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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Protests in Ferguson; New Statement from Gov. Urging Calm; Military Equipment for Local Police Questioned Amid Ferguson Violence
Aired August 19, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back. It's sundown in Ferguson. Good evening everyone. Thanks for joining us, this second hour of 360, a very simple reason we're live in this hour. Things here changed for moment to moment.
Last night at this hour, the mood was tense but it was calm. Not many moments later, looked again like nothing so much is -- well, in some ways a war zone. Police rifles aimed to the crowd, some Molotov cocktails thrown and shot heard from the crowd, tear gas in the air and dozens of people arrest, more than 70 in all. This is what city officials do not wan to see again tonight. They have been calling all day for protesters to go home before -- this time right now, before night fall. By the looks of it not everyone though is following that advice.
The crowds are small and certainly than they were last night but they have been growing throughout this last hour or so. Just a few moment ago we saw a number of heavy tactical vehicles, two tactical vehicles driving passed us, setting up not far from here, several blocks down in that direction. Unclear they're preparing for anything definite or simply their in case things again turned ugly but that's a new strategy. They weren't doing that last nigh, before that they were out further.
Last night again, today people have much to stoop their anger. They and others got more to process today on the investigation, the third autopsy, the grand jury investigation, Officer Darren Wilson's decision to shoot Michael Brown, and questions about the prosecutor in charge. There's a lot of ground to cover in this hour.
We want to start the hour, Steve Kastenbaum here in Ferguson. You've been out here for quite a while. Now, you are in the thick of it last night. Explain what happen last night because around this time, last night, things were calm, the crowds were larger than they are right now. What set it off?
STEVE KASTERBAUM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So at some point the crowd, the protesters have been marching peacefully within about a mile then circling back and forth.
COOPER: Which is what police have been telling them do, keep moving.
KASTERBAUM: Keep moving, keep moving is what we hear police say but when they got all the way down the avenue and were heading towards in the direction of the command post the police formed up again and they stood their ground out this time. They did not moved in on the crowd as they had been done on previous nights. But suddenly some bottle started flying out of the crowd. Water bottles started flying in the direction of police and it elevated the tension dramatically and that's when we saw dozen of local community activist and church leaders get out there with their bullhorns and put themselves literally in harms way, right between the police and the protesters and they ...
COOPER: (inaudible) that the protesters ...
KASTERBAUM: Is to back up. Right. To state that -- they were saying, "We don't want this. This isn't what we want. This is not how it should be happening here." And they manage to convince most of the people to get back on the sidewalks but there was a hard-core group of people and some of them we recognize is not being from here because we've become familiarize the folks who live here. We've been here night after night.
Several of them had on a t-shirts with a revolution slogans on them and other organizations that we recognize from other protests.
COOPER: Right. One of the older man who was on our program last hour was identifying those same groups.
KASTERBAUM: Yeah and we watched as these community leaders feasibly put their arms around this man and said, "Don't this. This is not what we want in our community. Stop what you're doing."
COOPER: There is recent, you know, I was down where -- the area where Michael Brown was killed couple hours ago, just talking to people and talking to man who has lived here for some 30 years and he was saying, "Look I'm, you know, people need to protest. I want people protesting. There's a lot of injustice but I don't want these people from out of this community coming here and causing trouble because this is our community and they're going to be destroying our community that we have to stay and live here."
KASTERBAUM: And we've heard that over and over again, night after night after night from the people who live here who have been feeding the crowd, there's a nice family a couple of blocks away from here night after night they've been barbecuing and giving a food for free ...
COOPER: There's a lady handing them water, right there, right near us.
KASTERBAUM: Yeah. And she said, "Last night, the way it started, it was peaceful and it was dignified and it was subdued, it was vocal and loud but it was under control." And they told me, in the beginning of the night, this is what we want to see. We want to see that -- have the opportunity to peacefully protest. But at that corner back there, when those bottles started flying the tension was elevated but they change their tactic last night a little bit and instead of pushing forward as a whole, they were able to identify...
COOPER: Right. And they would go and ... KASTERBAUM: Right.
COOPER: ... grab somebody who they identified as an instigator and arrest that person.
KASTERBAUM: So then what happen was a small of group of a few people and they're teens and young 20s, immigrated down to this part of the avenue and that's when it got really bad. Those people were completely defying the police orders. They were vandalizing some street signs and building a barricade in the street and that's when it really elevated the situations to the point where we heard shots of fired coming out of the side streets and we all ducked for cover.
