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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Interview with Benjamin Crump; Interview with Shawn Parcells; National Guard on the Streets of Ferguson; Different Versions of Shooting Emerge; Interview with Piaget Crenshaw, Eyewitness
Aired August 18, 2014 - 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: Good evening, everyone. It is 7:00 p.m. here in Ferguson. A bit less than an hour until sunset, it is hot here, tensions are high. They remain high, every new development in the week and two days since Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown has either raised the tension, raised the temperature or in some cases cooled things off.
For better or worse it is all digested by the men and women who are out here. Men and women who just a short time ago began marching back into the fray. Many from here, some from other parts of this state, most here peacefully, and most, without a doubt here peacefully throughout the day, some however may not be tonight.
We saw the worst of it over the weekend, last Thursday's hope souring into Friday's anger and last night street violence.
Tonight we are waiting to see what people here make of a string of major developments today. A lot of movement today, they include the governor's decision to lift the curfew and bring in the National Guard, though we have not seen the National Guard yet on the ground here in Ferguson. Results of a private autopsy on Michael Brown showing he was hit at least six times and finding no evidence of a struggle.
No marks on Michael Brown's body that would indicate a struggle. But no clear answer to whether his hands were raised in surrender, whether he was rushing the officer as the officer maintains or defending himself.
We'll talk to Ben Crump, the family attorney for Michael Brown's family.
Also an account, as seen through Officer Wilson's eyes of the confrontation. Late today, President Obama announced that Attorney General Eric Holder will come here on Wednesday. He called for justice and for peace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown. Giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos. It undermines rather than advancing justice. Let me also be clear that our constitutional rights to speak freely,
to assemble and to report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded. Especially in moments like these. There's no excuse for excessive force by police or any action that denies people the right to protest peacefully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now Mr. Obama was equally balanced on explicit question of race, that in too many communities young African-American are wrongly seen as objects of fear. He also acknowledged that some young African-American men do commit crimes.
As we mentioned, today saw a new account of what happened emerged. We want you to hear it all so you can decide what to make of it for yourself. Now it comes from a woman calling herself Josie who phoned into a local radio talk show, claiming to know Officer Wilson's side of the story.
Now a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation says that what she said matches Officer Wilson's story, what he has told police.
Here's what she told local station KSDK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So he said that, you know, they were walking in the middle of the street. He pulled up, rolled his window down and you know, said, come on, guys, down the street. They refused to and were yelling back, and saying, we're almost where we're going. And they were -- there was some cussing involved. And then he just kept rolling up and he pulled over.
And I believe at that point he for backup but I'm not sure. But I know he pulled up ahead of them, and he was watching them, and then he gets the call-in that there was a strong armed robbery, and they gave a description. And he was looking at them. They got something in their hands that looks like it could be, what, you know, those cigars or whatever. So he goes in reverse back to them. Tries to get out of his car. They slam his door shut violently.
I think he said Michael did. And then he opened his car again, you know, tried to get out, and as he stands up, Michael just bum-rushes him, just shoves him back into his car. Punches him in the face and then, of course, Darren grabs for his gun. Michael grabs the gun. At one point he got the gun totally turned against his hip and Darren, you know, shoves it away, and the gun goes off.
Then Michael takes off with his friends. They get to be about 35 feet away and, you know, Darren's first protocol is to pursue. So he stands up and yells freeze. Michael and his friend turn around. And Michael starts taunting him, what are you going to do about it? You know, you're not going to shoot me. And then he said all of a sudden he just started to bum-rush him, he just started coming at him full speed and so he just started shooting and he just kept coming. So he really thinks he was on to something. Because he just kept
coming, it was unbelievable. And then -- so he finally ended up -- the final shot was in the forehead. And then he fell about two, three feet in front of the officer.
So that's why the stories are going around that, oh, he's shot execution style and I think some people saw, you know, the shot in his head. Of course, ballistics will prove he wasn't shot in the back like the other people are saying, the, quote-unquote, "witnesses." But that's -- that's his version of what happened.
