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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Timeline of the Mall Terror Attack; Americans among Attackers?
Aired September 23, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
Good evening, everyone.
At this hour, the deadly standoff continues. It has now been four days since people shopping, eating and spending time with their families at an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, were interrupted by violence, nothing short of a nightmare. The situation right now still unresolved.
Conflicting reports about who is actually in control of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, and how many hostages remain alive inside?
Kenyan officials have reported said all the hostages have been released. But according to the Red Cross, 65 people are still unaccounted for tonight. The Red Cross has also revised the death toll down to 62, apparently some victims were miscounted.
The details of the story have been and remained extremely fluid, with each day and every hour, new details are surfacing. And tonight, we do have a much clearer picture of how the attack unfolded over the weekend.
COOPER (voice-over): Saturday afternoon, shots and explosions are heard inside the busy upscale Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Westgate Mall is reportedly being held under siege. Shoppers are held but gunmen and unconfirmed reports indicate that several people have been shot.
COOPER: Eyewitnesses say an unknown number of gunmen burst into the mall from multiple entrances, firing shots at the ceiling and tossing grenades. At first, panicked shoppers assumed it's a robbery, but then eyewitnesses say the gunmen tell all Muslims in the building to leave. According to some reports asking them the name of the Prophet Mohammed's mother to prove their faith before they exit, which would leave the non-Muslims as hostages and targets.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: At least 18 gunmen believed to be within the Westgate, having taken control of the mall. Right now police, as we understand, have been able to gain access. We do understand the death toll now stands at at least four people.
COOPER: The gunmen moved from store to store, shooting people randomly. Hundreds of terrified shoppers try to flee or attempt to hide inside the stores and stairwells. Many escape however they can. Kenyan authorities stormed the mall and pursued the gunmen, who sequestered themselves somewhere inside a huge complex with an unknown number of hostages.
The standoff has begun. Hallways and corridors turn into battle grounds with desperate shoppers caught in the midst of it. Thirty- year-old Bendita Malakia from North Carolina tried to run after she heard shooting but ended up hiding for four terrifying hours before she finally escaped.
BENDITA MALAKIA, SURVIVOR: We stood up and we started to turn, and then there was a second -- now we heard machine guns, and then we started to run. And there was a second explosion which knocked us on the ground.
COOPER: As the Kenyan Military takes control over more of the building, survivors begin trickling out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything is fine. You're fine. You're fine.
COOPER: Late Saturday afternoon, the terrorist group, al- Shabaab, comes forward, claiming responsibility for the attack in a series of tweets, also indicating one or more of the gunmen may be American.
Sunday, and the siege continues. By mid-day, the Kenyan government announces 59 are dead, more than 175 wounded. Among them, 26-year-old American Elaine Dang, who spoke by phone from the hospital.
ELAINE DANG, SURVIVOR: I'm OK. I'm very grateful, I realized.
COOPER: The gunmen are still inside the mall, still holding hostages. By Monday, day three of the standoff, the Kenyan government says their forces have taken control over most of the building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The process of uprooting hostages had gone on very well. And we are very certain that there are very, very little hostages in the building.
COOPER: But later in the day, heavy gunfire, 62 confirmed dead. And the fourth day of the standoff has now begun.
COOPER: We have late breaking news. "The Washington Post" now is reporting that the Kenyan foreign minister says two or three of the attackers at the Nairobi shopping mall were Americans.
CNN International's Nima Elbagir has been on the ground in Nairobi, covering the terror attack. She joins me now. Nima, it's good to see you. There have been these conflicting reports just in the last few hours over if the situation is fully contained now. What is the latest? What are you hearing?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have been hearing for a few hours, Anderson. You're right. Almost all of the hostages have been freed. And when we initially had this, the Kenyan government was saying this is the end game. This is -- this is the final assault. And that final assault seems to have gone on for quite sometime now.
But we -- those who have been here watching this unfold can appreciate why. This is an extraordinarily painstaking operation. The gunmen have made it very clear from the very beginning that much like the Mumbai attack they have no intention of being taken alive.
And some of us saying they understand that they are hiding behind the hostages, that they've been using the hostages as human shield. So if you can imagine trying to go into that situation to both disarm the gunmen and try and rescue what remaining hostages there are. It can only have been extraordinarily difficult and it's taking -- it's taking a long time -- Anderson.
