Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

Controversy Continues Over Missouri Shooting; Kurds, ISIS Killers Wipe Out Iraqi Village

Aired August 15, 2014 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: new video evidence and confusion in the death of the Missouri teenager. Police link Michael Brown to a convenience store robbery and then reveal that's not why he was stopped by the officer who shot him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC DAVIS, COUSIN OF VICTIM: This is the universal code for, I surrender. And I can hear my cousin's voice right now as I speak saying, don't shoot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Michael Brown's relatives say they're beyond outraged. They just spoke out about the stunning new developments and they're accusing Ferguson police of blaming the victim.

Will the new information reignite tensions between protesters and police just hours after state troopers took over security and restored calm?

Our correspondents are on the streets of Ferguson right now.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Let's get right to the breaking news.

There are new bombshells in the shooting death that sparked massive protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown's family members just spoke out about this newly released surveillance video. Police say it shows the 18-year-old Brown was the suspect in a convenience store robbery shortly before an officer shot and killed him.

But the police chief later revealed that Brown that wasn't initially stopped because of the alleged robbery. He was stopped for walking in the middle of the street and blocking traffic. Listen to what Brown's cousin said just a little while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: Whatever that took place there had nothing to do with an individual getting down on his hands and knees, raising his hands in the air and saying, don't shoot.

This is the universal code for, I surrender. And I can hear my cousin's voice right now as I speak saying, don't shoot. Yet still the officer stepped to him and shot him is what we're hearing from officer. And that is wrong. And we want the truth to come out, and we're sure that it will as the day goes on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: These new developments are fueling new anger and confusion among protesters even after they got one of the answers they had wanted. The officer who shot Brown was finally identified as 28- year-old Darren Wilson.

Now we're standing by to see if the new calm in Ferguson will in fact hold in the coming hours. The state Highway Patrol captain who took over security is promising to keep the peace once again tonight.

We have our correspondents standing by. We're covering all of the breaking news in Missouri and indeed around the world.

Let's begin with CNN's Don Lemon. He's in Ferguson for us tonight.

Don, first of all, what is the very latest?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The information that you said, Wolf. Family members just held a press conference, at least one of them wondering why police would release the information of the name and also release the information about the videotape and the alleged robbery on the same day.

And then again the police chief saying that the officer who did roll up on Michael Brown, on that street, noticed after he asked him to get out of the middle of the street, noticed that he had the cigarillos in his hand. And from that police report -- or from the callout, that how the confrontation started.

But you mentioned in your introduction to me that the man who is in charge and who is calling for peace tonight, Ron Johnson, is here and he's joining us live. Also joining us is Dick Gregory, who is activist, and then the president of the SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is Mr. Charles Steele joining us.

But first we're going to talk to Ron Johnson.

Wolf Blitzer is asking about calm and about peace. You're stressing that tonight. Do you believe that will be the case?

CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: I think everybody out here is stressing peace.

I think they started last night. This isn't about Ron Johnson. They actually policed themselves last night. They got themselves out of the street. Ron Johnson got to go sit up on top of the hill and watch TV and stand with pride while I watched them police themselves and smile and talk and wave and yell and hug. So they did it themselves.

LEMON: In light of the new information, and I spoke to the police chief, the Ferguson police chief just moments ago and he said he really had no alternative. He believes regardless of how he released the information, it was not going to be a good thing. Do you agree with that?

JOHNSON: I talked with the police chief after I left the meeting this morning and we talked about some alternatives that I wish he had called me this morning or last night, and I think we could have maybe had some different alternatives for the video.

I told him from that here forward that I want to be talked to and spoken to about information such as that, and then I also told him that I think both of those being released today was not needed and was not the way that we needed to go. Today is about taking care of this incident here, getting to those facts that are there, and Michael Brown and his family.

LEMON: OK. Go ahead. Wolf Blitzer has a question.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: I just want you to ask the captain, if he could clarify. There's a report in "The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch" that now quotes Tom Jackson, the Ferguson police chief, as saying that the officer who stopped Michael Brown when he was walking in the middle of the street blocking traffic didn't know about the alleged robbery at the convenience store, but once inside, once he saw the cigars, all of the sudden he knew there had been an alleged robbery, he began to think about that.

Jackson told "The Post-Dispatch" that the officer Darren Wilson saw cigars in Brown's hands and realized he might be the robber.

