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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Fifth Victim Dies in Israel Terror Attack; Buffalo Bracing for Record Snow Fall; Interview with Michael Hayden
Aired November 18, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news. A fifth person dies in a terror attack in Israel, three Americans among the dead, brutally stabbed while praying inside a synagogue. Could the attack spark an all-out war?
Plus more breaking news in Ferguson. CNN has new video tonight that appears to show police officer Darren Wilson in an angry confrontation with a Ferguson resident.
And let it snow. Buffalo, New York, in the middle of a record snowstorm. Could they be under 70 inches by morning? Whoa. Is it Armageddon?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. A fifth person dead in a terror attack in Israel, one of the worst in recent years, raising fears that the violence could lead to all-out war.
Three Americans murdered in the attack today. The three men were rabbis with dual citizenship. A fourth, a British Israeli man, also murdered along with a policeman who was responding to the attack.
We want to warn our viewers that the video you're about to see, which is the scene inside the synagogue, is very graphic.
Two Palestinian men wielding butcher knives and a gun attacked and killed the men as they prayed at morning services in east synagogue.
These pictures are horrible to show. We want people to understand what happened. These lives in prayer, disrupted in a gruesome and brutal and horrific way as they died. Police did kill the attackers.
President Obama led the international outrage over this attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We condemn in the strongest terms these attacks. A number of people were wounded and four people were killed, including three American citizens. So this is a tragedy for both nations, Israel as well as the United States, and our hearts go out to the families. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Ben Wedeman begins our coverage tonight in Jerusalem.
And, Ben, those images are impossible to truly comprehend. Those are -- those are environment that looks like the back of a church or a synagogue or a place so many people go, covered in blood from a knife attack. It is far from calm where you are tonight.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, indeed, Erin. It is very, very tense. In fact, just a little while ago we watched as many as 200 young Israelis in the street just below our bureau were chanting "Death to the Arabs" as this city boils over like we haven't seen since the last major attack, which was six years ago.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemning the deadly terror attack inside a Jerusalem synagogue.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (Through Translator): Today, in the middle of their morning prayers, while covered in prayer shawls, four rabbis were massacred, four Jews, innocent Jews.
WEDEMAN: Police say two Palestinian men armed with butcher knives and a pistol entered the building in an orthodox neighborhood in west Jerusalem. The assailants traveling from east Jerusalem, killing five men.
Three Americans with dual citizenship, Aryeh Kupinsky, Kalman Levine, and Moshe Twersky, the son and grandson of renowned Boston rabbis. Also killed Abraham Goldberg, a British man with Israeli citizenship. And the police officer who was critically wounded at the scene and died later in hospital. Seven others were injured.
This video shows Israeli soldiers trying to enter the synagogue to stop the attackers, who were then shot and killed by police. Israeli authorities calling this one of the deadliest terror attacks in the city in years.
NIR BARKAT, JERUSALEM MAYOR: What you saw today is slaughter of innocent people while they are praying in a synagogue. If the world doesn't unite against terrorism and give zero excuses for terrorism, this will haunt the world.
WEDEMAN: A spokesperson for Hamas quickly praising what happened as justifiable revenge for the death of a Palestinian bus driver found hanged in his bus Sunday. But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. Netanyahu promised to respond with a heavy hand.
NETANYAHU (Through Translator): I decided this evening to demolish the homes of the terrorists who committed this massacre and to accelerate the demolishment of the homes of the previous terrorists.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WEDEMAN: And of course the problem for Israeli authorities is that unlike in the past, these attackers don't seem to have any affiliation with any militant groups. The Israelis say they're going to destroy their homes. But beyond that, they're dealing with people who live within areas controlled by Israel -- Erin.
BURNETT: Ben Wedeman, thank you so much, live from Jerusalem tonight.
Dore Gold is a senior policy advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he is also a former Israeli ambassador to the U.N.
Ambassador Gold, this was an attack at a synagogue, a place of worship, different than recent attacks in Israel, which were not in religious locations. Does this shock you?
