Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Protests Continue in Ferguson; Makeshift Memorial to Michael Brown; Interview with State Sen. Jeff Roorda; Interview with Spike Lee; Grand Jury Could Convene Tomorrow

Aired August 19, 2014 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, ANDERSON COOPER 360 HOST: Good evening, everyone. It is 7:00 central time here in Ferguson, Missouri. Night fall just about 51 minutes away. Protesters once again tonight began making their way here just a short time ago, this time, against the pleas of city officials who wanted people off the streets at sun down. There are people here on the streets demonstrating. There have been all day, though not as many as the day before. People hoping again but bracing for another night like last night which saw police rifles pointed at protesters, some Molotov cocktails and tear gas in the air.

If last night have been calm and if this were just another evening in the wake of Michael Brown's killing, there would still be much to report this evening. There are many new developments to tell you about in the investigation on the grand jury deciding whether to prosecute Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, Attorney General Eric Holder is visiting here tomorrow and funeral plans now announced for Michael Brown. There is also, the police shooting though under very different circumstances of an African-American man just a few miles from here earlier today, any and all of it, factoring into this unstable mix out here tonight.

Tonight, though, as city officials call for a night of quiet, all of that -- all those developments are set against that one single reality that a little less than two hours ago, things here once again got seriously, deeply, frighteningly out of hand, 24 hours ago, I should say. Ed Lavandera was right in the middle of it last night, take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN ANCHOR: The night started peacefully with no curfew in place, police and protesters both wary but under control until about 11:00 P.M.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody come on, let's go this way, come on, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move, move! Get on the ground!

LAVANDERA: Some protesters tried to keep the crowds calm, but the situation deteriorates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up, y'all! Don't (BLEEP) over here! Don't throw another bottle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're unlawfully assembled.

LAVANDERA: Police say bottles, rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown and then a few gunshots are fired, as well. Police respond with another show of force since the protests began nine nights ago. Tear gas and stun grenades are fired into the crowds hitting both protesters and the news media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are not credential media, you need to disburse immediately.

LAVANDERA: And then shortly before 1:00 A.M., everyone is ordered to leave the stretch of road. At least 75 people were arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground! Get on the ground!

LAVANDERA: Four officers were injured, two civilians shot but not by police who say they did not fire a single shot during the night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him out of the car!

LAVANDERA: Police say most of the protesters were peaceful and a hand full of militant agitators were to blame for the violence. Some protesters agreed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get these men, captain! Get these men out of here!

CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: Protesters are peaceful and respectful. Protesters don't clash with police. They don't throw Molotov cocktails, criminals who throw Molotov cocktails and fire shots and endangers lives and property.

LAVANDERA: After the protests ended, calls for calm earlier today from city leaders who asked residents to stay home at night and allow the situation to calm down. They also promised to raise money for dash and vest cams for police. Michael Brown's parents today also made an appeal for answers saying only justice for their son will bring peace. And with another night of possible protests ahead, peace may not come to Ferguson just yet.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: Ed Lavandera joins me now, as you were really in the thick of things here in right in this area. We're just about three blocks from the spot where Michael Brown was shot and killed. What was the catalyst last night that actually spark the violence, because it was calm for a while?

LAVANDERA: It was interesting, because there was a group of three or four men with bull horns that were trying to keep the peace, trying to talk some sense into some folks, and it was interesting and it just kind of happened that police on that police line, which is just back up to the street here, they were letting those guys kind of do that work, hoping that would temper the anger...

COOPER: People with the community with bull horns trying to sort of calm the community.

LAVANDERA: Right, and police let that kind of happen and that worked for about 45 minutes and then a group kind of spin it off and came back down the street back into this intersection we're standing here yesterday and that's where things got much more tense and this is where we saw the tear gas and the altercations last night. There was a group of SWAT police that had come down in two armored vehicles down here. They were much more exposed compared to where they were up the street and this is where we saw the tension. I saw a group of about 15, 20 men, some of them trying to burn this restaurant down you see behind us. They sending a line of fire barricade along the street and at that point we were told to they're out of here. You're hearing the shots fired, and...

