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THE SITUATION ROOM
Officer Fired After Killing Caught on Camera; Paul Sparks Abortion Uproar with Fellow Lawmaker; Interview With Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; Attorney: Many Shot by Police Hit Four Times in Back; Tsarnaev Found Guilty of All Counts; Al Qaeda Puts Bounty on Leaders' Heads. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 8, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Murder on tape. New details emerging right now about the killing of an unarmed African-American man by a white police officer, seen here shooting the man in the back. Did the officer try to plant evidence? Our reporters are live at the scene.
Rand's response. Newly-announced presidential candidate Rand Paul speaking out about the controversial killing and social justice in America. He joins us this hour from North Charleston, South Carolina. That's right near the shooting scene. We'll get his first live response to what happened.
Guilty. The young man who bombed the Boston Marathon almost exactly two years ago convicted on all 30 counts in the case. Will he get life in prison, or will he be put to death?
And al Qaeda bounty. Terrorists put out a reward on the head of the former president of a critical U.S. ally as the situation in his country devolves into deadly chaos. What can the U.S. do to stop al Qaeda?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, including guilty verdicts in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted on all 30 counts in the Boston Marathon bombing. Now jurors must decide whether he will face life in prison or death for the terror attack and the manhunt that left four people dead and hundreds injured.
Also this hour, the police officer charged with murder for shooting an unarmed African-American man in the back is fired. The mayor of North Charleston, South Carolina, says Michael Slager has been fired, and we've just learned new details about the shooting.
We're covering all the breaking news this hour with our guests, including the newly-announced presidential candidate, Republican Senator Rand Paul. He'll join us live in a few moments from North Charleston right near the scene of the shooting. We also have our CNN correspondents on the scene and in other key locations. Let's begin with CNN's Brian Todd. He's also in North Charleston.
Brian, what's the latest you're learning there?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the very latest tonight, this is information from Walter Scott's family's attorney. He says that Walter Scott was hit a total of five times: once in the ear, four times in the upper torso, with bullets likely exiting his chest. A total of eight shots were fired. That is according to an attorney for Walter Scott's family.
Also tonight, as you just mentioned, we have learned that the officer involved in this, Michael Slager, has been terminated and that his wife is eight months' pregnant. This coming from local officials who are coming under more fire tonight as this investigation gets into full swing.
TODD (voice-over): Authorities are crediting this cell-phone video for the swift charge of former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager with the murder of Walter Scott, an African-American man believed to have been unarmed at the time.
MAYOR KEITH SUMMEY, NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: I can tell you that, as the result of that video, and the bad decision made by our officer, he will be charged with murder.
TODD: The shooting occurred on Saturday morning after Slager pulled the 50-year-old Scott over for a traffic violation. Scott's Mercedes had a broken taillight, according to police reports. Scott ran from the scene. Slager pursued him on foot. Slager said he fired his weapon after Scott took his Taser.
MICHAEL SLAGER, FORMER POLICE OFFICER (via radio): Two-twenty-three to dispatch: Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two-twenty-three, shots fired. He grabbed your Taser. Subject is down.
TODD: It's unclear from this video which man was actually in possession of the Taser at the time of the shooting. But you can see the cord from the stun gun between the two men. Another point of contention, whether officers on the scene tried to save Scott's life after the shooting. The video shows another officer standing next to Scott. That officer was identified today by North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Riggers as Officer Habersham. Chief Riggers has told reporters he wasn't sure what exactly took place.
CHIEF EDDIE RIGGERS, NORTH CHARLESTON POLICE: I have watched the video, and I was sickened by what I saw. And I have not watched it since, but in the end of it, what I saw was a -- I believe to be a police officer removing the shirt of the individual and performing some type of life-saving, but I'm not -- I'm not sure what took place. TODD: Slager was the subject of two civilian complaints during his
five years on the North Charleston police force, including one in 2013 for improper use of force against an African-American male. The individual in that case, Mario Givens, claimed that Slager used his Taser on him when responding to a burglary call, even though Givens did not match the description of the subject. Slager was cleared of that charge.
[17:05:18] The family of Walter Scott says with this charge, there will at least be some accountability.
ANTHONY SCOTT, BROTHER OF WALTER SCOTT: We can't get my brother back and my family is in deep mourning for that. But through the process of justice has been served.
TODD: But there are still some critical gaps to fill in regarding this incident. Why did Walter Scott exit his vehicle? Was there, in fact, a scuffle, as Officer Slager had initially claimed? Officials here, the police chief and the mayor, did not answer those questions today. We've been reaching out to people who we believe are representatives for the officer. We've not heard back from them yet either. But those are some key questions that we are pursuing tonight, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Brian, we'll check back with you. Brian Todd reporting.