DORE GOLD, SENIOR FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER TO ISRAELI'S PRIME MINISTER: Well, to a large extent, what happened today in Jerusalem with the attack on the synagogue, with the murder of four rabbis, is somewhat reminiscent of events in the general region that we are living in, in the Middle East. You are seeing churches attacked and burned, you're seeing Shiite mosques also assaulted.
And you're seeing clergy attacked elsewhere in the region. So it seems like the -- a pattern of thinking, the inspiration that exists among ISIS, Nusra Front and other groups nearby has -- began to penetrate part of the Palestinian society. We know, for example, that young people go to the Web site to look at YouTubes of what ISIS is doing, the mass murders they commit.
I mean, look at this attack. Not only was it at a religious site. But the terrorists show up with an ax and with a butcher knife, and they use it as a weapon. Now what did that remind you of? It reminds you of Brits and Americans who've been beheaded in the Syrian desert.
BURNETT: When you look at the attack scene, and I want to warn viewers, this is a very graphic scene, a horrific thing to look at, I want to show it so people understand what happened. That is a butcher knife. It has blood on it. That is after this horrific attack today.
This story was not a sudden suicide bombing. How do you fight against this new kind of terror? You can't just put a metal detector in the front of a synagogue and stop this sort of thing.
GOLD: When Mahmoud Abbas talks to the Palestinian people and says, he wants to avoid a situation where there is Jewish contamination of the Temple Mount, how can you even talk that way? How can you be a person who's addressed by Secretary Kerry as a man of peace and talk about Jews contaminating the Temple Mount?
So first and foremost, the Palestinian leadership has to move back from this kind of language and it's being systematically used and it's affecting the minds of young people.
BURNETT: The language -- that language is horrible. But the Prime Minister Netanyahu today also said something that has upset some. He said look, he's going to destroy the homes of the people who are responsible for this horrific terror attack. That, of course, will hurt others who are innocent who may live in those homes. It is standard operating procedure for the Israeli government, I understand. But these attacks have been escalating.
So what do you gain from destroying their homes?
GOLD: Well, you have to also understand the context from which all this is occurring. First of all, Israel is a country of law and everything that goes on in terms of our military operations is under the oversight of the Israeli Supreme Court but more importantly and perhaps specifically to your question, we have a problem where the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, frankly with the backing of Qatar and Iran, are incentivizing terrorism.
If you want to get a -- let's say a salary for life, or for many years, if you engage in terrorism against Israelis, you'll be given that salary. You can sit in an Israeli prison, you'll get that money. And that money is coming from -- through the Palestinian Authority. So if you are incentivizing, we have to create a disincentive and that's exactly what this type of punishment tries to do. It's difficult, it's hard to hear about, but it's absolutely necessary, it's an emergency condition, and it works.
BURNETT: There were major celebrations in Gaza today following the attacks. Some Palestinians believe that the killings were justified and they believe that because they say that the killing of the rabbis was in response to a Palestinian bus driver that they say was lynched by Israeli Jews. Israel Police -- Israeli Police say that that man hung himself and it was suicide.
Do you know that for sure?
GOLD: One hundred percent it was suicide. And you know something, the family was allowed to pick a pathologist who could look at the body and make his own determination. So there was Israeli pathologists who looked at that Palestinian body and there was a Palestinian pathologist, and everyone was in agreement that this was a suicide.
This was not something caused by somebody shooting him, somebody dragging him out and choking him. This came about because of a suicide and there is just absolutely no question about it. But part -- what is part of this whole process of incitement, it's taking false rumors, spreading them, that have no basis. It's like saying Israel wants to undermine the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Come on. This has been an old myth thrown around since the times of the Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1920s.
BURNETT: All right. Dore Gold, thank you very much, Ambassador.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, breaking news, all 50 states reported freezing temperatures today. None, though, are having a situation like Buffalo. Emergencies there across New York. How much snow could they have by morning? These numbers are stunning.
And my next guess as Congress is about to vote on a bill that ISIS would love, that would empower them to terror attacks in America. The former CIA director Michael Hayden is OUTFRONT.