I wonder if the captain has any comment on that, knows about that.

LEMON: Wolf, I will ask him.

The interview I told you that I did with Tom Jackson just a short time ago, he did talk about that. And that is indeed the case, exactly what "The Post-Dispatch" is writing. We got that confirmed no more than about 15, 20 minutes ago.

But I will ask the captain about that, about the report, about not knowing -- the officer not knowing about the alleged robbery and then all of the sudden seeing the cigarillos in the hand of Michael Brown and that started the confrontation with police.

JOHNSON: That's what the chief told me when I had the meeting. This morning, when I watched the news conference, it was a little bit different than it was later. So I asked him about that. But, yes, the same thing you just repeated was what the chief told me.

LEMON: Wolf, I want to bring in someone that you know here, Dick Gregory.

Dick, you have been traveling here and you came here intentionally.

DICK GREGORY, ACTIVIST: Yes.

LEMON: Why? Why so?

GREGORY: Well, to say thanks to the white press, because had you all not gotten beat up, he wouldn't be here.

LEMON: Why do you say that?

GREGORY: I'm just saying that.

Before it happened to the press, it was business as usual. And we see this all the time. You know is (INAUDIBLE) made the mistake in 1968. He slapped up the press.

LEMON: Do you think that -- you know, he brings up a good point, that the entire world will be watching and they believe that's emblematic of something that is systematic around the country. Do you think that the entire world will be watching and this will be a reflection on this city and also will be an indication of other police departments of how to proceed forward?

JOHNSON: I think this will create change throughout our nation and throughout our country.

And I think we have got a chance to change that. And I think Ferguson right now -- this is all over the world. And I think police chiefs are watching deciding what they need to do, what they need to do better. I think governors and mayors are talking to their police chiefs. And I guarantee there's some police chiefs saying we need to get some diversity training because this could be us next.

LEMON: What's going to happen today?

JOHNSON: We're going to enjoy ourselves.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: All right. I have to get back to Wolf Blitzer, the breaking news.

Thank you so much. Sorry I didn't get to chance to talk to you. Thank you for coming out -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, guys, thanks very much, Don Lemon doing an excellent job on the streets of Ferguson for us.

Let's stay there. Jason Carroll is also on the streets of Ferguson.

What's the latest you're hearing from your location, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, here's what I think a lot of people need to understand about what's happening out here today.

The overwhelming majority of the people who are out here on the streets, the demonstrators, the protesters, they know about the surveillance tape. They know that it's out there. And the majority of them do not believe it was Michael Brown on that tape.

That's what we're getting from a number of people that we're speaking to. And the few number of people who do believe that it could be him on the tape -- and, again, Wolf, it's a very small number of people. They say it changes nothing about why they're so angry. And the reason why of course they say they're angry is because what this basically boils down to is an unarmed man being shot by a Ferguson police officer.

Also, this afternoon, Wolf, I had an opportunity to speak with one of Michael Brown's friends. He went to school with him, he's known him for quite some time. He was one of those people out here asking for transparency. You have heard that term over and over again. People wanting more transparency.

He is one those that wanted more transparency, but he says the release of that videotape did nothing but muddy the waters in his eyes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: You knew Michael Brown and you heard about what the allegations are. What are some of your thoughts about what you're hearing?

DONOVAN EDDINGTON, FRIEND OF MICHAEL BROWN: It ain't true what they saying about him. He didn't robbed nobody. He ain't that kind of person.

CARROLL: How could you know that for sure?

EDDINGTON: I used to hang with him, went to school with him. He's a classmate of mine. We played on the same football team. He ain't that type of person.

CARROLL: What do you think is going on then?

EDDINGTON: I don't know. They -- I don't know. He a big kid. They probably got intimidated or something. They probably got scared of his size of something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: And again, Ferguson police chief basically saying that he released this videotape because the press had asked for it. He felt no compelling reason to keep it beyond this point, to keep it private beyond this point. A lot of people out here, Wolf, basically saying the release of

that tape is nothing short of character assassination. That's what many people out here feel. But in terms of the ways that the demonstrations have been going so far today, they have been peaceful, vocal, as you can hear, but peaceful so far -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jason Carroll, let's hope it stays peaceful as we watch the live pictures up in -- down in Ferguson.

We have seen the dramatic reduction in tension over the past 24 or 48 hours, but will be latest developments change any of that.

