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THE SITUATION ROOM
Ferguson On Edge; Protestors Clash with Ferguson Police; Robbed, Ransacked and Burned Out
Aired August 18, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Happening now, a SITUATION ROOM special report breaking news.
City on edge. The National Guard is called in after protests spiral into violence. But there's no curfew tonight in Ferguson, Missouri. Is that an invitation to more trouble?
Shot six times. An autopsy ordered by his family reveals Michael Brown's body was riddled with bullet wounds and we're now learning how the officer involved describes the shooting.
Plus, Obama speaks out. The president addresses the violence in Ferguson as the federal government investigates the shooting. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: Our breaking news there are fresh appeals for calm in Ferguson, Missouri, after peaceful protests collapse into chaos with gunshots, firebombs and clouds of tear gas.
Here's the latest development. An independent autopsy order by Michael Brown's family shown the teen was shot six times in the front of his body, and right now I'm going to be joined by Jake Tapper. He's our co-anchor for this hour. He's joining us from Ferguson, Missouri.
Jake, you have been talking to folks there. There is some new information you can share with us.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There are people still upset very much about the way that this has all unfolded, both in terms of obviously the shooting of Michael Brown, but also the way in which the police have responded, the way in which local police have revealed drips and drabs of information.
The governor of Missouri expressed concern how some of this information has been revealed. We will have some of that interview later. The governor also tells me members of the state National Guard will come here and they will have a limited role he says in trying to keep the peace here in Ferguson tonight.
There's still a lot of anger on the streets, Brianna, more than a week after this unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a police officer. A local prosecutor saying that a grand jury could start hearing evidence in this investigation as early as Wednesday, just two days. And a short while ago President Obama, of course, confirming that federal civil rights investigators are coming, are here and an investigation is under way as he appealed once again for calm.
TAPPER (voice-over): The Missouri National Guard is being deployed to prevent another night of this, more violent clashes between police and protesters erupting in Ferguson within the last 24 hours, tensions apparently reigniting as the world gets a new look at the killing of Mike Brown, the killing that sparked the unrest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He shot this boy outside of my apartment.
TAPPER: Exclusive video taken by a woman who said she saw 18-year-old Mike Brown being shot and killed by police officers Darren Wilson nine days ago. She says that's Wilson on the right standing near Brown's body. Brown's relatives are renewing calls for Wilson to be arrested based on an independent autopsy they requested.
The preliminary results released today show Brown was shot at least six times, all to the front of his body. Four bullets went into his right arm. Two went into his head.
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: Why would he be shot in the very top of his head, 6'4'' man? Makes no sense.
TAPPER: The nationally known pathologist who conducted this autopsy said Brown was not shot at close range.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: There weren't signs of a struggle.
TAPPER: But that conflicts with accounts by police, who say Brown struggled with officer Wilson and reached for his weapon.
A caller to a local radio station with apparent knowledge of Wilson's account said this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael grabs for the gun.
At one point, he's got the gun totally turned against his hip and Darren shoves it away, and the gun goes off.
TAPPER: A source with detailed knowledge of the investigation says this caller's portrayal of the officer's account is accurate. This is what the officer claims happened.
Protesters still have many questions about Brown's death and concerns about law enforcement tactics in Ferguson. Peaceful demonstrations spiraled out of control overnight. Officers fired tear gas into a crowd of hundreds of protesters including some children who were marching towards police as a midnight curfew was about to take effect. CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: When we saw violent
acts, including shooting, and throwing of Molotov cocktails and the destruction of businesses, we had to act to protect lives and property.
TAPPER: But protesters are challenging the claim that they provoked police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were walking peacefully down to the mall and a young lady was hit in her face with smoke bombs and tear gas. And we were peaceful. This is unacceptable and this is not the law.
TAPPER: And there's still a lot of tension here. Just in last few hours, Brianna, a number of protesters have been arrested just yards from where I'm standing not for being violent but for standing in place instead of moving. Police being very disciplined when it comes to you can march, but you cannot just stand in one place -- back to you in Washington, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Jake, stand by. We will be coming back to you throughout the hour.
President Obama says Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday, as the federal investigation of Michael Brown's death heats up.
Let's bring in our White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski, with the latest on what the president said just a short time ago -- Michelle.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna.