COOPER: There are still more than 60 people unaccounted for. Do you know anything about, you know, about -- is there any kind of an update on that? Because we got word about that -- about that a short time ago.
ELBAGIR: Well, the last -- the few eyewitnesses that have been able to come out from within the hostage-takers' room, they're describing -- they're describing some pretty horrific scenes. You know, when you hear them talk about piled up bodies, people lying around the place, not really being able to get a sense of really whether you're looking at a man or a woman in some of these instances.
The firing seems to have been really indiscriminate, Anderson, and they came in, they chose a day in which there was actually a children's cooking competition going on. This had been being advertised for quite sometime here in Nairobi. And that only added to the utter panic. So a lot of people don't know yet if their relatives are amongst the remaining hostages. If their relatives are amongst the bodies still inside, or if their relatives are somewhere in a mortuary not yet accounted for.
One guy, we've seen him every single day, Anderson. He's come right up to this cordon where, as far as we've been allowed to go, and he just sits and he waits. And he said his father is still inside. And he told us that he has to come here because he has to believe that somehow his father is going to walk out through those cordons.
COOPER: Nima, you and I were together in Mogadishu, in Somalia, I think it was two years ago now, almost exactly two years ago, right after al-Shabaab had been kicked out of Mogadishu by African Union Peace Keeping Forces there. But they have not gone away.
Can you talk a little bit more about their capabilities still? Because it's not just -- this attack which is ongoing, I understand they've also launched some attacks inside Somalia.
ELBAGIR: Well, when we were there, Anderson, it was during the famine, and al-Shabaab were refusing to allow any Western aid (INAUDIBLE) they control. And that was really the timing in terms of the support that they were getting with the local communities. And it was after that we saw the Kenyans go in, they were pushed out of the capital, they've been consistently pushed out of the urban centers.
Back in May when I got -- when I was there, we really felt like we were in this -- we were in this amazing period of renewal, that Somalia might finally be coming into some sort of stability. But in more recent days and weeks, there's a sense that al-Shabaab has been regrouping. That they're receiving new injections of finance.
But really get a sense that the global terror networks and this is something that we've been hearing from the Kenyan foreign minister. That they believe this attack is not just al-Shabaab, that this is part of al Qaeda and a broader global terror networks. That the global terror network, they realized what they lost when they lost that extraordinary territorial -- when they lost that territorial footprint in Somalia.
And they -- and this is part of their fight back. They're trying to show not only that al-Shabaab is still in the game. That al- Shabaab is still capable of pulling off something of this complexity, of this magnitude, but that al Qaeda itself is still in the game here in Africa -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Nima, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.
The terrorists clearly timed their attack in Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall for maximum impact. As we said, they struck around noon on Saturday when obviously the mall was certain to be packed. An ordinary weekend afternoon shattered by bullets and by panic.
Nick Handler, an American who works from an NGO in Kenya, he was at a cafe inside the mall with his toddler daughter when the terror began. His pregnant wife was shopping on another floor. He joins me from Nairobi.
Nick, can you just walk me through what happened? You were sitting with your daughter at a cafe in the mall. What happened?
NICK HANDLER, SURVIVOR WHO WAS WITH 23-MONTH-OLD DAUGHTER: Yes, I was sitting with my daughter and my wife was doing some shopping upstairs. She had left us just a couple of minutes before and heard a loud explosion or blast, followed by some gunshots. And I happened to be very close to the door. I just reached over, grabbed my daughter and just ran out the front door of that cafe, as fast as I could without looking back.
COOPER: Did you have any idea where you were going? I mean, did you have a destination in mind?
HANDLER: I had no idea actually what was -- if there's an exit over there or anything. But I saw some other people sort of heading in that direction. And I just got lucky and it happened to be a door to the outside there which I was able to get out of the mall.
COOPER: Where did you find to hide?
HANDLER: So after I went out outside through this door, I was in a -- sort of a loading door that serviced a couple of the restaurants and the supermarket in that area. All of a sudden, a wave of people started running back away from the parking lot towards the area where I was standing.
And so I just sort of turned and ran back towards a loading dock at the back of the mall. Ended up heading up a flight of stairs. Was guided up there by some employees who suggested that was a safe place to go and ended up inside of its store room.
COOPER: How many people were in the store room or ended up in the store room with you hiding there?
HANDLER: I would say there were probably about 40 people or so.
COOPER: And how big a room was it?
HANDLER: It is quite large. I mean, it's a place where they stored a lot of just inventory.
