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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Peaceful Protests Devolve Into Chaos in Ferguson

Aired August 18, 2014 - 23:59   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- the protesters are in an area where they're not supposed to be congregating, and they are dragging things out into the middle of the street to set up their own sort of barricades. I don't know if you can see them. This way, John. And they are setting up their own barricades and, obviously, the police are objecting to the -- these things. See, I'm going to see this young person holding up a "Do not enter" sign. It's been.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake - Jake Tapper --

TAPPER: -- down and she's standing - Yeah, can you hear me?

LEMON: Yeah, Jake Tapper, I want you to just stand by for one minute. We'll get back to you in a second. The next hour of "CNN Tonight" starts right now.

There are breaking news. We are now going to roll the breaking news. We are watching live - the top of the hour. It is midnight in the East. 11:00 p.m. Central. And you're watching what's unfolding. The sights and the sounds, the scenes that are unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri. What had been a peaceful protest earlier has devolved in a bit of chaos. It appears that they've gotten some order back in some areas. CNN's Jake Tapper out live at another part of this protest where there is some unrest going on. Jake, continue.

TAPPER: Yeah, we're near that convenience store that was burned down about nine days ago. The day that Mike Brown was killed. And there are a number of protesters. There are hands in the air yelling a number of things, including hands up, don't shoot. They've set up a bunch of barricades to try to stop the police from going through. Where is John - John, I just want to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to exit the roadway. Get out of the roadway.

TAPPER: You hear the police are over here warning people, get out of the roadway. We're going to follow that advice. Here, come over this way. And somebody just threw something. Here comes - All right. All right. We are going to set back --

LEMON: That is -- OK. So here -- here we go. Jake, is this teargas that we're seeing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody get my mask! Come on. I'm with you. Right here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care if it's far away. Somebody get mask on me.

TAPPER: These are just stun grenades, Don.

LEMON: Stun grenades. Stun grenades.

TAPPER: These are just stun grenades, this is not teargas. Clearly, clearly the crowd throwing things at the police on this other side of West Florissant. And now there're a bunch of stun grenades. That's teargas.

LEMON: That's teargas.

TAPPER: That's definitely teargas. We're going to walk down the street to get away from the teargas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Jake, get to safety.

TAPPER: Don.

LEMON: All right, Jake, can you continue to talk or you want to - OK, so here's what we have going on. About a quarter of a mile down the road here our Jake Tapper is reporting and there were some stun grenades that were thrown to break up some of the protesters. And now there is teargas that is being thrown as well. And now you hear the police helicopter in the sky and they are looking for the people who are -- that they are trying to break up, some of the perpetrators here. We're looking at police activity that's happening all over the scene. Jake Tapper, just yell at me when you get back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're throwing more teargas.

TAPPER: All right. All right.

Where's John?

LEMON: Jake Tapper, are you OK?

TAPPER: Yeah, I'm fine. I'm fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody get down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened? OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on a second.

LEMON: So we are told that where we are, did someone get shot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that's what they're saying.

LEMON: Right here, OK. So, there is an abundance of police activity going on here. I'm being told here that someone in the car that just pulled up in front of us got shot. They pulled someone out of the car where we are here. Someone was just pulled out of the car. They came down the street and we are told that person got shot. We are being told by police to put this on, to put on our gas masks. And as a matter of fact -- I am going to do this. Because I need to be -- can you help me with this, Marc?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: We have been told by CNN management that if something starts to happen, that we must protect ourselves. And that's exactly what we're going to do here. But again, we are told, and again, we need to have that confirmed that someone in the crowd has been shot. Can you help me with this? There we go. We are going to get that. Our Jake Tapper is down the street in the crowd here where there were some stun grenades and also some teargas that has been thrown into the crowd.

And we don't know exactly what's going on, but it is really devolving into -- let me pull this microphone out. Hey, listen, this is live television. I'm OK. I'll put the mike out. I'm sure the viewers are thinking the same thing that I have, better safe than sorry here. But this is what's happening. And what can you really say, Mark Lamont Hill. I know you said you would like one of these. But what can you really say about what's happening?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN COMMENTATOR: I mean and it's - it what the whole night has been like, it's been fits and starts. There'll be moments of peace and then there's one thing, one provocation and then there's this huge response. I mean you just saw people swoop down on that car, search the car, machine guns drawn on the car. People - police were right here, literally right behind us with guns pointed at the crowd. Not sure exactly what happened. Grenades down -- stun grenades down there and up here and apparently teargas. The police have just taken the car that they were searching before and driven away with it. I don't know why and what was going on, but that was the site of the first provocation here.