COOPER: Well Steve, be careful tonight.
KASTERBAUM: Thank you.
COOPER: All right. We'll talk to you in throughout the evening. More now on police tactics as Brian Todd reports, the tactics have been changing as Steve was just saying and it has some experts concerned that the forces charged with keeping the piece here are instead increasing the turmoil. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police in Ferguson fire tear gas and stun grenades. They say they were responding to being target by rocks, Molotov cocktails and gun fire. The central question in Ferguson is as persistent as the violence itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were those police tactics appropriate for what was happening at that moment?
JEFFREY IAN ROSS, CRIMINOLOGIST, UNIV. OF BALTIMORE: We needed to show of force by police officers, the fact that there were in military style, uniforms was very provoked. Had they been wearing police blues? I think they were have been a different feeling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here they come, where then pushed out of the way.
TODD: Some experts say the police performance in Ferguson has been disjoined. They say it's started with the confused leadership picture. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson heading up securing the city then handing it off to Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
ROSS: He tells me that they're not certain who's in control on how to control this civil strife that they're experimenting, they're making things up as they go along.
TODD: Heavy handed tactics at the beginning. Then stepping back and allowing protesters to roam. Then clamping down again as the threat change. To some that's disasters indecision, to others that adaptability.
RICHARD WEINBLATT, FORMER POLICE CHIEF: They went through heavy hand in the beginning but they have to keep changing in assessing their tactics. That's what good policing does. It's a constant assessment of a threat and trying different things to find the right next (ph).
TODD: Communication with the public and the media has also been too inconsistent. Analyst say, "Police haven't articulated the rules on the street clearly and seem to be constantly changing the rules, on the fly, sometimes on live TV."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're about to be arrested because we're standing on the sidewalk and you said you want to ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to move out of the way sir. Move.
TODD: But some law enforcement veteran say an ongoing civil disturbance in a glaring public spotlight is unlike anything else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is it's such a big dynamic situation.
TODD: We relay these criticisms to the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Ferguson police. We didn't hear back from them. What about the Missouri National Guard? They're not involve in the specific policing of the crowd. The guard is there just to protect the command center.
Should that change? Some analyst say, the police are exhausted and the National Guard should deploy to relieve them and maintain order but then you get into those images of militarization on the streets of Ferguson again. Brian Todd CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And a lot of people here will tell you that if they see National Guard here, that will just kind of exacerbate the situation. With all that in mind the question becomes what to do now? What to do tonight?
In the days following hurricane Katrina, General Russel Honore, he made it clear, loud and clear what not to do. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put those damn weapons down. Don't go (inaudible) god damn it. Get those god damn weapons down.
COOPER: General Honore (inaudible) documentary when the (inaudible) broke and I'm very pleased. The General Honore joins us now. Thanks for being here. I spoke to Spike Lee just in the last hour. He said he talked to you today. He said you're the man for the job here. I'm wondering as you watch what's happened here, what you feel about, for instance the police tactics, how they are operating? I understand you kind of feel like they're operating through a narrative rather than addressing concerns to the people. Explain what you mean by that.
RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. RETIRED ARMY: Yeah. I think the people have clarified narrative, they basically say, "We want better justice. We want fairness in that process and we want less aggressive police." That's what I keep hearing from watching this on television for 18 hours days. On the other hands, the political response has been let's send more police and let's use the police to control the situation.
Anderson, at some point in time, you know, I took orders from the government of Louisiana on what she wanted us to do which was to save lives and evacuate people. When you go to the police, they need to be executing a political objective which is beyond controlling the people. They should be a part of all of government working with the local mayor to determine what is the property of work to take care of the people, maintain security and address the narrative that people are going to disobedience over, which is justice, fairness and aggressive police. In response Anderson, what the people get is more aggressive police, aggressive police tactics. At a very point, the people of prior to disobedience (inaudible).
So that is the dilemma. We don't have a political objectives here, for the police to execute other than to contain people, while they should be working with the people, allowing them to express themselves and working security and integrate themselves with the people. That would be the recommendations I would make to the government that there are on the ground and what adjustments need to be made and give the people a place to have a voice. Put a microphone up, put a stage up, put some sunscreen on it so they could come up and talk and express their concerns.