COOPER: It's interesting. I mean, I was in the neighborhood just an hour or so ago. I was just walking around talking to people, things are calm. People were -- you know, were happy to see us and stuff. The police are saying it's really a small group of agitators, many of whom are even not from this local community.

LAVANDERA: That's right. That's the weird thing about in the crowd last night is that, we're see, they're talking with various protesters and every, you know, few feet there seems to be one guy whose just much more intense and these guys were trying to go in there, talk sense into them, keep them calm say look, if you turn this thing violent, it makes everybody out here look bad. Some of these people -- it worked for about 45 minutes but eventually, it all kind of fell apart.

COOPER: Ed Lavandera, I appreciate it. Thanks, be careful. Tonight, another late development, today, Attorney General Eric Holder will be visiting here tomorrow, (inaudible) and tomorrow, St. Louis (inaudible) dispatched promising a full and fair investigation and saying the Justice Department stands with this community. They will be meeting with state and local leaders including presumably, State Police Captain Ron Johnson, who we saw in Ed's report as we just mentioned, drawing such a sharp distinction between the vast majority of peaceful protesters here and outside agitators. I spoke with him earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: And towards the last night, how do you think it went?

JOHNSON: It started off really good. It changed as it got later and so, we just have to go back and look at the operational plan and make sure that we continue to allow people to have a peaceful protest. As I talked last night, we're asking the peaceful protesters to come out early and go home before it gets dark. So, we have an opportunity to address those individuals, those criminals have been on destruction and bringing harm to this community.

COOPER: How much in your opinion is this about people from outside this community coming in and as you say, agitating?

JOHNSON: I think a lot of it is. Outside the community, let's know that I'm not just talking about people outside of this state. There are people from other communities within this area that are coming in and providing a lot of this damage and behavior.

COOPER: There is obviously been a lot of criticism, you know, video last night of, you know, a guy with what looked like a sniper rifle on top of an armored personnel carrier. That's obviously something you tried to changer earlier on. Are you disappointed that you had to bring some of that back?

JOHNSON: Well, the problem that we're having is that these shooters putting themselves on top of buildings, behind low areas and so, we have to be able to have a vantage point to see that.

COOPER: You've actually had shooters on top of buildings?

JOHNSON: Yes, we got calls of individuals on top of buildings. And so, we've had all about it, and as you've said, we've had air support going around so we're able to see those things.

COOPER: In terms of tonight, what are you anticipating? Can you anticipate what is going to happen in the next day and how much do you change tactics day to day?

JOHNSON: I really can't tell you that but we do look at the operational plan each and every day.

COOPER: As the days go by, what do you see and hear out there? Are you most concerned about?

JOHNSON: Well, I figure that I'm just concerned that for our public safety, the safety of our public, the safety of the officers and we'll continue to strive forward to make that better but when I talk to citizens, we are getting a lot of support and a lot of citizens are saying you're doing the right thing. And I would say a lot of the citizens are disagreeing sometimes with the media's portrayal of our SWAT tactics because yesterday, the SWAT members went and gone a gunshot victim and than they actually gave that gunshot victim care in the back of the SWAT team. So, they risked their lives to go save a protester. Not knowing if it's a protester or if it's somebody of the criminal element. And so, they used that for that. We had a building fire. They used that to go do that. But they also used that, I heard over the radio several officers screaming and yelling for help because they were getting the fire department. They use that to save their own.

COOPER: Captain Johnson, appreciate your time.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: Joining us now, St. Louis Alderman, Antonio French, who spent time police custody last week. First of all, what are you anticipating tonight?

ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: Well, I'm hoping for peace. You know, we have got a heavy police presence here and they really posted in those troubled areas early. So, I'm hoping for a peaceful night.

COOPER: It seems like it's been quieter in this neighborhood at least not long (inaudible), today but again, it's hard to predict.

FRENCH: Well, it was quiet yesterday, too, but that didn't stop it from getting rowdy last night, specially down this Campbell Street.

COOPER: I've been following you on Twitter. You've been talking a lot about outsiders who have come in and you've been out in the crowd's kind of watching for them, looking for them. What are you seeing there?