DANA LOESCH, HOST: Now can I ask, how did you come by this information? Is this something that you -- did you have discussions with the family? How did you come to know the details of it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was his significant other told me. This was before, it was such a huge, you know. It was Sunday night before the riots so, you know, it was when it was still on Facebook. Everyone was still talking, you know, it was kind of an open discussion at that point. And of course I had no idea it would turn into this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now according to our reporting, that account squares with what Officer Wilson has told investigators. That according to a source with detailed information about the investigation. But now it stands in sharp contrast with what at least three other witnesses say, including Dorian Johnson who was with Michael Brown when they encountered Officer Wilson.
Here's what he said on this program just last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORIAN JOHNSON, WITNESS OF MICHAEL BROWN SHOOTING: When he fired his weapon, I moved seconds before he pulled the trigger. I saw the fire come out the barrel and I instantly knew that it was a gun. I looked at my friend Big Mike and I saw that he was struck in the chest or upper region because I saw blood splatter down his side, his right area. And at that time we both took off running, and I was able to hide myself behind the first vehicle that was up on the scene.
And the officer then got out of his car, my friend Big Mike was still running. He ran past me and saw me in plain sight. He said to me, verbatim, that -- he said, keep running, bro, and he kept running, and almost in an instant my body started rising, and I see the officer proceeding after my friend Big Mike with his gun drawn. And he fired a second shot. And that struck my friend Big Mike. And at that time, he turned around with his hands up. Beginning to tell the officer that he was unarmed and to tell him to stop shooting. But at that time the officer was firing several more shots into my friend. And he hit the ground and died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right, two very different accounts, obviously, and there are many variations of it. We're going to talk to other eyewitnesses later on in this hour.
Two autopsies done. Still with significant gaps and what we know there's a lot to talk about. There's also a lot to be careful about. With that in mind, I'm joined here by Benjamin Crump who's representing Michael Brown's family.
It's always good to see you, although I'm sorry it's under these circumstances yet again, I should point out.
First of all you take issue with this radio caller, Josie. Do you believe this is part of a coordinated effort by law enforcement to release select pieces of information that bolsters the officer's case?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: What I will say, Anderson, what you see here, this is the reason for the mistrust. When you put out stuff like that there. The due process is due process for the officer and for Mike Brown's family. But it only works when you give the police reports with the statements from the police, so they can be cross examined and vetted.
But to just go out there and say, witness of her from somebody else who got a significant other, and you say, how is that being responsible. Make them come and do just like all these witnesses are doing from this community of Ferguson, because remember, a lot of them are afraid to come forward because when you all take the cameras away, they still got to live here and they fear retribution. But they are coming talking to the law enforcement agencies because they are passionate about --
COOPER: The police, they're saying, look, we can't release all the information that we know because it's an ongoing investigation.
CRUMP: Anderson, they show -- released Mike Brown's video in this vehicle.
COOPER: But that's --
CRUMP: So it's disingenuous.
COOPER: You're saying they're releasing selective information in order to basically assassinate the character of Michael Brown?
CRUMP: They assassinate as a person, now they're going to assassinate his character in death. And I think that's part of their playbook, Anderson. I've done these cases long enough to know, when you don't have a real defense, you try to do a smoke-and-mirrors to distract that. And we don't have to get to the issue of why he shot so many times. Why he did that kill shot in the top of his head. You know, the people out there, they are saying this in broad daylight, Anderson. And that's -- he got his hands up, why are you still shooting?
COOPER: The autopsy, which Michael Baden did, a renowned pathologist, brought in by the family. There's going to be another one by the federal government.
To you, what are the key points in that autopsy? Six shots -- at least six shots fired?
CRUMP: At least six shots fired. They -- unfortunately, they back up a lot of the witnesses said because you have the shots to his hands. Two motion. You have a shot on his hand. Unfortunately they have --
COOPER: One shot in the arm back to front according to the pathologist.
CRUMP: Exactly. Which would suggest he had his hands up.
COOPER: Or turning away.
CRUMP: As the media and witnesses had said. And also, they clarified that this -- the hands are mobile. And when you put it down, you got the shot coming from the back, so that's why they want all the witness testimony. They want the clothes to see whether there's gunshot residue on that. They want to know if there was gunshot residue in the vehicle and the blood in the vehicle. All this -- they want to know what the x-ray say, how many bullets went into his body. And they all agree that at least six shots, maybe more, and the question remains, why do you have to shoot an unarmed person in broad daylight, execution style.
