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THE SITUATION ROOM
Reaction to Grand Jury Decision; Police Brace for More Protests in Ferguson; National Guard Troops On Ground For Third Night In Ferguson; NAACP Recommends Seven-Day March After Grand Jury Decision; Ferguson's Police Procedures Questioned
Aired November 26, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, poised for protests. Authorities are in the streets. They're bracing for more trouble in Ferguson and police are investigating a homicide discovered there during the first night of violence.
Did police break the rules?
New questions are emerging right now. And they're being asked about unorthodox procedures after the shooting of Michael Brown and in the investigation which followed.
And holiday storm -- winter weather is affecting millions of Thanksgiving travelers on one of the busiest travel days of the year. On the highways and at the airports, it's a major mess out there.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: And we're following two breaking stories right now, from snow-covered highways to backed up airports, a major winter storm makes travel a nightmare for millions of people trying to get away for the Thanksgiving holiday.
And as night draws near Ferguson, Missouri, police and the National Guard, they are now on the streets once again. They're poised for more protests.
Police have identified the homicide victim found shot in the head near the scene of the Michael Brown shooting. It happened during the first night of the burning and the looting, which followed a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer, Darren Wilson, for the shooting death of Michael Brown. There were fewer acts of vandalism last night and fewer arrests in the Ferguson area. But across the country, the protests spread to at least 130 cities, as marchers blocked roads, bridges and tunnels. The NAACP president, Cornell William Brooks, he's here in THE SITUATION ROOM standing by, along with our correspondents, our analysts and our newsmakers.
Let's begin with our national correspondent, Jason Carroll. He's on the streets of Ferguson once again for us -- Jason, what's the latest?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, a few tense moments when we were out here last night in front of the Ferguson Police Department. Still, nothing like what we saw out here Monday night.
Having said that, going forward, whether or not these protests are small or large, police say, Wolf, they are ready.
CARROLL (voice-over): Police continue to look into the death of 20- year-old DeAndre Joshua, found dead Monday night in a car near the scene of rioting in Ferguson. His death ruled a homicide, not clear whether it was related to the unrest over the grand jury verdict.
Meanwhile, overnight protests continued -- a police cruiser overturned. Protesters tried to set it on fire, but police moved in quickly, surrounding the car, dispersing the crowd. The number of demonstrators smaller than Monday night, police made fewer arrests -- 44 taken into custody.
CHIEF JON BELMAR, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE: I think, generally, it was a much better night.
CARROLL: A change in law enforcement tactics used Tuesday, a heavier police presence and a quicker, more aggressive and nimble response. Also, the National Guard pulled into action for support -- more than 2,000 on hand to help.
CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: We made sure those resources were where they needed to be, but also, we've got some -- a little help from our community today. And so it's about that partnership.
CARROLL: Community leaders saw a shift in the response, as well.
PAMELA MEANES, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION: On Tuesday night, I think you saw more officers come into the Ferguson area in a response to what leaders were saying, give us the protection that you demanded to give us.
CARROLL: But tensions remain, and not just from protesters. This officer's frustration caught on camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these people are protesting on everything, everything in the city. Twenty-five years I've been in this city and this is terrible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody forward.
CARROLL: Across the country, protests spread from California to New York, people shutting down highways, disrupting traffic -- a nationwide show of support for Michael Brown. His parents outraged, not just about the grand jury's decision, but also for Darren Wilson's comment following the decision, Wilson telling ABC News he feared for his life when he shot Brown and has no regrets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC NEWS)
DARRELL WILSON, POLICE OFFICER WHO KILLED MICHAEL BROWN: The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "CBS THIS MORNING," COURTESY CBS NEWS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His conscience is clear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His conscience is clear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could your conscience be clear after killing somebody, even if it was an accidental death?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO TAPE)
CARROLL: And, Wolf, for the past three months, as you know, come rain or shine, protesters have been out here. It is snowing. It is cold here today in Ferguson. But you can expect protesters will be out here again tonight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And the National Guard is ready?
We're looking at live pictures by the way, Jason.
It seems like something is going on not far from you.
Do we have a clue of what's going on?
Because we saw some activity just a few moments ago.
CARROLL: Well, Wolf, I can just tell you, just as we've been here in front of the Ferguson Police Department, a number of cars have come by honking in support of Michael Brown. As you say, National Guard members are here. They've been here, actually, throughout the day. We saw them here again last night. No serious incidents to report at this point again. Things seem to have somewhat of a calmer sense around here than what we've seen in the past few days.