And more breaking news, new video purportedly showing the officer who shot Michael Brown in a confrontation with a Ferguson resident -- another one.
BURNETT: Breaking news, up to 90 inches of snow expected to fall near Buffalo, New York, over the next few days.
That would beat an all-time record. Let me just say that again. Ninety inches of snow. I want to show you a time lapse video of what they're calling a lake-effect snow, because of course it's up there on the Great Lakes. Snow machine in full force. The aftermath is what we can show you a bit of. Incredible images of snow piling up across the city in an incredible pace as you can see there on the lower left.
The snow is falling so fast the National Guard has been deployed. The state's governor Andrew Cuomo showing an image on Twitter of a highway under what appears to be feet of snow.
Martin Savidge is there OUTFRONT in Buffalo, New York.
Martin, this is a stunning number. Ninety inches. What is it like there?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know the word I think I'm looking for is wicked. Absolutely wicked. Standing outside in southern Buffalo which is where we are right now.
This weather system, it's really not so much a storm, but a weather system is dividing this city in half. The northern part of Buffalo, believe or not, they only got a dusting of snow. But drive about three miles to the south and you run into scenes like this.
And Erin, I got to tell you, this actually is not the worst of it here. You cannot even get to the worst areas because the roads have been declared impassable in part because the snow began falling so rapidly last night, vehicles got trapped and people abandoned the cars, the plows couldn't move, because the cars were in the way, emergency responders tried to respond and they got stuck and you can just see it all cascaded from there.
It is snowing at a rate of about 4 to 5 inches an hour and it's been doing that for over 12 hours. That's why you're getting these incredible snow amounts. But now you add the wind, about 30-mile-an- hour gusts, that is just blowing it all horizontally, the plows can't keep up. They are using front-end loaders and putting it on dump trucks and hauling it out of town and of course they can't keep up.
The roads are banned to traffic except for those who need essentially to travel there. And it's just -- it is phenomenal. I've seen a lot of snow. But none like this. And the truth is, in Buffalo, folks are saying the same thing. It's November, by the way, too.
BURNETT: I mean, it's just stunning. And Marty, 90 inches. I mean, how many inches are where you are right now just to give people perspective of how much more could be coming?
SAVIDGE: You know, it's tough to say because it's blowing so hard. I would imagine that we probably, in this particular area, two to three feet. Now we were in another area, it's easily three to four, some areas have already five.
It's really difficult to say how much snow is going to pile up because another system is waiting after this one. It's a very narrow line. It's only about 10 to 25 miles wide but if you are in it, it is incredible.
BURNETT: It is incredible to see. Those numbers are impossible to sort of comprehend and amazing that you're there. Within three miles, a dusting to something that could end up being 90 inches.
Well, as we're watching that, President Obama is ordering a review of U.S. handling of terror related hostages. The big development comes as ISIS releases video of its murder of American aid worker Peter Kassig, the fifth Western hostage killed by ISIS since August. The White House today, just to point out, that paying ransoms, though, it's categorically not on the table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The one thing I want to make clear, though, this review does not include a reconsideration of a long-standing policy of the United States government that ransoms should not be paid to terrorist organizations that are holding hostages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Joining me OUTFRONT, retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, who served as both director of the CIA and the National Security Agency.
General, good to have you with us tonight.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): Good evening.
BURNETT: The White House says no ransom but categorical about that. Recently, though, the United States swapped five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Taliban leaders who the administration says, they wouldn't be surprised at all if they go back to fighting against America.
If you're going to release Taliban leaders from Guantanamo, what is the difference between that and paying ransom?
HAYDEN: Frankly, Erin, I'm not here to justify that move. At the time it was disturbing. Look, I understand the humanitarian urge to get our PFC, our Sgt. Bergdahl back, but that does break the pressure we've had, and although we did a slight of hand, we didn't do it, we worked through a third party, I mean, at the end of the deal we were giving up something in order to get an American returned. That was very discomforting.
BURNETT: And discomforting, because, I mean, it does seem hard to understand one and not the other. If you're willing to do one -- it appears inconsistent to some.
HAYDEN: It is.