Careful, careful, careful is a pretty good way to describe it. The president didn't want to take sides or prejudge things, as he put it. Plenty of people in that community wanted him to address the obvious racial tensions surrounding this. Today he did address it, but in a very carefully balanced way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear. There are young black men that commit crime. And we can argue about why that happened, because of the poverty they were born into, and the lack of opportunity or the school systems that failed them or what have you, but if they commit a crime, then they need to be prosecuted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: Yes, and the president also clearly wanted to carefully balance condemnation of excessive use of force by police towards peaceful protesters with the condemnation of violence towards the police. At this point, it doesn't sound like the president has plans to visit
Ferguson, Missouri, at least not at this point, but he's sending the attorney general down there on Wednesday to meet with a Department of Justice team that's now officially investigating the civil rights questions surrounding this case, Brianna.
KEILAR: And it sounded today, Michelle, like he wants Governor Nixon to be sure he loops the president into things.
I want to head now back to Ferguson, Missouri, where Jake Tapper is.
I understand you have a pretty important guest, Jake.
TAPPER: That's right, Brianna.
Joining me now is one of the lawyers for Michael Brown's family, the lead attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Mr. Crump, thanks so much.
I know you have been out and about. You haven't heard all the comments made by different people including President Obama today because you have been working. But I guess more generally what have you heard from the Justice Department. They have launched an investigation into whether civil rights were violated. What else have they told you?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF MICHAEL BROWN: Well, the family and a lot of people in the community have a great distrust in the local law enforcement agencies, so we have asked on several occasions that we want the Justice Department to take over the entire investigation.
That is doing an independent autopsy, that's doing an independent investigation, do an independent examination of witnesses, because witnesses are not coming forward to the local law enforcement agencies because after all you leave they got to live here and they feel intimidated.
TAPPER: What did you gather? What was the most important thing you think came out of this independent autopsy that the family requested? What was most significant for you?
CRUMP: Well, Jake, understand that the family needed to do their own independent autopsy because we did not get verification from the Justice Department until recently that they were doing their independent autopsy.
TAPPER: You wanted a second one. It's not like you wanted a third one, but the Justice Department didn't say they were going to do one until after...
CRUMP: Exactly. We have been in this situation before where you can't count on the police department autopsy that executed that child to be one that you're going to rely on for evidence, so they had to have their own independent autopsy.
TAPPER: And what came out of that press conference and that autopsy that you think is significant?
CRUMP: Well, it certainly is very significant what Dr. Baden found that it verifies what those witnesses said out there, that he had multiple gunshots.
TAPPER: Six wounds.
CRUMP: At least six, probably more than that, but at least six. And so it substantiated what a lot of those witnesses were saying about when he put his hands up, they had the marks there that can show he had shots that could only take place where he had his hands up and so forth.
And so Dr. Baden said we need the witness accounts, we need the clothes to see gunshot residue. We need to find out if there was any gunshot residue in the automobile. There's a lot of things he didn't have because he hasn't gotten it from the medical examiner's office yet.
TAPPER: Are you concerned about tonight? We have had three straight nights of individuals protesting, tear gas fired, some stores looted.
I know a lot of people in this community saying that the looters and the rioters are not from Ferguson, they are outside, they are people coming from outside and in fact the governor said something similar on Saturday night. I think only two of the people were even from Missouri. Are you worried about what might happen tonight?
CRUMP: Well, Jake, Mr. Brown's family as well as everybody that represents Michael Brown Jr. has asked people to be responsible. We don't need them just to be angry, because we're trying to get justice. When they are irresponsible that takes people away from the focus of justice for an unarmed teenager being shot and executed in broad daylight.
That is what's so troubling. And people are emotional about it, Jake. Some people will never understand what these parents have to go through every day just praying their child will come home. And the fact that they could be executed in broad daylight is troubling to many people in America. Some people would never have to worry about that scenario, but some parents have to worry about it every day.
TAPPER: What's your response, what's the family's response to the fact that apparently officer Wilson, his version of events is that Michael Brown was, in his words, bum-rushing him?
CRUMP: Where did you get that from? Did you get some police report or something?
CRUMP: From some radio caller that nobody knows?