COOPER: Well that certainly something that Captain Ron Johnson seem to be trying to do early on but I talked to him today and he said, "Look at a certain point, I got to take care of my officers. If there are people taking shots at my officers, throwing rocks, throwing bottles, you know, I can't tell my officers not to protect themselves, not to be, you know, fully (inaudible) out in tactical here."
HONORE: Well that apart of a week and a half Anderson, I took on some cases over a hundred thousand. People in South Korea protesting, they're exercising their right against my command and not once that we point a gun at any one. Not once that we point a gun at anyone. That is the purpose of the trained force. They have the right equipment, they have the right shields, and the right equipment on. So if somebody going to throw a water bottle or throw a brick you got to keep his capacity with the right head gear and you're not holding an M16 looking at (inaudible) and you're pointing no matter.
Did not have to adjust the tactics and have to adjust the equipment to handle a crowd as oppose to treating everybody like you shooter Anderson. And that's the tactic I would recommend to them that they adjust.
COOPER: I remember being with -- down in Haiti with green berets back in 94, I think it was and, you know, some soldiers are wearing hard hats and stuff. The green berets just had on -- had their berets, no weapons visible and it seems to have a much better impact on people there. The research though has shown that speedy release of information during times in civil on arrest is crucial in stopping any violence. Early on, where did made a big difference in the Ferguson police course have been more forth coming with information as the Saint Louis police were today in another shooting of an African-American man.
HONORE: And look, this town is in the shadows of Saint Louis, one of the most technically (inaudible) cities American. They should have big television and screens out there, so when the police officers talk, the people could see him and then when he does a conference everybody could see him. We're addressing an area with less than two miles square where the issues are.
We should be able to communicate with people. One of the problems we had in Katrina, we couldn't communicate with people. I didn't have phones and where out on the street we have no place to go. They could fix that in Ferguson with the use -- help of the (inaudible) community and the technology we have as well as light that place up at night. You can look like the back of your hand just like we light the Ballpark up in Saint Louis city. That is the type of things we need to do.
And then we need to get some helping in there to the people so we can have grief counselors. We can have assistance in there from the Red Cross to provide assistance in counseling the people. There are people that are trying to express their anger or the killing or the shooting of the -- the (inaudible) killing of this young man with another shooting today. People want to express and they have exercise civil disobedience which is when you tell him to do something, they're intend of defying you and defying the law because the law is not working for them, he has to stand up, speak up. And if you tell him to stay in here they're not go to stay in there because this is called civil disobedience.
The police need to be able to take a hit from water bottles and bricks without shooting the people.
COOPER: And pointing guns as you said. General Honore, it's always pleasure to have you on. Good perspective sight. There is breaking news, Missouri's governor has just weighed in. We're going to bring that to you next. There's a lot more ahead. That people who live here and are living day and night with this, we will hear from them ahead.
COOPER: And welcome back. We have some breaking news now, just a moments ago we got a special video statement on Ferguson from the Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. He urged calm, acknowledge that it has not always been easy to strike a balance between law and order and people's first amendment right to protest, saying that Missourians would not be defeated by bricks and guns and Molotov cocktails. He also promised justice in the killing of Michael Brown. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY NIXON, MISSOURI GOVERNOR: A vigorous prosecution must now been pursued. The democratic re-elected Saint Louis county prosecutor and the attorney general of the United States each have a job to do. Their obligation to achieve justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown must be carried out thoroughly, promptly and correctly and I call upon them to meet those expectations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is Governor Nixon tonight. Just about 8:15 local time here right now, 8:19 things calm so far. Not very different in last night, fewer people probably here than last night which naturally puts people on edge. Thing change, so it's suddenly last night, hopefully it will it'll be different tonight. Whether you blame police tactics or outside agitators, local rumors, gets a random chance any or all of it can play a role, there are no rules.
There is however one common denominator in every situation like this. Every protest, every clash, people inside the community have the most at stake. The most to lose and the moves to fear. Jason Carroll reports tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Most of those who have been watching the unrest and fold in Ferguson have been doing it from a safe distance but people like Deborah Jones are saying it up close. Each day, she fears what the night will bring.
DEBORAH JONES, FERGUSON RESIDENT: It's restless. You know, you can't sleep at night. You know, you go to work tired because the honking at the horn, they're yelling, the tear gas. And everybody is running over this way, you know, for safety.