COOPER: Do you believe that what has been happening out here for the last several days. And I should point out, I mean, throughout the day, most of these protesters are peaceful, they just want their voices heard. There obviously has been violence later on at night. Do you worry that that takes away from or distracts people from the essential case here?
CRUMP: Absolutely. And, you know, the family has asked, Anderson, that everybody be responsible. And we understand you're mad and you're upset. But we want justice. And when you do irresponsible thing, they're valid, it takes everybody's attention away from getting justice for their son and saying, look at how irresponsible they are.
And I understand it, I get it, Anderson, too. These people are hurting. They haven't seen their children killed over and over again, and they know the police through the playbook, (INAUDIBLE) pending investigation, it takes forever, a year later, when nobody remembers their child name but them, they then sweep it under the rug and say it was justified.
Well, it's different this time because this was in broad daylight.
COOPER: Do you believe that what has occurred here in front of the cameras, really, the presence of law enforcement, the militarization of the police, which I think has surprised a lot of people, raised a lot of questions around the country. Do you think that will change anything?
CRUMP: Well, you know, I pray that they heed to what President Obama said that they are here to, you know, observe more so than police because it's kind of hard when you're exercising your First Amendment rights over something you feel passionate about, which is your children. Their right to exist and survive and walk on this earth. And the people that are supposed to protect them, killing them, and you're saying, we want to speak up for our children.
And when we do that, you're going to send the police in to treat us like criminals, so it's a delicate balance. We understand a few people have made it bad for the majority of the people who have been protesting very peacefully.
COOPER: Do you believe -- there are some reports unconfirmed that a grand jury may be convened as early as Wednesday? Are you worried about a grand jury? Because a lot of that is done in secret.
CRUMP: I'm always concerned about a grand jury because what you want is equal justice, and when things go to the grand jury, it's all in secret as you say, Anderson. And nobody knows what the prosecutor presents to the grand jury, and so these people need transparency. There's a large distrust there and they know if the shoe was on the other foot, there wouldn't be a grand jury, they would be charged -- arrested and charges with a crime.
And so they are saying, we want equal justice, too. We don't want anything (INAUDIBLE) officer but what about our children?
COOPER: Benjamin Crump, appreciate talking to you.
CRUMP: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Barring some of these circumstances.
CRUMP: Yes, sir.
COOPER: When we come back, there's a lot more here. We're on for two hours tonight. More on the private autopsy, what it reveals and what it leaves unanswered from one of the people who actually conducted that autopsy. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back to Ferguson. It's been more than a half hour until sun -- sun set, the Missouri National Guard expected here, though we have yet to actually see them. Some friction about 90 minutes ago as police moved protesters out of the road. People, some of whom have been basically out all day in the heat as more protesters marched into the area.
Now the curfew here, just so you know, has actually been lifted by the governor, but there is a rule of not allowing people to congregate in any one spot. So police say they have the right to just continually try to move people. So we've seen protesters now moving around. There are large numbers of people just kind of milling around here, as you can see. But for the most part they keep moving around, again.
It is usually later on in the evening when the last or at least last night when some trouble began. We'll see what happens tonight. The major developments today, results of a private autopsy on Michael Brown. We're talked about that with Benjamin Crump. And before the break you heard from the family attorney who suggested that it backs up eyewitness accounts of what happened. Now others dispute that and there's now -- there now no disputing that it also -- no disputing it also leaves a number of questions unanswered, including precisely how close Michael Brown was when Officer Wilson shot him. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, CONDUCTED PRIVATE AUTOPSY ON BROWN: In this instance, there's no gunshot residues on the skin's surface. So that the muzzle of the gun was at least one or two feet away, the muzzle at the time of discharge. It could have been 30 feet away. That will be the same thing. But in order to be firm about that, we also have to look at the clothing which we haven't had the opportunity to look at because sometimes the clothing can filter out gunshot residues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's pathologist Michael Baden earlier today.
Joining us now is Shawn Parcells who assisted Dr. Baden in that autopsy.
Thank you very much for being with us.
SHAWN PARCELLS, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST ASSISTANT: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: For you, what are the headlines that you discover? I mean, you say at least six shots, what exactly does it tell us about what happened?