FRENCH: You know, this issue is really growing and people have come from all over the place, most of them for a peaceful protest. We had people come from -- college students come from D.C., Chicago, we had (inaudible) monks come here and, you know, they are here for peaceful protest but we have had some people come here looking for a fight and one of the small groups that we had to actually get away from the crowd and help the police get out yesterday was a couple guys from Chicago who call themselves revolutionary columnists. And I guess they thought this where revolution gonna start, they want to be here.

COOPER: There are some guys -- they have showed up another incidence to the Trayvon Martin case and other places as well.

FRENCH: And they try to insight a riot.

COOPER: So, you actually sought them out last night?

FRENCH: Well, they had been here a few days before and last night at one moment they had gotten the crowd up in the faces of police within 20 feet and it was a bad confrontation. So, we physically pushed them back and then put them to the side for police to come get them.

COOPER: What do you make of the police tactics here? There has been obviously a lot of criticism of the heavy show of force. What is your perspective?

FRENCH: I think the present situation is a consequence of how the Ferguson police department handled it in the first place. So, the Ferguson police department when this started ten days ago, really escalated it, militarized it and set the tone. The state was right to come in, Governor Nixon, right to put an end, and put Captain Johnson in charge but Captain Johnson is having to deal with a mess Ferguson created. You got a lot of this guys who had taken that military approach and they are ready to fight whenever the police try to calm it down and that leads to the violence at night.

COOPER: Do you see -- I mean, do you see it justified, because the police say look, we don't know what we're facing. They say there were incoming shots last night. They shot a Molotov cocktail today, some guns that have been taken out of the crowd?

FRENCH: I've seen guns. I have seen guns. I think the tactics have changed. They modified from day to day. COOPER: It seems like last night they were trying to isolate those

people they viewed as (inaudible) or troublemakers and kind of move in, take them out and arrest them.

FRENCH: And that's the first time we seen that technique and it was good. It was better to do that than gas the whole crowd. And I think that's a lot because of the involvement of St. Louis city police department who are better and more experienced at large crowds, so hopefully, we'll figure it out.

COOPER: To your point about the way that Ferguson -- the Ferguson police department handled this in the initial days, you contrast to that to what happen today where an African-American man was killed by police, at several miles from here. St. Louis police, they released as much information as they possibly could immediately both to the media and to the crowd. That's something that we did not see from the Ferguson police department.

FRENCH: Yeah. And you know, my message when I was out there at the crime scene tonight was that St. Louis City is not Ferguson, OK? We handle things better in St. Louis City. We have the police chief there on site. The police chief updated the media immediately and walked over to the crowd and they were angry.

COOPER: That would make a difference here in Ferguson.

FRENCH: Huge difference. I think the tone was set in the first few days, with how Ferguson police interacted not just with the community but specifically with the mother and the family (inaudible) relationship and it's just really gotten us to where we are today.

COOPER: Alderman, appreciate you being with us. We'll speak tonight with all sides on the issue of police as well as the Brown Family attorney Benjamin Crump, also, only on 360 tonight, perspective from Film Maker Spike Lee. He joins us on the events unfolding right here in Ferguson.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: This is a makeshift memorial in the spot where Michael Brown was shot and killed. People left signs, auto biography of Martin Luther King. People brought flower here, light candles, people from this community and really neighborhoods and the surrounding community (inaudible), St. Louis have come here throughout the last several days to pay their respects. They wanna see it, they just want to add their mementos as well thoughts as well. Over here, there's a second memorial that has brought up with dozens of stuffed animals and a lot of people wrote personal messages to Michael Brown, messages of sadness and loss and messages of grief. And those memorials in this spot where Michael Brown died, but just about three blocks over there down (inaudible). We're waiting tonight in Ferguson to see how a whole number of factors are gonna shape up this evening in the next hour or so.

