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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Grand Jury Decides Not to Indict Officer Wilson; Fires and Looting in Ferguson
Aired November 24, 2014 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Just want to explain some of what you're seeing. We are seeing a number of locations in and around Ferguson. Most notably by the Ferguson police headquarters which has been the site of protests now for several months, since the shooting of Mike Brown, since the killing of Mike Brown.
But tonight we have seen a very quick escalation after that announcement was made, more people coming to outside that police station and after some agitators in the crowd starting to throw objects at the police, we've seen vehicles lit on fire. We've now seen looting at several locations.
Not too far from the police station is the area where Stephanie Elam has been and is currently and just heard shots being fired several minutes ago, and you heard some of those live on television as well. Unclear who was firing those shots and what direction or what sort of weapon was being fired or multiple weapons were being fired.
But Stephanie Elam is in a location where some protesters and police are squaring off as well. That very close to the area where Mike Brown was himself shot and killed.
Also, we've seen a number of protester and police lining up on I-44, blocking the highway, one of the main highways to St. Louis. So, those are really the three kind of main areas where we have seen, and there you see some of the I-44 demonstrators, really three main areas.
Just to give you context, I don't want to give you the sense that the entire city of Ferguson, that there is chaos. I was driving around an hour or so ago, even at the height of some of the violence. Lots of areas are calm. People are inside. People watching all of this unfold on television.
We're talking about in clumps of, at times, several hundred demonstrators moving around, and that is what we have been witnessing.
Stephanie Elam, let's go to her.
Stephanie, what are you seeing?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we are trying to walk back, because that beauty shop, they left -- the fire department left. They pulled out because of the gunfire. I believe that's why. And now, it's on fire and stuff inside of it is exploding, and you can hear it, popping off of the building. But that's why we're coughing. It's not tear gas or anything like that. It's just from that building.
But as you can see, the law enforcement is pulling out as well from this area. There's still two other buildings that are still on fire down Florissant. And you might be able to see them in the background. But security's still pulling me out of here, but they don't like the fact that the law enforcement is leaving here as well.
So, we're walking back this way, but lots of gunfire. And it's sometimes hard to discern whether or not it's hair spray canisters popping inside that beauty supply shop or gunfire. We were listening to both sides. I think we're OK here. I think we can stop here, guys.
But we were listening to it go off. But we also saw very quickly that the police started moving out, so we started moving out. That's generally a good barometer when they're pulling really fast.
COOPER: Stephanie, what's your location right now?
ELAM: So we're back up at the top of West Florissant. We're at the top of West Florissant, right at Ferguson Avenue. So this is by the McDonald's. And that means if you look down this way, you can't see it because of the smoke from the beauty supply shop, Canfield is down that way, down the other way here from where Mike Brown died.
So, but this beauty supply shop, the fire department was here. They were in here, trying to break in. All of a sudden, we heard them yell, "Get out of here." The fire trucks left.
But there are two other buildings burning pretty badly right now here on the street. It's otherwise, it's quiet. On this side of it, it looks like media and law enforcement, where I'm standing right now, Anderson.
COOPER: OK. All right, Stephanie, let me go from that side to the other side of that where Jason Carroll is standing by.
Jason, what's the scene there?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just want to set the scene for what's happening right now.
You can see some of the law enforcement backing off from where another fire has been set. Not far from where my colleague Stephanie Elam is. Also, over here, what we're seeing a number of SWAT team and armored vehicles starting to move into the area, because we've been hearing gunfire in on this section of West Florissant.
Now, you heard Stephanie talk about the building just down the street still on fire, still burning. So sad, because earlier this afternoon, we were inside that building, talking to some of the owners there, talking to them about trying to reach out to those in the community -- and to see it burning now like this, it's got to be heart-wrenching for those who own that business, Anderson, on West Florissant.
We continue to hear some gunfire here in the area. We've got armored vehicles now moving in. Again, close to where my colleague, Stephanie Elam, was just a few minutes ago. They are now moving into the area.
But at this point, you can see armored vehicles moving in. But the buildings, this one here, another one down the street, they're just being left to burn -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jason, as you point out, these are local businesses, these are folks who have for months been struggling to keep their business going, and now, to see it up in flames is just -- is a sickening sight.
CARROLL: Yes, especially when you consider these are the guys down here, you know, they were holding on, Anderson. They were looted the first time back in August, I was in earlier today, you know, I heard one of the owners talking to another guy who came in from the community, he was trying to reach out, they were trying to have a conversation in anticipation of the grand jury decision, and now to see what's happened. Obviously, they've had to abandon and move out. It's another building on fire.