PARCELLS: We know for sure that he's shot at least six times. So as we pointed out in the press conference this morning, he had two shots to the head and that he had four wounds to the arm. We've got a wound that occurred to the right upper shoulder here and we've got a wound that occurred to the right side of the chest here that Dr. Baden and I feel that those are most likely reentrance wounds.
For example, the shot that entered above the eyebrow came out right here and most likely went right back in. That's all one bullet.
COOPER: One of the shots in the arm was said to be back to front. What exactly does that mean?
PARCELLS: Well, during our autopsy examination, we found one of the gunshot wounds in this part of the arm. So anatomically speaking, we say that's the medial aspect. And as I pointed out this morning, the arm is a very movable part of your body. So the shot could have come from the front. If he's putting his hand up, or if he's raising his hands like this, but at the same when we put our arms down and we're walking along like this, as if he's walking away from the officer that shot could have come from the back to the front.
COOPER: Now if one arm was raised, you can't say whether that means he had his arms up in a giving -- I'm giving up posture or don't shoot me, or -- I mean, one of the accounts according to this friend of the police officer was that he was charging the police officer. You can't say for sure whether or not an arm was raised in a running position or in hands up position?
PARCELLS: Correct. And that's a lot of the information that Dr. Baden and I are missing right now.
COOPER: And -- let's focus in on what you're missing because all that stuff is important. Being able to examine the police officer's vehicle, being able to examine the clothing, all -- what else do you need to actually get a complete picture?
PARCELLS: To get a really good picture, we want to review the first autopsy which will be the autopsy report, the autopsy photos, the x- rays and the tox report. We also want to review all witness statements, the officer statement in particular.
COOPER: And none of that you were able to review?
PARCELLS: We haven't.
PARCELLS: Also clothing of the victim. And also credible witnesses that saw the event occur. And we'd also like to look at the car. Because supposedly there was a gunshot that went off in the car. We'd like to review that evidence, look at it but also see what the authorities did during the processing of the vehicle.
COOPER: The importance of the clothing is what? To get a sense of the distance of the gunshot?
PARCELLS: Correct. In other words, if I -- you and I are at a really close range. So if I shoot you at this range and you don't have your shirt on, you're going to have get (INAUDIBLE) and gun powder on your skin.
PARCELLS: But with the shirt or other materials on, the shirt and those materials will filter that out. So when you actually look at it at the autopsy, it looks like it came from a great - from a distance.
COOPER: Do you have a sense of the order of the shots?
PARCELLS: We can't say for sure what the order was in. But Dr. Baden and I feel very confident that the two to the head were the last two shots that hit Michael Brown.
COOPER: And that was his head, it was in the top of the head?
PARCELLS: Correct. There's one here.
COOPER: So the head would have been down?
PARCELLS: And one here and it would have been down. Correct.
COOPER: OK. Shawn, I appreciate you being with us. Shawn Parcells, thank you very much.
PARCELLS: Thank you. Thank you.
COOPER: Obviously lots still to learn.
Let's bring in our legal panel, criminal defense attorneys Mark Geragos and Danny Cevallos. Also attorney and legal affairs commentates Areva Martin.
Mark, let me start with you, the independent autopsy results, what do you make of them?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think that it creates a lot of problems for the officer. Six shots is a lot of shots, when somebody is unarmed. I think the fact that at least preliminarily you don't know how close the shots were, because they don't have the cloths. And the clothes are going to do more for you than the gunshot residue.
They're also going to be able --- they can look at the fibers and they can determine whether which are the entry wounds, which are exit wounds on the fibers of the clothing, so they'll know whether or not he was shot from behind or shot in front. But the -- the real problem is, the takeaway from this is, six shots is -- for somebody is almost prima facia evidence of excessive force when somebody is unarmed.
COOPER: Areva Martin, do you agree with that? Because there are a lot of, you know, times in court where we have seen lawyers basically justifying each and every shot or in the case of Rodney King justifying each and every blow to an alleged victim.
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: And we saw how the second Rodney King trial played itself out, Anderson. I absolutely agree with Mark. You know, the issue here is, was this officer in reasonably, you know, fear of imminent danger with respect to each and every shot. And again someone who's unarmed to think that it took six shots, the fatal one being to the head, as we heard from the -- the medical examiner is unbelievable.