Because you all have had eyewitnesses come forward. So we got to be transparent. We can't let people spin stuff. We got to make them give the police report, the same things that we have been asking for from day one.
TAPPER: I agree with you.
CRUMP: Instead, they're trying to assault his character to give reports to say don't pay attention to the real focus. Pay attention to this here.
TAPPER: I agree with you 100 percent. The police report should come forward. We have run numerous witness accounts, as you know, at least three.
But there's this woman who is friends with Wilson. We have vetted this. I understand that you take issue with it. But we vetted it and it is, according to a source...
CRUMP: Here's what I will say, Jake.
TAPPER: Can I just play this sound? According to somebody...
CRUMP: Jake, you want us to hear some hearsay from somebody.
TAPPER: It's what Wilson is telling people, though. That's the point.
CRUMP: OK. But you all are playing it vs. making them give the police report. That's not fair to Michael Brown.
TAPPER: Absolutely not. It's not in place.
But let's let this play. A source with detailed knowledge of the investigation tells CNN this is what Wilson is telling people. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As he stands up, Michael just bum-rushes him, just shoves him back into his car, punches him in the face, and then, of course, Darren grabs for his gun, and Michael grabs for the gun.
At one point, he's got the gun totally turned against his hip and Darren shoves it away, and the gun goes off.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: I understand this is not a substitute for Mr. Wilson, officer Wilson coming forward himself. It's not a substitute for the police report. But this is according to a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation what Wilson's versions of events is.
What is your response?
CRUMP: We have got a lot of resources for CNN too. And they have come forward and went on record..
TAPPER: And we put them on air, absolutely.
CRUMP: And they have given their reports publicly. We want those reports to be given publicly.
I will say this very clearly. Due process of the law means that the police officer is given the right to innocent until proven guilty if he's arrested. And that's the big question. And if he's ever, ever going to be arrested -- because we know if the scenario was reversed, Mr. Brown would have been arrested day one and we would have just hoped he could have gotten his constitutional rights.
We want everybody to get due process. We want it to be a fair system for everybody, for the police officer, Wilson, but also for Michael Brown's family, because he's not here to tell you his side of it.
TAPPER: No, indeed he's not. We can't lose sight of that. This is at the end of the day forgetting the protests, forgetting the politic, forgetting the eyewitness accounts and the hearsay accounts, this is about a young man losing his life. How is the family doing?
CRUMP: Well, obviously they are emotional.
His mother for the first time found out how her son died. And, you know, she had the question of, did he suffer much? And Dr. Baden said -- that's of course -- and he was able to tell her when the head shot which they believe was the last shot, that would have killed him instantaneously.
So, he suffered through the first five shots. But -- and I don't know if that's comforting, Jake, or not, but he wanted to tell her that even though he suffered, he tried to lessen the blow, saying he didn't suffer much.
TAPPER: All right, Benjamin Crump, thank you so much. Again, a horrible tragedy. Thank you for your time. Appreciate it -- Brianna, back to you.
KEILAR: Jake, thank you so much.
We have been learning more about that officer who shot and killed Michael Brown and his version of what happened in the moments before he opened fire. We heard Jake cover some of that.
CNN's Don Lemon is joining us now live from Ferguson.
What's the mood there like, Don?
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think we're about to be arrested because we're standing on the sidewalk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move out of the way, sir. Move!
TAPPER: We have been standing here all day, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Come on, let's go.
LEMON: That's what's happening here.
People are here. And they are standing on -- you can see what's happening. We have been standing here all day. They told us to come here. I can't move. I'm not going to resist a police officer. I'm being pushed back...
LEMON: Now you see why people are so upset here, because we have been here all day. They moved us here and told us this is our location, and they're doing the same thing to the people.
We're on national television. Imagine what they are doing to people when you don't see on national television, the people who don't have a voice like we do. So that's what these officers are up to here.
The people here are feeling like they are occupied on their streets. They are intimidated by police officers. You have been standing somewhere all day. You have been exercising your right to protest. All of a sudden, somebody shows up, they don't like you standing on the street, the rules change and then they move you.
You see the people saying hands up don't shoot. I imagine here in a moment you will probably see some people start to be taken in and get arrested. OK.