Sorry, being overcome by a little bit of smoke here, not by tear gas this time, just smoke. But to see another building here, now on fire, to look over to my left, to see some others that have been looted, it's just so heart wrenching for these businesses along here, Anderson.
You know, they've been boarded up, actually, for months, still open for business, but still boarded up. Some of them just barely holding on, to have this happen to them now is just, again, there's no other way to describe it, just heart-wrenching for those who are trying to hold on in this community, just trying to make a living.
COOPER: Yes. Be careful, Jason. I want to go back to Don Lemon and our Chris Cuomo.
You know, Chris and Don, all along you guys have been talking about tear gas. We kept hearing from the police -- no, no, it's not tear gas. It's smoke. I now understand the police have come forward and said, actually, you know what, there was tear gas. So, you guys have been right all along.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we kind of knew it since we were overcome by it.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: See the guy with the mask on?
LEMON: Yes, yes.
CUOMO: Look, I mean, they were doing different things and different situations. They're using different combinations of different tactical equipment.
I don't think it's something an intentional deception, but certainly, they've been using tear gas. That's the bottom line on that.
What we're seeing here now is -- here's the good news. Traffic has been opened on the street behind us. We've seen cars going by. The police have moved back to the sidewalk in front of the fire department and the police station.
The bad news is, is there's a different element starting to move in now, a little bit louder and a little bit more provocative.
LEMON: We're told that the group that we're seeing coming this way have looted places and broken windows and some of the businesses along South Florissant in that direction.
Again, what you're looking at now, that is, on your screen, that is the public storage. And that is just across the street on Canfield, unfortunately, where Michael Brown lost his life.
And, Anderson, that's where we did our live shots. That's where we live when you were here. All of those businesses along West Florissant. Some of them liquor stores, some of them convenience stores, that's a public storage. And then, on the other side is a barbecue, a beauty supply place.
And it's just a row of businesses along West Florissant, sadly, up in flames now. Where that is on West Florissant, you're seeing flames there. But where we are in South Florissant, mostly what you're seeing is busted out windows and that kind of thing.
CUOMO: The fire department, the main door of the fire department was blown in. You know, you were discussing earlier, Anderson, about this was a bad time to announce this at night. But if you think about it, when would have been a good time?
We've got some law enforcement people saying they thought if they did it at night, the stores would be empty. The places wouldn't be as populated. People would probably be at home. So, that was one calculated risk to do it that way. You did it earlier in the day, therefore you have more populated areas.
But, look, the problem they're going to have here is that this community is very stratified. There are a lot of back neighborhoods and places to go. And authorities are going to have to basically chase down anybody who does do anything illegal. And that is going to take throughout the night.
There will be no way that this stops throughout the course of this evening in terms of this going back to normal. I just don't see how it's possible, given how dispersed the situation is here, Don.
LEMON: No. I agree with you.
I think it is important that you pointed out earlier, Anderson, as well, this is not the entire city of Ferguson. St. Louis is definitely -- the entire city is not burning. This is two sections -- the section that's building is a big section along West Florissant and some of the businesses being looted are along South Florissant and along West Florissant as well.
But sadly, that's what we're witnessing in the wake of this, people who have taken their frustration and really turned it in many ways on their own communities by setting fires and looting many of the businesses.
CUOMO: There's going to be a big need for leadership. There's going to be leadership that we're not seeing now, Anderson. These protesters while they have their own little divisions in them, there's a need for leadership in terms of who's directing action, who's asking for calm, on the ground where things are happening.
It's the same problem we had the last time. It's one thing to give a press conference. It's another thing to be on the streets where the things are going on and showing people that you're actually there for them. That's needed.
COOPER: You know, it's interesting, guys. You know, early on, when we were here during the summer, you know, we saw, particularly several days into the demonstrations, large numbers of community leaders coming out and talking to protesters and really trying to police themselves and in many cases doing a very good job of it. We saw some of that tonight, of people trying to tell other people, look, don't be throwing stuff at the police. This is not the way to go.
But, clearly, that has not worked in a number of the areas that we have been seeing, and we're seeing now police in riot equipment, with sticks, congregating. You said, guys, that a crowd of people, kind of a different crowd was starting to move in to the area where you're at? Do you know how many people you're talking about?