TAPPER: So, again, this has been happening for well over an hour, for about two hours now. And from our perch we know that we did see someone get out of the car. We're being told that someone got shot in the car and they needed to get out and get some medical attention again. That's according - that is according to the people in the crowd. There are people who are running down the street holding their eyes, obviously, as if they were hit by something. Obviously, teargas. So, what have you there, you see someone taking what appears to me to be the side of the port-o-can --

AM: Right.

TAPPER: Port-o-potty to use it as a shield in this crowd. So, I hear women here visibly crying in the crowd. They are afraid. Obviously the security people here who are with us are in bulletproof vests and have donned their gas masks.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've been told to put on this vest as well. And it has become increasingly difficult to leave. Jake Tapper, Jake, you were down in the middle of it. Jake, what do you have for us? You were down in the middle and where there were teargas was being thrown. What do you have?

TAPPER: Yeah, it's down near where that convenience store was before it was burned down nine days ago after the shooting of Mike Brown. There was obviously a standoff between protesters who were provoking the police, the militarized police and they put up barricades in the street. And it seemed like the tipping points came when one young person held up a do not enter sign and stood in the middle of the road challenging defiantly the presence of the police. And then somebody threw a bottle. And there was the sound of broken glass and then there was the sound of flares and stun guns and obviously a lot of teargas. And the crowd's dispersed.

LEMON: And Jake, we saw the person there in the crowd, it looks like they were carrying the top of a dumpster as a shield. And possibly the side of port-o-can as a door. Something I couldn't really make it out. How are you doing, Jake? Did you get hit by gas?

TAPPER: Yeah, we all did. We all got hit by gas.

You all right, man?

LEMON: Jake, what's going on there?

TAPPER: This is a photographer. This is a photographer who got hit pretty badly by the teargas. Somebody get a medic, OK? Somebody call a --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Dude, you all right?

(coughing)

LEMON: If you are just joining us, you are watching CNN live coverage of the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. I'm Don Lemon. Our Jake Tapper is out on the street. And you are watching a photographer there who has been overcome by gas. They have been -- they threw gas into the protesters to try to disperse them. Jake Tapper is out in the field. Jake, what are you seeing?

TAPPER: The photographer is making his way away as are a lot of journalists who were hit by the teargas.

LEMON: Jake, you know, it's unbelievable to see an American city this way. You mentioned earlier about the amount of presence of police, the amount of force. You said you hadn't seen that since Iraq. I think that it would be fair to say that at least this part of the city is under siege tonight. I'm going to get to CNN's Steve Kastenbaum who is out in the crowd as well. He joins us by phone. Steve, what are you seeing?

STEVE KASTENBAUM, CNN PRODUCER: Don, this is an extremely tense situation that has elevated to the level of what we saw last night with tear gas and smoke being blown. We're down about a quarter mile away from where you have been broadcasting down by the Ferguson mart. We're up by the QT gas station where we had seen a lot of activity here through the days when the riot police pushed back protesters, up the avenues. A lot of young people gathered here and were out in the street. Armored personnel carriers and SWAT units, the riot police have been out here for the better part of an hour now in a standoff with people. There were young people protesters, defying orders to clear the street. There were repeated orders to clear the street. Some of them had taken out street signs that said do not enter and yield and were waving them out defiantly in front of the police officers, ignoring their orders to clear the streets and ever since then, we're watching a tactical unit going in now.

So there are journalists in there. There are journalists in there. I'm sorry. A tactical unit was going in toward the car wash where some journalists sought safety. And the reason we're all hunkered down behind a concrete wall here is because moments ago we heard the unmistakable sound of gunshots. Everybody took a defensive position. And we're all safe. We need to stress that we are safe right now. The police know where we are.

And I want to stress that to everybody at CNN. Know if you are safe. If you are looking at live images now of a standoff that's been going on for about an hour, Don, and there were shots fired. Young people had thrown bottles at police, glass bottles that broke over their vehicles.

LEMON: And Steve Kastenbaum --

KASTENBAUM: Yes, I'm sorry, go ahead.

LEMON: Yeah, stand by. I just want to - I'm going to back to you. But I just want to update the situation. We have a police source here on the scene telling us that Molotov cocktails have been thrown and also that several shots were fired.