We'll wait and see what happens tonight.
BLITZER: All right, we'll continue to watch these live pictures.
Jason, thanks very much.
As the sun goes down, the streets of Ferguson are already scarred by two nights of violence. Some buildings are burned out. Others are boarded up.
Residents are also bearing the scars of the violence and the tensions that have led up to all of this.
Let's bring in CNN's Ed Lavandera.
Here's also in Ferguson with more of this part of the story.
What are you seeing -- Ed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf.
Well, I think a lot of people here in the city of Ferguson are hoping that the weather will be the big story today. We are -- this is the scene you see here of the National Guard patrolling and protecting the area around the command center that has been stationed, just up the road from where we have seen the most intense protests over the course of the last few days. And we'll take you down here along the road. This is West Florissant Road. This is where everything unraveled Monday night after the announcement was made of Darren Wilson that would not be indicted by the police -- by the grand jury here in the St. Louis area.
And the scene here this afternoon, after Monday night, was a total mayhem. This is the stretch of road where many businesses were looted and burned and torched. And you can see here, a much different scene, Wolf, over the last two nights. And this is what West Florissant looks now -- about a mile stretch of the road completely shut down as you look. This is looking north up the road, just on the southern edge of where the most violent protests and damage was done Monday night.
And this is the way the scene has been for the last 48 hours now, completely shut down to car traffic. And what's different, back in August during the protests, when Michael Brown was shot, a lot of this was shut down to traffic, as well. But they allowed foot traffic.
Now, very much different. This is as close as we can get. And, you know, you make the turn and you're not allowed to even drive on that stretch of West Florissant.
Technically, authorities here consider that a crime scene because of all the businesses that were burned, arson investigations going on. And that stretch of road right now, Wolf, is considered a crime scene -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And that McDonald's that we're seeing, for example, I know you're showing our viewers live pictures from your vehicle.
I take it that McDonald's was burned out, as well?
LAVANDERA: I don't think that actually suffered in any fire damage. But we were there Monday night when a group of people started smashing out the windows and going through it. And obviously, that was shut down. A lot of those businesses had shut down in anticipation of -- and fears of what might happen. But a lot of those businesses completely shut down. As we mentioned, no car traffic, no foot traffic. Nobody allowed in because it's a crime scene now.
BLITZER: All right, Ed, we're going to stay in close touch with you.
Ed Lavandera. He's literally on the streets driving around Ferguson right now.
I want to show our viewers some live pictures. National Guard troops, they are very, very visible right now, and for good reason. The authorities believe if people see the National Guard out there on the streets, that will deter violence from breaking out. So you see what's going on.
And they're worried. This is the third night that's about to begin. They're worried about the potential for violence there. And so the National Guard a very, very visible presence.
The president of the United States, he has spoken out on the violence in Ferguson. He's calling for a dialogue. But his tone has been measured, as he continues a very careful balancing act when it comes to these issues -- extremely sensitive issues of race.
Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
This is a very, very delicate line for the president to have to deal with, right?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Wolf. And aides to the president say there will be an announcement soon on what the administration is calling "conversations" on this lack of trust in law enforcement that exists in minority communities.
For the president, it's another opportunity to confront the issue of race in America head-on.
ACOSTA (voice-over): It was a split screen presidency. As the violence broke out in Ferguson, on one side, the president calling for calm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America.
ACOSTA: But for millions of people glued to their sets, it was another sad episode of race in America, in black and white, and a president hesitant to jump into the fray.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you go to Ferguson when things settle down there?
OBAMA: Well, you know, let's take a look and see how things are going.
ACOSTA: Ten years ago, a young State Senator Obama raised hopes of uniting a bitterly divided nation.
OBAMA: There is not a black America and a white America, a Latino America, an Asian America. There is the United States of America.
ACOSTA: As a presidential candidate, he condemned his former pastor for making racially inflammatory comments and insisted the country's old wounds could still heal.
OBAMA: What we have seen is that America can change.
ACOSTA: But as president, the reality has been different. Mr. Obama's response to the verdict for the man acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, while personal...
OBAMA: When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son.
ACOSTA: -- was viewed as inadequate by some African-American leaders.
TAVIS SMILEY, HOST, "THE TAVIS SMILEY SHOW": What's lacking in this moment is moral leadership. The country is begging for it, they're craving it.