LEMON: We're talking 20, 30 people. I mean, they come, and they go. As they approach us, the security people and the police officers will tell us, OK, the people who are breaking windows down the street, they're heading your way now.
And so, they give us a warning, and the security that's here and the police officers will keep an eye on them. And then they move down.
But, Chris, if you look over your shoulder, they have cordoned -- they have opened traffic back up. But there is, there's a line of police officers now in tactical gear in the middle of the street. So, when the cars get down the street, you know, maybe about a quarter of a mile, as we said, when the police cruisers were on fire earlier, they had to turn around. They're not allowing them to do that.
CUOMO: You're right, there aren't big numbers. It only takes one. That's what we keep seeing, is that there are a lot of -- you know, a lot, 95 percent, you could say, if you wanted to put a number on it, are here protesting. They're angry. But they're well within their rights.
It only takes a few to create the response, and it gets out of control very quickly. That's obviously the concern. They are getting good advice from people in the community about how they can get arrested and what they should do and to stay calm. But you can't have enough leadership in a situation like this and clearly there is not enough right now. LEMON: That picture that you're looking at to the right of us. That
is -- Anderson, that is right there on West Florissant. If they were to turn that camera around, that's Canfield. And maybe about a quarter of a mile down the road would be where Michael Brown lost his life. That is the public storage facility, sadly, that has gone up in flames there.
And again, as I mentioned earlier, Anderson, you did your live shots at that facility back in the summer. I did mine, as well as many of our colleagues. It's very familiar to us and of course extremely familiar to anyone who is in this community. Right down from the QT that was burned out as well during the initial unrest, I should say.
COOPER: Right, it's very close, right across the street from the barbecue joint. In fact, there was a lady I remember during the protests who was camped out there handing out free water, handing out food and stuff to protesters. I think everyone remembers her very well. She was a very vocal presence, very memorable presence.
That's that scene where you're seeing that building burning, and the thing you're not seeing in that picture is fire department personnel. And the reason is because according to Stephanie Elam, there were shots that went off. And we did even hear what sounded like gunfire live in our coverage a short time ago. And according to Stephanie, that's when the fire department basically pulled out.
So, we see a number of structures now burning simply out of control. And that is the last thing --
LEMON: There's more than one. Yes, there's more than one.
COOPER: -- that you want to see.
COOPER: Several blocks from where Mike Brown was killed, and that is a community of families, of people with small children, you know, and I think of them right now in their homes, watching this on television, smelling the smoke, probably being, you know, in some cases being able to look out their windows and see their neighborhood in flames.
LEMON: Yes, absolutely, they r and, again, the people who, in that community will tell you they probably need this the least. And they're going to have to rebuild now. If many of them rebuild. And let's hope they do, because during the initial unrest, they said, we're not going to be, we're not going to, nobody's going to force us out of here. We're going to rebuild. We're going to stay here, we're going to open again.
It will be interesting tomorrow and the days to come to see what their reaction is, Anderson.
COOPER: Hey, I want to check in with Jason Carroll not too far from location.
Jason, what are you seeing? CARROLL: Well, right now, the army vehicles have moved in front of
the burning building. They've put out the announcement that if the people who are here do not move they will be arrested. You request hear it now.
POLICE: Return to the sidewalks and your vehicles and leave the area immediately.
CAROLL: Same announcement.
POLICE: You will be subject to arrest.
CARROLL: The same announcement we heard at the Ferguson Police Department. Now, we're hearing it now.
Behind these armored vehicles there's a line of officers there who are in tactical gear, once again, slowly moving down the street here in West Florissant, basically anyone who does not listen to what they say is going to be arrested.
What they're trying to do is they're trying to secure the area in front of this burning building so they get in there and do what they need to do to extinguish that fire. And then I think what they will end up doing is moving their way to the second building down here which is also on fire, but what they've got to do is clear out these pockets of demonstrators that you see across in the, on the side here who are sort of gathered there by their cars and just sort of standing there.
So, what we have is these armored vehicles slowly moving down the street, making the announcement, get out of the street, or you will be arrested.
COOPER: Jason, we're going to continue to check in with you and all our correspondents all throughout the city of Ferguson and elsewhere.
We -- we also, the other track that we're working on, of course, is going over, and we have teams right now in various locations, going over the eyewitness testimony, going over all the evidence that was presented to the grand jury that was released by the prosecutor McCulloch earlier tonight, shortly after he made the announcement that the grand jury will not be indicting Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.