KASTENBAUM: Yes, Don, I can tell you that as well. We did witness some Molotov cocktails.

LEMON: Where you are. Go ahead.

KASTENBAUM: We did witness at least one Molotov cocktail thrown in the direction of police. Some of these young people grabbed port-o- potties that have been placed here throughout the week and put them across the street attempting to make a barricade. We just saw a massive response of police here. They are all in their gas masks. There is tear gas in the air right now mixed in with the smoke. And again, this has been going on for the better part of an hour now. Photo journalist Ken Tillis is here with us feeding back these images live. They are pushing the media back now. We have to step back. They are ordering us back for our own safety. And, Don, I'm going to have to put on my mask. The teargas is starting to become difficult to deal with. I'm going to stay with you as long as I can. They are pushing us back. There was --

LEMON: Steve, go ahead and put on your mask. And I'll talk. I'll continue to talk until you put your mask on because again, we want you to be safe. Get back to me whenever you get that mask on. But again -- KASTENBAUM: Don, don --

LEMON: Are you watching the situation here?

KASTENBAUM: We are enough back, but I continue on here --

LEMON: In Ferguson.

KASTENBAUM: We've backed a little bit --

LEMON: OK. Let me go - let me update our viewers a little bit. So, we are watching the situation unfold in Ferguson, Missouri. What had been a night of hopefully peaceful protests is devolved (ph) into this, and I think it's fair to say that this is chaotic. Our Steve Kastenbaum out in the crowd being overcome by tear gas. Jake Tapper out among the protesters as well. Jake witnessing a photographer on the scene being overcome by tear gas.

According to Steve Kastenbaum and to our police source here on the ground, several Molotov cocktails had been thrown and also several shots fired. And, according to people who are here with us, someone very close to us in a car had been shot. Again, those are unconfirmed reports, but we watched it unfold in front of us as they walked someone out of a car and not exactly sure what's going on and then someone rapidly went backwards. And then rapidly backed up. We want to -- we're going to reset here in just a moment and find out exactly what's going on. But if you are watching us at home, this is a very tense situation. It's unfolding for all of us here. You are watching it with us as it unfolds. This is an American city, at least part of an American city under siege tonight. You're watching CNN's live coverage. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Back now with our live coverage on CNN. There you are looking at live pictures of Ferguson, Missouri, where a peaceful protest pretty much a peaceful protest earlier, has devolved into chaos and anarchy. I think that's fair to say. And a big part of an American city under siege tonight. Under siege by the protesters and, really, it's unbelievable to see so much police presence in an area. You are hearing now as you can hear, I'm sure, for my microphone, police helicopters in the sky. We have seen tactical units and we have seen members of the media and also members of the crowd being overcome by tear gas. Our Jake Tapper down in the thick of it. Jake, you got some tear gas as well.

TAPPER: I did, but I'm fine. I wanted to talk to this gentlemen right here who was expressing some chagrin at the activities this night. You were down there. What happened from your point of view?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's to my understanding that someone threw a water bottle and it ignited the police. It ignited them. They started acting like we were regular -- at the end of this, we're going to be classed as insurgents. Nobody is out here for war. We are not out here for war. We are out here on a peaceful protest just seeing if we can get some justice for our brother that got gunned down. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out of the road. Out of the road. Out of the

road. Out of the road. Out of the road.

TAPPER: That was interesting. Where were we? Anyway --

LEMON: Yeah, we saw that. Yes.

TAPPER: Here - that we are saying, this is what it's like in St. Louis every night. Now, obviously, this is a new -- a whole new level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a whole another level other than what we have to go through on a regular basis every night. But at the same time, all throughout the city of St. Louis, we're always subject to harassment by the police. It's just wrong. There's no balance in the black and the white in the police departments. We have to -- we have to -- we are made automatically to know that we have to be indoors at a certain hour in certain areas in the city of St. Louis. It's just already known. It's not a written rule or anything like that. It's just something that we just already know. We just already know that we have to be indoors by a certain hour. It's an unwritten law, a rule.

TAPPER: It was a tense confrontation down there. There were clearly people protesting, and there were clearly people, I'm certainly not justifying the gas, but there were certainly people trying to provoke the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing that we have to take into consideration, we have to separate the people that are turning up and doing things that they shouldn't be doing from the regular citizens that are out here on a peaceful protest. Separate us. We are not -- we're not soldiers or anything on any kind of front line. When people are doing things that they should not do, separate them from those of us that are out here on a peaceful protest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't need this (INAUDIBLE). Reds, a black- owned business is on fire by their canisters. They are letting it burn. They have now walked past. They didn't extinguish it. Reds, a black-owned barbecue place in St. Louis is on fire because of the riot - I mean because of the police and the harm -- whoever.