BURNETT: But on the ransom issue, other countries pay it. In fact Europeans held hostage by the same ISIS killers who beheaded three Americans say they were released for money. They've talked about that. And Diane Foley whose son James was beheaded by ISIS in August spoke to CNN about this. Just want to play her takeaway from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE FOLEY, MOTHER OF JAMES FOLEY: Jim believed until the end that his country would come to their aid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Other countries will pay ransom. Other people will pay ransom. So what does the U.S. accomplish by being the only ones who don't?
HAYDEN: Two dynamics at work here, Erin. The first is this. Americans are different in terms of targeting by terrorist groups overseas. All Westerners are vulnerable, but Americans are especially vulnerable. That's one reality.
The second reality is simply this. When a president or other policymaker has to make this decision and it's really difficult, Erin. It's not just about the individual who is a hostage now. The overall driving impulse for policy is, how do I reduce the number of American hostages over all? And frankly, paying ransom at the end makes it more likely that more Americans will be held by terrorists.
BURNETT: And is it the government's responsibility at all, though, to try to free Americans who have chosen to be there on their own? Obviously Bowe Bergdahl -- it's a complicated situation. OK. Let's give that. But he was a member of the United States military. These other individuals were there by their own choice, whether journalists or aid workers. Does the government bear any responsibility for them?
HAYDEN: It does. And, Erin, I've been in the room and I've been there trying to participate in operations to go out to rescue Americans who have been incredibly short sighted, let me be kind.
HAYDEN: Or have made their own choices. Remember the hikers who decided to hike in Iranian Kurdistan?
BURNETT: Yes. HAYDEN: I mean, come on. That said, bad judgment doesn't erase your
American citizenship, and we do have a continued responsibility to do everything we can, within reason, not putting Americans at undue risk, to get those people back.
BURNETT: All right. In August you said it's only a matter of time before ISIS strikes the American homeland. Since then ISIS has taken more territory. They have released brutal video of these executions that we have all unfortunately been subjected to. An ISIS attack on the United States, is that something you truly believe is possible? Is -- imminent may be the wrong word but let me just use it to get your reaction.
HAYDEN: Yes. Imminent, probably not. This is a group that's got global ambitions but right now regional capabilities.
And now, Erin, we are talking about the ISIS-inspired also.
HAYDEN: So we could see that kind of tack in the homeland at any time. And frankly, when we get down to ISIS having global reach, we are almost certainly not talking about the kind of attack we saw in 9/11, complex, well-organized, slow-moving, multiple-actor attack. We probably won't see that.
But we could see the one-off terrorists, the small group of terrorists launched into the United States, perhaps the way we saw on Christmas Day 2009, in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
HAYDEN: One individual sent by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
BURNETT: And I remember going to Abuja to cover that after that happened on Christmas Day.
The Senate is set to vote on a bill, as you know, that's going to crack down on domestic surveillance, ending basically the NSA's ability to collect information about American's phone calls. In the "Wall Street Journal" today you wrote about this. You described it as NSA reform only ISIS could love.
Why should only the NSA be able to collect this information?
HAYDEN: Yes. Actually, Judge Mukasey and I didn't write the headline. That is the "Wall Street Journal's" work but frankly we both kind of liked it. It certainly drove home the point we were -- we were trying to make.
Look, Erin, we just talked about the self-radicalized and the inspired by ISIS, we talked about the lone wolf actor, the small group coming into the United States. This program, the one we're talking about, the metadata program of American telephone records, that program is specifically designed to deal with that kind of threat. I think we need to have a mature debate about this. This isn't lame-
duck session of Congress business. This has to be handled in due course and in regular order. And if we decide not to do the NSA program, Erin, I understand that. But we all have to embrace the increased risk that we are accepting if we decide to reject this tool.
BURNETT: Pretty powerful words for those who sponsor it. I know including some senators on the Republican Party. Very prominent ones.
Thanks so much, General Hayden.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: Next breaking news. With Ferguson on edge, new video tonight appears to be Officer Darren Wilson in an angry confrontation with a local resident in Ferguson. This is new video, we'll show it to you.