We will hear from Sunny Hostin, and Mark O'Mara, and others who are with us. We're going to continue to pore through those documents and bring you whatever we find as soon as we find it to give you a sense of what evidence the grand jury actual think heard and how it contradicts or confirms eyewitnesses that you have heard from and other eyewitnesses that we have not heard from until we are able to read their testimony tonight.
We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues in just a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Hey, welcome back to our continuing coverage of the breaking news here in Ferguson.
You're looking at live pictures there on the right hand of your screen. Our location is the command center which is a relatively peaceful location. This is the staging area for a lot of law enforcement personnel who have been coming and going as needed.
I want to go to Sara Sidner who is not too far from here. She's at the Ferguson Police Department. At least she was there.
Sara, explain where you are and what you're seeing. What's going on? Can you hear me?
COOPER: OK. So, she can't hear me. So, let's move on from that. Oh, there you go.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here's what's happening right now. We are standing in front of the O'Reilly Auto Parts. You can see that it's burning fully engulfed here. What you do not see are the firefighters.
There are too many fires going on. I want to show you to my right. You will see Advanced Auto Parts just across the street there. People are going in there and looting that building. That is also on fire. You can see the smoke inside. You can see people running in and out of that building. They are taking items out of the Advanced Auto Parts.
There is a third building now, let me show you a third building just behind me now that is on fire, just there. We've also been listening to gunshots going off time and again, walking along, this is West Florissant. We are further from the area that initially in August had the majority of the protests, but certainly, there are fires now burning all along this street.
And I'm going to take you back here, because this fire is getting much, much worse by the minute.
And then you're hearing a lot of people yelling and screaming. We have been listening to gunshots as well, Anderson.
COOPER: Sara, can you explain where you are in relation -- just to orient people -- where you are in relation to the Ferguson Police Department? How far from you are they?
Sara, I think we lost you.
All right. Well, let's check in -- the other track, as we watch some of these images, as I said before the break the other track we're working is the legal track of the eyewitness testimony, all the evidence that's been presented to the grand jury that we now have access to for the first time.
Joining me now is Mark O'Mara, Lisa Monet Wayne, also Sunny Hostin is joining me here.
And actually, Sunny, I should just point out, we are now seeing about -- well, what looks like dozens of police vehicles, state police, various different law enforcement agencies. They are now coming back to this command center. It's not -- I'm not clear if this is just a change of shift or if they have been on scene.
We're also looking at, looks like an armored personnel carrier, also some vans that most likely have law enforcement personnel in them as well.
But we have seen several times where there have been large numbers of police vehicles arriving back at this staging area, tactical support vehicles, emergency response vehicles.
But I mean, there are dozens of them coming down the highway here.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: For as far as you can see, and you're right. This is not the first time that we've seen this. We've seen Humvees also going in and out, something that you generally don't see, you know?
COOPER: This was the command area which we picked out, really, we figured this would be one area that no matter what happened elsewhere, we would be able to broadcast from and stay on the air, which is really how it's worked out. But, again, just -- well, it doesn't seem to have any end. It's just a huge number of police cruisers here.
Sunny, you've been reading the testimony of Darren Wilson. What jumps out at you?
HOSTIN: Yes, it's been about 92 pages. What jumps out at me is his description of how this began. He says he sees Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson. He then notices the cigars.
COOPER: Cigarillos, yes.
HOSTIN: The cigarillos in Michael Brown's hand, and he goes up to Michael Brown and asked him to move out of the street, and he says he gets an immediate aggressive response from Michael Brown.
COOPER: Verbal response?
HOSTIN: Verbal response, with expletives. And he says, at the car, which is interesting, that he says to Michael Brown, after a bit of a tussle, "I'm going to shoot you." And Michael Brown grabs his gun and says you are too much of an expletive to shoot me. And he says it's an aggression he has never seen, especially in response to "please move out of the street."
So, he is really describing a very aggressive Michael Brown. And I think that's sort of new.
COOPER: And Lisa Monet Wayne, you also have been looking at that initial interaction. Darren Wilson had said publicly that Officer Wilson tried to open up the door of his SUV and that it ricocheted off Mike Brown and slammed shut. That is not what these documents say that Darren Wilson testified to, correct?
LISA MONET WAYNE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. And I'm not saying that his friend is lying about this. That may have been his perception. But clearly, Wilson says, you know, the door's open and actually, Brown is slamming back into him.