TAPPER: Standby --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A white man walked in the street when they told us to get out of the street. What's that about?

TAPPER: We have to go. Don, Don, throw it back to you.

LEMON: Yeah, all right. Jake, thank you very much. We're going to get - talk to Leo. Leo is the young man who was overcome. Can we get Leo some more towels and some water, please? Was overcome with teargas. What happened, Leo? Who do you work for?

LEO: I'm a freelance photographer out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

LEMON: What happened?

LEO: I got hit with a canister and then it dropped on my feet and exploded and everything came up.

LEMON: What went on? What precipitated that?

LEO: People weren't leaving the middle of the road. And they dragged all the cones and yield, do not enter sign in front of the police line. Like 100 feet away, and the police kept asking them to leave. And when they didn't leave, they just launched --

LEMON: More teargas (ph)

LEO: Yes, into the crowd. And thank you. And that was that. And then one hit me and then hit the ground and, yeah, I just couldn't breathe.

LEMON: How long were - how long were you down?

LEO: I don't know. I was like - people were grabbing me and pulling me out. I don't know. Some guy pulled me out and then I kind of hit the floor and I couldn't breathe. It felt like my lungs, like I was under water and I was drowning.

LEMON: Were there other people down there who got hit as much as you did?

LEO: I can't honestly tell you. There was gas everywhere. And -- whew. Yes. It was not fun.

LEMON: Did you - to say the least. Did you see the Molotov cocktails?

LEO: No, I didn't see a Molotov. The only thing I saw was water bottles being thrown. And I haven't yet seen a Molotov cocktail. And I know it's going around. So, not seen it yet.

LEMON: Yeah. There have been reports of shots fired.

LEO: I did hear some kind of shots by the Quick Trip. I looked - I was about 100 feet away, and I looked over and couldn't see what was going on. Man, I look like a mess.

LEMON: You can see yourself in the monitor here.

LEO: Yeah.

LEMON: Do you have any clothing out here?

LEO: Yeah, I have my storage car over there.

LEMON: Yeah. Did you ever - Where are you from?

LEO: Albuquerque.

LEMON: Albuquerque, New Mexico. Did you ever think you'd be witnessing this in an American city?

LEO: I witnessed it in Albuquerque. If you now know Albuquerque, we have a lot of police shootings as well.

LEMON: And then so you have witnessed -- you have been hit by tear gas before?

LEO: Yeah, I was in the Army, so I went through the chamber. But I didn't remember it like this.

LEMON: I'm not sure considering, you know, what you just said that your odds are not real good you get hit with tear gas.

LEO: You know, I love this being on the frontlines stuff, but sometimes, you feel a little brave and you know, you could go a ton of times and nothing happens and then it's just that one time, you know, bullets don't have navigation systems on them except from the back. And you can't tell where they are going.

LEMON: Yeah, exactly.

LEO: So you get hit, you know, it's part of the job.

LEMON: Yeah.

LEO: I'll be all right.

LEMON: You are going to go to the hospital? Are you going to get checked out?

LEO: No.

LEMON: Are you going to go back out there and do that?

LEO: Yeah. Probably. That's why I got my camera. That's the only thing I care about.

LEMON: Good morning to you, Jake.

TAPPER: Jake --

LEMON: This is a guy who was hit, he was on live, he was trying to help you.

TAPPER: Oh, were you?

LEMON: Yeah.

TAPPER: I walked you for part of the way over there.

LEO: Oh, man, I couldn't tell who was who.

TAPPER: That's OK, man, you were --

LEMON: You are OK, you got hit but you said you're fine?

Did you hear any shots being fired, Jake? Don't go anywhere, Leo.

TAPPER: No, we'd heard earlier, we had heard earlier that there were shots at Canfield, which is the street where Mike Brown was killed nine days ago and it's an area where there - it's not uncommon, according to people who live there for there to be shots heard every night. I don't think it's necessarily even related to the protests, Mike Brown, the police presence. I think it just happens sometimes. In terms of the standoff down the street, I mean we were there and there was clearly people throwing things at the police. Police were not happy that there were barricades being erected.