Plus as he faces renewed allegations of rape, Bill Cosby has two major entertainment deals. And whatever happens, he's going to make a ton of money from it. That's ahead.
BURNETT: Breaking news, new video, appears to be Darren Wilson, the white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, who shot and killed Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager. Now the new video is raising questions about Darren Wilson.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT in Ferguson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name, sir?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is video posted by a Ferguson resident who says that is Officer Darren Wilson. CNN obtained a police incident report from October 28th, 2013, that shows Wilson is the officer who responded to the home of Michael Armond for a follow-up investigation on derelict vehicles. Wilson wrote in the report that resident Armond removed his cell phone and began recording.
This is what the resident posted on YouTube, a brief but confrontational interaction with the officer.
OFFICER WILSON: If you want to take a picture of me one more time, I'm going to lock your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.
FERGUSON RESIDENT: Sir, I'm not going to take a picture. I'm recording this incident, sir. Do I not have the right to --
OFFICER WILSON: No, you don't.
FERGUSON RESIDENT: -- to record?
SIDNER: The police report shows Michael Arman was eventually arrested on other charges.
The city of Ferguson would not confirm that it is Officer Darren Wilson, citing the poor quality of the video.
The ACLU said no matter what officer that is, what he was improper.
JEFFREY MITTMAN, ACLU OF MISSOURI: You can't physically interfere with an officer's actions but absent that, you have an absolutely right to make a document, a recording of interactions with a government official.
SIDNER: Now, we spoke to the mayor of Ferguson about that incident and while he would not confirm to us whether or not that was indeed Officer Darren Wilson who, as you know, Erin, is the officer who is right now a grand jury looking into whether or not he will be indicted for the killing of Michael Brown, of course, another case that happened a year later, but the mayor did say that the officer should not be speaking to citizens that way and that he has alerted the chief and some other folks in the department, as well as the city manager, sent them the video that we shared with him and they are looking into it, but again making very clear that officers should not be speaking to citizens that way -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Even if incited to do it, obviously. Thank you so much, Sarah.
And OUTFRONT now, our legal analyst Paul Callan.
All right, Paul. I'm going to lock your a-s-s up. OK, is this something that is perhaps revealing of his character, something that the grand jury should see?
CALLAN: I thought you were saying that to me for a minute there.
CALLAN: No, he shouldn't be saying that. And he's got an attitude problem and it is wrong, but this stuff about video taping cops is new. And the cops don't like it, and they have an attitude about it. So it doesn't surprise me.
You walk out of this building in New York City, and walk up to a couple of cops an turn on your camera and start recording and see what kind of reaction you get. They are not supposed to react but they do. They are human.
BURNETT: We do not know for sure the race of the person who is doing the filming, the race of the person that he said, that he made this threat to, which is obviously could be important. But should the jury have seen this? Obviously, the jury is not sequestered. They could be seeing it now on CNN, they can see it online. You can't stop them from seeing it. But should have been shown to them?
CALLAN: No, they are instructed not to watch this by the judge and not watch anything related to the case. However, yes, they could watch it. But no, it shouldn't be introduced into evidence, because whether a cop on an individual encounter with an individual has a good attitude or a bad attitude has nothing to do with whether deadly force was justified or was not justified in the Michael Brown case.
I mean, otherwise you'd be deciding cases not based on the facts, but based on, you know, unrelated incidents.
BURNETT: All right. Paul Callan, thank you very much.
And today, the Missouri governor insisting the state is not preparing for all-out war in Ferguson and to help the community after the grand jury decision, the governor today announced the creation of a, quote- unquote, "Ferguson Commission."
OUTFRONT now are the co-chairs of the commission, Reverend Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure.
And I appreciate having both of you on.
Reverend Wilson, you have been on the street with demonstrators since day one. I know this -- you are probably glad this happened, but this is -- this is late for this to finally come together, the commission?
REV. STARSKY WILSON, FERGUSON COMMISSION CO-CHAIR: Well, thank you very much for having us on today, Erin. I appreciate the question. I think it is an opportune time. The reality is at any city, in any community across our nation. We could have convened this commission to talk about the challenges we have in relationship of our race, around ethnic disparities, to have this conversation about community policing in almost any community throughout our nation.