ACOSTA: But the president responded with initiatives like the My Brother's Keeper program, aimed at young minority men.
OBAMA: If America stands for anything, it stands for the idea of opportunity for everybody.
ACOSTA: The president's defenders say he can't do it all alone.
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: The president, no matter what color or what party, can only do so much, but can set a tone and provide leadership.
ACOSTA: The question is whether that opportunity was missed.
CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR, UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: Ferguson signifies the end of the age of Obama. It's a very sad end. We began with tremendous hope and we end with great despair.
ACOSTA: Soon the Obama administration, led by the president's point man on Ferguson, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, will be starting a national dialogue on that elusive goal of equal justice under the law.
OBAMA: I want all those folks to know that their president is going to work with them.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ACOSTA: And White House aides say this issue of mentoring and supporting young men in minority communities is a top priority for the president. But as you heard the president say the other night, Wolf, he wants to work with young people who want to build their communities up, not burn them down.
BLITZER: And no -- I take it no word from the White House about if the president will actually go to Ferguson, right?
ACOSTA: That's right. Still under consideration. They haven't ruled it out one way or the other -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jim Acosta at the White House.
Thanks very much.
Let's go in depth right now.
I'm joined once again by the president and the CEO of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks.
Mr. Brooks, thanks very much for coming in.
CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PRESIDENT, NAACP: Good to be here, Wolf.
BLITZER: First of all to that quote from Cornel West, the Princeton University scholar, when he says it's over, basically, in effect, suggesting the president has failed.
BROOKS: I believe that the issue is much bigger than President Obama. It predates the Obama presidency and it will likely outlive the Obama presidency.
What we have is a situation where we have a criminal justice system that mistreats African-American males routinely and regularly. When we think about the fact that African-American males are 21 times more likely to lose their lives at the hands of police officers, when we think about the fact that in any given month, one out of every four African-American males reports that they've been mistreated by the police, we have a reality problem, as well as a perception problem. It is deeply rooted in the criminal justice system.
Those are the facts. So this is not merely a matter of striking the right racial tone. It's about striking the right American substance and dealing with systemic, fundamental reform, and reform that reflects the conscience, the common sense and "The Constitution" of our country. That's what this is about.
BLITZER: It's hard for me to believe that in this day and age, 2014, so many years after Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement -- I lived through that period -- we're seeing National Guard troops on the street to prevent this kind of violence, in this day and age. It's something I didn't think we'd be seeing again.
BROOKS: Absolutely. It is a very disturbing sight. I've been in Ferguson. I'm headed back to Ferguson. And here's what I know. Fifty years ago, there was a young man by the name of Jimmy Lee Jackson who lost his life at the hands of a police officer. That death led to the Selma to Montgomery march.
The NAACP is back in Ferguson and we are leading a march from Ferguson to the state capital, to Jefferson City, over 100 miles, over seven days.
It saddens me that we have to have that kind of march in 2014, but we do. This issue is that critical.
BLITZER: I want you to react to Dr. Ben Carson. He's the Johns Hopkins University Medical School neurosurgeon. He's a conservative. He's thinking about running for the Republican presidential nomination. And he's pinning a lot of the blame directly on the first African-American president of the United States.
Listen to what he said, on the Hugh Hewitt Radio Show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON, NEUROSURGEON: A bunch of progressive manipulate particularly minority communities to make them feel that they are victims. And, of course, if you think you're a victim, you are a victim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And he went on to say -- he said, I actually believed things were better before this president was elected and I think things have gotten worse because of his unusual emphasis on race.
BROOKS: I believe Dr. Carson, with all due respect, should stick to the operating room rather than the campaign trail. These are the facts. We have a criminal justice system that over incarcerates and und under educates, broadly speaking. The facts are African-American males are over incarcerated.
Police departments all around the country understand, well understand that there is another way. And so, the fact of the matter is this cannot be pinned on President Obama. This is bigger, larger and more important than political rhetoric or partisanship. So with all due respect, Dr. Carson is not particularly thoughtful on this issue.
BLITZER: But you know he's resonating with a lot of Americans out there. He seems to be getting some momentum especially with conservatives.
BROOKS: Well, this issue is much bigger than liberal or conservative.