LEMON: What about Molotov cocktails?

TAPPER: I haven't seen any. That doesn't mean they're not there. I just - I haven't seen one.

LEMON: Yeah.

TAPPER: There have been -- our photographer John was over there when somebody threw a bottle, a glass bottle. Now, I've seen plastic water bottles being thrown also. They are clearly - look, there are clearly people in the crowd trying to provoke the police, but they are a minority in terms of the people who are here. Down there, it was a little bit more provocative.

LEO: I have to say something. I have been here the whole week, and the people of Ferguson have given me water, given me rides, protected me, helped me hide when police were firing the little rubber bullets on us. And I have to say, hey, I love the people of Ferguson and I know there's issues, but I hope they get the right thing done because they've been really good to me. And before I came out here, that picture wasn't painted. But I have to say, people of Ferguson, they are really awesome.

TAPPER: The local pastor here says that of the people who are trying to provoke the police, some of them are from out of town. Some of them were from the neighborhood.

LEMON: Right.

TAPPER: But some of them are from out of town. But according to everything I've seen and according to everything I hear, it's a minority of the people here.

LEMON: And you and I had the same experience and I think Leo had the same experience as well. When we've got - Well, not with that. He's standing here, wait until you see the tape of this. We're going to send you a tape of this.

LEO: Oh, man, come on.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: But people here just wanted to -- they really just wanted to be heard.

TAPPER: Yeah.

LEMON: They would come up to me and say I'm so glad you're here. I want to meet you. I have - it wasn't the picture that was being painted about the folks here.

TAPPER: I think that's right. And I think for the most part this evening, the protests were peaceful. And people were abiding by what they were supposed to do according to what had been hashed out between the community and the police, which is a continuous march in a loop. But then that stopped and people started congregating here, and then the police presence grew and you saw what happened.

LEMON: What do you think? You've been here how long?

LEO: I think I've been here since Tuesday or Wednesday.

LEMON: What do you think, as you've been here on the ground. I know we sort of swoop in, right?

LEO: Yeah.

LEMON: But as after a while you sort of get an idea of what's going on. What's going on here, Leo?

LEO: I think it's just an issue of, like, a long-term treatment of the people here. And they feel like they've been subjected to racism by the cops. They're not being treated well. You know, they are African-Americans, and they go buy groceries and are walking home and they get stopped. You know, they are walking to school and they get stopped. They are just -- they just are tired of it, you know. And it's understandable. And it's not fair to be treated that way because of the color of your skin. And I don't think Michael Brown is the one issue that started it. It's decades.

LEMON: It's a flashpoint, though.

LEO: Yeah, you know, it's like, you know, the needle in the haystack and then they finally found it, you know, and now it's going off. So.

TAPPER: There was a pastor here that you should have on your show tomorrow. I'll have him on mine. He is from Cincinnati where you might remember 15 years ago, they went through many of the same things. Riots, police shootings. Accusations of racism by the police. And the system changed. The policing system changed there, he said. And he's here to -- here.

LEMON: Can we get more water, please?

TAPPER: And he's here to try to talk about the different kind of policing systems that should work. Community policing as opposed to whatever they are doing now here.

LEMON: Yeah. And so, you know, there's a car that had earlier where the issue was where they said there was an issue with someone being shot. It's odd, you know, we don't know what's going on with that. LEO: You know, a lot of -- even when I was sitting down there before

a gas, that's a lot of the people just want justice and peace. And I mean that's it. There's nothing else besides that. And I hope something can happen. I would hate to see another Trayvon Martin situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing --

LEMON: Yeah, come on. Michael Manio (ph)- come in here as well. Go ahead.

MICHAEL: The point this time that he just made - the point this time that he just made here is, if you - let's say you are here in in this area right here and you want to go home. You can't. There is the 101ST Airborne right there.

LEMON: Right.

MICHAEL: There's another presence down there and you know they're serious. They're not playing down there. What do you do? Where do you go? What if you came out here completely peacefully as most of this people did, and you wanted - you just want to exercise your try to protest. Things got crazy. You want to go home now.

LEMON: You absolutely can't.

People right here have been say, here is talking, mike.

TAPPER: No, no. No. It's not plugged in.

MICHAEL: They were saying, we want to come home, we want to go home now. And they are saying we literally can't. When can we go home? Again, they are trapped.

TAPPER: All right, that's teargas.

Do you smell that?

MICHAEL: Oh, tear gas.