And I think what the medical examiner said, too, that so important in this case is we need to hear from this officer. I was just appalled to hear this comment or this, you know, story that was told by so- called friend Josie, when we haven't heard anything official from the officer himself or from this police department.
COOPER: Well, Danny, what about that? The police department -- they say look, this is an ongoing investigation, we can't give out all that information with an ongoing investigation. Is that legitimate?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is. Based on my understanding of Missouri Sunshine Law, some records are considered open, others are considered closed. And a Court of Appeals in Missouri specifically held that autopsy reports aren't considered closed. And even if the family wanted that autopsy report it appears that the government has at least 30 days before they have to turn it over or petition a court to keep that record closed. So within that time, the decision to release or not release an
autopsy, while there certainly is a moral component, while we certainly all want to see it, as long as they are following the law, that's a separate inquiry, if they are following Missouri Sunshine Law --
GERAGOS: But Danny?
CEVALLOS: -- that was in there -- that within their ability --
GERAGOS: But Danny?
CEVALLOS: -- their legal right to do so. Mark.
GERAGOS: Danny, what -- how do you explain, though --
COOPER: Mark, one comment and we got to go to break.
GERAGOS: Look, how do you explain releasing all the other reports last week, including the videotape under a so-called FOIA request. The Freedom of Information Act request. I think that that was just absolutely disingenuous.
CEVALLOS: Do I think --
MARTIN: That's a disclosure, Anderson.
COOPER: That was -- guys, wait. Guys, that was absolutely my next question to follow up with Danny so we've got to take a quick break, I'm going to follow up with Danny and Areva on that very question.
Are police selectively releasing information that seems to, in their opinion, bolster their case? Coming up, a defense also of Officer Darren Wilson, we'll to -- get a law enforcement perspective on that. What he did, and the way police are handling the protest. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing coverage here in Ferguson. I want to give you a little bit of a lay of the land. We're -- I don't know if you can see the red light all the way down there. It's about five blocks or so down there. And to the right of that, another four or five blocks is the area where Michael Brown was shot and killed.
This main strip here in Ferguson is where much of the protests have taken place. The shot we're looking at right there, is where some of the tear gas and arrests have been made. But throughout the day, people walking, police now -- there is no curfew here tonight.
But police say that they will arrest anybody who stays static for a long period of time. They don't want people gathering in one spot, large crowds gathering. So they want to keep people moving. We've seen sort of mobile groups of protesters several hundred strong at times, walking around protesting, There are a number of people right now just kind of standing still. We haven't seen any National Guard troops in this area. But we do have an update on the National Guard. They have in fact arrived. They're now at a staging area.
A local Target store a little less than a mile from here. We want to give you another perspective now before we go back to our panel. This one from law enforcement, Darrel Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown, he's not talking himself. You know that by now except to investigators.
He does have defenders, though, Detective Gabe Crocker is the president of the St. Louis County Police Association. I spoke with him a short time ago.
COOPER: Detective Crocker, I know you don't want to get into specifics about the particular incident. But you do caution against a rush to judgment. But what you've heard so far, do you believe that Officer Wilson's side of the story has been adequately represented in the media?
DETECTIVE GABE CROCKER, PRESIDENT, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE ASSOCIATION: Well, I certainly think that there's been less from the law enforcement front and from law enforcement in general. Because this is an ongoing investigation, Anderson. It's not uncommon for law enforcement to withhold details.
But obviously with the seriousness and the barometer of the situation, it is -- can be kind of an aggravating circumstance. But you know, it's not uncommon for these things to take a little bit longer, especially ones that have -- are very high profile like this.
COOPER: Well, let me ask you about that because, as you know, the attorneys for the family of Michael Brown have been very critical of that, saying that the police have selectively released information, they released the surveillance video of Michael Brown in that convenience store. And have not released the actual report, why not?
CROCKER: Well, I think that there's a concern about compromising and investigation. I think that you -- there is a legal process, Anderson, that has to take place. It varies from state do state, but the criminal justice system has a way of working.