One of them is once again, of course the sheer number of new developments to be filtered through the sensibilities and raw emotions of stressed out people here on both sides of police lines. Perhaps (inaudible) among them the third and presumably final autopsy, this one by federal investigators that is now complete and Michael Brown's body will be laid to rest finally on Monday by his family in a public memorial. Sybrina Fulton knows first hand what that moment is gonna be like. She's Trayvon Martin's mother and has been following the Brown story will all too familiar though. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: I think before we even think about the investigation, I think the first thing first, and I think that they need to have a proper and descent home going service for their son. It's going to be very hurtful. It's going to be very sorrowful. It's going to be very disappointing to know that they are burying their 18-year-old son and he had a full life ahead of him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's Sybrina Fulton. I just want to show you live pictures. Now, as I've said, as night falls and it starts to get, to be dark here, more and more protesters are starting to appear. I'm showing you live pictures right now of the largest group right now that is walking down or back two blocks form the location that I'm at right now. They are walking -- heading toward Canfield Drive. They have to keep moving for police instructions.

Joining us now is Martin family and now Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump. Mr. Crump, it's good to have you on the program again. Michael Brown's mom said earlier today that, quote, justice will bring peace to Ferguson. What is justice in their eyes?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Anderson, I think justice to them is justice as it would be for any other parent, and that is that the person who executed their child in broad daylight will be arrested and brought before a court of law to be, to have to answer for the evidence and the witnesses against him and that he's held accountable, and that's what they want. Make no mistake about it. These parents are not asking for people to be violent. They have not asked for people to be irresponsible. What they want is justice for their son because he can't speak for himself anymore. They told me we are all he got. We got to fight for our child.

COOPER: We talked about the results of the independent autopsy, which you had performed by Michael (inaudible) yesterday. We know now that the federal government's autopsy has been finished. Do you know if you and the family will be given information from that autopsy or will that be with held from you until the entire federal investigation is over?

CRUMP: Anderson, I think that the federal autopsy may not be disclosed to us, but we have every expectation that the autopsy presented by the St. Louis medical examiner should be given to us, as well as all the other parts of the police report. Remember, this community is asking for answers, and they want transparency. I think earlier, you reported that there was a killing by a police, and they were very transparent. The police chief came and gave the report. By law they have to do certain things in 48 hours after they shoot somebody. If not, it's almost ten days and we haven't gotten anything from the Ferguson police department.

COOPER: So, let me understand, has the Ferguson police department spoken to your clients at all to Michael Brown's parents explaining what happened in their opinion?

CRUMP: No, they haven't told his parents. Let me set the record straight, these parents, like so many others, were out there that Saturday on Canfield Drive where their child laid on the ground for -- over four hours. They were begging, asking for answers, asking for anything and the police held them back very, very coldly. Didn't offer any explanation when they said they were the parents. It didn't matter to them. They got treated with such distant, that started even the mistrust there, and says that (inaudible), they haven't talk to the parents, they did talk to a family member.

COOPER: As you know, there are some concerns by people here I've talked to throughout the day about the Prosecutor Robert McCullen, that he might not be the right person for this job. Back in (inaudible) he didn't bring charges against two officers in a police shooting that left two dead. Do you have confidence in him as a prosecutor?

CRUMP: Well, Anderson, we want to make sure the system works indiscriminately of individuals. I think the process of having to send this matter to a grand jury is problematic. As you and I both discussed previously, Anderson, it's about transparency. This community has distrust for the local law enforcement officials. And so, you know, if you have a secret grand jury proceeding when nobody knows what the prosecutor presents and based on, as you said, the track record and the history or some of the cases, and the grand jury come back and says we find it justified, him executing this kid in broad daylight, I think that will be very problematic for this community to itself. So, as his family has asked for over and over again, they want the federal government to take over the entire process, Anderson.

COOPER: Benjamin Crump, appreciate you being on. Obviously, there's been a lot of criticism on how authorities have handled the unrest. There's been a lot of support as well. Also, Officer Wilson's use of deadly force and more generally, the police force that's 93 percent white in city nearly 73 percent African-American.

State representative Jeff Roorda is not one of those critics. He's a business manager for the St. Louis police officer's association and police (inaudible).

Thanks very much for being with us. First of all, what do you make of the fact of what you have seen out here in terms of the police response? I mean, when you talk to people in the community, they say they are outraged at the lack of transparency early on by the Ferguson police department and even by some of the tactics of police over the last several days, the militarization of the police force.