LEMON: That's probably the same tear gas from before. I don't think that's new stuff.

MICHAEL: That is tear gas and, boy, that is -- wow.

TAPPER: That's my little gig. Thank you so much.

LEMON: Hang on.

TAPPER: Leo, take my mask.

LEO: I'll be all right.

TAPPER: No, no. You aren't going to go through it twice.

LEMON: So, listen, there's tear gas in the air here and some people are being overcome. Our crew is being overcome. Are you guys OK? Is everybody OK? You OK, Jake?

TAPPER: I'm fine. But here's the question --

LEMON: I know. I know. I'm going to hear about this, but that's OK, you know.

TAPPER: But the question is like, why are these police still here? What is the helicopter -- like who is --

LEMON: Come on, Jake.

TAPPER: But who is left right now?

LEMON: Oh my god.

TAPPER: It's like 100 members of the media and like 20 protesters. Yeah, but why are they still here?

LEMON: Come on. Come on. Come one. I understand what you are saying, but I don't think - I don't know if there should be - you can hold this. I don't know if there should be this much presence, but clearly --

TAPPER: That's not what I'm talking about.

LEMON: There should be some --

TAPPER: Obviously, there should be a lot law enforcement presence.

LAMONT HILL: But what's necessary is an organized sort of drawdown where police begin to move back as people begin to leave. People want to go. There's teargas in everyone here's eyes. People closer to the street have more teargas in their eyes. Everybody wants to go home right now and police are keeping this going with their presence and with these helicopters. Something needs to change right now.

TAPPER: Yeah.

LEMON: OK. We're going to take a break here because, obviously, there's an issue when it comes to tear gas here.

(CROSSTALK)

LEO: Whoever makes gas masks --

(LAUGHTER)

LEO: Sponsorship out here.

LEMON: listen, this is breaking news here on CNN. Everyone in our immediate vicinity is being overcome by tear gas. They are rubbing their eyes. There's that itchy, scratchy throat. It's not enough to really don a mask for an entire period of time, but it is definitely extremely, extremely uncomfortable. We'll take a break here. I hate to take a break in the middle of what's going on here but we'll take a break and then we'll be back with our breaking news on the other side. I'm here with Marc Lamont Hill, I'm here with Jake Tapper and I'm here with Leo, who is an independent photographer who was overcome, my goodness, with tear gas. We'll be right back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK. We are back now with our breaking news. If we sound a little odd here it's because we have been sort of overcome with tear gas. And I'm joined now by Leo who has had tear gas. You - I mean you really got the thick of it. Marc Lamont Hill joins me as well. Mark, you are OK?

LAMONT HILL: I'm OK. I'm good.

LEMON: Good, all right.

LAMONT HILL: It's just tear gas. It was good - you can be with tear gas.

LEMON: Ed Lavandera is down the street. And he's been in the middle of all of this. Ed, what can you tell us?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. We're on Canfield, and this is heading down the street toward where Michael Brown was killed. And just a little while ago, this is a restaurant here on the corner. And there's a group of about what I saw a few minutes ago about 15 to 20 men down this street here on Canfield. And you can see that two armored vehicles have made their way down the road there. And they had set fires, like a barricade of fire across the street just a short while ago. And I saw one man running up to the restaurant here and had thrown some sort of fireball. It has since been extinguished and it hasn't done any kind of damage to the restaurant there. It kind of flamed out by itself. There's another one there in the middle of the road which you probably can't see in the darkness. But just beyond where the tanks are -- the vehicles are there, there was a line of fire and there's the armored vehicle started making their way through there, the men started dispersing into the crowd. Now we're hearing authorities are telling people to be aware that they are hearing reports of shots fired and this is at the corner of Canfield and West Florissant. And this has been one of the flash point. This is just one block away from that QT convenience store that had been burned down. From our vantage point, we know there's a great deal of attention. There's a team of SWAT officers off to my side over here waiting for some kind of instructions or some kind of news.

(COUGHING)

Excuse me, Don. And we see officers trying to go through. It becomes much more residential as you go down the street and obviously much more dangerous for the police officers that are going into -- sorry. They are telling people to turn around and walk away because it is not safe in this area. The officer is saying they are trying to find the group of probably 15 to 20 people, from what I could see just a little while ago. And as soon as those armored vehicles came in down to the street, they all started running after they had set that line of fire. So now we're also hearing that the officers are saying that they heard shots -- reports of shots fired. So back into this neighborhood. Back toward the area where Michael Brown was killed. Another chaotic scene. We'll continue to monitor the situation, guys.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, Ed. We want you to stay safe, Ed Lavandera. I'm joined now by Leo who is a freelance photographer. And you are from you said, Albuquerque?