Let's go to Jake Tapper, the anchor of "THE LEAD." He's got more on what's going on.

What are you seeing over there, Jake?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Boy, Wolf, if you could plan a worse rollout of information from the Ferguson police about this alleged incident in a convenience store involving Michael Brown, I can't imagine.

First they release this convenience store footage which seems to show Brown in a forced confrontation, a robbery of some sort. Then the police chief comes out later and says that the officer who shot Brown did not know about that robbery initially. And now we have information, the police chief clarifying both with Captain Ron Johnson and with Don Lemon and with "The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch" that actually it was during his encounter that he learned about the robbery, the officer, saw the cigars and connected it.

Last night was a pleasant night. It was boisterous, but peaceful. Everyone wondering if all this new information is going to change that. Is tonight also going to be peaceful?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): Last night, the temperature in Ferguson seemed to drop from its fever pitch.

(on camera): So far this evening, the protests have been rather boisterous and yet they have been absolutely peaceful, no violence yet between the police and the protesters. So far, it's been people a night where people are expressing what they want to express.

(voice-over): Credit for the turn in tone was given mostly to Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who took over from local police at order of the governor.

JOHNSON: Last night was a great night.

TAPPER: It was all quite a contrast to the five nights before, the most violence of which featured Molotov cocktails thrown by some protesters and tear gear spewed by police dressed in full military gear. The big question today, however, is whether this peace will hold,

especially given the release of two key new details by police, the name of the officer who shot and killed Mike Brown, Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force, and these security camera images of Mike Brown, which police say show him robbing unarmed a convenience store before the shooting.

Johnson says the streets in Ferguson will remain peaceful.

JOHNSON: You're going to see a bunch of smiles, a bunch of hugs, a bunch of conversations.

TAPPER: The choice of Johnson to lead the security operation here was clearly a strategic move and it for now seems to be working. He has not missed a chance to talk directly with the community here in his hometown.

JOHNSON: But I'm going to tell you I will stand here, but if the crowd can't hear me, then I'm going to step out there. And they can tell you what I say, because I'm sure to make sure they hear what we're talking about. They can't hear, so I'm going to step out here.

TAPPER: We caught up with Johnson as night fell on Ferguson last night and he made sure he was in the mix with the people marching on the streets.

JOHNSON: We do need to do something different and we're doing that. And we are going to do that.

And it's -- sometimes, you just have to not just let people speak, but you have to listen. And so like I used to tell me kids when they were small, open up your listening ears. And so now I have mine on.

TAPPER (on camera): Good luck to you, sir. Thank you.

(voice-over): Captain Johnson may be able to keep the calm, but it's up to others to answer the questions that still linger about what happened that day, questions that people here in Ferguson and across the nation still want answered. This man says he witnessed the shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike realized he was shot. He turned around, put his arms up immediately, realizing that he was shot. And the officer had his gun raised already and multiple shots to his chest, to his stomach and then more to his head, you know?

TAPPER (on camera): He had his hands up and he was walking and the officer shot him repeatedly in his body?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shot him repeatedly in his body, repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, where kids play, you know what I'm saying, outside witnessing all of this.

TAPPER: That's horrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very horrifying.

TAPPER (voice-over): A horrifying reality for the people of Ferguson who want to know what happened to Mike Brown even after the politics and the protests subside.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: And, Wolf, as you saw just a few minutes ago, Captain Johnson is here among the people of Ferguson. So far, all seems calm. No sign of any of those militarized presence in terms of the police. Everything is calm. But with all this information coming out in drips and drabs and seemingly contradictory, it would be understandable if people got angry and upset as they have been in the past, although everyone of course is hoping for no more violence -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's hope.

We see the crowds developing and they're peaceful right now. Let's hope it stays like that. Jake, thanks very much.

Let's continue the conversation.

Joining us now from Ferguson, the NAACP board member John Gaskin.

John, thanks very much once again for joining us.

What's your bottom line take on the latest developments, the family calling the release of these videotapes, the release of the information involving the alleged robbery of the convenience store, the cigars by Michael Brown -- they're suggesting it was character assassination deliberately done on the day that they released the name of the police officer who shot and killed him. Your reaction.

JOHN GASKIN, NAACP BOARD MEMBER: Well, the family certainly has a right and is entitled to feel that way.