JEFF ROORDA, (D) MISSOURI STATE HOUSE: I'm not going to second guess the tactics that are here watching the situation unfold moment by moment. Those are the guys I trust to make the decision about what tactics to employ and frankly, they have tried a variety of different tactics, large with the same results. I mean, I think it's the crowd after dark that wants this to be a chaotic volatile situation and their response is not about what the police are doing. It's about their goals here.

COOPER: It seems last night they actually had a different tactic, which I notice for the first tome, which is they seemed to try to identify individuals in the crowd who they believe are causing problems, move in quickly, get them, and then continue to allow and that seemed to work for awhile, at least.

ROORDA: I think this is constantly changing very fluid situation and the police are trying to employ tactics that keep this crowd safe. Their goal here, first of all, is to go home at the end of their shift and see their wife and children. They are getting shot at every night, having bricks and bottles and Molotov cocktails thrown at them. It's a real testament to the professionalism of the officers here that nobody has gotten seriously hurt, none of the peaceful protesters, none of the officers, none of the neighbors in the neighborhood here.

COOPER: So, you have no concerns at all about how the police have handled this?

ROORDA: I'm not going to second guess the (inaudible) on the ground that not...

COOPER: What about the local Ferguson police department, which, you know, today, there was a shooting miles from here. St. Louis police released a tremendous amount of information not only to the media but to people who had gathered there really helping to diffuse the situation that could have become volatile. It was a very different response than we saw from the Ferguson police department.

ROORDA: Right, and it's very different shooting scene. You know, they instantly had witnesses coming forward at the scene and they just seemed to know more information. I mean, it's not going to do justice -- it's not going to serve justice to rush to judgment here and to not allow the justice department and the investigators here to gather all the facts and find out what really happened out there that day.

COOPER: I mean, even, you know, early on it seemed like before reports of shots fired, we saw police snipers on armored personnel carriers, you know, looking through their scopes at protesters who by in large are not armed.

ROORDA: Well, so the police are here to keep the peace and to make sure that the shop owners can open their businesses back up to make sure the parents in this community the can get the kids safely on the bus tomorrow morning. The police response has nothing to do with the activity of the crowd. We've got to stop getting the mind set that somehow the police being here provokes that.

COOPER: You don't believe that the police...

(CROSSTALK)

ROORDA: ...to imply that.

COOPER: If you don't think people here grow resentful at seeing what they view as their community being taken over.

ROORDA: I think there are generations of resentment here and it's a long-term communication we have to have. But the healing can't begin while we still pick at the scab, and we got to get through these protests and you know, law enforcement is committed to engaging with the community and trying to figure out how this never happens again.

COOPER: Mr. Jeff Rooda, I do appreciate you being with us.

ROORDA: Thank you.

COOPER: As always, you can find more on this story and at cnn.com. Just ahead, growing calls tonight for the local prosecutors, they said to refuse himself from the case, at lest those call are coming from some here in this neighborhood. He could begin presenting evidence to a grand jury tomorrow. More details on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): As it gets later and later in the day, groups of protesters start to arrive from other areas. This group has just arrived. The police want to make sure that they keep moving.

It used to be they could stand in one spot, but when the police eliminated the curfew, they instituted a rule that protesters had to keep moving and if they did stop in any one spot for too long, the police would give them a warning and would arrest them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, that was several hours ago, as far as the police are concerned, the good news is a number of protesters here right now, probably less than it was last night.

A grand jury could convene as early as tomorrow to review Michael Brown's shooting. That that may take several weeks. Joining me now is legal analyst, Mark Geragos and legal affairs commentator, Areva Martin. Also here is Neil Bruntrager, the general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officer's Association. First of all, explain what the grand jury, how it works here.

NEIL BRUNTRAGER, ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: There are two ways any prosecutor can proceed. There could be a complaint filed in circuit court that alleges a crime was committed and who committed it. The other way to proceed is grand jury. If you proceed in the first instance, what happens is it goes to a hearing. It's an open public hearing.

COOPER: That's a public thing. BRUNTRAGER: It's what we call a probable cause hearing. So the judge would simply determine whether a crime was probably committed and whether the charge person probably committed it or you can go to a grand jury. It's a secret proceeding.

So what happens in a grand jury is there are 16 people that are drawn from the community at large and information is presented to them by a prosecutor. But it is not an adversarial process.