COOPER: And at this point, I mean, your wife, by the way, she's pregnant with your second child. She was -- she was not with you, as you said. So did you have any idea at that point where she was?
HANDLER: Yes, once I made it in there I was able to call her. And I found out that she was on the second floor initially and eventually made her way up to a movie theater on the third floor. And was waiting there, sort of uncertain what to do. And we were both trying to contact our friend outside who we thought might have some information on what was happening, just letting him know where we were. And then finding out anything we could as far as where would be a safe place to go.
COOPER: And so she was hiding in the movie theater. How was your child during all of this? I mean, did she have any idea what was going on? She was what, 2 years old?
HANDLER: Yes, she's almost 2. It's kind of the -- those first moments are kind of a blur when I picked her up and started running. I know that she was definitely shocked. And there was some fear and she was upset. But once we made it inside that store room and settled down, and we're there for quite sometime, she really sort of returned to her normal self.
COOPER: How long were you and your daughter hiding in that store room?
HANDLER: I would say about three hours.
HANDLER: Total. COOPER: It must have been incredibly scary, I mean, to not have a real sense of what's going on, where these terrorists are, and if somebody could be right outside the door.
HANDLER: I would say the scariest moment was when some people started to leave about maybe about an hour and a half into our time there. And then I made it about half way across the room. All of a sudden the wave of people came running back. At that point I had no idea if we had been discovered, if somebody knew where we were and was coming after us. So that was -- that was definitely the most terrifying moment of those three hours when we were in that room.
COOPER: Do you know why they -- why they ran back?
HANDLER: I would assume that they heard gunshots outside and they had thought maybe it was safe to leave. And then as they got out they heard that there's still gunshots.
COOPER: And after three hours, the police found you?
HANDLER: After three hours, a bunch of plainclothes police came to the door, let everyone know it was safe. That the door -- we opened the door from the inside. And they led us down a safe exit out to the parking lot.
Those people were heroes and absolutely saved our lives and the lives of so many -- so many people at the mall. And my wife, as well. She never would have made it off of the roof of the mall if it weren't for the two plainclothes police that made it up to the roof and secured the way down for them.
COOPER: So she was rescued before you were?
HANDLER: Yes, she was rescued probably -- maybe an hour or so before I was.
COOPER: Well, Nick, I'm so glad you and your wife and your daughter are OK. And thank you so much for talking to me.
HANDLER: Yes, absolutely, thank you very much.
COOPER: Incredibly scary stuff.
Let us know what you think, you can follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper. I'm tweeting tonight.
Just ahead, more on the terror attack. The "New York Times'" Tyler Hicks, a seasoned war reporter and photographer just happened to be nearby when the terror attack began. He ran into the mall, did what he was trained to do. He got some of the most dramatic and first images from inside during the attack. I'll talk to him ahead about what he saw and the images he captured.
Also some graphic video coming up. The family of a Florida man whose death was ruled an accident has released the dash cam video showing the moment a police car ran over him. They're calling it an execution. The Florida medical examiner is calling it something else entirely. That's ahead.
COOPER: Just a brief recap of tonight's breaking news on the Nairobi terror attack, "The Washington Post" is reporting that the Kenyan foreign minister, Amida Mohammed, told PBS that two or three Americans are among the gunmen with the group al-Shabaab.
There were many witnesses to the terror inside Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall. The survivors saw things that they will never forget.
I just talked to one. Now "New York Times" photographer Tyler Hicks, he documented the horror with his camera. He just happened to be near the mall shopping on Saturday. He lives in Nairobi with his wife. Also a television journalist. They both managed to get inside the mall shortly after the attack began.
We're going to show some of the pictures and the videos that they shot. I want to warn you, the images, obviously, are disturbing.
Seasoned combat journalist Tyler Hicks joins me. He's used to warzones. Never expect a bloodshed like this in his local mall.
So, Tyler, you were right next door basically on a shopping errand when you noticed something was going on. Explain what you first saw when you ran into the mall.
TYLER HICKS, PHOTOGRAPHER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: The moment that I got out onto the street, from where I was, I could see lots of people running on the street towards me, kind of -- you know, away from Westgate Mall. And about a minute later I arrived in the kind of entrance parking lot. And I could already see that there were injured people coming out what -- clearly who had been shot in the leg, stomach, other parts of the body.
And people really streaming out of the mall completely terrified. Frantic, crying, people running with children. It was clear something really serious was happening inside.