So, I don't know that we can say that it's late. I will say that it is about time and I'm glad to be in the conversation at this point.
BURNETT: And, Rich, what do you do about the reality in Ferguson, which is you have a majority white police force, and a majority black community, that you have a black community where voter turnout is unbelievably low and you end up with white people representing them, which maybe they would vote for as well. But the point is they're not even voting. What do you do about that?
RICH MCCLURE, FERGUSON COMMISSION CO-CHAIR: Well, I think the tragic circumstances in Ferguson vividly point out the need for significant community engagement, from all sectors of the community. The commission is a diverse, independent group of citizens and we'll be looking at not only policy measures, but ways to engage the community and positive action and that can be voting, that can be community engagement, that can be just respectful conversations between folks from different backgrounds, so learn from each other. Because we have to learn that you don't have to see eye to eye to be able to walk arm in arm. And that's what we need to be able to focus on with our efforts.
BURNETT: Reverend Wilson, the governor, of course, has issued a state of emergency. He's activated the National Guard. This is before an indictment. Is that -- was that the smart thing to do?
WILSON: Quite frankly, that's not a decision that I have to make, and the immediate term decisions are not really what we're going to be focused on, because the reality is no matter what happens over the course of the next two weeks, or the next three weeks, we're still going to have the challenges that we had on August 9th, 2014, if we don't do the significant work in this commission and in our community to talk about community policing, to talk about the municipal government and talk about racial and ethnic disparities and come up with policy solutions related to them, we'll have the same challenges on August 9th, 2015.
So quite frankly, the deliberation about whether that was the right decision over the course of the last 48 hours are not the greatest of my concern, what I'm considering is what's going to build a better future for our region for the next 48 years.
BURNETT: Right, and, of course, what will prevent this reaction from happening again as inevitably the situation will happen again somewhere in this country.
Thanks to both of you.
And next, more on Darren Wilson, now, of course, the central figure of the worst civil unrest in America in a long time. So, who is the man behind the badge? We have a special report.
Plus, Bill Cosby facing renewed charges of rape. But even if the accusations are true, he may still make a lot of money from his latest TV deals. We'll show you exactly how.
BURNETT: Breaking news: the Justice Department is reviewing the police response to protests in Ferguson following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Police in riot gear fired teargas at demonstrators after the unarmed black teen was shot and killed by the white police officer Darren Wilson. And this comes as we have new video showing Officer Wilson in an angry confrontation with another Ferguson resident.
OFFICER WILSON: If you want to take a picture of me one more time, I'm going to lock your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.
FERGUSON RESIDENT: Sir, I'm not going to take a picture. I'm recording this incident, sir. Do I not have the right to --
OFFICER WILSON: No, you don't.
FERGUSON RESIDENT: -- to record?
OFFICER WILSON: No, come on
FERGUSON: Sir, you disallowed me, you just --
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: The new video raising questions about Wilson.
Ted Rowlands is OUTFRONT, though, with what we know about who he is.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-eight-year-old Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson has remained in hiding for more than three months and his supporters of which there are many, have been relatively silent since showing initially vocal support for Officer Wilson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We once again declare that we steadfastly believe that Officer Darren Wilson's actions on August 9th were warranted and justified.
ROWLANDS: Barney's Irish sports pub in St. Louis was the site of two rallies for Wilson, financial contributions for his legal fees have totaled more than $400,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, wrong or indifferent, he has to be afforded the due process and we can't just throw him to the wolves.
ROWLANDS: Darren Wilson served with the Ferguson Police Department for four years. He started his career in the city of Jennings, another St. Louis suburb that in 2011 disbanded its entire police force in part because of racial tensions between white officers and black residents.
Wilson was born in Texas, but spent most of his life near St. Louis and, by all accounts, his childhood was difficult. His mother was divorced twice. She was charged with forgery in the year 2000 and pled guilty of stealing thousands of dollars. His mom died two years later of natural causes when Darren was just 16 years old.