To release that kind of footage the same day at the same moment that they release the name that the world has been desperately asking for, is completely -- it has to be some type of strategy for the local law enforcement to somewhat justify -- at least it appears that that's what they may be trying to do, to justify why this young man was killed.

But it may be a way to try to sidetrack folks. But we want people to know that the NAACP is not sidetracked. I can certainly tell you from my interaction with folks here on the ground no one has been sidetracked by the fact that that video has been released.

I mentioned earlier today that here locally any time some type of convenient market or any robbery takes place, the first thing that you see on the evening news is the footage of the surveillance camera. If they wanted to release this information so badly, why wasn't that footage released the night that Mike Brown was killed? Why does it have to be a secret for four days?

BLITZER: Do you have confidence in the Ferguson Police Department?

GASKIN: Well, I will say this much.

The Ferguson Police Department has a lot of evaluating that they need to do as a law enforcement agency here on the ground within a local neighborhood. They have got a lot of work to do internally. And we, as an organization, just like the people, our confidence is at an all-time low for the leadership within that community, especially within the police department.

BLITZER: We're told that the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, 28 years old, he's now been identified, he's on leave with pay.

But there are a lot of folks in your community there, whether in Saint Louis or Ferguson or elsewhere who want him to be fired if not arrested right away. What do you think?

GASKIN: Well, the city of Ferguson, like I just mentioned to you, Wolf, they need to consider evaluating their leadership.

When you take the oath of office, you take an oath to pledge yourself to the policy, to the leadership of that city, not to one individual employee. And so they need to evaluate very closely, are they going to stand with one employee or are they going to stand with the neighborhood, are they going to stand with the people of this community that are calling for accountability?

And that needs to, in light of this terrible incident and in light of the fact that all the negativity that's being shed on their city, I suggest that they consult with a public relations person and obviously with their attorney on this matter immediately.

BLITZER: But you want a full and thorough investigation of exactly what happened before any major decisions as far as charges being filed against the police officer or anyone else for that matter are completed?

GASKIN: Absolutely.

We want to ensure that there is no bias. We have got some concerns here locally about things that are going on. And we have confidence with the Justice Department and the other authorities that are involved. And you have got other organizations here, like that ACLU, like the NAACP that have their eyes on this thing.

It's my hope that they know that we're on the job and we're not messing around with this thing. And neither are networks like you.

BLITZER: And you have confidence in the state Highway Patrol, Captain Ron Johnson who has taken charge of security there?

GASKIN: We are very proud of Mr. Johnson for his family being courageous enough to lend him as an instrument for peace and lend him, lend his leadership and his reputation as a law enforcement officer. I went over there last night. Let me tell you, the temperature

is quite different. And, you know, it's unfortunate that we have to wait this long to get somebody like Mr. Johnson involved. But the strategy he's using is something that the NAACP has been encouraging all along.

BLITZER: John Gaskin of the NAACP, thanks very much for joining us.

GASKIN: Thank you for having me.

BLITZER: Still ahead, members of Congress are responding to the violent clashes we saw in Ferguson earlier in the week. They're calling for America's police officers to be stripped of their military weapons.

And we will have more on the dramatic developments out of Ferguson. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're following the breaking news out of Ferguson, Missouri.

We're watching to see if the protests remain peaceful tonight. We certainly hope they will after a day of dramatic developments in the shooting death of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Violent clashes between police and protesters earlier in the week have led to calls to Congress to demilitarize police across America.

Brian Todd is taking a closer look into this part of the story.

Brian, what are you seeing?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, the momentum if gathering.

Top political leaders across the country, Democrat and Republican, are saying enough is enough when it comes time to giving law enforcement officers whatever machine guns, armored vehicles they want. They're saying time to shut down that pipeline from the Pentagon to police.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): Many of their armored vehicles and machine guns came from Washington. Now some of Washington's power players want to take them back. In the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Republican Senator Rand Paul is calling for the demilitarization of American police.

In a "TIME" magazine op-ed, the 2016 presidential hopeful writes that the Pentagon's doling out of free military-grade equipment to police department has created -- quote -- "essentially small armies and is causing a systemic problem with today's law enforcement." Paul's sentiments are echoed across the aisle by Attorney General

Eric Holder, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson.

REP. HANK JOHNSON (D), GEORGIA: You don't have to police while in an armored vehicle. It's not conducive to you being able to serve the people and protect the people. It serves as an opportunity for you to impose your will on people or to intimidate.