It's not a perfect system. But I can tell you in this case, I understand that with it, moving a little slower, it's an aggravation to the family. It's an aggravation to basically everyone involved. Including the police that are out there working in these areas of violence.
It's frustrating for them as well because there are certainly is the feeling that by getting that information out, by letting people know what's occurring or what has been said in that report, maybe that will help to kind of quell some of the frustrations that so many people are experiencing around here. COOPER: It goes beyond just frustration here. There are a lot of people here who look at the local police releasing for instance the surveillance video of Michael Brown at that convenience store as character assassination when what should be released is more information about the actual shooting.
I understand it's an ongoing investigation it takes time, why is it OK to release a small window that seems to bolster one side of an argument, as opposed to releasing all the information that's out there.
CROCKER: Well, I think that one of the primary reasons that you saw that video release, Anderson, was certainly not to be inflammatory although I do understand that has been one of the end results of that. That is not actually part of that shooting incident that occurred.
And I think that some concern was brought up by the family, people are wanting to know all of the circumstances surrounding this incident. They're releasing what information they can, when they can release it.
And I understand that it was frustrating for the family and supporters, by the way, one of the things I've tried to talk about today is the law enforcement side of this, which is the release of that video wasn't easy for law enforcement as well.
COOPER: But again, it's not -- you make it sound as if it's because the family wanted all their information released. They say it's character assassination, simply to release it on the same day when the name of the officer is released is a way of changing the narrative and a way of trying to alter perception of Michael Brown.
CROCKER: I don't think that was law enforcement's intention, but I absolutely, Anderson, you're asking the tough questions and the questions that need to be asked. But I don't think that was the intention of law enforcement officials by doing that.
But I think it does offer some -- a little more of a rounded view of this entire situation. The situation that has affected this community and the police departments and everybody in the area, it's terrible here.
COOPER: Detective Crocker, I appreciate you being with us.
CROCKER: Anderson, thank you very much.
COOPER: Mark Geragos, Danny Cevallos and Areva Martin. So Danny, let me ask you that very question I asked the detective there, before the break, Mark asked you that question. I mean, do you really believe that they released that surveillance tape just coincidentally on the same day that they named the officer?
And that that they released that, which arguably according to the Crump attorney -- Mr. Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Michael Brown family -- that it's basically character assassination, they're trying to change the narrative. Do you have any doubt about that?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Mark has to agree with me on this, in any prosecution, they're going to try and introduce this video as something probative of what was in Brown's state of mind as he walked down the street only minutes later.
But going back to the autopsy that Mark asked me about. You know, you can look at this one way and say, people like Mark and the defense bar have been battling with the government to turn over evidence promptly for their entire careers.
In a way, getting this evidence in ten days, two weeks is in a way a miracle. At the same time, I can also see that probably someone may have thought at the police department that once we release this video, everyone will go along their merry way.
Is that possible? Yes, I think that's possible and if it was what they were trying to do, it blew up in their face.
COOPER: One at a time --
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: When we went to break, I used the word selective disclosure, and lack of transparency is the next phrase I think we have to be focused on here. We've seen many situations when there's an officer involved shooting.
The police believe the shooting is justified, they come forward to the media and tell their story, they get ahead of the story, in this case not telling the story and showing the videotape to paint, Michael Brown, as if he's some kind of common thug, is what is making this community so upset.
What's fuelling the frustration and what's causing the lack of trust, not just in the police chief, but the district attorney. Some of the activists are asking that Robert McCulloch, the district attorney be removed from this case.
Because they don't believe that he can be trusted to present a fair case and to get justice for the Brown family.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson.
COOPER: Mark, go ahead.
GERAGOS: Could I jump in for a second? Because there's so many things that are just astonishing to me. First of all, they not only released this videotape, which you're playing, the same day that they released the officer's name.
They also released a number of the police reports except for the first person narrative or interview of the officer himself who did the shooting. This whole idea that is being constructed that we're trying to get the information out of here is just -- it doesn't hold up. And when you ask that -- the police union lawyer, were these two related and he says, no, but he says in the next breath. It gives a more rounded perspective of what was going on here. What's the rounded perspective other than to try to take the pro-law enforcement, I suppose viewpoint here.
And what is -- what is the point of releasing that if you haven't -- if you don't have an intention of changing the narrative.