So, it's really Brown is the one who's being aggressive, according to Wilson, and, apparently, the grand juries believe that that was credible based upon the evidence. So, it really puts him in a different light in terms of what was going on with Michael Brown, at least how Darren Wilson perceived what was going on with Brown at that point in time.
What's interesting, though, I think, what, what threw me off a little bit -- you know, I know my colleague disagrees with this. But I have to say that initial point of confrontation and escalation, I'm a little bit surprised because I feel like, you know, Wilson could have backed off.
I mean, was it that important the direction these kids were going, and even though there was this escalation by Brown, and he's clearly, according to Wilson, taunting him. I just feel like at that point this could have been avoided.
And I don't want to play Monday morning quarterback, but I'm, like, why didn't you just drove away from him at this point? He had cigarillos, who cares?
COOPER: And that is just the beginning of the interaction that obviously led to the death of Michael Brown. We're going to analyze more of what we have been learning over the last several hours.
You are looking live at the streets of Ferguson. Buildings burning out of control now. In some places we have seen fire departments responding. In other places there have clearly been some shots or what sound like shots ringing out. We've heard them live on television and it's been reported by multiple sources as well. And in some cases, fire departments have left areas because of what are said to be gunshots.
We're going to take a short break, and our coverage continues both on the streets in Ferguson and also what the grand jury, what testimony they heard -- all of that reporting ahead. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome to our continuing coverage here in Ferguson. KTVI, a local affiliate here, is reporting three major fires now are burning essentially out of control. Sam's meat market, the storage unit, which you've also seen, and one other location that we have not yet been able to identify. But clearly, the pictures tell the story there.
Obviously, it is the worst possible situation, the worst possible scene for this community. People in their community watching their community burn without, at this point, in these locations, fire department personnel being able to put out the flames. The business owners, local business owners, local residents, they are the ones in the week the and months ahead are going to be having to rebuild and rebuild and reweave the fabric of this community.
I want to go to Don Lemon, standing by with Chris Cuomo, not far from the Ferguson Police Department, where the site of so many protests now over the last several months, and such the violence that we have seen tonight began -- Don.
LEMON: Yes, right now.
Anderson, we let Chris go. Chris has a show in just a couple hours on "NEW DAY". So, we let him go get some rest so he can be back up in a couple hours to anchor that.
But it's interesting because the reporting that are you reporting on that's coming from our affiliate, KTVI. It's surreal for me to be back here reporting that. That is my old affiliate that I worked at when I lived here in St. Louis.
So, I know the area pretty well. It's been a couple years now. But what KTVI is reporting is that the Sam's Meat Market is on fire. Also the public storage is on fire. Anderson, there's one other business on fire. And that is, those three businesses are on West Florissant, which is right where the initial protests were -- the bulk of the protest, and then the QT not far from that. And, of course, Canfield Drive is really right in that area. And that's where Michael Brown lost his life.
And as you have been hearing from Stephanie Elam who's on the scene, as well as Jason Carroll. You don't really see, and you pointed this out as well. What you don't see are firefighters, because there are so many fires going in the area, they just don't have enough personnel to deal with all of them, or, the businesses, as they are looking at them, they're too far gone to even go in and try to save them.
But the residents in that area are going to have to live with this, sadly, and, of course, the merchants, store owners, shopkeepers are going to come back tomorrow, if they have left already, many of them may be watching their businesses burn, standing in front of them or at home. They're going to come back to nothing tomorrow.
And, you know, these are people who, with so much frustration and so much anger has really turned that onto their own community and has started to loot. And we saw that happening live. And really set fires to their own businesses and people's livelihoods now, Anderson, have gone up in smoke. And it's really sad.
For the most part, if we can come back here, I want to show you what's happening in front of the Ferguson police department, which is where the initial unrest started this evening. Protesters for the most part now are on the sidewalks. They have opened traffic up along the street. But when you try to get to where the cruisers, police cruisers were on fire earlier, they are, you can't get that far, they're turning cars around. And then just about a quarter of a mile down to my right, really about
a half-mile down to my right, there was a Walgreens, where we went earlier to gather supplies, that Walgreens, we're told by police, has now been looted. Many of the businesses where we are standing have been looted across from the police station. If you could see what I'm seeing, you will see broken out windows, doors smashed in, even a broken out glass in a broken out door at the fire department right next to the police station.
So, that's what we're witnessing here along with the protests that are happening on I-44 and I-40, the interstates that run parallel along the city of St. Louis, Anderson.