KEILAR: Hey, Don, question. Are these Ferguson police or are these from a different jurisdiction?
LEMON: These are police from Saint Louis, police officers from Saint Louis County. Most of them are just telling people that they need to move.
There's this one officer that you saw with me who is physically pushing people, the one here to the left with the gray hair, this officer right here physically pushing people out of the way, one of the older officers here. So, you know...
KEILAR: Is he saying, Don -- Don, why is he saying that he wants people to get out of the way? There have been some regulations -- we heard Jake saying that people are not allowed to stand, they are allowed to move. Is that part of the issue? Do you feel like you're just being caught up in that because obviously you have to stand still to do a live shot. LEMON: Yes. It is. In order to do a live shot, we do have to stand
Why are we being pushed back, officer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to have to talk to one of the commanders.
LEMON: Is one of the commanders here?
LEMON: So, again, they are telling us we have to talk to one of the commanders.
We will try go talk to one of the commanders. But at this moment, I do not see one. Who you're seeing now on the bullhorn, that's Malik Shabazz earlier. He is part of the Black American Justice -- Attorneys for American Justice, which was the -- used to be the New Black Panthers. He's trying to calm people down.
He's the one who was asking people to not demonstrate and not protest after sundown. So this officer is telling us -- what did the officer say? Why are they moving people? Why are people being moved, officer? Why are people being moved, officer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that?
LEMON: Why are people being asked to move?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traffic concerns. We're trying to get everything straight over to that parking lot over there so they can protest. OK? We don't want any cars, anybody getting hit over here.
That parking lot right there that is empty, that's where we're trying to get everybody to.
LEMON: But you understand everybody has been standing here all day and then all of a sudden...
LEMON: So according to the officer, he says one of the officers here, one of the Missouri state troopers -- I can't find my camera -- I know you guys are -- there it is -- they are saying that they don't want people to get hurt by traffic or hit by a car and this is for safety reasons.
So they are moving people to a parking lot down the street here, an empty parking lot. They are allowing them to walk in the middle of the street to get to that parking lot.
KEILAR: Don, I know there was supposed to be a rally this evening that was canceled. Is this happening impromptu or is this something that's been going on all day where you are? LEMON: This is -- I mean, this many people -- everything has been
impromptu today. But I think it's important to note, Brianna, that there are people out here on bullhorns and they are saying, they're telling people obey the law, don't resist, do what the police officers say, asking them to move down the street.
And here's the interesting thing is that there were no people in the street. Traffic was not being backed up until the officers came here, am I right? Until the officers came here, everybody was standing on the side of the road where we were and the reason they were standing there some of them is because they wanted to voice their concerns. Yes. Thank you. They are asking to us move on the sidewalk.
People were standing on street, and there was no traffic, nothing out of the ordinary for, what is it, 5:25, 5:20 here, rush hour traffic. So I think from my perspective here, the police actually created the traffic situation and the situation that's going on, the chaos here rather than the people who are just standing here, standing next to us as some of your producers there in Washington, Brianna, heard the conversation before you came to me.
People were standing there talking to me and I said we're going to be live on television, make sure you guys don't say any bad words. And they were laughing, said, oh, Don, we got you. I said if the cops come over here and they arrest me, I said, I'm tired and cranky and I said, don't get me in trouble. They may put me in a police van. And they were saying, we will get you out. There's going to be none of that, Don, none of that.
And then just before you guys to us, the officers came around the corner and said move back and basically it was really one officer who was the most aggressive, everyone else was saying move back. The other officer as you saw started pushing us. And so in this particular situation, the officers actually incited the situation and not the protesters and that is the problem here.
KEILAR: So, describe from the very get-go folks were there on the sidewalk, on the sidewalk or on if edge of the road, and they have been there for some time. How long have you been there with people gathered there and then talk about when the police...
LEMON: We can show you. Let me show you.
So I anchored Wolf's show today, the "WOLF" show at 1:00 p.m. Eastern and then I did a live shot for the top of Brooke's show and they said everybody had to leave. All nonessential media had to leave, unless you were in the middle of a live show. We were the only ones in the middle of a live show. We got to stay.
They moved to this particular location.
KEILAR: Who is they, police?
LEMON: That's a line. Police officers, yes, county police said that -- and highway patrol.