COOPER: Let me also just point out before we quickly go to break, that the Ferguson Police Department, the commander of that initially said, the officer was not aware of the alleged strong arm robbery in the convenience store.
Then later on has said, the radio caller confirmed by CNN, according to someone close to the investigation, as being what the officer has told authorities, claimed that the officer did after stopping Michael Brown, did hear over the radio about this robbery and put two and two together.
To say one had nothing to do with the other, those stories seemed to have been changing a lot. I want to thank our panel. Coming up, the young woman who caught this on video, the aftermath of killing Michael Brown. She saw what happened from her apartment, I'll speak with her next.
COOPER: Welcome back. Piaget Crenshaw was an eyewitness to the shooting of Michael Brown. She says that right away that she knew something was simply not right. And from her apartment, she caught the aftermath on video. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIAGET CRENSHAW, EYEWITNESS TO MICHAEL BROWN'S DEATH: Bless his soul, police shot this boy outside my apartment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Obviously a very emotional, distressing thing for Ms. Crenshaw to see. Very difficult. She joins me now along with her attorney, Karen Lewis.
I appreciate you both of you being with us. So Piaget, before the video started rolling, what did you first see? When did you first realize something was happening?
CRENSHAW: OK, when I saw the police car screech in the middle of the street, and he was stopping the young man, that's when I first knew initially something was wrong. That's why I was looking --
COOPER: You heard the police car screeching?
CRENSHAW: Yes, sir.
COOPER: So you went to the window?
CRENSHAW: Yes, it was pretty loud, in the middle of the street. It was just a loud screech. So you know that he was driving, he stopped abruptly.
COOPER: So then what did you see?
CRENSHAW: OK. So then I just saw this tussle between Mike and the officer --
COOPER: You say a tussle. Where did that take place?
CRENSHAW: I'm sorry. It was near the officer's car. The officer was inside of the car --
COOPER: OK, so the officer was still in the car. And Michael Brown was by the window?
COOPER: Do you know, was one reaching in or one reaching out?
CRENSHAW: No. It just looked like they were wrestling, like -- I'm sorry, the officer was just trying to pull him into the vehicle. That's just what it looked like from my point of view.
COOPER: OK. And then what happened?
CRENSHAW: And so he just got out of the car, Michael started running -- and I want to clear up that when we said he got slot at -- from the back. So, while he was running away from the officer, trying to get away, he was getting shot at. Which probably makes reason for the shot in the back of the arm going backward to forward.
COOPER: So you believe you saw -- you're convinced you saw the officer shooting Michael Brown when Michael Brown was facing away from the officer?
CRENSHAW: Yes, sir. And then that is when he turned around with his arms up and got shot down one more time.
COOPER: You say his arms were up. There's an account from this woman who called into the radio show who claims that the officer is saying Michael Brown was rushing the police officer. Is that what you saw?
CRENSHAW: No. At no time did I see him move towards that police officer. He may have taken one centimenter of a step forward before he was gunned down.
COOPER: You say his hands were up. Do you remember in what way they were up?
CRENSHAW: They were just slowly going up. They probably didn't even get a chance to get all the way up there before he was struck.
COOPER: And at what point did you decide to turn on the video camera? CRENSHAW: When I saw the man lying there in the street. I was like, this is -- it's a dead body in the middle of my street. I must get this on film. I must do something about this.
COOPER: And how long was Michael Brown laying there for?
CRENSHAW: He was laying there for hours. And at least 30 minutes to an hour before they even covered him up. So he was visible for at least 30 minutes to an hour. And there were children out there. And the gunshots were actually very loud. They hit buildings. You know, anybody could have gotten shot. So, it was kind of a bad scene.
COOPER: Karen, are you concerned at all -- your client didn't come forward immediately. Is that out of concern -- why not?
KAREN LEWIS, CRENSHAW'S ATTORNEY: Well, part of it was that the police confiscated her phone, so they had it for a while. And then when she got it back, we were just waiting to see what the police would come forward with before we revealed any information. They finally released the name -- they did not put a face to the name at that time. And so at that point, we decided to go ahead and release that information.
COOPER: How has this been for you? I mean, it must be terrible.
CRENSHAW: Definitely traumatic, but you know, I got to do what I got to do to get justice for this family.