COOPER: And from your photographs, I mean -- and we're looking at them now, it looks like you were with a group of police officers or commandos?
HICKS: Yes, yes. When I reached the upper parking lot area, I could see at the opposite end of the mall that there were some civilians running out. And I saw that as a possible way to get in. I -- once going through that door, which is a service entrance, there were some police in there who are trying to get the people out. And they were agreeable to having me and a few other photographers along with them as they were sweeping through, looking for these -- whoever was shooting.
They didn't know who they were yet. They didn't know what group was responsible for that. And also trying just desperately to get civilians out as quickly as possible before more people were killed. COOPER: You must have been concerned not only about the attackers inside, but I mean -- about IEDs, explosive devices that they could have planted?
HICKS: Yes, yes, I mean, once I looked into the center area of the mall down into lower floors and saw that there were bodies around on the -- on the ground floor, big pools of blood, people scattered around, it really -- it was clear that these guys were just indiscriminately killing people that were still in there. And that's something that you really have to think about also.
In a mall, in a big open air mall like that, it's -- there is no -- there's really no cover. There's very little place to hide. They really have the advantage. They're already in there. They can be in the aisles of the supermarket or in a casino or a movie theater. There's hundreds -- thousands of places to hide and to wage an attack from.
COOPER: The fact that it's taking Kenyan security forces so long to try to contain the situation, is it -- I mean, is it that they're outmatched or is it just, as you said, this is an incredibly difficult situation. It's incredibly a huge area to try to get under control and you're up against people who were more than willing to die?
HICKS: Yes, I mean, this is the problem, they don't know exactly how many people were in the mall. And they don't know how -- whether these -- that the people who were remaining and are remaining are being held by them or if -- as hostages, or if they're just hiding. You know, it is clear that a lot of people were killed. And the -- so the question is, you know, you can't just go rushing in there with people who are very willing to kill civilians. And perfectly happy to die themselves to become martyrs for the cause.
COOPER: Your wife is a TV journalist. She was in the mall also covering this. She shot some incredible video that I want to show.
Was there ever a point where you thought this is too dangerous? I mean, you've covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where you thought this is too unsafe, I should leave?
HICKS: Well, not really. I mean, it was dangerous. And there was some shooting going on and obviously there are people who -- many, many people who were injured and killed there. It was one of those moments when I really felt like this was very important to cover and worth to be there for as long as -- you know, I was taking as much care as I could.
The problem was, it became very clear within the first 10 or 15 minutes that the people who I was traveling around the mall with, you know, do just as little as I did. And that is the one thing that is unsettling when you're there, when you realize they had no idea where these guys were either.
COOPER: Well, Tyler, I'm glad you're OK, and your wife, as well. And thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.
HICKS: Thank you very much.
COOPER: It's amazing. Having been so close. As you heard from Tyler Hick's report, Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall is really popular with foreigners including Westerners. The upscale mall feels more like it's home to them. Safe to say the terrorists did not choose it as a target by accident.
Joining me now is CNN contributor and former CIA officer, Bob Baer, also Maajid Nawaz, author of "Radical: My Journey Out of Islamist Extremism."
Maajid, this "Washington Post" report that two or three Americans were among the attackers. They're citing the Kenyan foreign minister talking to PBS. Does that surprise you to hear because Shabaab has had a number of Americans working for them over the years?
MAAJID NAWAZ, AUTHOR, "RADICAL": No, it doesn't surprise us. And in fact, there's a huge Somali Diaspora, in America, in Canada, here in Britain, and of course within Kenya itself. Eleven percent of Kenya's population is Muslim. Now of course the vast majority of those are peaceful and law-abiding. But that does mean that there is areas within which Somali al-Shabaab sympathizers can find sanctuary. And so the Diaspora connection and foreign fights joining el-Shabaab as being something that here in Britain people have been very, very concerned about it.
COOPER: Yes, I believe the first suicide bombing by an American was actually by a Somali-American who joined al-Shabaab a couple of years ago in Mogadishu.
Bob, I just want to give an update. While Maajid was talking, the U.S. law enforcement has said they cannot confirm that -- or they don't have enough information to verify if Americans were in fact involved in these attacks. So right now this is just information coming from the Kenyan foreign minister talking to PBS.