So here's where we were standing. They sent us all here. That's the McDonald's where some of the journalists were arrested. You see the side of the road there. And most people had been standing on this side and on this side of the barricade, on the inside. We were standing here which is on the sidewalk which is a public sidewalk and as you can see here to the right that's where Jake just did his interview with Ben Crump right here.
We're all standing here. Ben Crump is here. Jake Tapper is here. Members of other media are here. Standing over here just a little bit earlier, I saw Anderson Cooper walk up. He was doing some interviews out here talking to people. People stopped us and asked us to take pictures.
Very orderly. They are excited to see us and excited to be here. People don't see cameras all the time. And they don't see the people they see on television all the time. They want to walk up to us, touch us, take pictures with us and meet us and know our stories.
And so we learn their stories. That's how we learn about them. We're all standing out here. We're doing what the police officers told us to do as members of the media, stand here and do your interviews, and people are standing around us and then all of a sudden that happens. Perfect example. I'm glad it happened on camera so everybody could see it.
KEILAR: So you are certainly feeling like you were there following the guidelines that they set up for you Don and you were being pushed out of your way, out of the way there?
Yes, Brianna, I had done no more, no less than what -- how many live shots have we done here today? Ten? Every hour, two hours not only for CNN, domestic, for Wolf, for Brooke, for HLN, for CNN International, for some affiliates.
We have been doing live shots all day in this same location and then so there you have it. So we were doing what -- we have been doing this all day, doing nothing out of the ordinary, nothing differently than they told us, they sent us here and now they are trying to strong-arm us out of the way.
KEILAR: Don, we will be coming back to you.
LEMON: Look at the police officers. Hey, before you -- I know you have to get to break, but there are a police officers in the middle of street. They are getting their orders now. They're moving people out. They have actually blocked traffic off on the street. If you look down, this is West Florissant and down the street is Q.T. and the street where Michael Brown died. Completely empty. They have completely dropped this street off. There's no traffic to be blocked because they have all blocked it off.
KEILAR: Don, we're going to be right back with you. Stand by for us.
Still ahead, we have more of this breaking news in Ferguson.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's live coverage from the ground here in Ferguson, Missouri. I'm Jake Tapper.
Just a few minutes ago, just a feet away from where I am was something of a wild fracas, with protesters and police. And in the middle of it all was our own Don Lemon.
Let's go back to Don. He's just a few feet away from me really, but, Don, what happened?
LEMON: What a difference a few feet makes, right?
Well, we were standing here, Jake, as we have been standing here all day, about to go live. You were interviewing Benjamin Crump. And then officers come around the corner, and I'm talking to your producers in my ear, and I say, "We've got some sort of fracas going on here. Maybe you guys should come to us."
And by the time you got to us, the police officers were pushing us out of the way, out of the place that they told us to -- to stand. And so I didn't hold my ground. I just stood there. I mean, I just moved back as the officer, and I questioned him and I asked him, "Why are you moving us? You told to us stay here." And it's all on tape. You can see it.
But I want you to see what's happening here. Look, there's a police officer in the middle of the street and you see that red can there, one on his belt. And there's one in this guy's hand. That's the pepper spray that they have been springing on people.
But the officers came around the -- and this one over here, if you go to the right, this one has zip ties, those restraints, some plastic restraints. They didn't -- they didn't spray us. I should make it clear. Spray the pepper spray now. But those restraints, and they're moving people to a parking lot.
But this is what people have been saying all along and what we have been trying to convey in so many ways, that you know, people are peacefully protesting for a lot of the times. And then the officers actually will come in and create the havoc, because they're moving people back, and people haven't become violent. And they get upset, and they become violent, some of the times, because they feel that they're exercising their right to protest and then they're being pushed back. They're being occupied. They're being disrespected. They're being intimidated.
And so it's really interesting to see it happen. We have watched it happen to other people, but that is the first time that we have been right in the middle of it and live on television. So I'm actually glad it happened, so people can see that at home, so they can see many people are in disbelief about this, about the disconnect between the community, about the tactics, about the -- what some people call over- militarization by the police officers here, by the force here, the excessive force. So I'm glad people got to see it.