COOPER: All right. Thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate it.
CRENSHAW: Thank you.
LEWIS: Thank you.
COOPER: When we -- there's the video, candid and emotional words from Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, he spoke yesterday at church service. He's the man now in charge of security on Ferguson streets, what he said at the memorial service. We'll play that for you ahead.
COOPER: Nine days after Michael Brown was shot dead, his family is still waiting to bury him. A third autopsy is being performed. Results of a private autopsy were released today showing he was hit at least six times.
The shooting has obviously stoke long standing tensions here in Ferguson. As we reported, the Missouri National Guard is now here to try to help keep peace. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson took time yesterday to speak at a church service, this is his hometown. Here's what he said yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: I want to start off by talking to Mike Brown's family. And I want you to know my heart goes out to you and I say that I'm sorry. I wear this uniform. And I should stand up here and say that I'm sorry.
This is my neighborhood. You are my family. You are my friends and I am you. And I will stand and protect you, I will protect your right to protest. When this is over, I'm going to go in my son's room, my black son.
Who wears his pants sagging, wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that's my baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now is CNN political commentators, Charles Blow and also Marc Lamont Hill joining me. I know you talked to Captain Johnson. It's such a sea change from the attitude of the local Ferguson commander in charge. I'm wondering what you think about the impact he's been able to have thus far.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In general, he's had a very calming impact. You know, a week ago, people were talking about the police as an occupying force here, as an antagonistic force. He's representing a community based model of policing.
COOPER: He's certainly demilitarized. I mean, you don't see the armored personnel carriers except really last night when there was violence.
HILL: Right. I think some people are overstating the amount of calm. Even on Saturday night I was out here when the first night of curfew was imposed. There was tear gas. There was riot gear, but there wasn't the level of antagonism. He's a good guy in a really tough spot. I think he's going to make the most of it.
COOPER: You know, Charles, we spoke in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, and you asked a question in the column in the "New York Times," which I always really think gets to the heart of the matter.
The question you asked, at what precise pace should a black man walk to avoid suspension. That's a question you're asking yourself. I wonder what question you're asking now in the wake of this case.
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I keep looking at both the incident, the police response and -- I mean, the police investigation and their response on the street and with the investigation in particular, I keep doing this thought experiment and asking myself and wanted to ask everybody who is listening and everybody who is reading.
If the roles were reversed and Mike Brown had shot and killed Mr. Wilson and several witnesses said they saw Mr. Wilson raise his hands and expose them in a way that made it clear he had no weapon on him. Would the police's disclosure of information be the same as it is with Mr. Brown being the dead person?
If you believe that they would be the same. You believe that this investigation is going in a way that you can accept. If you do not believe that they would be the same then you can understand the kind of heat and passion that is exploding on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.
I want the people to empathize with the people who are having this sort of reaction because I do not think that it is an extreme reaction when you look at the realities of people on the ground. You look at the data of the people that underlie those realities.
These are things that are not made up. You look -- step back and look at actual data, you see extreme biases in the (inaudible). How black men go through the criminal justice system, this is not made up and I think that we need to be able empathize.
I am able to step back and empathize with police officers and know they have a tough job. And when a police officer makes the decision to pull a trigger, that's a spilt-second decision. You can make the wrong choice in a split second.
But it is a split-second decision. I can empathize with that stress and strain. However, there is an 18-year-old boy who is now dead. And if Mr. Wilson acted with excess in that killing, and if the witnesses are born out to be accurate in their depictions of what has happened. That should disturb everyone. That is not about just black people.
COOPER: And this does not happen in a vacuum, this is not just one particular incident. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
HILL: That's exactly right. That's why people say we are Michael Brown partly because this happens on a regular basis right here. Not always death, but harassment, various forms of abuse. What Charles said, maybe a well-intentioned cop, who makes a different decision about what to do in a split second because of the social scripts that you have for how black men are and how black women are.
And what kind of responses their bodies deserve, and that's a dangerous thing, it's not just a Ferguson thing or a Missouri thing, it's really a global thing.
COOPER: Marc Lamont Hill, it's good to have you here. Thank you. Charles Blow as well. Our special coverage from Ferguson continues at the top of the hour, be right back.