CARROLL: Jones was in the neighborhood which borders West Florissant Avenue here in Ferguson, a street which is essentially ground zero for the protest. Her home is about a block from where a demonstrators and police continue to clash.
JONES: We're right in the middle, you know, and people, you know, they just need to, you know, cease this, just be seal about it because it's not going to solve anything with all of this.
CHANTE SIMMONS, FERGUSON RESIDENT: Every night we smell teargas.
CAROLL: Her neighbor Chante Simmons just had to miss work because of curfews and he sent her children away because of the violence, she says, she feels trapped.
How long do you think you can continue to live like this?
SIMMONS: I hope they'll get everything resolve soon. You can't -- they need to bring the person a justice so these people can start to heal. So this can calm down and quite now because these neighborhood is really suffering.
CAROLL: It's not just people in their homes feeling trapped. Businesses along West Florissant are boarded up. William Whittaker is a local community activist who has trying to keep the peace during that day and at night.
WILLIAM WHITTAKER, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: My step daughter lives right behind the (inaudible) there and they can't even get to the grocery store. That's how serious it is right now. And like I said to Mandy (ph), it wasn't going to get any better it just keeps getting worst.
CAROLL: And for now, no end in sight.
JONES: It's like a prison here. We're in the war zone. You know, it's so sad. What are we going to do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Jason Carroll joins me now. I mean schools are shutdown here regular life is -- there is no regular life in this small several block radius.
CARROLL: It's pretty much come to a stand still and, you know, I'm talking to the people here who are actually just on the road from where we're standing right now. You know, these people really feel conflicted. They feel for a support politically, a lot of the people that you see standing behind you, within the flip side of that they're tired.
CARROLL: You know, they go to this every single night. The tear gas, the shouting, the yelling, how do you explain that to your children? I think what's happening here in this community, you have a lot of people who are just tired.
COOPER: Also I think tired of people from other parts of Saint Louis perhaps or even out of state coming here. There's a lot of frustration about -- as you said, local business is being destroy.
CARROLL: And that was one of the points that they brought up as well. They know that there's a lot of people -- they see them. There are some of their other neighbors who've been out here on the streets but they've run across some of these people coming from the outside as well. It's extremely frustrating to them and here is the dynamic, they're leading to police to do something about it but it's the very same police force instance some cases that they haven't trusted for years.
COOPER: Sure. Jason Carroll, appreciated. Thanks. I just want to share you some of the pictures that we have been saying. We saw a two tactical vehicles moving down, passed just a short time ago and actually started to draw a people a little bit further down to about a block or so from where we ware now. And the crowds are somewhat larger than they were probably an hour or so ago. More people have come.
There's a lot of people kind of milling around, standing around here. I want to bring in two community leaders who are both part of the protest and part of the efforts just trying to keep it peaceful, Bishop Zacheriah Davis of the Greater Harvest Church and Pastor Robert White of the Peace of Mind Church of Happiness. It's great name of the church by the way.
ROBERT WHITE, REVERENT, PEACE OF MIND CHURCH OF HAPPINESS: Thank you.
COOPER: First of all, what are your hopes for tonight? Do you think it's going to be peaceful tonight?
WHITE: Well, I hope is that it would be peaceful just like every night that it is. Each night we come out here and we give a feel for the crowd and I can tell you the crowds are little more common that it's been most night, so hopefully we can have some of the peace that we (inaudible).
COOPER: Seems like a little smaller crowd tonight.
WHITE: Yeah, little smaller crowd, of course its 95 degrees out here and we haven't had too much heat out here, so maybe that's, you know, effect the (inaudible) as well.
COOPER: You guy have been out here, standing at, sometimes in between police and protesters, trying to keep it peaceful. How difficult is that?
ZACHERIAH DAVIS, BISHOP, GREATER HARVEST CHURCH: They're difficult because the emotions are running high. There's a lot of anguish. People are angry about the situation and literally, you know, we have to stand in between and often times to trying to get the crowd to calm down and then it doesn't help when they're agitators, you know, in the crowd, you know.
COOPER: You've seen that. You've seen agitators ...
DAVIS: OK (inaudible).
COOPER: ...no doubt about it.
DAVIS: Part of it last night, absolutely. And it happen the ways down and ...
COOPER: What would you do in the case like that? How do you deal with that? You try to single them out and talk to them or ...