Now listen, there are -- we know that these officers have a very tough job. And there are instances where they are provoked, but there are legitimate instances where the people feel that they are provoked, as well, the protesters are provoked; and somehow that sparks the violence.
What they're doing is moving people over here to an empty lot, empty parking lot next to this credit union. And when we questioned them live on television -- I said, "Why are you guys moving us?" -- they said because it's a safety reason; traffic concerns. But just -- Jake, so you can see this entire street here, a mile or two, pretty much empty. They have gotten all the cars off the street, and there you go. And this is -- sundown will happen very soon. We'll be here, and we're going to see what happens. Back to you, Jake.
TAPPER: And of course, as we recall, the National Guard here in the state of Missouri is going to be here on the streets of Ferguson this evening running a command center, and there is no curfew this evening.
We are going to take a very quick break. And when we come back we'll be back live from the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Stay with us.
KEILAR: You are in THE SITUATION ROOM. We are following breaking news coming to us out of Ferguson, Missouri, which is where we find Don Lemon.
Don, some developments just in the last couple minutes. Tell us what you've been watching there on the ground.
LEMON: I'm just getting some information. You said they're starting to ask media...?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're starting to ask some of the media to move to the other side of Ferguson, so to move even further away.
LEMON: So they're starting to move some of the media here. We actually see some of the officers over here checking some of the credentials. We just saw someone who is believed to be from a photo agency get arrested here on the street. He was in the back of a police van that just went down West Forreston (ph) Street. We're trying to run it down and figure out exactly what happened.
Back to you, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Don Lemon there for us in Ferguson.
I want to bring in now Tom Fuentes. He is a CNN law enforcement analyst, joining me now in the studio.
You're watching what's happening. Don has been told he can be someplace to do a live shot. Obviously, there are legitimate concerns that law enforcement have. They don't want people loitering, they said. They want them sort of moving. They can march, but they don't want them standing there.
As you watch this and you watch what's going on, Don witnessing an arrest, what do you think about how law enforcement is handling this and how the people there in the street have been responding?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Brianna, I've been in disbelief now going over a week. I think that I've not seen such a disjointed law enforcement effort ever in a major situation, and this goes back to Ferguson P.D., St. Louis County Police. The state police come in. Now tonight you're going to bring in the National Guard, which is only going to add more confusion and more difficulty in coordinating the law enforcement effort.
From watching what just happened with Don Lemon, I don't know what happened. Why were they doing that? Was that necessary while he's on live television? Was that -- you know, who gave that order? What's the plan? What's going on? None of these things are being explained adequately to the people or to the media or to anybody else. And I just -- I think it's a ball of confusion, and it has been from the beginning; and it's not getting any better, is the key to it.
KEILAR: I want to bring in now CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, joining us.
You're watching this all happen, Jeffrey. And certainly, one of the big questions is what are, I guess -- what are the rights of the people there on the ground? And certainly, we know this isn't a very good, I guess you could say P.R. effort on the part of law enforcement to say the least. But what do you think they are really doing, and what are the legal rights here of folks who are assembling?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the government, the police can always make what are called restrictions on time, place and manner of people exercising their First Amendment rights. You know, you don't have a right with a megaphone at 3 in the morning in a residential neighborhood to exercise your First Amendment rights.
But in the real world, the police understand that journalists have to be able to do their job, and if they're not disrupting, it's much better to let them do that. And, you know, here, of course, where you have this -- you had this terrible example of the two reporters arrested in the McDonald's a couple of days ago, you would think that arresting reporters is probably something that this police department would want to avoid. The key is have clear rules that everybody can abide by, that
everybody understands. Don't shift them around. Don't say, "This side of the street is OK" and then change your mind. What seems to be going on here is you not only have different authorities, but you have different rules about what's OK, and that's just a recipe for more chaos.
KEILAR: Yes. We're seeing that play out right here live on air.
I want to bring in now Cyril Wecht. He's a forensic pathologist and an attorney.
And we're learning, certainly, some important information about this autopsy, Dr. Wecht, that was done at the request of Michael Brown's family. We've learned that he was shot six times and from the front.
We've heard from one of Michael Brown's friends that was there with him that he had been -- that he had been shot in the back. We have heard from a woman who is saying that she basically represents Officer Darren Wilson's point of view that Michael Brown was coming at the officer.