COOPER: And we're going to take another short break. Marc Lamont Hill is with me. We'll talk to him live from the protests in the streets for Ferguson.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing breaking news coverage.
I want to bring in Mark O'Mara and Lisa Monet Wayne who had been poring over the documents from the grand jury. The grand jury has been going over it for months now.
Also, joining me here at the command center is Marc Lamont Hill.
Marc, let me start with you, you were by the police station when this all basically kind of kicked off. Explain where you've been and what you have seen.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I started off on South Florissant where we saw the announcement. People were outraged but there wasn't as much violence. In fact, we've begun, I begin to follow the crowd as they marched up. They were saying hands up, don't shoot, or hands up, they still shoot.
And then the police barricaded. And I asked the officers, why are you making a barricade? They said for safety reasons.
And the problem is, the police barricaded the middle of the street, and the protesters' minds violated the promise that they could peacefully protest. That's where we begin to see the standup, that's where we some of the antagonism begun. Some people did shake police cars, but again, the overreaching response, and I post it on my Instagram, an officer firing his gun, I think it was rubber bullets, but still, they seem like an excessive response and things went haywire.
I then went to West Florissant, thinking I was escaping the violence to figure things out, and it was even worse. I was inside McDonald's when it was looted, I went to the Ferguson liquor store when it was also looted, a beauty supply store and cell phone store across the street. And that's what's interesting -- COOPER: All those were looted?
HILL: All those stores were looted.
And what's interesting is the contrast. In South Florissant, there were an array of police protecting the property, protecting that space. In West Florissant, there was absolutely nothing of that sort. The optics of it suggests that they're saying, look, you can tear this neighborhood down, but not that one.
COOPER: We've seen a number of buildings on fire, at least three major fires going on in the community.
And, again, we keep saying this, but I do think it bears repeating. You know, these are local businesses.
COOPER: In many cases, locally-owned businesses. And it's the members of the community who are going to be dealing with this, picking up the pieces over the next many months.
HILL: That's absolutely right. I was inside the liquor store, which is the store that Michael Brown was in, and I saw the young man set it on fire. And I asked why. I asked him very directly, why?
COOPER: You asked the guy who set it on fire?
HILL: I asked him, why? And he said, we're tired of this.
I think there's a sense, whether it's right or wrong, there's a sense that people are only heard when they yell. And, unfortunately, the justice system hasn't in their minds, and I probably agree with them in this case, it hasn't served them well.
COOPER: Do you think he was from the community?
HILL: Yes, absolutely.
HILL: I think people realize that the only time they get national attention, the only time they get national attention is when there's a spectacle like this. It doesn't justify looting, but it might disingenuous to suggest that people should just let the system play out, because it doesn't seem to work for them in their minds.
COOPER: Mark O'Mara is also joining us, and Lisa as well.
Mark and Lisa, as you look through and comb through the documents more, let's continue the conversation. We started off with the initial confrontation between Mike Brown and Darren Wilson. Darren Wilson's testimony about it, I also talked about Dorian Johnson's testimony about the door -- whether it was Officer Wilson opening up a door that ricocheted off him or whether, according to Darren Wilson it was Mike Brown shutting at the door. What else have you learned from these documents so far?
MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, moving from there, Anderson, we know that it accelerated pretty quickly. There were two shots fired inside. Brown took off, Wilson took off after him.
And what we might have a graphic view to put for the audience, but we now have an opportunity to look at is a map that was prepared by law enforcement to try to identify and locate in this area all of the different pieces of evidence. So, there is -- if you look at it, it's a little bit tight to see for you, but I'll sort of show on the other one, it shows the actual map and the map, yes. Right there, to the left, if you can put that back up, to the left is where the car is, that's where it all began.
But as you go forward and look off to the right of the diagram, that's where the shooting actually occurred. And what's interesting is, one, it's very far away from the car. There was a lot of travel that Mike Brown took, and there was a lot of follow by Darren Wilson. But when they get to that point, you'll see that bunch of little circles right there, and then you'll see Mike Brown, the diagram of Mike Brown's body.
What's interesting is right in that very same area, beyond it to the right, those last two circles to the right, just under that large arrow with the N, that is where there were bloodstains, presumably Mike Brown's blood. And if you can see, another 25 feet back towards the car is where Mike Brown ended.
And that's sort of the forensic evidence -- almost undeniable forensic evidence that mike Brown had gone further away and had come back as Wilson had said, back towards him.
