely needed from the start instead of this gradual growth. Do you agree?
HERTLING: That's the challenge with Senator McCain's approach from the very beginning. What you have do first, Victor, is get the context on the ground and find out who the right people are to connect with.
So over the last nine months or so, as the president said, he would accept military advice to potentially expand this mission, if we have the right people and if they were fighting for their own, you have to find the right people first.
If you just literally deploy a large group of American forces on the ground and don't have a mission for them to do. Don't have someone for them to connect with they are wasted resources.
So right now, we are beginning to generate more intelligence, more partnerships with Syrian Arabs and also Kurd forces and we have had deployments into Turkey with our air power so all of those things build to a finalization.
[06:25:10] Now you know, again, that's very different from just saying, at the very beginning, we should ship dozens, hundreds or thousands of people into this area when you don't have a pure mission set for them to do.
BLACKWELL: All right, Retired Lt. General Mark Hertling, thank you for your insight.
HERTLING: Thank you, Victor.
Of course, we are covering the breaking news as well, a Russian jetliner crashes 224 people on board. We're waiting for a news conference, expecting that to happen any minute, the latest after the break.
BLACKWELL: The breaking news this morning is out of Egypt. A Russian passenger jet carrying 224 people crashed in Sinai. We are getting a lot of details, unfortunately, not all the details we are hoping to get.
Let's get you caught up to what we know, though, Russian state media is reporting this A-321 was operated by Kogalymavia known as Metro Jet. It took off just before 6 a.m. local time.
Flight 9268 was headed from the resort town Sharm el-Sheik to St. Petersburg, Russia. There are about 224 people on board including 17 children.
Egyptian officials say the plain lost contact with air traffic control 23 minutes into the flight. Egyptian officials also say the wreckage has been found and dozens of ambulances we know have been sent to that crash site.
KOSIK: And as we cover this breaking news, everybody wants to know, what caused this plane to go down. We want to bring in CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. What do we know about the weather in that region at the time? Could that have been a factor?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: At this point in time, it does not look like it was. Now, we take a look at multiple different things, not just rain and thunderstorms. One thing to know is the terrain of this area. It's very highly elevated. So, you have this general region right here is where we believe the plane has likely gone down. Again, we don't know all of the specifics just yet. But one thing we like to keep an eye on, is not just the terrain, but the winds, the clouds, a lot of different factors go into this.
So, here is a look at the last track. This is using flight aware. Notice you can see the path of the flight. This is the last spot that they were able to track that flight. Now, when we then take a look at the winds of that particular region, here is that pyramid again, locating where we believe the flight may have gone down, notice winds. Likely only around ten miles per hour. Not big enough to be a factor. And we look at not only the surface winds, but also the upper level winds, because again, most flights fly somewhere between 20 to 40,000 feet above the surface. So again, you have to take into account, multiple layers of the atmosphere and the winds that are encountered in those multiple layers. Also looking at the satellites, again this is the peninsula that we are looking at, of where the plane went down, now we do have the severe tropical cyclone, well down to the West, but not only did that all have impacts on the crash, but it's likely to stay far enough away. It's not going to have any impacts on the recovery efforts as well, so that is also some very good news.
Again, here is that Sinai Peninsula. The plane took off from Sharm el Sheikh. Again, not looking at it very much. This is a cloud (INAUDIBLE) -- we don't really have very much out there. This is taken from NASA worldwide. You can see a lot of clouds over the water. But really, over this region. We were very limited in terms of both clouds and also any important winds that would have seen throughout that area. So, guys, it is in my professional opinion as of meteorologist that weather really did not likely play much of an impact. The good news is during the recovery efforts whether it will also not be a problem for them. So, hopefully, that will provide at least some smooth weather conditions for the recovery efforts.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, that's exactly where I was going to go, Allison. We have seen in events like this in the past that unfortunately, weather has made it difficult for recovery crews to get to those scenes. This will not be the case here. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
Let's bring back our aviation expert Julian Bray. Julian, I want to read something to you that we just received from the Egyptian Civil Aviation ministry that this plane was flying at 31,000 feet when it disappeared from radar screens. So, no record of this rapid descend. What does that tell you? What can you glean from 31,000 feet being the last elevation or the altitude when this was on radar screens? JULIAN BRAY, AVIATION EXPERT: Well, it does confirm that everything stopped where it was. Now, I am also hearing other reports, again, unconfirmed that the plane actually got down and split in two and there are reports again unconfirmed that voices have been heard suggesting there may be possible survivors, so it's not a recovery, but still a rescue operation.