But, Bob, the shopping mall that was frequented by the Westerners, I mean, it reminded me a lot of the Mumbai terror attacks where you have a relatively small number of gunmen able to essentially caused panic in an entire city by taking over a well-known landmark.
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Exactly, Anderson, and these are soft targets. There is no way to protect them. You can put armed guards at the front entrance but it's not enough. And once a team deploys inside a shopping center it is virtually impossible for the police to figure out where they are. It takes -- I mean, it's taken in Nairobi almost three days now to clear that place.
The same goes for the United States. They're easy targets. High visibility, you can get the message across Massachusetts. People want to convey. And it doesn't surprise me at all, frankly, that they went after one.
COOPER: It's interesting, Maajid, because I mean I was in Somalia and Mogadishu two years ago. Shortly right after al-Shabaab had basically been kicked out by African Union Peacekeeping forces. And for some time now it seemed like they were on their heels. They were basically in the southern part of the country.
Does this seem to you a resurgence of them, and just a sign that they've always been out there. Maybe kind of cooling their heels for awhile?
NAWAZ: Well, al-Shabaab have been on the lower rank of the hierarchy for al Qaeda. Now what's happened recently, we have to consider this incident in a long line of a chain of events where al Qaeda are re-grouping.
I believe that we have prematurely declared that we have defeated al Qaeda. And this was perhaps even for election purposes before the elections. And of course we've got to understand that under Ayman al- Zawahiri, al Qaeda have achieved far more than they ever could have dreamed of under bin Laden's authority.
They have occupied territory, an area larger than the size of France came under their control in Mali and required an entire French intervention. And now with this attack in Kenya, Somalis in al- Shabaab have demonstrated that they are able to and they are capable, despite having been expelled from Somalia, they are capable to mount attacks along the classic al-Qaeda lines. Right? Like it was done in Mumbai.
COOPER: And yet, Bob, it's not a high impact attack like obviously a 9/11 attack on the towers. It's not a tactically sophisticated attack but as you said it can have a large impact.
BAER: Absolutely. We have to look at the totality of -- they're doing the same thing in Nigerian, Bokhara, Mali, you've got al Qaeda there, you've got Niger, Libya, it's still a mess. And on top of it you have Syria. So I agree with Maajid that there is a resurgence we're seeing. I don't -- again (INAUDIBLE) but that's what's happening and you know, the question is where will they attack next?
COOPER: And Maajid, I mean, you've been on our program a number of times, your book "Radical" is all about the sort of the transformation that you went -- you actually became an Islamic extremist while you were in prison in Egypt. You've now completely changed your mind, and actually sort of preach to others and try to convince others to leave extremism behind.
Can you understand why -- and I think it is hard for many Americans to understand why some Somali-Americans, a small number compared to the larger Somali community in the United States, but a small number of Somali-Americans would choose to leave their lives here and go back to Somalia, in many cases they never even remembered, from where they were born, to fight for this group?
NAWAZ: Yes, Anderson, the sad situation is that Islamism, and the violent strand of Islamism known as jihadism, have become the anti-establishment ideology of the day for people that have an affinity to the Middle East. Picture it as a form of communism. Of course the communist ideology is by and large dead today, but those who want to pick up a flag, raise the mantle of a resistance ideology, they express themselves today through the prism of the ideology of Islamism.
That's become a brand. It no longer requires recruitment per se because it's glittering and it attracts on its own accord. So young men find themselves pretty much the same as how Che Guevara left Argentina, went to Cuba, and then moved over Bolivia where he died.
They are leaving their countries to pick up weapons and arms and train and to join a war that perhaps they have nothing to do with. Because they have -- they find this brand that appealing. And the problem is that we don't have an alternative discourse on the grassroots to challenge this ideology.
COOPER: Maajid's new book "Radical" comes out in a couple of weeks in October, and I have read it, an advance copy. It's really fascinating.
Maajid, good to have you on. Bob Baer as well.
For more on the story, go to CNN.com.
Up next will he or won't he? Will President Obama meet Iran's new president at the United Nations this week. With the last buzz.
COOPER: Welcome back. We're going to have a lot more on the terror attack, by the way, on our 10:00 hour on "AC360 LATER." Tonight now, President Obama is here in New York for the new opening of the new session of the United Nation's General Assembly. So is the new president of Iran who has made it clear he intends to establish new avenues of dialogue with the west, possibly the United States.
President Obama addresses the General Assembly tomorrow where he will undoubtedly talk about the containing Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons. The question that everyone is asking tonight, is there a chance he is going to meet with Iran's president?