TODD: Johnson, Paul and McCaskill are all on influential Armed Services or Homeland Security committees and Johnson is pushing a bill to turn that Pentagon spigot to police off.

He's likely to get strong resistance from police unions and local chiefs like Ferguson's.

THOMAS JACKSON, FERGUSON, MISSOURI, POLICE CHIEF: And it's not military. It's tactical operations. It's SWAT teams. That's who's out there, police. We're doing this in blue.

VANITA GUPTA, ACLU: To me, that represents such a deep disconnect between the public and the police, if the police are truly looking at the images that the rest of the country saw. If that isn't militarization, I don't know what it is.

TODD: But according to CNN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, a formal tactical unit officer, police have to be ready for scenes like Sandy Hook or last year's Navy yard shootings, active shooter situations where the police could come under fire.

MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: So what's law enforcement supposed to do, go out there with any helmets, without any vests, without any kind of armored vehicles? No, because if you're being shot at, police officers aren't paid to get killed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: The new man in charge of keeping the peace in Ferguson has been drawn into this controversy and he's treading very carefully. Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said there are times when we have to use our SWAT teams and times when it's not appropriate. He also said "I don't know about mine-resistant trucks" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The mine-resistant trucks may be in a different category.

All right, Brian. Thanks very much.

Let bring in our panel, CNN contributor Cornell Belcher, CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, and trial attorney J. Wyndal Gordon.

Let me ask all of you to react.

Is there too much militarization of local police forces?

J. WYNDAL GORDON, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Yes.

If you check across the country, almost every police department will tell you that crime is down. Well, crime being down, why do you need this heavy artillery, all this military equipment to police the communities? I think it's far too much at this time and incredibly excessive.

BLITZER: You speak to police in a big city like New York or L.A. or Chicago, they're worried about another 9/11. They say they need this kind of heavy equipment, if you will.

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But this equipment didn't come -- really part of it is that we're going to hold off al Qaeda and ISIS from invading the heartland. That may be part of the logic.

But the reality started with very violent groups, drug cartels, gangsters that have engaged the police. We have had this all the way back to the John Dillinger days where bad guys outgunned the good guys and it's been difficult.

We just saw this standoff in Nevada recently where the Bureau of Land Management officers were outgunned, and I might say by white militia members. So you have people in this country out there with very -- huge amount of firepower and there are times when the police absolutely would need this. Not all the time.

And it can be often misused, as it might have been in this incident in Ferguson, where you need to have that hidden, you know, put it, stage it somewhere where it's not in the face of the demonstrators who are being lawful.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: I guess the argument, Cornell, is the other night in Ferguson, you saw the police coming out with gas masks, throwing and dealing with this looking very militarized, if you will.

(CROSSTALK)

CORNELL BELCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right.

To me, Wolf, the issue of whether they have it or not is irrelevant. I could care less if they have it. I do care they deploy it with protesters. It's not about those weapons. It's about sort of how they use it. Look, hats off to Captain Johnson because he's showing how community policing should work.

He's showing how you bring calm and that community is embracing him. Look, this community doesn't hate police. They just want that same level of respect of any community. And you see the difference when that respect is given.

BLITZER: He's obviously sensitive to all of this as well.

J. Wyndal, there seems to be a little difference of opinion between Captain Johnson, the state trooper who is now in charge of security, and the Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, as to why the Ferguson Police Department released the video of Michael Brown allegedly robbing this convenience store, stealing some cigars.

Listen -- listen to what Ron Johnson, the captain from the state troopers who is now in charge of the security, told our Don Lemon just a little while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: On their initial contact -- initial contact, it was simply that he was coming from a sick (ph) case, saw two young men walking down the street in the road, blocking the traffic. And he pulled up and asked them to get onto the sidewalk. And as he passed them, I guess that's when he might have seen the evidence and connected it. But his initial contact was strictly pedestrian.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What do you mean seen the evidence?

JOHNSON: There was a broadcast that went out about a stealing, and there were cigars stolen, a couple boxes of cigars.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: So that was the police chief of Ferguson, Thomas Jackson, saying that once the police officer stopped Michael Brown and he saw some cigars, then he began to think, well, maybe he was involved in that alleged robbery as opposed to earlier.