LEO: Yes.

LEMON: Correct? Marc Lamont Hill is here with us as well. And Marc, should it be - the tear gas has subsided.

LAMONT HILL: Yes. We're clear again. The air is a little bit - it's still thick but it's much better. We can see now.

LEMON: Yes. And considering the little bit that we got, right? Look at you.

LAMONT HILL: I can't imagine.

LEO: Yeah, it doesn't - I have some choice words for this but they can't be on the air. But I don't even know what happened. Like once it takes a hold of your lungs, all you do is start thinking about your lungs and then one of the CNN guys came and picked me up, I guess and then another guy. And then the people of Ferguson were pouring water. They came out and poured milk and magnesium on my eyes. And they helped me out. So I just want to say like, thank you, people of Ferguson. You've been really great to me the whole time.

LEMON: Hold a thought. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Back now with our live coverage in Ferguson, Missouri. As you can see, the large police presence here on the scene. And as I said earlier, a city under siege here. Most of the protesters are gone, but none of the law enforcement. Our crews, the protesters overcome here on the scene by tear gas. It was very tough to breathe. We spoke with a journalist just a short time ago, a photographer, freelance photographer who had been overcome as well. The little bit that we did get here, nothing to the extent that he did. He laid on the ground for quite some time. Our Jake Tapper helped to get him up and get him to safety and get some water on him. So we appreciate Jake for doing that. That is a video of that happening a little bit earlier here on CNN. And as we were doing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the Ferguson Market parking lot needs to disperse with the exception of the media.

LEMON: I'm not sure if you guys heard --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the Ferguson Market parking lot. Needs to leave immediately or you could be subject to arrest with the exception of credentialed media. Do it now.

LEMON: I'm sure you can hear that everyone on this parking lot, they are asking -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone on the Ferguson market parking lot that

is not credentialed media needs to leave immediately or you will be subject to arrest. Do it now.

LEMON: So as we watch this unfold, I want to get to my guests from -- for some analysis on this. Danny Cevalos is a CNN legal analyst and a criminal defense attorney. Paige P --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it now. You can be subject to arrest.

LEMON: Is a criminal defense and constitutional attorney. Charles Blow, a CNN political commentator and an op-ed columnist for "The New York Times." So, guys, I want you to be very mindful that I may have to cut you off at a moment's notice. So please, if I jump in, be respectful and let me jump in here because we are --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone who is not credentialed media needs to disperse immediately.

LEMON: We --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or you can be subject to arrest.

LEMON: Wait a minute. We need to come back to us. I'll get to you guys in a moment. So police are moving in. Can you -- the protesters are saying this is our house. We're not going anywhere. Police are moving in in force. If we can come to the camera here you can see that now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or you will be subject to arrest. Do it now.

LEMON: Down in front please. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are not credentialed media, you need to disperse or you will be subject to arrest. If you are the media, please move to your designated area. Do it now.

LEMON: Police telling everybody who is not part of the media to get out of the area. If you aren't credentialed media, and if you are credential media, you need to get your designated area. You can see someone in an armored vehicle. We are looking at. They are moving - upfront. Now they are pointing weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are not credentialed media, you need to disperse immediately. If you are credentialed media, you need to move within your designated area. Do it now.

LEMON: Guns drawn. Tactical gear. The police are out in force. They are wearing gas masks. They are wearing helmets. And the protesters where we are standing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are not credentialed media, you need to disperse immediately.

LEMON: With their hands up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or you will be subject to arrest. Do it now. If you are the media, you need to move --

LEMON: They are moving in. We have a shot. They are moving in. They are moving in. If we can get a shot of that. Police are moving in. There we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Credentialed media, you need to move within your designated area immediately or you will be subject to arrest. Do it now. If you are not credentialed media, you need to disperse immediately or you will be subject to arrest. Do it now.

LEMON: Please down in front please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are not credentialed media, you need to disperse immediately or you will be subject to arrest. Do it now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen up! Get out of here!

LEMON: Come over here. Come over here. Take -- bring the camera over here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can't move it.

LEMON: He can't move it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to head up the hill.

LEMON: What's going on, officer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting out if you can.