DAVIS: We do trying to single them out from time to time and speak with them and say, "Hey, just keep cool. Calm down." Last night it just went, you know, a little bit further than what we though and even the police came up to us and say, "You know, hey we don't want a gas." But, you know, it's getting worst and so we did try to pull certain individuals out that we saw causing issue but it just became a little bit more than what we could dealt with.
WHITE: And then we're listening to the protesters. There's some folks who -- identified folks who've been a part of other rights and now, they see them out here.
WHITE: And they're saying, "Hey this guy was out in Cincinnati and now he's out here."
COOPER: Right. (inaudible) who was doing that. Yeah, French who was doing that, he was saying just that he's has identified some folks who was from out of town.
WHITE: Right. And so that makes our job difficult because our community knows us.
WHITE: So it's easy for us to talk to our constituent and then make friendship with the police officer to try to serve as a barrier between the two, but when you're from out of town and your sole purposes clash action law suits, just so purposes is to push an agenda for revolutionary party, things like that, that makes this difficult. And to be honest with your Anderson we want those folks out of our neighborhoods.
COOPER: What do you make of the police response? I mean, obviously they got to deal with people if people are shooting at them but at the same time, a lot of people I've talked just say some of their responses has been an antagonistic and made it worst.
DAVIS: From time to time it has. I think they have done pretty descent job to try to be as calm and keep restraint but they do have a job to do, you know, keep law at peace in order. But yeah, there have been certain pockets, you know, policemen that have been aggressive and, you know. So, yeah.
COOPER: That aggressiveness has caused some issues for people here.
WHITE: And so what you have is you have a meeting point of aggressive police behavior, agitates from out of towners, a city that's being divided since its inception, people who have been push to brink. And so all those things have come together at this point.
COOPER: And real legitimate concerns.
WHITE: Very legitimate concerns. There is a police brutality, unfairness, imbalance and poverty, things with that nature. So you have all of that coming in this little small town that's really -- this is not a Ferguson issues or single (ph) issue, as a national issue.
WHITE: And we're hearing about it everyday.
COOPER: Pastor, I appreciate you being with us. Thanks and Bishop, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Coming up, can there be an impartial investigation in the killing of Michael Brown. A lot of people here have real questions about that. Some protesters and at least one state center already calling for the prosecutors to recuse himself. We'll tell you why, next.
COOPER: Hey welcome back. (inaudible) to be seeing if there will be any charges filed in the death of Michael Brown, the grand juries expected to start tomorrow. You are looking by the way at protesters gathering outside of police headquarters, a different location than we're at. There is already an objection from people who think there's no way that there will even be an impartial investigation.
Certainly a lot of people in this community feel that because the prosecutor and its closed ties to the police, Jean Casarez reports tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: In every witness will -- who has anything at all to say will be presented to the grand jury.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the man, St. Louis County persecutor Robert McCulloch, who will be responsible if there is a prosecution in the death of 18 year old Michael Brown.
MCCULLOCH: I can't guarantee and won't guarantee and nobody can any particular outcome on the investigation we don't know where the investigation is going to end up.
CASAREZ: And some in the community want this league prosecutor out because they feel he will be biased.
JAMILAH NASHEED, MISSOURI STATE SENATOR: Bob McCulloch, if you are listening, voluntarily refuse yourself from this investigation. The people and the African-American community they do not have the confidence that you would be fair and impartial.
CASAREZ: The outcry caused by McCulloch's deep ties to the police in this community, his own father a police officer was murdered while on duty in 1964 by a black man. Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed is calling for a special prosecutor to replace McCulloch. She spelled out her concerns in a letter to him.
"If you should decide to not indict this police officer, the writing we witness this past week will seem like a picnic compared to the havoc that will likely occur." Protesters at his office demand that he refuse himself. And an online petition calling for his removal for the investigation has garnered tens of thousands of signatures.
McCulloch has been the chief prosecutor for St. Louis County for 23 years dealing with hundreds of prosecutions. He made a name for himself early on in 1991 prosecuting Axl Rose of Guns n Roses fame when writing broke out after their concert. The case ended with a plea deal.
And McCulloch is no stranger to controversy. In 2000, a grand jury did not return an indictment against two police officers for shooting to death two black suspects in a drug raid who were unarmed but at the wheel of a vehicle officer said was coming right for them. McCulloch made this controversial statement at the time.
MCCULLOCH: What I said then, I think they -- I though there were bombs in, I think there are bombs now.
CASAREZ: His office released this statement to CNN. "The people have faith in Mr. McCulloch and he will continue to do his duties."