Here's what we're talking about. We're talking about our youth, our children, our sons and daughters. So if we believe that young people are the future then we have to stand with those young practitioners of democracy in the streets of Ferguson, in Missouri and all across this country who are simply saying we as a country are better than this. We can do better than this. Michael Brown was not killed by the word victim. He was killed by a
bullet, a bullet that was fired by a police officer. I happen to believe that we could do a lot better than this and what we have to do is focus on a couple of things. Number one, the systemic reform of the criminal justice system meaning, a national standard for the excessive use of force. A ban on racial profiling. The passage of the federal racial profiling act, a reform of state and local policing.
We have the models around the country. We have best practices around the country. But the fact is we have to model our best practices and put those practices into place.
BLITZER: And we got a lot more to discuss. I want you to stay with me. We are going to take a quick commercial break. When we come back much more with Cornell William Brooks, the NAACP president and CEO.
We are watching what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri right now. National Guard troops, they are on the ground once again for this, the third night. We'll go back there live in just a few moments.
BLITZER: As ridge simmers in Ferguson, Missouri, right now and erupting, indeed across the country, look at these live pictures coming in from Ferguson. You see police, National Guard troops and they're patrolling the streets already. They are trying to show some deterrence to prevent people from going out tonight and demonstrating. They can demonstrate as long as they do it peacefully and not burning down stores or torching cars or anything along that nature.
We are back right now with the president and CEO of the NAACP Cornell William Brooks.
I know that the NAACP is the preeminent civil rights organization and you're working hard. You're recommending a seven-day march.
BLITZER: Tell us what you want to do.
BROOKS: What we're trying to do here is invoke the memory and legacy of the Selma to Montgomery march. As I mentioned, it began with the death of a young man Jimmy Lee Jackson at the hands of law enforcement officer nearly 50 years ago. And so, here we are 2014, what we're trying to do is dramatize to the nation over the course of seven days that through non-violent, peaceful protests we can call for systemic fundamental change in the way policing is done in this country. We want to create a narrative. This is not about looting, not about rioting, not about burning down buildings, but rather building a more civil, more just society and we can do that.
Think about this, over the course of the last 20 years we had the lowest crime rate. The first time in 40 years we have less crime and fewer people in prison. So the thing is criminal justice reform is possible. We have fewer young people being locked up in juvenile lockups. So the point being here is we can bring about reform as a society as we put our hearts and minds together.
BLITZER: When the police officer in question in Ferguson, Darren Wilson, when he says he would have reacted the same way he reacted if the person on the street wasn't black, was white, you say?
BROOKS: I say that's laughable. Tragically and sadly laughable. It is not likely that a white police officer driving through a white community would come upon a white teenager and ask them to get the "f" off the street and on to the sidewalk. That is not standard operating procedure and not courteous treatment. It is not the way you speak to people.
And when you read his testimony over and over again he speaks about this teenager as though he were some kind of beast, stomping, grunting, a blank look. I believe fundamentally this police officer did not see Michael Brown's humanity. And that, at the end of the day, is what this is about.
BLITZER: What does this is a, this whole incident and it's a tragic, very sad, painful to young African-American boys and men, and I know you have a young son. I assume you've had special conversations with him, as well. You're a Yale law school grad and what kind of conversation if you had with your son?
BROOKS: So I have two sons, a high school senior and a high school freshman. And I've talked about the need to be respectful, the need to carry yourself with dignity. But to be aware that police officers are not always your friend and they don't always represent officer friendly. So I'm taught them to be wary, to conduct themselves in a law-abiding fashion and to make them abundantly clear that they're obeying the law. But that being said, they know that they're subject to being profiled.
As a Yale lawyer, I can tell you this, I've been stopped any number of times by police officers, not because I was speeding, not because I was disobeying the law, but because they suspected me of a crime. If that happens to me, why would I think it would be any different for my teenage sons or for the sons of other parents all across this country, but we can change that.
BLITZER: Well, I hope we can. And it's a sad commentary that it hasn't been changed yet.
Cornell William Brooks, the president and CEO of the NAACP, thanks very for joining us. Good luck.
BLITZER: Coming up, did police break the rules in Ferguson? There are new questions, merging right now about unorthodox procedures that were used after the shooting of Michael Brown and during the investigation which followed.
Plus, Michael Brown's parents, they're speaking out to CNN. You are going to hear what they now have to say about the Officer Darren Wilson's account of the fatal shooting. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: The grand jury testimony indicates the Ferguson police took some unorthodox steps after the police Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. That's raising some serious new questions about the investigation and the grand jury process itself. Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown has been looking into this part of the story for us.