You also see in that same, the same areas as all of the shell casings from Wilson shooting Brown, and, again, very close proximity to where Mike Brown's body ended up and where the shells were.
So those, the forensics at least in that regard seem to support Wilson's story, which was that he followed, keeping him in sight. Mike Brown turned on him. They came back a couple times.
According to Wilson, he fired, stopped, fired, stopped, fired and was finally about eight feet away when Mike Brown fell to the ground dead.
COOPER: Mark and Lisa, I want to come back to you on this, and I apologize for jumping around, but there's a lot -- it's a very fluid situation as all our viewers can really understand. And we're working these two tracks, working the evidence track with Mark and Lisa based on what they've been able to go through with the dozens of pages of documents ,but there's also the decision of what's happening on the streets of Ferguson. And really in several locations.
I don't want to imply that all of Ferguson is in flames. You see in the pictures, you might think. That's not the case at all. We're talking about several locations near the police headquarters, near the area, the community area where Mike Brown was killed. We've seen protesters near I-44.
But Ed Lavandera, our reporter, is joining us on the phone.
Because, Ed, you are in a building you couldn't get out of because of nearby fire? Explain what happened.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): We were at a location that we had set up for tonight there on West Florissant road, which is the site that you've seen so many burning buildings on tonight. And we were there when the buildings were being first set on fire, and we had to retreat back to this area where we had set up our location for the night.
And then the building, that building that we were right behind was set on fire. We spent the last two hours trapped --
COOPER: Are you talking about the storage unit?
LAVANDERA: The storage unit, yes. We were trapped behind it. And over the course of the last few hours, dozens and dozens of gunshots just outside there. And for a good hour when we were on the road, as the scene was erupting outside of the police department area there in Ferguson and buildings were starting to be set on fire there along West Florissant, about a mile away, there was zero police presence, for the longest time.
So, we had to retreat back into that storage complex area. We just finally now were able to get out of that area and find a safe situation for us to kind of move on that area. We're trying to make our way to where you are, Anderson.
COOPER: And, Ed, I mean, did you see how these buildings were set on fire? How concerted an effort was it? Was it someone tossing, you know, a Molotov cocktail or something? Do you know how the buildings themselves were set on fire?
LAVANDERA: Well, the way I saw, about three or four buildings that were set on fire, a group of people that would break in. One of them was a liquor store, and a lot of it had been ransacked. People walking out with TV sets that were eventually smashed on the road and that sort of thing, and after the various places, there was a Sam's meat market, which was other place that was ransacked.
And eventually, after people had been in there for a while, then the fires were set. I saw a group of people set fire to the public storage office. It seemed like they pulled together a trash can and papers and set fire to that. And before long, it was taking so long for the first responders were just unable to get into that area. That it didn't take long for the -- a lot of the buildings to be fully engulfed in flames.
COOPER: Ed, I just want to point out, there's a FAA statement that Evan Perez, our justice correspondent, sent around that apparently due to reports from law enforcement about gunshots fired into the sky, the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, activated temporary flight restriction over Ferguson, Missouri, for safety reasons. Only law enforcement aircraft are permitted to fly through the area.
Earlier in the evening, if you were watching for a long time, we were seeing a lot of overhead shots. We haven't seen an as many. So, it seems as though there's a temporary restriction, though media aircraft are operating just above that flight restriction, above 3,100 feet.
But you can clearly see some of the fires that Ed Lavandera has been talking about. Still burning, and, again, among the many horrible things about it, in these locations, you do not see fire personnel on site fighting the flames.
Stephanie Elam who was on site reported because of shots that were fired she saw fire personnel who had been fighting the flames near the area where Mike Brown was killed, near that storage unit and elsewhere actually pulling out because she said of the shots being fired.
We're going to take another short break, and our coverage continues live from Ferguson in a moment.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back.
We're approaching midnight here Central Time, 1:00 in the East Coast. I want to quickly check in with our various correspondents who have been doing a great job at great risk to themselves, in various locations.
First, Sara Sidner.
Sara, where are you right now? What's the scene there?
SIDNER: I'm on West Florissant.
Basically what you're seeing behind me is an auto parts store. The AutoZone is on fire. This is the third building within two blocks that is on fire. This is the latest fire that's happened here that's been set here.
We can see the Advanced Auto Parts. People are still going into that and taking things out, looting there.
And let me just show you this. This is the New York Grill, another business here. They've broken into the New York Grill as well. Basically, for many of the places that they are breaking into, people are also setting on fire.