The St. Louis District Attorney's office tells me they want to begin to present witness testimony before the grand jury on Wednesday. One question is whether the officer Darren Wilson will take the stand to testify before that grand jury, a right he has under Missouri Law. Jean Casarez, CNN New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now is former police officer David Klinger who is an associate professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis and author of the book, "Into the Kill Zone, a Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force." Also with us senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin and former civil rights attorney Gloria Brown-Marshall an associate professor at John Jay College of criminal justice.
You live in this area, you're familiar obviously with the police force here, with the prosecutor, a lot of prosecutors have connections with law enforcement, a lot judges had connection. Does that raise any concerns for you as it does for many people in this community about this prosecutor?
DAVID KLINGER, AUTHOR, "INTO THE KILL ZONE": In another self no and Mr. McCulloch's background, yes he has strong ties to law enforcement but as you pointed out that is typical and unless someone could demonstrate that there is any sort of way that he is slanting the way the grand jury is ran, slating his decisions for the police and against other, I say we have to let him stay.
COOPER: A lot of people point to a past case in which a police officer shot African-American male -- two African-American and he chose not to prosecute.
KLINGER: That was a messed up shooting. I can go on to the details sometime but to make a long story short, the tracks (ph) involved before there were some poor decision making but the difference between poor track (ph) and poor decision making in a crime are two very different things and I think people need to understand that.
COOPER: Jeff, is there any oversight of the grand jury process at all? I mean if officer Wilson is not indicted by the grand jury is there any way to find out what went on behind those closed doors?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The prosecutor usually can get a court order and release all the evidence. And in fact, McCulloch I said -- I believe has said that he wants all the evidence once it's before the grand jury ultimately released to the public.
I mean he has made a pledge of transparency but there -- remember also there is a parallel federal investigation here, the United States Attorney's office, the FBI is also doing an investigation of the same crime, if it's a crime, and they may well have a grand jury investigation and bring federal charges.
People probably remember the Rodney King Case in Los Angeles where there was an acquittal of the police beating of Rodney King and then ultimately a conviction whether a similar situation would be possible here, it's probably premature. But the president for parallel investigations does exist.
COOPER: Gloria, it's my understanding there's a higher threshold for prosecuting a police for actions committed in the line of duty than there is for civilians, the standard known as objective reasonableness. Can you explain that?
GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Well we also have as you know that a qualified immunity police officers have, they have this higher level because they would chill their ability to actually carry out their duties if they were fearful at all times that they could be subject to some type of civil or criminal engagement based on trying to protect their lives or the lives of the public but that's balanced off with having to explain each one of those six bullets.
This officer has to decide whether or not the force that he used at the time fearing for his life is actually the force that was needed and explain that to a grand jury if he is going to testify. The concern that many people have is that when the prosecutor is presenting the evidence to the grand jury that we will not do so vigorously.
And in this particular instance we've had so many issues with people who have statements that haven't been given, we have time that's elapsed, we've had an undermining of the investigation this for and that I believe has caused many people to believe this prosecutor is not going to act in the best interest on the community and in their instance, in their my mind said, I guess -- it means that justice will not be done.
COOPER: If I can say Jeff, for those who are -- yeah, OK go ahead Jeff.
TOOBIN: Well I just think, you know, we don't know yet what's been presented to the grand jury. We don't know that statements from all the witnesses have not been taken. I mean I, you know, maybe we will have it -- there will be a time when we can say this was an inadequate investigation. But by the standards of grand jury investigations this has not been a slow investigation.
I am sure all the scientific test aren't even done yet. You couldn't even complete an investigation this quickly. So, I think we should at least keep an open mind about whether this will be a thorough and fair investigation until it's finished.
BROWNE-MARSHALL: If I could just ... COOPER: And Jeff in your point, there is more than just one investigation -- wait but there's more than just one investigation going on, there are dozens of FBI agents now in the field conducting their own investigation as well.
KLINGER: Right. And I think Mr. Toobin's point is correct and not just about the grand jury preceding but the entire investigation. We need to let it run its course and see what the evidence is. There's so much conjecture, there's so much rumor, there's so much end to end running around, we need to slow down, let the process move forward, if it turns out upon reflection that there are mistakes, if there's holes that the investigation was not done properly, that will come out.
The FBI investigation is back stopping that and I don't think there's going to be many holes in the end but we have to wait for that process.