Jim Sciutto joins us now from the U.N. So what is the possibility of a meeting between President Obama and the Iranian president?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is still possible but no commitment. U.S. officials saying there is no meeting on the schedule yet. I think you're starting to see some expectation from U.S. officials in case the meeting doesn't happen because if there is no hand shake or no meeting on the sidelines, they don't want this story to be here that this effort at new diplomacy has fizzled.
And in reality, there is some truth to that. We do know that Secretary Kerry will meet with his counterpart, the Iranian foreign minister, as well as the five members of the Security Council plus Germany, on the meetings between the U.N. secretary of state and Iranian foreign minister since 2007. And just when we think about where we were at last year's U.N. General Assembly or even few weeks ago in U.S.-Iranian relations. Things are dramatically more positive. But it is still possible you don't have that iconic moment here of the U.S. president shaking the Iranian president's hand.
COOPER: Well, it shows you what the state of the relations is that even a hand shake would be considered an iconic moment. The U.S., though, is clearly trying to keep the focus on Syria this week?
SCIUTTO: No question, and up until a week ago before all this excitement about the Iranian meeting came up, it really was the focus. And it remains so for Secretary Kerry and his team. They want this to come out of this General Assembly enshrining that U.S.-Russia agreement on Syria's chemical weapons, and there are still a number of disagreements. The U.S. and Russia still, of course, disagreeing on the use of military force if Syria doesn't comply. A new disagreement today on even how Syria's compliance would be defined. That disagreement between the U.S. and Russia so still a lot of hurdles to overcome in getting to a resolution to back the Geneva deal.
COOPER: All right, we'll be watching. Jim Sciutto, thanks for reporting.
Coming up, the video is graphic, a man running from police, killed by the police car following him. His family is calling an execution. That's the video right there. The medical examiner says it was an accident. You will hear both sides of the story and can decide for yourself.
Also, tonight, new pictures of the little girl with her adoptive parents, she has been at the center of a custody battle that has happened for half of her life. Will they finally, finally get to bring her home? Details ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back, our "Crime and Punishment" segment tonight, a Florida family is demanding a federal investigation into the death of a loved one. His name is Marlon Brown. He last spring after he was run over by a police car. The incident was caught on video by the car's dashboard camera. His death was ruled an accident. A grand jury declined to indict the police officer charged of vehicular manslaughter.
His family was outraged. The Brown's family decided to release the dash cam video to the public as a way to pressure the prosecutors to file criminal charges. I want to warn you, the video is graphic. You may find it disturbing. Randi Kaye has the story.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are watching the final moments of a man's life, caught on police dash cam video. It is 12:30 a.m. on May 8th, and Marlon Brown is running from the police in DeLand, Florida. (on camera): A Volusia County Sheriff's deputy tried to stop Brown earlier for not wearing a seat belt. From there, Deland Police Officer James Harris and another officer picked up the pursuit. Each in their own patrol car, they spot Brown there at the intersection. They tail him all the way here until he makes the left on South Delaware Avenue, it's a dead end.
(voice-over): Brown suddenly pulls his car over, jumps out then takes off running through a vacant lot. Officer Harris stays on him. Eric Latinsky is Harris' lawyer.
(on camera): He was chasing a man down with a 4,000 pound car, he had to realize there was a risk here.
ERIC LATINSKY, OFFICER HARRIS' DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What my client is trying to do is drive towards the back of a lot where he can stop and then exit his vehicle. He is not attempting to strike anyone.
KAYE (voice-over): A warning, what happens next is hard to watch. One final glance toward the oncoming police car and Brown disappears underneath it. It all happened so fast, Brown is only on foot for about 6 seconds. Moments later, the other officer looks under the car with a flash light then they attempt to get the car off Brown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to get this car off now.
KAYE: By the time fire and rescue crews arrive to lift the car, the 38-year-old father of two is dead. Krystal Brown is Marlon's ex- wife.
KRYSTAL BROWN, MARLON BROWN'S EX-WIFE: You look at that video, you don't see a swerve, you don't see -- you don't even hear, my God, as you impact.
KAYE: The medical examiner said Brown died from mechanical asphyxia, the weight of the car cut off his oxygen. The M.E. also found no evidence that he was struck by the vehicle. No skull fractures or pelvic fractures, ruling that Brown slipped and fell. And only then did the police car stop on top of him. He ruled the death accidental.