So you don't have a defense lawyer in there. You don't have a judge in there. The prosecutor simply presents the information that they have.

COOPER: Will the officer actually testify?

BRUNTRAGER: That's up to the officer. Usually an accused will not be invited to testify, but I expect in a case like this the invitation would be extended to him.

COOPER: Mark, the big legal question, whether or not the local prosecutor should recuse himself. Now critics here say he favors police. They say his father was a police officer. What do you make of that? Does any of that matter because a lot of prosecutors and judges all have affiliations or past affiliations with law enforcement?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right, it doesn't matter one whim. He's not going to recuse himself if those are the only grounds. If he had some other kind of bias that they could say, which was demonstrable, then maybe he would decide to step out of this. But I think that that's unlikely.

As you said, Anderson, most judges today are former prosecutors. That's been the wave for the last 20 years. The interesting thing about a grand jury proceeding is that there is no complaint filed first.

The grand jurors could vote to reject an indictment and we would never know why until the transcript is released presumably whereas if they filed a criminal complaint, charges would be filed, bail would be set and then they would go to the preliminary hearing, the probable cause hearing.

So he's already, I think, kind of punted this over to the grand jury so that if they don't bring an indictment, he can say well, it's out of my hands, the members of the community said that there is no crime here.

COOPER: Areva, Benjamin Crump is obviously concerned, the attorney for the family is concerned that this is handled behind closed doors. It's done behind closed doors. Does that concern you in a case like this where frankly transparency is an issue from the beginning?

AREVA MARTIN, LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: It does concern me a great deal, Anderson and although I agree with Mark that this prosecutor is not likely to recuse himself and under Missouri, the only way that he could be removed is if a judge determines that there is a conflict of interest or if he does consent to removing himself, not likely to happen.

But I think there are some bigger issues here. This prosecutor has a negative history with the African-American community and it's not just the attorney for the family that's asking him to recuse himself. It is members of that community.

Congress member, Lacey Clay, the state senator that represents that community, the African-American bar in St. Louis and many other community activists have said his relationships with the African- American community are so negative that they doubt whether he can be impartial and pursue justice in this grand jury.

COOPER: Neil, you know this prosecutor.

BRUNTRAGER: I do. I got to tell you something. This prosecutor has been elected four times by the people of this county. This prosecutor does what he does fairly and impartially. He ran on the platform of tough, but fair and that's how he's been.

I'm a criminal defense lawyer. I deal with people that have been charged. I do this every day. I'm starting a murder trial Monday in St. Louis County with his staff. He does it the right way. This idea that somehow he's tainted, there is no basis for that.

COOPER: Are you concerned? I mean, there is a lot of pressure here on this prosecutor. Are you concerned at all about that pressure? There are folks --

BRUNTRAGER: We elected --

COOPER: -- there has to be a conviction or at least charged.

BRUNTRAGER: That's the problem is that people have this idea that justice in this means a final end that is going to be the conviction of this officer. Justice is a process and McCulloch understands that. There is nothing he's done in the last four terms that would suggest that he is in some way racially bias, he's not.

MARTIN: Can I comment on that, Anderson?

GERAGOS: I was going to ask one question. In California, the county authorities in Los Angeles only go to the grand jury in a one or two percent of the time. Is that the case there? Do they go to the grand jury regularly or usually go by way of preliminary hearing or probable cause hearing?

BRUNTRAGER: Usually it's a preliminary hearing. Grand juries are used in those kind of special cases where generally speaking for some reason or another you need to keep information quiet.

So if I have a drug case with an undercover officer, things like that we use for grand juries, sex offenses where I don't want to put a victim on the line, that would be the sort of situation --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: One at a time, Areva, go ahead.

MARTIN: I want to respond to the comment that there is nothing in the prosecutor's history that would suggest he's bias. In 2000, there was a case where a police officer shot about 20 times into a vehicle with two African-Americans and they killed them.

That case went before the grand jury and there was allegations that the prosecutor was dishonest about what the detectives testified to during the grand jury. There was a federal investigation that followed and some concerns about the way he handled the grand jury.

So I take exception to the statement that there is nothing in this prosecutor's history that would suggest that he might have some ability to be impartial.