When you were looking at the autopsy results as you see them today, can we learn anything in terms of which story might be corroborated here?
CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST/ATTORNEY: The problem with the four gunshot wounds of the right arm is that an arm can be held in any number and variety of positions. You can just imagine: across your chest, up in the air, straight out, reaching down to touch your toes, reaching behind for your wallet, et cetera. The arm moves greatly. We call supination, which means the palm up, supine. Pronation, the hand down.
When a pathologist looks at the body on the autopsy table he can only determine right to left, vice versa, up down, vice versa, and back forward, vice versa, based upon the anatomic position. Namely, the individual lying there on the table.
When you have a mobile situation, a very dynamic, changing situation: multiple shots, somebody moving -- whether he's coming at the officer, running away from the officer, the officer chasing him or whatever -- then the arm can have been in different positions.
So on -- on ascertaining whether or not the shots were all fired from the front based upon the wounds of the arm, I would be very careful at this time.
With regard to the wounds of the head, one of the wounds was described as being on the top of the head. I know of no further measurements on that or even the trajectory of that.
KEILAR: Or the bullet that went through the eye, through the face, through the jaw and to the collarbone. That seems to indicate he would have been leaning forward when he was shot, no? WECHT: Yes, exactly. The shot that went in around the eye and came
down exited from the mandible, the jaw and into the clavicle, that is perpendicular to the ground. A 6'3" guy, the only way that shot could have been fired if he were standing up is if somebody were high up in a tree or second or third floor of a building. Obviously, that wasn't the case. He, Michael Brown, was falling over.
So when you bend at the waist and you take your top trunk down, make it parallel to the ground, then a wound that moves in that direction becomes parallel to the ground, and when you get back up in a sitting position, it is perpendicular to the ground. That shot was fired when Michael Brown was already falling to the ground. Those two shots to the head and face were the shots that killed him, particularly the one in the brain. The wounds to the arm were survivable, were no big deal.
So there's a lot of explaining to do by this officer. Why did he continue to shoot? What was the threat? As far as I know he, Michael Brown, was -- was holding nothing at all, not even a cell phone or a bottle of soda that somebody thought, gee, maybe that's a gun or a weapon.
KEILAR: And we're waiting...
WECHT: He was in short pants...
KEILAR: And we're waiting, obviously, to hear his story, which we haven't days later.
Now I want to -- sorry to interrupt you there, Cyril. But I do want to get to some video that we have just gotten in, I believe, from Ferguson, Missouri. Do we have this?
This is of, we believe, a photojournalist working for a photo agency. You see him. He has cameras, I think plural. At least one I saw there, slung over his shoulder. And he is being escorted from the scene. We don't know why. We do know that some of the authorities there on the ground in Ferguson, St. Louis County Police. Tom Fuentes kind of come in here and just sort of tell me what you're seeing, because it seems like some of the rules have been changing, even about where journalists can be here.
FUENTES: Yes. They've been changing, but we don't know specifically in this case. I mean, that -- the journalist might have lost his temper.
KEILAR: Yes, we don't know that.
FUENTES: So, that's just -- I don't want to comment on that. We just don't know.
FUENTES: But getting back to the autopsy, there's a couple of critical issues here, and one is this has kind of been a half baked autopsy, because the medical examiner or the two pathologists said they did not have access to the clothing. That's critical. Because if you have a point blank shot into somebody's chest, let's say, or arm or face, the clothing will be scorched. It will have powder burns. It will have muzzle flash burns --
FUENTES: -- on the clothing and it may not be able to tell if you're shooting through clothing --
KEILAR: If your hands are up, your shirt should raise, maybe something like this, right?
FUENTES: It doesn't tell you whether or not the shot was from six inches or 30 feet. So, that's critical of where the first shot goes in. He was wearing a baseball hat. Did the shot go through the hat?
FUENTES: And, secondly, with the arms, this is surrender, this is attack.
KEILAR: And we don't know yet.
FUENTES: That's a big difference with only a slight variation of the arms.
KEILAR: OK, Tom, stand by. Just for a moment.
Just ahead: they have been robbed, ransacked and as well, they have been burned out. We will be talking -- or there are some store owners who are telling us what happens when the protesters leave the streets and the looters move in.