BROWN: I don't buy it, he sees the car coming.
LATINSKY: He lost his footing and he fell down, and that was because of the wet turf and the loose dirt. And that is the same thing that made it difficult to stop your car.
KAYE (on camera): Do you believe your client tried to slow down?
KAYE (voice-over): Just weeks ago, the state attorney general announced that a grand jury decided to not indict the officer for vehicular manslaughter. Frustrated and angry, Krystal Brown and her attorney made the dash cam video public. They hope it will force an independent investigation by federal agencies.
Testimony was included as part of the evidence by an expert. That expert found that Officer Harris had been driving carelessly, given the wet grass and the darkness. He also said that the officer violated the department's policy of non-pursuit, except after a forcible felony.
DeLand Police Chief William Ridgeway fired Harris the same day he watched the dash cam video. Marlon Brown had been in and out of jail for drugs and fraud. He was just released the month before he died. Friends in the car with him that night told police he fled because he was so afraid of going back to jail. Randi Kaye, CNN, DeLand, Florida.
COOPER: Let's talk more about the case with Ben Crump, the attorney for Marlon Brown's family and Jose Baez, a criminal defense attorney and formerly represented Casey Anthony. Of course, Ben, you believe this was an execution?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR MARLON BROWN'S FAMILY: Well, I think when you look at the velocity that he came at Marlon Brown that night, regardless if Marlon fell down or not that car came straight at him. Don't take my word for it. Look at the video.
COOPER: You have no doubt that that car actually hit Marlon?
CRUMP: No doubt, whatsoever. That is why we found it so unbelievable that the medical examiner said there was no vehicle contact. We have vehicle contact. You look at it with your own eyes, at best it is inaccurate. At worst, it's some kind of conspiracy to conceal the truth from us.
COOPER: Jose, you agree with the grand jury's decision. You don't think the officer did anything criminal, is that correct?
JOSE BAEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think it was stupid, negligent, but does it rise to the level of being criminal? And I don't think that this is an issue where we have someone that is reckless to the extent of criminal liability. I don't think anyone could condone this officer's actions, but does it rise to that level of criminality? And I think the grand jurors made the decision based on the information they had.
COOPER: Jose, to you, does it make a difference if the officer actually hit Mr. Brown with the vehicle?
BAEZ: No, I don't think so, it was an accident. You clearly see this was a situation where it was an accident. I don't think anyone can get in that officer's head and say this is -- there is some type of evidence here where he clearly wanted to run him down and run him over. Just based on what we see, now, there may be something outside of this video that tells us otherwise, but based on what I see this is a tragic accident. People get hit every single day with cars and that doesn't make it criminal. COOPER: What about that? Is it possible the officer, just, you know, the grass was slippery and he had a hard time stopping?
CRUMP: Jose knows as well as every lawyer in Florida, vehicular homicide, you just have to show the person was reckless, had due disregard for human safety or life, and it caused somebody to die. Look at that video. He came around two police officers who had stopped. He was reckless, he intended to get to Marlon Brown, and you see it. You don't have to take anybody's word for it.
COOPER: Why would he want to hit this person, you are saying he intended to?
CRUMP: You think about the whole mentality, Anderson? They are chasing him for the seat belt violation. They don't do it in certain communities. They only do it here they would chase it for a seat belt violation?
COOPER: You're saying it because it is African-American?
CRUMP: Absolutely, they don't pursue other communities like that.
BAEZ: There are lots of problems throughout the state of Florida that different counties have, pursuit, different pursuit policies. There is no uniform policy across the state of Florida. So you -- Mr. Crump is absolutely correct. This is a huge problem throughout our communities.
COOPER: Ben, I understand that the county has already paid the Brown family more than $500,000. What is it now that you're looking for?
CRUMP: The civil settlement is completely irrelevant to the criminal matter. We are looking for -- if that medical examiner's report is inaccurate and she shows that there is new evidence that the car did hit Marlon Brown. Go back to that grand jury and hold him accountable just as if Jose or I or any of our friends or relatives had did that, they would have been charged.
COOPER: What about autopsy results?
CRUMP: Well, the autopsy is done by this medical examiner who works with the police officer.
COOPER: Do you believe they would like to have a separate autopsy?
CRUMP: Absolutely, and also we think there is other evidence that shows he was hit and that's going to be coming out, we believe.