We didn't have the clip there from Ron Johnson, the captain from this state troopers, saying maybe releasing all that videotape today was not necessarily a good idea. But your thoughts?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. First of all, it comes from the police officer's playbook. The three "D's" I call it: deny, discredit and destroy. And this is all a part of it.

But with regard to what the police officer is saying, first it's a stealing. Then it's a robbery, two different charges. The stealing doesn't give the officer authority to arrest anyway, because it's a misdemeanor that he did not witness. So he didn't even have authority to arrest, if you take everything that the police chief said as true.

Now, now that that has occurred, this police officer is alleged to have tried to arrest him within his vehicle. That is he's trying to engage in some type of police contact, which involves physical force, sitting in the seat of his vehicle. That doesn't make sense.

And then for Michael Brown to be killed 35 feet away from this police cruiser, this story doesn't make sense. It doesn't jive.

What does make sense is exactly the way Dorian Johnson explained it. That makes sense 100 percent. The police officer thought that he was being defiant. And the police officer jammed on his brake because they did not get out of the street with sufficient alacrity for the police officer's pleasure.

BLITZER: Tom.

FUENTES: There's still so much confusion with this whole incident. And again, what does Officer Wilson have in his mind? Is he aware that there's been a robbery, you know...

BLITZER: The Ferguson police chief, he sees the cigars and all of a sudden he begins to think, "Well, maybe this is the guy who robbed that convenience."

FUENTES: And here's the chief calling it stealing. Stealing is shoplifting. That's not robbery. Robbery is a felony. It's not a misdemeanor. It's a more serious crime.

So if Officer Wilson knows that these two possibly were involved in a felony, that escalates the emotion in his mind as he approaches them or deals with them trying to affect an arrest.

Again, that's confusion. We've had different stories come out. There was a strong-arm robbery. Now it's stealing. That's a different crime. It's not the same issue.

BLITZER: Hold on for a moment. Don Lemon is with us. Hold on. We'll get back to you in a moment.

Don, I guess one of the most frustrating things is we keep getting conflicting accounts really of what happened. You learn one thing and then an hour or two later you learn something else. This is a problem.

LEMON: Yes, it is a problem, Wolf. And you're going to keep chasing me all evening, because I just did an interview that explains what happened in the convenience store, as well. And that also explains more about what the chief said, what went on about the cigarillos.

I just interviewed the attorney of Jordan -- I forget his last name...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dorian Johnson.

LEMON: Dorian Johnson and he explained what happened about his client, why his client won't be charged, about the police officer seeing the cigarillos on the street. The cigarillos ended up in the possession of Michael Brown. So yes, you know, it's -- it's a little bit confusing. But as you know on these stories, we always get these incremental developments. Police will release some information, and then we have to clarify it or we have to go about confirming it more and possibly...

BLITZER: So tell us what happened. What did you learn with that interview -- what did you learn with the interview from Dorian Johnson? Dorian Johnson being a friend of Michael Brown, who was in the convenience store with him, and then later he was with him when -- when he was shot and killed, if you will.

LEMON: Yes. So in that videotape that you see from the convenience store, he is the other person there. And according to the attorney again, all of this interview is going to air in its entirety tonight, "AC 360." I'll be anchoring it.

So what he says is they were in the convenience store, and then he said that he calls him Big Mike. So what you see, Mike, you know, leaning into the counter and pulling cigarettes. It looks like he's talking to somebody behind the counter. I was on earlier and I said, it really doesn't explain to me what happened, because you don't know if someone's behind the counter, if he's pointing or what have you.

But according to the attorney, Big Mike goes, and he takes some cigarillos from behind the counter, and he puts some in the bag or hands it to Dorian. And Dorian says, "I don't do that." And then he said Big Mike grabs more, puts them in the bag, and Dorian says, "I don't steal, I don't do that." And then he walks out of the store -- and tries to walk out of the store. And that's when the clerk tries to stop them.

But again he is saying -- Dorian is saying, "I don't steal." Michael Brown is not here to defend himself. According to the attorney, he says that's what his client -- his client says, and that's what the videotape shows. And that's probably one reason that Dorian Johnson has not been charged is because of that videotape.

And he's saying that his client, Dorian Johnson, told FBI investigators this from the very beginning and that he has been telling people that, the media as well, about this convenience store alleged stealing that he calls it. He doesn't call it a robbery. He calls it a theft. He doesn't like the term "strong-arm robbery." So that is no revelation to him, and it should be no revelation to anyone else.