COOPER: Response to that and then we got to go.

BRUNTRAGER: An allegation means nothing. Those allegations, that case was looked at so closely by so many different parties, there was nothing that indicated he acted in an improper manner. He did it the right way. That's what his hallmark has been.

I'm telling you. I sat on the other side of the table from this guy. He does it without regard to race or creed. He does it because it's the right thing.

COOPER: We'll follow this closely. Neil Bruntrager, appreciate you being with us. Mark Geragos, Areva Martin as well.

Just ahead, a 360 exclusive, I'll talk to filmmaker, Spike Lee. He's been watching this carefully and closely. He's put up a memorial for Michael Brown in his office in Brooklyn and adding his voice tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. We're live in Ferguson, night starting to fall. Crowds are getting bigger, several hundred people here much less than yesterday. Tactical vehicles are actually now moving through. There is two armored vehicles from St. Louis County Police, moving through.

That's the first that we've seen of them today. They are probably going to go up and take position where some of the more active protests occurred last night, just about a block or two away from here. We're about two or three blocks away from where Michael Brown was shot and killed.

The world is obviously watching to see what happens next and in Ferguson and that's not really an exaggeration. The story is getting a lot of coverage overseas and made the front page of the German newspaper and made headlines in Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and France.

International news crews are on the ground here covering the protests. Filmmaker Spike Lee is adding his voice to the outcry over Michael Brown's death. He's put up a memorial for the teenager at the Brooklyn Headquarters of his film company. He posted this picture on Instagram. Spike joins me tonight for an AC360 exclusive.

Spike, I'm glad you're here. I know you've been watching a lot of the coverage here and demonstrations. You saw it's obvious to you that the Ferguson police, state police and National Guard don't have a handle on this, don't have a clue. Explain what you mean.

SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: I think we'll go into the tenth night tonight that people in over their heads and my wife and I, Tonya, we'll be watching it on television last night, said you know what?

Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore is the person who can bring order because I think that people are over their heads. They haven't had this type of experience and Anderson, you know firsthand what he did with Katrina in New Orleans and the Gulf.

So I'd really think -- I called him up this morning and he says, he told me this morning that everything they are doing is wrong, and he -- I said they called you, would you come? He said he would. We need him there, we need him there. We need him there.

COOPER: We'll talk to him in the next hour on this program, but what is it you think? I remember and you were down there, down in New Orleans when he arrived. I mean, he was saying to the National Guard, put your guns down.

LEE: Yes.

COOPER: Take your helmets off, these are not your enemy.

LEE: We don't need snipers on top of the tanks pointing at civilians. I understand that there is tear gas and more, but you need somebody who is going to cool things down and not escalate them and I think that Retired General Russel -- three-star general, Honore is the person that needs to be in Ferguson today.

COOPER: There is a banner outside your office, as we said, paying tribute to Michael Brown. A ton of information is yet to be released in this case and that's an issue from the Ferguson Police Department. They haven't released much of anything.

Are you convinced that he was doing nothing wrong or saying that no matter what the situation, an unarmed person should never be shot six times by the police and killed?

LEE: I do not think that you should be killed in this country because allegedly you steal some cigarettes. I don't think you should be killed if there is marijuana in your system. The people, not only in Ferguson, but all this country did not trust what is happening.

Something smells bad in Ferguson. It's not just tear gas. For example, when they finally, the police finally say who this officer is, the same day they release this videotape.

Yesterday, when they know the autopsy is coming out, all of a sudden, this mysterious woman, Josie, who knows who the heck she is, is she reading a script and all of a sudden everybody is taking her words, which really is third person's witness as gospel. How can that be?

COOPER: You call that orchestrated.

LEE: How do you call a radio station and say this is what happened? How do you do that?

COOPER: Do you believe all of that is orchestrated?

LEE: Yes.

COOPER: There is no coincidence that on Friday --

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: Anderson, there is a playbook, there is a playbook, and they are doing what they want to do. They are there to protect their own. I do not believe that's coincidence that the day the autopsy comes out saying that Michael Brown got shot six times, twice in the head.

All of a sudden, this lady calls into a radio station and then they say well, well, that's what the officer said. Well, of course. She's reading from the same script, I think.