If that is true, that is relatively good news. And we hope that is the case. Interesting to hear your weather forecast there. Your weather expert. And, of course, it is slightly mountainous around there. You do get wind shear and other - at those conditions, and so that would be a factor. But this particular aircraft is well able to cope with that, it has all the latest technology on board. Indeed, it is a fly by Y aircraft. So, which means everything is run by batteries and batteries of computers and then back-up systems as well.
KOSIC: Julian, this is Alison Kosic as well. What - the hearing that there could be survivors, you are hearing reports of survivors possibly. Anything that you can see in that central region of Sinai that could prevent rescuers from getting there fast?
BRAY: Well, there is a level of insurgency. You get outbreaks, sort of terrorists are related to ISIS. Though - is a few hundred people have been killed. It's not a major area of conflict. But it's enough to be irritating and to delay the masses. However, if there is a concerted effort. Now, I understanding it's Egyptian fighter jets, that initially spotted the debris or where the plane came down. So, it does sound as though there is an operation to get to the site and also to try and recover whatever they can.
But I'm hopeful that if the voices report is correct. Then there will be some survivors. And remember, just about everybody has a cell phone these days, and so there must be some communications going around if somebody has actually survived this.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, important to say that those are unconfirmed reports. And, you know, from ...
BRAY: Totally unconfirmed.
BLACKWELL: Totally unconfirmed. And from 31,000 feet, it would be nothing short of a miracle that there would be survivors. But, of course, we'll hope for the best, but we know that the precedent and the context of this from other crashes.
But let me get to what happens next. Who is involved as the investigation begins as we hear that the prime minister there in Russia has launched this commission of investigation, who else will be involved?
BRAY: Well, obviously, the Egyptians are going to be involved and the Israelis, well, sorry, the Egyptians, not the Israelis, because it actually that Sharm el Sheikh and also, it's crashed in their territory. But also, the Russian (Zar) is going to be involved, it is one of their particular airlines. It's known locally as Metro Jets. And it's a very popular holiday airline, and this time of year when it starts to get cold in Russia, then Sharm el Sheikh is the ideal family resort and it's very popular. And so, this is one of a series of scheduled flights into that particular resort. Now, so normally, they don't have any problems. And I really don't think it's a weather problem. It could well be a bird strike, it could well be that fuel lines are blocked or something like that. Or it could just be a catastrophic failure. And it's come down. But, obviously, this is a fast moving story. Information is coming in. Albeit some of it sketchy. And it is terribly speculative.
But we are trying to pull things together, and I'm getting experts ringing me up with possible suggestions. And they've also got other contacts within the aviation industry. And they've all given a thumbs up to the particular aircraft and its maintenance record. Because I hear this - this A-321 is actually sort of - it's just currently did service schedules.
KOSIK: All right, I hear your phone ringing. We are going to let you get that, but we will come back to you later in the show. Julian Bray, thanks so much, and we will continue to follow this breaking news story throughout the morning. We are going to be right back.
KOSIK: A dozen or so protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, chanting Black Lives Matter, cut off Hillary Clinton while she was speaking at Clark Atlanta University on Friday. This went on for about 15 minutes. Civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis stood to confront the protesters who were shouting above Clinton. CNN Suzanne Malveaux was there and has the latest.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Allison and Victor. It was an extraordinary situation, one I have never seen before, a standoff between Hillary Clinton and protesters of Black Lives Matter, which went on for almost the entire length of her speech as she tried to roll out her plan for criminal justice reform.
MALVEAUX: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kicked off her African- Americans for Hillary campaign with thunderous applause. At Clark Atlanta University historically black college, she'd been praised by NBA star Grant Hill, Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed and escorted on stage by civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis. Then this happened. Just minutes into her remarks.