LEMON: Officer, what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're clearing out this area. It's not safe to be here anymore, OK?

LEMON: OK. Are you moving the protesters or the media or what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody. We're moving protesters out. This is - you guys need to leave, OK?

LEMON: Why is it not safe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gunfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just got shot and we --

LEMON: Was there gunfire earlier or going on now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have time to talk about it. We need to move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don, there's been gunshots --

LEMON: OK, so again, we're being told that if they aren't members of the media if you aren't credentialed you need to move out now, and they are saying as soon as we can, members -- can you move out of the way so we can get that shot? If you are members of the media, they want us to move as soon as possible. They say it is not save to be in the area which is interesting, Marc Lamont Hill, considering there is so much police presence here.

LAMONT HILL: That's exactly right. The one good thing is they are moving this way which is giving people a path actually to go home. We were just instructed to go to the command center which means we can go up that hill that we had, that's been blocked off in the last four hours. But yes, their presence, the way they moved down the street with guns drawn toward people. Again, I'm afraid there will be one more big antagonism before this is over.

LEMON: Yeah. You see someone there being taken into custody. With those plastic restraints that we have been showing you. And again, if you can come over here, they are starting to arrest more people. You will see a line of people who are peacefully submitting to police officers. I would imagine they feel that it is their right to assemble and to protest. And now they are being taken into custody one by one.

LAMONT HILL: They were standing in the street. While you walked away. While you were talking, they were standing in the street. Some got on their knees with their hands up and said it's our streets, it's our hood, we're not leaving.

LEMON: Yeah. CNN's Jake Tapper, where are you, and what are you seeing?

OK. We're not hearing from Jake. We'll get back to Jake in a little bit. But again, they are moving down the street. And they are saying if you are the media, you need to stay within your designated area. If you are not part of the media, credentialed media, you need to get out. And as he is saying, do it now. So it is going to be interesting to see how this ends. If you look across the street here, can you pan over to your right? Pan over to your right? This way. There is someone on the ground here that they are arresting. Do you see that between the sign and the van over there? Marc, can you move, please?

So again, this is all unfolding here on CNN. We - you saw the officer come over and said as soon as we need to leave but no one has bothered us since then. The guy on the bullhorn is saying that there is a lane of traffic open for everyone to get out, but he is saying media should stay in their designated area. And now they are instructing people about which way to drive out of here. And they are moving some of the protesters and some of the members of the media. They are making them -- they are making them move back to -- I think -- are they saying that we should move to the command post and there's a lane of traffic open for us to move to the command post? We're here live, so until they come over and tell us to break down immediately, we'll stay here. Obviously, we'll abide by police, the orders of the police. But we are essential media, and we are going to say here until they absolutely tell us to come over and that we must, must go.

LAMONT HILL: You see there young men down there who once again are there saying we're not going home. They have their hands in the air but they are in the middle of the street waiting for police to come to arrest them. They are making a peaceful demonstration. For the last three days, people have been doing this.

LEMON: CNN's Jake Tapper, where are you, and what are you seeing, Jake?

TAPPER: Well, we're here at the McDonald's. John, get over there. We're here at the McDonald's. And you can see this has been a standoff between police arresting protesters whose hands are in the air. Hands up, don't shoot. And they have -- they were giving warnings. Get out of here unless you are credentialed media. And if you don't get out of here, we will arrest you. Some individuals, not many, a dozen or two dozen, sticking around and they have been put on the ground and handcuffed. Now you see the troopers and the police telling the media to get back.

While they take care of these lone protesters. These spare protesters here and the there. That's the scene right here. This huge police presence for very small number of protesters. They have presumably, the ones who were left, who had their hands up, have now been arrested. And we still have --

LEMON: OK, Jake, hang on. Hang on, Jake, Hang on, Jake. Jake, hold on. Hold - Officer, say again? Hang on, Jake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are in the area for public safety.

LEMON: Let's go over here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're clearing this area. Please leave for public safety. There's been a gunshot victim. Please leave.

LEMON: OK. As we had said earlier that there was possibly a gunshot victim. So they are asking us to clear the area. So I will leave it to the producers in the control room to give us some guidance as to what you would like us to do. We're going to gather ourselves here. We're going to go to break and come right back. Don't go anywhere. Breaking news coverage continues, if not with me, CNN International will pick it up a little bit, from where we left. I'll let you know what's going on. I'm Don Lemon. We'll be right back.