TAPPER: You're looking at live pictures from here in West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson.
We're back here with a SITUATION ROOM special report on the unrest here in Ferguson, Missouri.
As we wait to see if tonight will bring peace, peaceful protests, or something else, violent protests. I did take time earlier today to speak with store owners who feel like they are the ignored victims in all of this, because of the looting.
TAPPER (voice-over): Since Mike Brown was killed nine days ago, there have been far too many scenes like this one. These images were shot last night on surveillance cameras at Mumtaz Lalani's store. Lalani watched the video feed from home as a crowd with no apparent remorse looted his business.
MUMTAZ LALANI, FERGUSON BUSINESS OWNER: When they couldn't break in, they start shooting. TAPPER: Muzzle flashes can be seen as shots are fired into the store
front. Then, looters ransacked the liquor and cigarette cabinets.
Later, two women even attempt to set the business on fire.
LALANI: At 10:00, we close the store. At 10:15, they did this.
TAPPER: Lalani says he cannot recover. He and his 33-year-old son are confused and angry and sad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't make any sense any more. It's not even about that.
LALANI: The thing is, they say they want justice for Mike Brown. I mean, is this justice? I don't understand what justice is this.
TAPPER: For store owners in Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding area, midnight curfews and a strong police presence had done little to protect them. So much of the focus on this story is on what happened to Michael Brown and on the militaristic reaction of police against protesters.
But these store owners, they have stories to tell as well.
(on camera): How much have you lost, tens of thousands?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Way more than that.
TAPPER: Hundreds of thousands?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TAPPER (voice-over): Ibrahim and his family left Kuwait as refugees during the First Gulf War and they've been happy to make Ferguson their home. Ibrahim who asked that we not use his last name knew Mike Brown. He liked Mike Brown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not how you suppose to help the grieving family, you know?
TAPPER: But looters and criminals have hijacked the protests at times and now, the livelihoods of the store owners who provide important services to Ferguson are threatened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want it mix up looters with protesters because all week long, you know, the protesters have been out here peacefully.
TAPPER: Ibrahim warns that the media should not mischaracterize Ferguson either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got people coming out just to buy something, just to help out. You know, I'm so thankful. These are my heroes.
TAPPER (on camera): So many of the stores along the main drag here on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson are now boarded up, like they are waiting for a hurricane or maybe one just passed. Of course, the disaster that took place here isn't natural, it was man-made.
Across the street there, that's Ferguson Market and Liquor. It was looted over the weekend. Coincidentally or not, it's the same place where Mike Brown is said to have stolen some cigars just moments before he was killed.
(voice-over): Despite waves of people rushing stores, carrying boxes of goods to waiting cars, or wig store mannequins left bald by thieves, it's important to note, locals say, that these are the only the actions of a few.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want the attention to go to people outside, sweeping the streets every morning. Neighbors coming out of their homes just to clean up their community. You know, everybody coming from all over Missouri just to help out.
TAPPER: But for now, the threat of violence erupting again, by those few, has left many businesses boarded up and waiting for peace.
TAPPER: And we'll be back. You're looking at live footage from Ferguson, Missouri. Stay with us.
KEILAR: You are watching live pictures from our affiliate -- they're out of Ferguson, Missouri. And we're going now to Jake Tapper, he is on the ground.
And, certainly, Jake, you are there with an eye toward this evening. The real issue is once the sun goes down, what happens in streets Ferguson?
TAPPER: That's right. Well, there are two issues, really. One is, what presence will the looters and rioters have this evening? The cops and others say they are not from Ferguson. They are outsiders coming in and taking advantage of the protest.
The second issue is, what's going to happen between the protesters and the police this evening? A community leader just drove by, a local pastor in a police car, warning the police will give one warning to people tonight. They're allowed to walk in protest. They're not allowed to stand in protest. If they disobey that one warning, they will be arrested.
So, we've already seen a number of arrest already just in the last few hours, standing here of people who are not moving. Whether, it was a photographer or protesters and being arrested, it is already getting very intense, Brianna.
I'll have more coverage on this later this evening on CNN -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Jake. We know that you will be watching there from the ground in Ferguson, Missouri.
I am Brianna Keilar. Thank you so much for watching us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.