BLITZER: Don, we're going to watch your special at 9 p.m. later tonight.

Cornell, very quickly, it's not very flattering of Michael Brown, the video images that were released today, showing him allegedly stealing the cigars and then pushing the clerk back.

BELCHER: I hate this because it smacks of -- it smacks of politics. This is right from a political playbook of what you do to make somebody less sympathetic. And I should know because I repo (ph) politics. You hate to see this sort of thing happen in the police force. They have nothing to do with each other, whether he's a perfect American or imperfect American, he has the same rights.

BLITZER: Certainly if he raised his hands to surrender, he did not deserve to be shot. That's the allegation.

All right, guys, thanks very, very much

Much more on the breaking news coming up. We're going to go back live to Ferguson, Missouri. We're watching the latest dramatic developments of the shooting death of Michael Brown. We're also watching major breaking news right now in Ukraine. There are new allegations of a Russian military incursion. Stand by. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We want to get back to the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. You see people are beginning to gather for what we all hope will be very peaceful demonstrations, as was the case last night. We go back there shortly, but other breaking news we're following at this time: In Ukraine, an allegation -- these are serious allegations -- of a Russian incursion into Ukraine that the government of Kiev says its forces destroyed much of a Russian military convoy that crossed from Russia into Ukraine.

Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is working the story for us. Jim, what are you finding out?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, just a short time ago, in fact the last several minutes, we got a statement from the NSC, the National Security Council on this, saying that they are not currently in a position to confirm those reports from Ukrainian officials.

However, the White House reiterating its concern about repeated Russian and Russian-supported incursions into Ukraine. This is something that they have watched very closely.

But while U.S. officials will not confirm this attack, I've spoken to Ukrainian officials, and they are adamant. In fact, the president of Ukraine even tweeting earlier, "At night much of the armored vehicles," he said, "which entered Ukraine has been destroyed by the Ukrainian artillery." And he goes on to say, "We will not tolerate any invasion."

His people, of course, not calling this an invasion, but they do say they are gravely concerned.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: The convoy of Russian armed personnel carriers had just crossed into Ukraine, said witnesses and several journalists. And the Ukrainian military struck, shelling the convoy and partially destroying them. Moscow insisted most Russian military vehicles crossed the border at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Every Russian military column is constantly watched. We cannot destroy them right on the border. That is why we use tactics and let these columns move deep into our territory and then destroy them there.

SCIUTTO: The military vehicles came in addition to a larger convoy. This long white line of trucks which the Russian government insisted it delivering only humanitarian aid. But when Ukrainian officials escorted journalists to inspect it, they found many of the trucks were largely empty.

And visible nearby, a large column of Russian tanks parked on the road, part of a massive Russian force now deployed within miles of the Ukrainian border. Today the International Red Cross told CNN it is now negotiating

an agreement with Moscow to arrange for the aid to be delivered after a thorough inspection, with the trucks that delivered it quickly returning to Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will be driven to Lugansk and unloaded in Lugansk. The trucks will turn around and go straight back to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

SCIUTTO (on camera): So that takes away the chance for other things to sneak through into the country?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My impression is that's exactly the reason.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: But Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke to his Russian counterpart earlier today, who the Pentagon says, quote, guaranteed there are no military personnel in that aid convoy. But the theory is that that convoy was a diversion.

To be clear, this is not the first time the U.S. has observed Russia sending heavy weapons into the Ukraine, a flow which U.S. officials say, if it continues will bring tighter sanctions from the U.S. and Europe.

BLITZER: A very perilous, dangerous situation. There's no doubt about that.

SCIUTTO: No question. Those invasions.

BLITZER: Yes. Right. Appreciate that. Thanks very much.

Just ahead, we'll have much more breaking news. We're going to go back to Ferguson, Missouri. A stunning turn of events in the Michael Brown shooting case.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Horrifying new claims of mass murder and abductions by ISIS terrorists to drive home the warnings of genocide in Iraq.

CNN's Anna Coren is joining us now from inside Iraq with the latest.