COOPER: You know, there was a story that came out yesterday talking about how people's perceptions of what happened here and what is happening here and perceptions and how radically different among African-Americans and Caucasian Americans.

And that something we have seen time and time again with the Trayvon Martin killing and the Zimmerman trial. We saw that during the Rodney King beating. Does that still surprise you that there is still that divide in perception and how Americans see this in different ways, largely in many cases based on race?

LEE: Anderson, I wish it was true but it's not. Many people thought that the moment that President Obama put his hand on Abraham Lincoln's bible and took the oath, racism would disappear. Gone. For the so- called post-racial era. That is not the case.

If you look what happened in Ferguson, it happened in L.A. with the Rodney King verdict and Liberty City in Miami and it happened in Detroit 67, happened in the assassination of Dr. King and happened in the Harlem riots.

When people get to a point, to the tipping point they can't take it anymore and I'm not saying that people should burn down stuff, riot and loot and I don't want to the use the word riot. I'm going to use the word uprising.

This is not the first time we've seen this and I just hope that things will really blow up, the people aren't happy with the verdict of this upcoming trial.

COOPER: So what do you say to those largely white Americans who see what is happening here and maybe don't understand what is happening here or disagree with what is happening here? Many people said to me, this isn't just about Michael Brown. This is about generations of issues that have gone on in this community and continued to go on in this community. Is that how you see it?

LEE: I see it. It's about Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and Michael Brown. Izil Brown who was shot in L.A. a couple days ago today in St. Louis a couple blocks away another African-American man was shot and killed today. They said he had a knife. I think there is a war on the black male and it's tearing the country apart in my opinion.

COOPER: You really believe that? You believe there is a war on the black male because there are going to be a lot of people that hear that and say --

LEE: But --

COOPER: They don't understand that.

LEE: Anderson, it's not just killing us, it's educational system, it's the prison system, it's the young black men growing up with no hope, so I think it's systematic and we get blinded to think because we have Oprah, Michael Jordan, Lebron, Beyonce, we got Jay-Z, everything is OK.

I'm not trying to give any disrespect to the great individuals I just named because many of them are my dear friends, but they are the exception. The black underclass is growing every single day.

COOPER: I'm wondering your message to the folks who are out here tonight and who may be coming out here tonight in the next hour or two, what is your message? I mean, you've been watching the protests with your wife you were saying, what's your message to the folks out here?

LEE: Well, first of all, I'm not trying to be a spokesperson for anybody. I hope everything is cool. Like I said before, we need General Honore in there. He'll take care of this in my opinion and he's waiting by the phone for the call.

COOPER: All right. We'll talk to him in the next hour. Spike Lee, good to have you on.

LEE: Thank you. Peace.

COOPER: We'll have more from Ferguson here in just a moment. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It is starting to get dark. We'll have more from Ferguson in the hour ahead in just a moment. But I want to check in some other stories we are following. Randi Kaye has a 360 Bulletin -- Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, horrible news, a kidnapped American journalist has been beheaded by ISIS terrorists. Freelance journalist, James Foley, last seen in 2012 while he was covering the war in Syria.

In a video showing his murder, Foley reads a message presumably written by his captors saying the real killer is America. Our thoughts are with James Foley's family and friends tonight.

The Israeli military is blaming militants in Gaza for breaking the ceasefire. It says around 50 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel and Israel has launched at least 25 air strikes in response. In addition, the Israeli delegation has been ordered to leave peace talks in Cairo.

Texas Governor Rick Perry was booked on two felony charges today related to alleged misuse of his office. He was indicted last week on the charges related to his allegedly with holding state money for a program run by a county prosecutor he wanted to resign. Outside the courthouse today, Perry said he'll quote, "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being."

Just north of Phoenix, two women and their two dogs were rescued after flood waters trapped them inside this house. As many as four inches of rain fell in that area -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow, unbelievable images out of there. Randi, thanks very much. We'll report throughout the evening from here to see exactly what happens tonight. Hopefully the calm will hold or again, we'll see heavily armed police facing off with protesters. I'll be live at 11:00 and we'll be back on the air for another hour at 9:00 Eastern just after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)