What are you finding out, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we are finding out that the way the investigation was handled in those crucial first moments involving issues like Wilson's gun and the initial interview right after the shooting is raising questions about whether key forensics were jeopardized.
BROWN (voice-over): Officer Darren Wilson breaking his silence and insisting what he did was right.
OFFICER DARREN WILSON, FERGUSON, MISSOURI: The only emotion I'd ever felt was fear and then it was survival and training.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You are absolutely convinced when you look through your heart and your mind that if Michael brown were white this would have gone down in exactly the same way?
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question?
WILSON: No question.
BROWN: But now as evidence presented to the grand jury have become public, new questions are asked about how the investigation was handled from the start. Immediately after the shooting, Officer Wilson washed blood off his hands. He told the grand jury from everything we have always been taught about blood, you don't want it on you. I had to wash my hands so I go directly to the bathroom. I actually washed them.
And Officer Wilson's gun was not turned over or fingerprinted immediately after the shooting. Instead, Wilson brought it back to the police station and put his own gun into an evidence bag.
MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Actually, I think all of those were problematic. I think that the gun should have been taken and secured. I think that the blood should have been swabbed and secured.
BROWN: The police sergeant who was the first to interview Wilson after the shooting told the grand jury he didn't take notes or record it, saying number one, I did not have a recorder. Number two, I didn't take notes because at that point in time I had multiple things going on my mind besides Darren was telling me.
A former FBI inspector Ron Hosco who conducted shooting investigations say procedures vary for each police department.
RON HOSKO, FORMER FBI INSPECTOR: These smaller departments and many departments may not have had a shooting in many, many years which is great. But that also means they don't have a practiced, rehearsed strong procedure in place.
BROWN: The way the scene was processed is also being questioned. Photos were never taken by the medical examiner. The prosecutor asked did you take any photographs. The medical examiner replied no. When asked why not? The medical examiner said my battery in my camera died.
The medical examiner also told the grand jury it wasn't necessary to take any distance measurements at the scene. I got there, it was self-explanatory what happened. Somebody shot somebody. Cyril Wecht is a forensic pathologist who has handled many high-profile cases.
CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I cannot believe that anybody would have the edacity, the stupidity to have made that statement. You want to note everything in terms of measurements and photography. You want to get everything in meticulous detail. (END VIDEOTAPE)
BROWN: And other forensic experts we spoke with say the way the procedures were handled in this case is insignificant to the overall investigation and would not have affected the outcome -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Pamela Brown, good report. Thanks very much.
Let's discuss what's going on. Joining us our CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director and community activist John Gaskin is joining us from Ferguson.
So Tom, what do you make of these mistakes? Significant? Not so significant? It sounds pretty disturbing to me.
THOMAS FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think the very first thing about the officer washing his hands is true in the day of HIV, police, first responders, firefighters try diligently to avoid having anybody else's blood anywhere on their body. But in a situation like this that was unavoidable. So that I understand. The part about taking the gun home, the part about the evidence of that, that's true. That was not handled correctly. All of that chain of the custody of evidence should have been done immediately at the police station.
I thought maybe it was, when you see pictures of him in his t-shirt going to the hospital was because they had taken his uniformed shirt and taken his pants and placed it in evidence storage. As far as the scene of the camera dying, the battery dying, that's absurd.
BLITZER: They kept that body there for four-and-a-half hours on the streets of Ferguson. We thought they were doing a really detailed forensic investigation.
FUENTES: Yes. You would think, and that was done by St. Louis county medical examiner and their evidence response team. They had been doing another crime scene 30 minute away and that's why they got there, late. They didn't get to the scene until 1:30, an hour-and-a- half after the shooting. But if your battery dies, you send somebody to get another one whether it's in the trunk of your car or a nearby store. I don't know what exotic photography equipment they were using, but -- so all of those things were problematic. But I would question taking them side by side, procedurally to see if they would have materially affect the outcome.
BLITZER: Let me ask Sunny if she thinks -- Sunny, you've covered a lot of these kinds of investigations. Would it have made a difference with the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch's approach to the grand jury if some of these mistakes had not occurred?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think given his approach, I think that the outcome would have likely been the same. I've been critical of his approach since the very beginning, Wolf, because it was just so very different. Grand jury proceedings just aren't conducted that way. But had this evidence been in fronts of the grand jury, a grand jury that seemed to be very actively trying to seek the truth, absolutely, I think it could have changed the outcome and the aftermath of the decision what we heard from so many analysts was let's look at the forensic evidence. Look at the forensic evidence. It coincides directly with what Officer Wilson said.