What are you learning, Anna?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we've heard from the Kurdish regional government that there has been a massacre in the town of Kujir (ph), about 40 miles south of Sinjar where those 400,000 Yazidis fled genocide from those ISIS militants. According to the report, 80 men were killed and 100 women kidnapped, and according to our sources, they say those women were taken away to become sex slaves. These are reports that are not the first to come to us. This is something that seems to be recurring. But, Wolf, despite the U.S. airstrikes, these ISIS militants are

still attacking towns and villages trying to make their advance across Iraq.

BLITZER: What's the latest, Anna, on the humanitarian crisis?

COREN: It's still very serious. We're with the governor of Dohuk, this region who is looking after all these refugees, and he is completely overwhelmed. He says he cannot cope, does not have the resources, does not have the manpower to feed, shelter, clothe all these people.

He says it really is a humanitarian crisis. And he was very critical of the United Nations and the international community. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. FARHAD ATRUSHE, DOHUK, IRAQ: U.N. agencies and the United Nations in general and the international community is working on -- in this scale, it means they are failing and it's a big fail for them and for the international community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: You know, Wolf, he says these agencies need to be on the ground now, not in a month's time but now because there are people who desperately need help and if it doesn't arrive, children, who are the most vulnerable will start dying.

BLITZER: Anna Coren, in northern Iraq, in Zakho for us -- Anna, be careful over there. We'll stay in close touch with you.

Just ahead, we'll have more on the breaking news from Ferguson, Missouri, in the Michael Brown shooting case.

But, first, "This Impact Your World".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind the music, Thompson Square is raising their voices to give kids around the world a chance to do the same.

KIEFER THOMPSON, THOMPSON SQUARE: It's more rewarding I think for us that they understand.

CUOMO: Kiefer and Shawna Thompson join forces with Child Fund International, a charity that works with global communities, to provide for children in need.

KIEFER THOMPSON: When you sponsor a child, it doesn't necessarily just go to that family. It's a collective that goes to that community. SHAWNA THOMPSON, THOMPSON SQUARE: The fact that we don't have

kids yet maybe that's a part of it. We wanted to be a part of children's lives.

CUOMO: The husband and wife team sponsors two kids. One is a little boy named Emerson in Honduras. In their first trip to meet him, the couple saw poverty up close.

KIEFER THOMPSON: There is no bathrooms, there's no plumbing, there's no water, there's no nothing.

CUOMO: The experience inspired them to recreate their music video "Glass" featuring children as the stars.

(MUSIC)

KIEFER: We're supposed to be are one. And at the end of the day, we are all the human race. We both strongly feel that if you don't give back, then you are doing a disservice to yourself and your community and to the industry.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: All right. Take a look at these live pictures from Ferguson, Missouri.

Don Lemon is right in the middle of the crowd. They are gathering for another night of protests. It was very, very peaceful last night. Presumably, we hope, it will be peaceful tonight. But people once again are gathering there, just on the day of some dramatic developments involving the police shooting of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was killed on Saturday.

Conflicting accounts of what exactly happened and, of course, as you know earlier in the day, there was the videotape released of an alleged robbery in a convenience store involving Michael Brown supposedly stealing some cigars and pushing the clerk, we saw that video earlier.

People are very upset that that was released. This video you're seeing right here, released the same day as the name of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown was released as well. They are saying this is a smear campaign, that's the statement from the lawyers for Michael Brown's family. They're very upset that that was released.

And so, right now, there's going to be a night of more people gathering, Friday night, in Ferguson. We're going to see what's happening. We're going to have extensive coverage throughout the night.

I'll be back later tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern on "ANDERSON COOPER 360." I'll be filling in for Anderson. At 9:00, our own Don Lemon, he has been in the midst of all of

this all day with some major interviews, with all the major players in the case. Don Lemon will do a special for us at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, an "AC360" special. We'll watch what's going on.

But you can see the crowds beginning to gather and everyone hoping it will be quiet and peaceful. There is a new police officer, state trooper who is in charge, who's brought in yesterday by the governor who seems to have the confidence of the local folks who are very, very upset at what happened to that young man, 18 years old, and now, we're getting information about what he was doing only moments before he was shot and killed by that police officer.

Lawyers for the family do confirm by the way that was Michael Brown in the videotape released by the police. The Ferguson police department involving that alleged robbery at that convenience store.

Much more news coming up. Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter, go ahead and tweet me @WolfBlitzer. Tweet the show @CNNSitRoom. Please be sure to join us Monday in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can watch us live, or DVR the show.

That's it for me. Thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.