Jake Shepard is a friend of Darren Wilson's.
JAKE SHEPARD, FRIEND OF OFFICER DARREN WILSON: It makes me sad. I'm obviously sad for the family of Michael Brown, but I'm sad for Darren and his family, too. Every law enforcement officer dreads the time when they are forced to make that split-second decision, whether or not they have to take someone's life.
ROWLANDS: In February of this year, Wilson was commended for his work during a traffic stop where he managed to arrest a man allegedly in the midst of a drug deal. Now, as he faces the possibility of criminal charges for killing Michael Brown, supporters inside Barney's say they are worried that Darren Wilson may not get a fair shake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's done as far as his career is concerned, and everybody is wondering why we are raising for him, because he has to live and he has to survive.
ROWLANDS: Wilson reportedly testified for four hours in front of the grand jury to tell his side of what happened in August when he shot and killed Michael Brown. While many people around the country are hoping that Wilson will face charges for killing Brown, there is a group of supporters that hope that Officer Wilson will remain a free man.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Ferguson.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Anthony Gray, an attorney for the Michael Brown family.
And, Anthony, look, you just heard Ted's report about people who know and support Darren Wilson.
What's your response to the people you hear, who say, look, they're worried Wilson isn't getting a fair shake?
ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: I don't know what their worry is based on. What witnesses have they heard from, what evidence have they seen to come up with the feeling that he's not getting a fair shake. I would be very interested to hear what that is predicated on.
It just seems to be based on some factors that have driven this whole community into two different pieces, in my mind. And I just don't want to get off into all of that. But the fact of the matter is, I don't see any evidence that someone can then say, I need to support this officer in this situation.
BURNETT: As you just heard Wilson began his career in another St. Louis suburb, a police force that was disbanded due to racial tensions, between white officers and black residents. It is hard to say anything specifically about anyone involved in this. Are you willing to go so far as to say you think this does say something about Darren Wilson personally and specifically?
GRAY: Erin, let me be careful by what I say. I don't want to demonize the person, I'll demonize the behavior. And I'm here to go after the conduct and not the individual. And don't want to take unnecessary pot shots at this person. I just want to focus on his behavior on August 9th, 2014.
So, it does say something about the environment and the culture that he came from, being a member of the Jennings Police Department. I have a long-standing history with that department. I grew up just blocks away, whereas a young child I couldn't go in that city without having some type of problem.
So, I'm very familiar with the culture there and this historical activities, but I don't want to transfer that to him as a person as a whole. But I would say it may have led to some of his conduct.
BURNETT: Anthony, before we go, I know you and I have spoken before about "The Washington Post" reporting that there were eight or nine witnesses who supported Darren Wilson's view of what happened that day when he shot Michael brown. Do you know how many witnesses have supported Michael Brown's side? GRAY: Well, we know for a fact, and when we say Michael Brown's side,
keep in mind, Erin, we've only focused on the kill shots to Michael Brown's heads, the final bullets pumped into his body. We have six to seven witnesses who spontaneously reacted and stated that Mike Brown, Jr., had his hands up moments before that. That is the critical moment and that is the only eyewitness testimony that is even relevant.
I don't know what parts of these other witnesses that support Darren's version of events. Is it at the car? Maybe so. Is it because he was (INAUDIBLE) Canfield. Maybe.
But all of those points are not relevant. There is no one who has stated so far that Mike Brown, Jr., posed a threat to Darren Wilson. He was unarmed for Pete's sake. He was already bleeding. He had been shot already.
So, I don't know anyone that is saying that he posed a threat that caused his life to be taken in broad daylight, in the manner that it was taken.
BURNETT: Anthony Gray, thank you.
GRAY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And tonight on CNN, the thin blue line between police of fighting crime and going too far. Soledad O'Brien reports in "Black & Blue". That is tonight at 9:00 Eastern.
And OUTFRONT next, breaking news, we'll get an update on the record snow storm in Buffalo.
Plus, college tuition is going through the roof and a lot of the money is going to the turning school and resort like destinations. Spa anyone? We have a full report.