MALVEAUX: About ten protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement entered the front of the gymnasium and took over. Clinton immediately tried to address them.
HILLARY CLINTON (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, my friends, I'm going to get to some very important points that actually prove that black lives do matter and we have to take action together. MALVEAUX: Congressman Lewis and Mayor Reed went to the floor to confront the protesters, pleading with them to stop. Among the crowd of more than 2,000. People began taking out cell phones to record as the audience became increasingly distracted. Clinton continued to tell the stories of the struggles of historic black leaders, which garnered cheers from the crowd, but the protest continued.
For nearly 30 minutes, it was a standoff between Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter. Lewis and Reed gave up trying to silence the protesters, and instead, joined Clinton on stage literally shoulder- to-shoulder to let her know they had her back as the protest continued. Eventually, security escorted them out of the room as the crowd cheered, let her talk and applauded her victory.
HILLARY CLINTON: I appreciate the congressman and the mayor having my back.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MALVEAUX: Clinton then proceeded to layout her criminal justice reform platform, calling for responsible policing and an end to racial profiling. After her remarks, she stayed for another 30 minutes. Shaking hands with the choir, taking selfies and laughing with students.
Immediately following, Congressman Lewis lamented.
CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS: It is unfortunate that they didn't listen to the secretary. Because I think she would have been an asset, many of their - and they are concerned about.
MALVEAUX: Later, I asked the Black Lives Matter protesters who were kicked out what they had hoped to accomplish.
AVERY JACKSON, PROTESTER: If you wanted to interrupt the process of exploitation of black spaces and black production for both. We don't really think that, we don't - Hillary's campaign has not been centered on prioritizing the lives of black people.
MALVEAUX: Several were disappointed. They didn't get the support of Lewis and many in the crowd.
SHIRANTHI GOORACHILAKO, PROTESTER: When you have this disruption, then you hear that they're disappointed in us for doing some of the things they did when they were our age fighting for similar issues that still haven't been fixed. Then it's concerning because then we're looking at each other like what else should we do?
MALVEAUX: Those in attendance had mixed reactions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that what they have to say is important. I don't think their method was particularly helpful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It made kind of like all of us look really bad in a sense. Because I feel like she's advocating for us, and here we are fighting against her, well the group was fighting against her. MALVEAUX: As for Clinton, she moved on to South Carolina where the
African-American vote will be critical if she's to win the Democratic nomination. There she spoke at an NCAAP gaylor (ph) without interruption.
MALVEAUX: The standoff with Black Lives Matter illustrates the challenge Hillary Clinton will face while she clearly has the support of older traditional civil rights leaders. It's far from clear that she has the backing of young African-American voters who want her to earn their support and who she needs to win for the Democratic nomination. Allison, Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Suzanne, thank you so much. And I want to start right there with CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein.
Ron, good to have you this morning. And I wonder, is this an isolated standoff or is this indicative of something more, that these candidates, namely in this case Hillary Clinton, still have not crafted a response to the Black Lives Matter movement or wait to include them in the conversation?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Boy, there are so many things to plunge into here. Just a few thoughts, first, if you compare Hillary Clinton to Bill Clinton, her husband and the overall center of gravity on these issues in the Democratic Party, they have moved enormously. Bill Clinton signed the 1994 crime bill crafted largely by Vice President Joe Biden and the Senate judiciary chairman. That did increase federal penalties for a number of offenses and also expanded policing and so forth. And now, she has moved a long way from a policy perspective towards the Black Lives Matter movement. But yet, is facing pressure to go further.
Second, as Suzanne pointed out, it's still in the mass. African- American voters are a huge asset for her. In your last CNN poll, for example, and the two person race with Bernie Sanders, she was leading him 12 to one among African-Americans in South Carolina. And real quickly the third point. It was really resonant, one of those protesters said about talking about the previous generation as a famous story that when John Lewis was one of the freedom riders and was almost killed for his heroic civil rights activism, traveling on buses in the segregated South. John F. Kennedy as president, you know, famously said to one his White House aides, Harris Waffer (ph), can't you get your friends to stop? So there is a long tradition of politicians finding activism discomforting. But there is also a generational split here. Because in the end, I think most older activists understand that the way you advance these goals is in the end through the political process.