I want to talk to one of the people who lived nearby in this town called Berkeley, right next to Ferguson.
Kelly (ph), can you tell knee a little bit, what are you seeing on here? I mean, this is --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm watching this and just a lot of looting. I came down because I work down the street. I wanted to make sure my job was secure. SIDNER: And what do you think about this? This is your community.
You live in the community right next door.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The insurance (ph) is going to go up pretty high.
SIDNER: The protesters have been out here for more than 100 days. And for the most part they have been peaceful. There have been a lot of people, and they've been loud. But what do you think about what's happening right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really think that this is not -- I mean, this is crazy. I mean, the business didn't do anything. If they were going to do something, get the right people, if they have to do it.
SIDNER: Is it upsetting for you to see what is going on here in this community?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, especially when I live here. I mean, that's convenient. The auto shop is a convenience for me. Now I got to go to East Jerusalem to get an auto part when I could have just went up the street.
SIDNER: What do you think's going to happen to this community now that there are so many businesses --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not going to rebuild. It's going to be like a ghost town pretty soon.
SIDNER: So, basically what people have been out here protesting and protesting for justice, they've just ruined their community?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically.
SIDNER: Kelly, thank you so much. Kelly lives in Berkeley, which is right next to Ferguson. You can hear things exploding. This is just heartbreaking for so many people who live here.
COOPER: Sara, let me ask you and you may not know the answer, and that's OK. But can you tell why there is not fire vehicles on site?
Why is it, has there been shots in that area? Is the area blocked off? Is it just not accessible? Or there are just not the personnel around? Do you have any sense of that?
SIDNER: Yes, I do. It's absolutely accessible now. There are hardly any cars. I can tell you, we've heard no less than 15 shots go off. There are residents yelling at us saying those guys over there have a gun. We could hear the shots going off. We had to get out of the way. It's dangerous, period. And that's why you're not seeing vehicles out here trying to take care of these fires.
The fire department has its work cut out for it, but it is very dangerous out here. And so I think what you're seeing is that they're saying, you know what, life is more important than these buildings. We're going to deal with keeping safe, and we're just going to have to let it burn. And that's what's happening out here on West Florissant.
COOPER: It's -- I mean, I understand that. It's so sad to see that building behind you in real time -- I mean, it looks like that fire is spreading throughout the building. And that's, you know, that's a livelihood for a lot of people who work there, who own that, and for the community.
I want to go back to our Don Lemon who is standing by near police headquarters -- Don.
LEMON: Anderson, yes, and we have reports that there are firefighters afraid for their safety. We've also got an unconfirmed report that firefighters were being shot at.
Again, we do know they are concerned for their safety. The reports of them being shot at, unconfirmed. But as you heard our Sara Sidner say, she heard 15, 16 gunshots go off. We heard gunshots go off where we were this evening. At least ten times if not more.
It appears to have calmed down a bit here. But it's going to take some time before things get back to normal, if they can ever get back to normal in this community in the coming months, Anderson.
COOPER: We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues in just a moment, stick around.
LEMON: We're live now in Ferguson, Missouri. As a matter of fact, across from the Ferguson Police Department. And the scenes that you're looking at now, playing out live for the world to see, those are businesses, people's livelihoods that have gone up in flames, up in smoke.
And we have watched that happen in the hours since the prosecutor here, St. Louis County prosecutor, announced there would be no indictment for the Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.
The protesters gathered a few hours before that announcement was mad, initially very peaceful. After the announcement, of course people were so upset and so enraged by the non-indictment of the officer that they began to take to the police. The police did not want them in the streets. And altercations between the police officers and the protesters and that started all of it.
And then we begin to witness, of course, those fires being started, most of those fires were started on West Florissant Avenue, which is right near Canfield Drive, where Michael Brown lost his life on August 9th, this summer, around noon time. And then, of course, we witnessed live as well, stores that were being looted live.
And then, also many of the people who are out here, the protesters got tear gassed by police officers, because police officers -- I would imagine felt like they were being threatened. We heard from Marc Lamont Hill who said in many instances, he witnessed police officers overly aggressive against protesters.
But again, it is all unfolding in front of your very eyes. You're watching it all unfold here on CNN. It's going to take quite some time before people can rebuild here, and tomorrow morning, when the sun comes up, who knows exactly what the sun will bring and what we'll see here in Ferguson, Missouri and the greater St. Louis area.
I'm Don Lemon, thank you so much for watching. Our coverage continues now with my colleague Jake Tapper.