BAEZ: Anderson, you know what the biggest problem here is that this prosecutor did not seek out a special prosecutor to investigate this case. This prosecutor actually investigated their own case and sent it to the grand jury and that is what gives the appearance of impropriety here. Had they reached the statewide prosecutor's office and asked them to take over the investigation, might have seen a different result or you might have seen the same exact result. But that really casts a shadow over this prosecutor that leads people to question and rightfully so.
CRUMP: A 12 and 13-year-old child saw this video, and they believe it was wrong that he was hit.
COOPER: We'll continue to follow and as you said there may be some new information coming out soon. Ben Crump, appreciate it. Jose Baez, thanks.
The 4-year-old girl at the center of a custody battle we've been reporting on now for months reunited with the adoptive parents. The question is, will she be going home with them soon? The latest with Baby Veronica ahead.
Plus the former NFL player who says 300 teenagers held a party in his home, trashed it while he was away, they broke into his home. He asked them to come and clean up the mess. We'll tell you how many of them actually showed up.
COOPER: Someone finally cuts through the noise and puts an Emmy speech we can all get behind. The "Ridiculist" is coming up.
COOPER: Let's get a quick check of some other headlines. Isha is here with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court has ruled the 4-year-old girl named Veronica at the center of a custody battle must be returned to her adoptive parents. However, it is unclear when it will happen. The couple's spokeswoman said they can't wait to bring Veronica home and begin the healing process as a reunited family. They also hope that Veronica's birth father and the Cherokee Nation will return Veronica peacefully and voluntarily.
A father who never gave up looking for his missing son is reunited with him 13 years after his abduction. The boy's grandmother was arrested and is accused of kidnapping her own grandson in Florida in 2000.
A 360 follow, only four kids showed up this weekend to help former NFL player, Brian Holloway clean up his upstate New York home. Now Holloway says about 300 kids broke into his home and wrecked it over the Labor Day weekend.
And Anderson, the man who bought the winning $400 million Powerball ticket at a store near Columbia, South Carolina has claimed his prize and wants to remain anonymous. Anderson, lottery officials say he told them it was only the second time he had played. Clearly, I must play less.
COOPER: That is going to make a lot of people play all the time. I can't believe only four kids showed up.
SESAY: I can believe only four kids showed up.
COOPER: Where are their parents?
SESAY: Now you sound like an old man.
COOPER: Thanks, the "Ridiculist" is next.
COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist," and the Emmys was last night. At first we thought maybe we talked about the surprises and the snubs. That seems to what basically what most people talk about today, but then we remember that "Breaking Bad" and the "Colbert Report" won and beyond that I really don't care. So why else do people actually watch the Emmys?
All right, I guess to see what the stars are wearing. Maybe we could do a best dressed/worse dressed list. But to be completely honest, our staff myself included is ill equipped to make such judgements. We as a group could knock a most comfortable sneakers list out of the park or talk about how many times in a row one can wore the same sweat shirt without it falling apart. But evening wear, not so much?
So what does that leave? Well, the acceptance speeches. Typically, precious affairs filled with the names of people you don't know, their agents, people accompanied by fame, surprise, and/or humility and/or follow your dreams cliches, until the music gets loud enough to put us out of our misery.
Then last night, a woman named Merritt Weave stepped on stage after winning the supporting actress in a comedy Emmy for her role in "Nurse Jackie" and she forever change her minds about what an award acceptance speech can be and should be. Here's what she said in its entirety.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRITT WEAVER, ACTRESS: Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I got to go. Goodbye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There, concise, authentic, and after a commercial break, Neil Patrick Harris summed it up the only appropriate reaction to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, EMMY HOST: Merritt Weaver, best speech ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: So when Merritt Weaver took questions from reporters back stage right after winning, she had a moment to gather her thoughts and remembered what she wanted to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEAVER: I wanted to thank a lot of people. It is happening again. I wanted to thank everybody at Showtime and thank most of all Edie Falco. It is hard to do those. Sorry. Yes. I'm scared. I'm scared because -- it was unexpected. So I don't know how to feel yet. I mean, I have therapy next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I like someone who is not in touch with their emotions, doesn't know how they feel until about a week later. Her real speech was better, frankly. I also think we should all use the merit weaver method when somebody gives you an award a, a quick thank you, followed quickly by "I got to go." I challenge you to find a better approach on the "Ridiculist."
That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern for "AC360 LATER," our panel discussion show. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.