BLACKWELL: All right, so let's talk about the large narrative here, launching African-Americans for Hillary yesterday at Clark-Atlanta, and in the evening at that gala. Is there any indication that the level of support and the passion of support that we saw from African- Americans to support Barack Obama in 2008, re-elect them in 2012, will transfer to Hillary Clinton this cycle? BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, I mean I think, look, African-Americans, their participation in the political process has been on a secular long-term increase that has, you know, began before Obama. In fact, in 2012, African-American turnout I believe for the first time ever was slightly higher than white turnout among eligible voters. In the Democratic primary, I think there is no question, that Hillary Clinton is going to have a huge advantage from African-American voters, or about one in five, Victor, of all voters in the 2000, and they primary - all the polls show her leading Bernie Sanders among Hispanics as well overwhelmingly among African-American voters. The big question, of course, is turnout in the general election. And there it is, I think it is going to be the issues with this - I think part of the challenge there is not only unique to her, it's more generic. Do they see the political process as a way of extending these goals, and also, do they believe they need to kind of have a conversation with the whole society. I mean right now, in some ways their energy has been more on disrupting their allies, then on confronting some of those who are even less sympathetic to their views in the political system. We'll see how that plays out overtime.
BLACKWELL: There have been a few meetings between Black Lives Matter activists and a couple of the candidates. Also, they like to speak more with some of the Republican candidates we know.
BLACKWELL: We'll continue to follow this. Ron Brownstein, we've got a lot of breaking news this morning. We have to leave it there. Thank you so much.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Victor.
KOSIK: And we do continue to follow breaking news, a Russian airliner crashes in Egypt with 224 people on board. We are learning new details. And we are going to bring you the latest right after this.
BLACKWELL: But first, we want you to meet another of this year's top ten CNN heroes. For the past 16 years, Rochelle Ripley has dedicated her live to helping members of the Lakota Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. The scenery there, is breath taking. But the 9,000 people who live on the reservation face extreme levels of poverty and unemployment.
ROCHELLE RIPLEY: There is no business to speak up, no industry at all. And so, they are very isolated. It's about 40 to 60 miles to the nearest grocery store. So that creates, you know, if you have got bread, you don't go back and get it.
BLACKWELL: Ripley is non-profit, has provided $9 million to help the people there. It's an amazing story of dedication of spirit. And you can watch it at cnnheroes.com. And then checkout all of these year's top ten and vote for your favorite to become CNN hero of the year. You can vote once a day, every day at cnnheroes.com.
[06:40:00] BLACKWELL: Coming up on the top of the hour now, a Justice Department investigation is under way into the shooting death of a South Carolina teenager by police officer.
KOSIK: The incident happened in July and this stunning police dash cam video was released this week, along with the announcement officer involved wouldn't be charged - the video there.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, that teenager's name is Zachary Hammond, and the family says they are angry. They are also disappointed.
Nick Valencia is following this story for us. Nick?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. You have to look very closely, because the video, it happens very quickly. A 19- year old who is on a date with the woman who is the target of a drug sting, a newly released dash cam video shows, according to him and his parents, that the officer acted overly aggressive, and that their son didn't have to be shot. We want to warn you before we play this piece, that some of this video could be considered graphic.
VALENCIA: You can hear the tire screech as Lieutenant Mark Tiller pulls into the fast-food parking lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've got too (INAUDIBLE). Stop, stop, stop ...
VALENCIA: In less than a few seconds, gunfire.
The two shots killed the driver, 19-year old Zachary Hemet. We was unarmed. Investigators say he had drugs in his system and packaged cocaine in his pocket. Listen as Lieutenant Tiller describes why he opened fire.
The police dash cam video from July shows what South Carolina police say, was a drug sting.
The target, the passenger of the car, 25-year old Tracy Morton. She was on a date with Hammond at the time of the shooting.
Her sobs can be heard as an officer stands over Hammond. The video was released this week, days before Lieutenant Tiller is cleared of wrongdoing. After a careful consideration of the facts of the case the solicitor writes in her ruling, I have determined that no criminal charges should be filed against Lieutenant Mark Tiller at the state level. She continues, this has been a very difficult case. No parent should ever have to bury their child.