Well, sure, it coincides directly. We now know that the scene may have been contaminated, that protocol was not followed and that quite frankly, Officer Wilson wasn't spoken to. He didn't really give his information for quite some time. That is also not what the protocol is. You don't allow a prospective defendant weeks or months to sort of, you know, put a story together. It's just simply not done. So certainly, I think this proceeding and the investigation is extremely troubling.
BLITZER: What's your reaction, John, when you hear this? John?
JOHN GASKIN, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: I lost him.
BLITZER: Yes. Can you hear me, John?
GASKIN: Yes, I can hear you.
BLITZER: Yes. So what's your reaction when you hear about these mistakes? What's your reaction?
GASKIN: Well, it just goes to show how people here in the community feel. The investigation has been botched from the very beginning and what you have just shared with me does not help confidence and trust in local law enforcement here.
Since the very beginning, people there within the community have talked about some of the inaccuracies, have talked about some of the things that are out of the ordinary. You know, since the very beginning of this investigation, even legal analysts on your network have said this is so unusual, you know, to hear that a photographer's battery, he didn't have access to a battery so he didn't take photos? I mean, that just -- quite honestly, Wolf, I wouldn't be surprised if that further escalates the anger here within this community.
BLITZER: It may escalate the anger, but let's hope it remains peaceful and not violent. I just want to be precise.
Guys, stand by for a moment. I want to continue this conversation.
New information coming in, Michael Brown's parents also speaking out to CNN. They spoke to our own Sunny Hostin and she is going to join us once again. You are going to hear what they think of Officer Darren Wilson's account of the shooting incident which took the life of their son.
BLITZER: All right, take a look at this. These are live pictures coming in from Ferguson, Missouri right now. National Guard troops, they are bracing for another night in the Ferguson area. We're watching closely. Let's hope it's a peaceful night. Demonstrations are fine, as long as they're peaceful.
Joining us once again our legal analyst Sunny Hostin, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, the former FBI assistant director and community activist John Gaskin. He is in Ferguson for us.
So Sunny, you had a chance to sit down with Michael Brown's parents earlier today in New York. Let me play a clip from your interview. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: So do you believe when Officer Wilson first approached your son and told him to move out of the roadway that your son's first response was "f" what you say?
MICHAEL BROWN SR., MICHAEL BROWN'S FATHER: No.
HOSTIN: Do you think that's even possible?
M. BROWN: No.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN'S MOTHER: No.
HOSTIN: Do you think it's even possible Officer Wilson is saying that your son reached into the car and tried to grab his gun?
M. BROWN: No.
HOSTIN: Do you think it's possible that your son told him you are too much of a "p" word to shoot me.
MCSPADDEN: I don't believe any of those words were exchanged at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, Sunny. So what are the facts out there in the investigation show?
HOSTIN: You know, I'll tell you this, Wolf. One of the reasons I asked that question is because we were discussing how as black parents, most parents, I mean, the attorney general has discussed this, our president has discussed this, that have black boys, black sons have a discussion with them about how to interact with law enforcement. And so I asked them that question, and I asked them whether or not they, too, had that talk that so many parents, like myself, have had. And that is why they responded that they did not believed it was possible that the first words out Mike Brown's mouth was, you know, "f" what you have to say, "f" the police, because he had been taught that that would be a death sentence. That's what his father told me.
I would say in terms of the evidence what the Brown family is saying is, that altercation, that incident only took 90 seconds. They don't understand how all of those words could have been spoken, how, you know, their son could have run away, exchanged blows with the police officer turned around, charged towards a police officer in 90 seconds.
They just don't think that the evidence supports it and they say that they've known him for 18 years, not 18 seconds, and given what they know they just don't believe that it could have happened that way.
BLITZER: You know, Tom, here's Darren Wilson, he's the police officer, in his interview with ABC News, offering this point of view. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER DARREN WILSON, FERGUSON, MISSOURI POLICE: Yes. Away from him. Because I was like, he's already running through the shots. I mean, he -- they weren't fazing him. It didn't matter to him. He was looking through them and as he gets 15 feet after I fired the second round of shots he gets about eight to 10 feet, and as he does that, he kind of starts leaning forward like he's going to tackle me.