COOPER: Gloria I want you to be able to respond either the last word.
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well upon reflection, that's the problem within the black community. We've had upon reflection in many different past cases and maybe other people can be patient but the reason why you have protesters in the street right now is because upon reflection is not good enough for the black community anymore and I'm not saying that they should put, you know, justice aside and go forward in their half hazard way that -- but there is this sense that they're not going to get justice.
And they've taken so long to ask witnesses what's happened that undermined the confidence the community has had in this prosecutor and that's why we're discussing this issue right now.
COOPER: Gloria Browne-Marshall, I appreciate it. David Klinger, it's good to have you on, Jeffrey Toobin as well. You're looking right now live pictures at the protest which has certainly grown in number and as you know by now if you're watching our coverage please continue to tell protesters they have to continually move.
They can't stand in one spot too long so this crowd which has grown over the last hour or so. Probably to now more than a hundred people, certainly maybe 200 or so people at least in this immediate area walking by saying, "Hands up, don't shoot." Some people actually have kind of impromptu gas mask on. Some young men anticipating any kind of trouble that there may be any tear gas there are may be later on.
The hope of course is that it will not happen tonight as it did last night. Our coverage continues all night, we'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back, we are here in Ferguson where crowds had been growing over the last hour, hour and a half or so as night has come. I'm joined right here on the street by CCN, the Crossfire host Van Jones, also joined by political commentator Charles Blow of the New York Times. Van, I mean, you and I were just talking before the break. We've been focusing a lot on the drama that has been playing out not only with the killing of Michael Brown but just over the last several days on the street. You said there were something -- there's a lot happening behind the scenes that people aren't saying.
VAN JONES, CNN CROSSFIRE HOST: Yeah, Absolutely. I think that this is a very sophisticated coalition that is formed behind the scenes. You know, you see this has become a theatrics of it. Behind that you've got a -- you have young people who are very, very sophisticated meeting. When you say, "Hands up, don't shoot." I thought that was a slogan, that's the name of their coalition, they're meeting two blocks from here and they're trying to figure out -- Holder that comes tomorrow. They say that's not enough, they want Obama here. When the Newtown shootings happened, Obama went there. So there's the ...
COOPER: So they're saying because he went to Newtown and why doesn't he come here?
JONES: Why didn't he come here? So what you're beginning to see now is a new generation of African-American leadership. Million Hoodies movement, Organization For Black Struggle, Michael McBride is emerging now as a voice for peace in this whole situation.
COOPER: Do you believe that this will have -- what is happening here right now, behind the scenes will -- or in this killing will have an impact the way the Rodney King ...
JONES: Absolutely. This is transforming a generation of young black activist and political leader.
COOPER: Really? This incident?
JONES: This incident. Well, you have to remember all summer long you had African-American unarmed men killed all summer and when you have a summer like this, just like '92, my generation of young activists, we were totally changed in terms of our understanding of what we need to do to make the system work better for us. It's happening right now with this generation.
COOPER: Charles Blow, do you believe that this will have an impact, a lasting impact as Van was saying because, I mean, often times, you know, the media focuses on something like this for a short period of time and then moves on, do you think this will have ripple effects?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well I certainly hope that it will. I mean, I can't say for sure. I thought after the Trayvon Martin case that we would have a bit more attraction that it would have a bit more sticking power and you did have, you know, there are like groups that spring up from that case that are still around.
I do think, however, that you have think of it as a broader issue, a broader suite of issues to deal with that some of them will be dealt with by young activist in the black community but some of it really does have to be dealt with on a policy level, on a local State and Federal policy level. Some of this cannot be routed out, some of it cannot be addressed by activist on the street or as powerful as kind of fit in the street are.
Some of it has to be looked at and said, "We have to deal with massive incarceration. We have to deal with, you know, high unemployed. We have to deal with those things on a larger policy level."
COOPER: You would agree wit that?
JONES: I would agree with that and -- that's amazing thing is that the coalition that has come together actually have the list of demand, this group called the Organization for Black Struggle and the demands were very sophisticated. They're talking about whether the Department of Justice should be doing, they're talking about making sure that those video cameras were there.
They also were concerned about the independence of the local investigation not just in general but because they know the history of some of the local prosecutors. So, again I think it's very important for us to recognize the justice if this were happening in any other community, you know, you have a small number of people who have done things that are violent.