ANGIE HAMMOND, MOTHER OF ZACHARY HAMMOND: We are more disappointed by investigation that seemed more focused on attacking the victim, which was - than investigating the shooter.
VALENCIA: At a press conference Thursday, Hammond's parents and attorney say the blame for the fatal shooting rests solely on Lieutenant Tiller.
ERIC BLAND, HAMMOND FAMILY ATTORNEY: You would need a set of glasses that doesn't even exist to say that Lieutenant Tiller was in danger of being struck by that automobile.
VALENCIA: In an interview shortly after the shooting the Seneca police chief defended his officer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know when you sign up to be a police officer, that potential of there doing your career that you might have to use deadly force.
VALENCIA: Choking back tears, Hammond's mother says the video proves her son should not have been shot.
ANGIE HAMMOND: Zach cared more about Tiller's life than Tiller cared about Zach.
VALENCIA: The Hammond family and their attorney Eric Bland have reached out to the Department of Justice to push towards federal charges. They also have a pending civil litigation. We did reach out to the attorney for Lieutenant Tiller who said that his client acted in self-defense, and that the solicitor's decision supports his position.
KOSIK: Thanks for that.
VALENCIA: You got it.
KOSIK: Looking more on this now, and bringing HLN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson. Good morning, Joey.
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Alison.
KOSIK: So, no criminal charges for the officer, and there is big question, though, can the family move forward with a civil suit?
JOEY JACKSON, LEGAL ANALYST: I think they really could. And I think they can do so successfully. And when you examine this investigation, Alison, I think you really need to look at three specific things, and let's just imagine for a minute that viewers are jurors, you are going to ask the following question, one, was lethal force necessary, number two, an examining the necessity of using any type of force lethal or otherwise, was the force used that you see in that video proportionate to any threat that was posed. And number three, did the officer act as another reasonable officer in his position would. And if the answers to those questions is not supportive of the officer's action, then it becomes problematic. One of the things that I found interesting about the report in looking at it, the eight-page report that was written by the solicitor, is that there was an admission that there were policies and protocols that were violated by the officer here, but it was dismissed as not relevant.
And so, while they may have dismissed it as not relevant in a criminal context, which, you know, I would disagree with, certainly in a civil context, it is going to be very relevant. The other thing was, in terms of what their views were, we can all see the video, people looking at it. I don't have to be descriptive about it. But they're suggesting, the solicitor was, that he was about to be run over and he was going to be sliding underneath that car, and so when this is brought to bear before a civil jury, I think you deal with a different standard, not proof of guilt beyond the reasonable doubt. Criminally, but did this officer act in a reasonable way by a preponderance of the evidence, and did he use force, was it necessary by a preponderance of the evidence. I think it's a far different standard, and I think they could certainly be successful if it goes that far and it's not a settlement, Allison.
KOSIK: OK, Joey, and we know that a Department of Justice investigation is continuing. So, is it possible that Officer Tiller could face federal charges?
JACKSON: You know, it's always possible, Allison. But I don't see it for the following reason, when you are looking at a federal civil rights criminal charge, you are looking at the issue of an intentional deprivation of a person civil right. What's civil right? The right to be free from excessive force. And you can make the argument, and it could have been from a criminal perspective, that the officer acted with criminal negligence. That is he was careless, that is he violated procedure. He was even reckless, you can argue, criminally. That as he consciously disregarded the risk by jumping out of his car. And two experts, by the way, in the criminal report said, that you know what, procedures were violated. But from a federal point of view, you have to show that he intentionally, willfully wanted to deprive someone of their civil rights. It's not enough that you act with negligence, carelessness or that you act with recklessness, that is that you are consciously disregard the risk of what you do can cause harm.
So, based on those standards, Allison, I don't see a successful federal civil rights prosecution or even potentially the federal government going after him on a federal civil rights violation charge.
KOSIK: All right, Joey Jackson. Thanks so much for your analysis on this.
VALENCIA: Thank you, Allison.
KOSIK: And there is a lot of news to tell you about this morning, including the latest on that Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt caring 224 people.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, the next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts right now.