And eight to 10 feet is close and if he's going to tackle me he's going to tackle me at that point. And I looked down the barrel of the gun and I fired when I saw it was the head and that's where it went.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Does that bear out with the facts?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think there are enough facts that do corroborate that, particularly those other eyewitnesses that say that Brown charged him for a second, stopped at which time Wilson stopped shooting, then Brown continued to advance toward Wilson, and Wilson shot back again, and it is an explanation for how an entry wound into Michael Brown was made through the top of the head. So he could have been bent over and still charging when that happened. So there's really -- there's no dispute as to the fact that Brown had continued toward him when you listen to the other witnesses.
HOSTIN: Well, I think I -- can I just disagree with that very briefly, Wolf?
BLITZER: Very briefly because we're up against the break.
HOSTIN: Sorry, I think there is, you know, dispute in that area because there are seven witnesses that are saying that he didn't charge and that he had his hands up, and so, you know, the suggestion that there is no contrary evidence to this charging story is just not accurate.
FUENTES: No, that's not true, Sunny, because the individual on the street that was jumping up and down where you see that video of him, when he gave an interview afterward he referred to that Brown was moving around, he wasn't standing still and that the officer was backpedaling as he continued shooting until the fatal shot. Well, no officer is going to backpedal unless someone is coming at them so that just doesn't make sense that Wilson --
BLITZER: All right. Sunny, hold on. Tom, hold on a second. John Gaskin, I'm going to have you stand by, as well, we're going to have much more on this. Much more of Sunny's interview also with the parents of Michael Brown coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM. So stand by for all of that.
Events in Ferguson are creating tension between federal and local officials, we have details in this part of the story. That's coming up, as well.
BLITZER: We'll get back to Ferguson, Missouri, in a moment. But there's other breaking news we're following.
An East Coast storm is affecting millions of Thanksgiving travelers right now on the roads, at the airports. It's a major headache out there.
Brian Todd knows that firsthand. He spent the day driving along some major interstates along the East Coast.
Brian, what's going on?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this was a major challenge today to get out on the roads for millions of holiday travelers. We're going to show you the camera that looks out the front end of our vehicle here as we travel south on I-83 just south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
You can see snow falling, there is a heavy volume of traffic on this road. People have been negotiating conditions like this all day long up and down the Eastern Seaboard. For millions of travelers, this was simply the worst day for this kind of storm to hit.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): From the airports to the highways, a messy travel day in the northeast. Coastal rain and inland snow causing delays for drivers and airline passengers alike.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This day of all days is pretty frustrating. But I have a reunion of like 30 family members I'm trying to get to tomorrow in Pennsylvania. So nothing is going to stop me.
TODD: It started this morning in Virginia with snow in the mountains. A wintry mix during the day from D.C. to New York. But inland it's snowier, causing more tie-ups and accidents. And snow continues into tonight in Pennsylvania, New York and New England.
Here is Hartford, Connecticut, and Central Massachusetts this afternoon. Already plenty of wet snow and more to come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little tough to get a, you know, change lane and stuff like that right now. So visibility is getting really bad.
TODD: Good news for the ski resorts but bad news for many of the 41 million people expected to drive during this holiday nationwide. Especially in the areas shown in red. At airports, already hundreds of flights delayed or canceled by mid afternoon.
STEVE PACKS, AIRLINE PASSENGER: We were notified that the flight was canceled. So we're sitting here in the airport, waiting for the next flight out.
TODD: And the weather is turning colder this evening. Stranded passengers may find it hard to rebook on a day when most flights are already full.
JP LONG, AIRLINE PASSENGER: It's not too bad yet, but I feel bad for people flying out later today.
TODD: And we're going to show you what some of the people are up against as we hit the evening hours here from this camera. I'm going to get out and show you what it's like on the side of the road here. Our photojournalist Jeremy Harlem picks me up right here.
The problem now with these conditions, Wolf, these roads are going to start to freeze over, temperatures along the Eastern Seaboard in some of these areas are going to be in the 20s and 30s. You've got slush possibly turning into ice later on tonight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, we're going to check back with you in the next hour. Be careful over there and thanks very much.
Coming up, authorities now back on the streets bracing for more trouble in Ferguson, Missouri, as police investigate a homicide discovered there during the first night of the violence.
And with new questions being raised about police procedures, the way the grand jury process played out, I'll speak with the Brown family attorney, Daryl Parks.
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Deadly discovery. Police now identify a young man found killed in his car as riots swept across Ferguson, Missouri.
Will tonight see more violence?