BURNETT: Breaking news, back to our top stories tonight. Officials in Buffalo, New York, holding a press conference just moments ago, warning residents to stay off of the roads, if they can even get there. They are bracing for an all-time record snowfall tonight, 90 inches of snow expected the next few days. Incredible images of snow piling up across Buffalo, already visible tonight. The snow is falling so fast, the National Guard has already been deployed to help.
I want to go back to Martin Savidge in Buffalo, New York.
And, Martin, what else are officials saying tonight? You look at a play like Buffalo, they're used to snow. This is epic, this is record setting. This is something even Buffalo hasn't seen before.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Correct, right. This is coming down at such a rate that people are just stunned. Then on top of that, now you've got this tremendous blowing, which makes any kind of plowing just pointless. What they're saying is that even people who are trapped in their cars,
and they know there are people trapped in their cars, even if they run out of gas, do not get out of the vehicle because they say it's just too dangerous.
You could wander off five feet and get lost. The cold is severe, the snow is just continuing, and now the roadways are impassable for snow plows. They're using front end loaders. There's even been reports of snowmobiles getting stuck and when the snow is reaching five feet as it is in some areas, walking is impossible as well.
Only four-wheel drive vehicles are being told to get out on the road and even then, you better have a darn good reason why you're out here because the police do not want to see you driving just for the heck of it. It is serious, I have to tell you, Erin.
BURNETT: And, Marty, how many people are you seeing there? I see cars behind you.
SAVIDGE: There are some. I tell you, this area is not the worst by any means. We're actually on the fringe of the worst. The worst you can't even get into, the roadways are impassable, clogged with vehicles -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. People who will be spending a long and cold night, can see how dangerous this can be.
Marty, thank you.
And OUTFRONT next, college tuition, guess what? It's up 1,200 percent since 1978. Yes, well, people's incomes aren't. Schools are spending your money on fancier and fancier buildings, and facilities and things like spas. It's an arms race of sorts. It's frankly rather sick.
A special report is next.
BURNETT: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg said an apprentice plumber can make $60,000 a year, about the same as a year in Harvard. Colleges are expensive because colleges are offering lifestyle, in some cases spans and salons. But one college is doing it differently.
Here's Christine Romans.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some colleges are starting to look like resorts, with pricey amenities like spas, rock walls and swimming pools, and they're passing along the bills to students. Tuition expenses have risen more than 1,200 percent since 1978.
But Blackburn College in Illinois is keeping tuition low thanks to a little thrift. (on camera): Blackburn College is expanding. It's a $2.5 million
renovation project, but a novel way to pay for it -- student work crews.
You can see where students for years have been literally laying the bricks.
HEATHER BIGARD, BLACKBURN COLLEGE: We do maintain a pretty lean organizational staffing structure, and that is done with the expectation that we do use students to supplement those labor needs.
ROMANS (voice-over): And it's not just construction jobs, 90 percent of the student body works ten hours per week on campus, in everything from gardening to security, to administrative positions. In exchange, they get tuition credit.
(on camera): What do you say to parent that I don't want my kids to go to school to work, I don't want them to be distracted, I want them to go and spend four years to learn?
BIGARD: We do have that. We do have parents that question that piece of it. What we explain to them that this is an enhancement. This is an enhancement to their overall portfolio that will make them more marketable after graduation.
ROMANS (voice-over): Sophomore John Esparaza manages Blackburn's motor vehicle fleet.
(on camera): They call your generation "generation debt". Does that worry you at all?
JOHN ESPARAZA, SOPHOMORE, BLACKBURN COLLEGE: By the decision that I have made with school, not really, because going to Blackburn, I know I'm saving a lot of money. I came for the work program because I felt that with baseball and school and a job, I wouldn't have time to get distracted by video games or going out to parties.
I actually went to Michigan State University. They had big pools, nice buildings, newer dorms, but it was kind of a distraction. I'm here for an education.
ROMANS (voice-over): Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Is college worth it? The CNN film "Ivory Tower" is Thursday night at 9:00.
"AC360" starts now.