The real question is why is that number so small? You seen those clergy people come out here and say, "We of ourselves physically been keeping that violent element to a minimum." And behind the scenes you meetings happening even between those different factions in camps because people will understand, with Holder coming here tomorrow, there is a world stage of opportunity to talk about the real issue to this generation which you have to do with mass incarceration, has to do with not enough jobs. I heard a young girl say at one of this meetings she said, "Why do they have so much money for tanks and not enough many to help me with my tuition?"
That's the kind of an answer that's coming forward.
COOPER: Charles, I've heard a lot of people say also they have money for tanks but not dashboard cameras, you know, which is sort of a question why wasting their more video on this thing. Do you worry Charles that some of the actions that we have seen in the streets here over the last several days both by the police and by some protesters though, I mean, a small number of protesters is by in large in peaceful protest that it takes away from what really occurred here, it takes away from the death of Michael Brown and the siege for justice, however, one may define that?
BLOW: I think it's a distraction in all cases. I think it is a distraction from the death of this young man who, you know, he won't -- you cannot bring him back. I think it's a distraction also from the larger more sophisticated questions about race which are not necessarily whether or not someone is or is not racist because it's simply not that binary.
We often look for these kind of angle/demon sorts of comparisons in this case and that's not how people operate. And, you know, Wilson does not have to be the worst person in the world to have made a really horrible choice in that moment. And I think we have to have a new ones conversation about how bias creeps into split second decisions.
COOPER: Charles, good to have you on again tonight. Van Jones, it's good to have you here. Thank you very much.
Coming up, at times the scene here in Ferguson, it's more like troops in a -- on a front line and a local police force or even a state police force, where is this heavy military equipment coming from? Do they get training in how to use it? And when -- Maybe even more importantly when not to use it. The answer next.
COOPER: Welcome back, you've seen on the streets here in Ferguson, the question is where is all this heavy military style equipment coming from? The short answer is the Federal Government. Joe Johns reports tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Helicopters and armored vehicles, grade launchers, night vision gear, you name it. Civil police departments all over the country have been getting this stuff for years from the Department of Defense close to five billion dollars worth of equipment. But it wasn't until police rolled out the heavy gear to deal with unrest in Missouri that the relationship between community police departments on the Pentagon has started to get a closer look from the White House on down (ph).
BARACK OBAMA, CURRENT AND 44TH PRESIDENT OF AMERICA: I think it's probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars. To make sure that what they're purchasing, is stuff that they actually need.
JOHNS: In all of St. Louis County, the Department of Defense says police have gotten three helicopters, seven Humvees, two night vision devices, six pistols, 12 rifles and an explosives robot since 2007. As for Ferguson police they've received two Humvees, one generator and one cargo trailer. The Ferguson police chief says, the equipment is not used for military purposes and calls it tactical in nature.
Still the defense secretary is looking at the program that allows the department to transfer without charge, the trappings of war to your local police to run and maintain at tax payer expense. DOD says the program has merits.
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Its still is up to the local law enforcement to determine how and when and where, under what circumstances they use access military equipment. It's a congressionally mandated program, a program that has provided a good measure of support to not just law enforcement but to citizens all over the country.
JOHNS: The program was launched in the 1990s and part to help in the war on drugs. After September 11 2001, it became a tool for the war on terror. Congress which initially authorized the program is now likely to take a closer look at it. The retiring chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee Carl Levin has said he plans to initiate a review.
There's also the simple accountability question. Government spending watch dogs are asking, "Why the pentagon is giving away five billion dollars of equipment paid for by the tax payers instead of saving the money or spending more carefully in the first place."
STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: Essentially, you know, this is -- with the DOD they're not giving them cash, they're just giving them equipment that's been worth these billions of dollars but then it means that DOD then can then turn around and replace that equipment with something else, you know, so they've got to basically move that off of their books and then they can buy new toys.
JOHNS: And there's an optics issue at play here, Civil Libertarians are concerned about the image of officer Friendly, the cop next door, gearing up and morphing into somewhat more like Judge Dredd or RoboCop. Joe Johns, CNN Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well a lot more from here in Ferguson. We'll be right back, stick around.
COOPER: Take a look at the scene just a few minutes ago, a large crowd of protesters walking by chanting. We have seen this now, this crowd growing over the last hour, hour and a half just a few blocks away from where Michael Brown were shot and killed more than one week ago.