Let's bring in our justice reporter, Evan Perez. He has more on the federal role in this latest controversial case. What are you hearing from your sources here in Washington?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know, the federal government got involved in this case very, very quickly, very unusually quickly, and that's simply because of the video. The video really tells a lot of the story.
So now what they're doing is they're going down there to try and see if they can find any additional witnesses who may be able to shed light on some of what Brian Todd was talking about, whether or not there was a scuffle, whether there was something that could back up what the officer has said happened, whether there was some reason why he needed to fear for his life. And that is something that both the FBI and the Justice Department civil rights division are busy doing now.
BLITZER: How common is it for federal authorities to launch charges against police officers in cases like this?
PEREZ: Well, you know, we've talked about so many of these cases on your program here, and it's so hard for them to bring federal civil rights charges, because the bar is set very high.
And so just last night, there was a case in New York where the prosecutors declined to bring charges against an officer who shot and killed an African-American college student in Westchester County. So you can tell these are very difficult charges to bring, but they have to investigate to see if they can bring them.
BLITZER: All right. Evan Perez doing good reporting for us as you usually do. Thanks very much.
Let's talk about all of this and more with the newly-announced Republican presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Senator, thanks very much for joining us. And I want to point out, you're in North Charleston, South Carolina, right now. We've planned this interview for -- you're not there because of what happened over the past few days. This is coincidental, right?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Correct. We're on a campaign tour starting off the presidential campaign. We were in Kentucky yesterday and then New Hampshire today, South Carolina today and tomorrow, tonight and tomorrow, and then into Iowa and Nevada.
BLITZER: I just want to explain why you're in North Charleston, where this shooting occurred. You've seen the video by now. This is a unique case, because it is on videotape. But how common do you think these kinds of cases are, where a white police officer shoots and kills an African-American man?
PAUL: First, I'd like to say it's just a terrible tragedy, and I hope justice does occur. But I do think that sometimes the way we report news, we tend to report the news of crime, and so we see a lot of crime, and we think it's representative of the whole.
And I think when you look at police across our country, 98, 99 percent of them are doing their job on a day-to-day basis and aren't doing things like that. And then when a tragedy like this happens, it doesn't exculpate that particular instance. But it shouldn't paint with a broad brush that all police are bad or all police aren't doing their job.
So I think it's important that, when we see terrible tragedy like this, because we report crime so much in our news, we don't often see the policeman who's going next door and helping the little old lady whose heat is turned off or bringing food to someone. And I just want to be careful that we don't paint with a broad brush that somehow all of our police are bad.
In this particular instance, I hope justice does occur, but I hope we don't paint it with such a broad brush that we draw conclusions that may not be accurate.
BLITZER: No, I think that's fair enough. Almost all police officers around the country, they're decent; they're hard-working; they protect us. But there are these kinds of cases that do occur where a white police officer unjustly goes ahead and shoots and kills a black person, correct?
PAUL: Well, I think what we need to do is, you know, I've asked for statistics on this. Congressman Bobby Scott and I did a bill last year to ask for statistics. It's never been really added up on statistics of shooting, the racial characteristics of the shootings. And so we can compile data to know how big a problem it is or to know if it's a very odd circumstance.
But for certain, we should know the numbers, and so I have legislation that would count up these numbers so we can better address it, if it really is a systemic problem.
[17:10:05] BLITZER: In this particular case, we know it's a problem, because it is all caught on videotape, and it is shocking to anyone who sees it.
You and I have discussed your efforts to collaborate with African- American leaders to try to change laws out there that disproportionately impact African-Americans. And when you announced your candidacy yesterday, you said this. Let me play the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Senator, what laws are you talking about?
PAUL: Yes, I probably could have been a little more specific there. I'm really referring to the drug laws, non-violent drug laws, because I think what's happened -- and really, this is the mistake we make. We say it's all racism. There is a disproportionate impact of the drug war on African-Americans, but it's not all or I'm not even sure what percentage of it could be even regard to color. Because often there are black police officers arresting black perpetrators in big cities.
But the reason why I think it's unfair is that, when you look at survey data of white teenagers and black teenagers, the use of illegal drugs is pretty similar, but the people in prison, three out of four are black or brown. And it's because we do our patrolling in big cities in areas of high concentration of population and more crime, and then maybe the white kids who live in the suburbs predominantly aren't having that same degree of patrols, and it adds up over time.
But if you look at our prisons, there is a disproportionate impact on poor people, black or brown more commonly. But poverty is a common denominator. I the war on drugs needs to be reassessed, and we as a society need to decide should we give teenagers a second chance to make a mistake?
We put a guy in prison, a 24-year-old kid in prison for 55 years for selling marijuana, and I think that's an inappropriate punishment. We need to rethink what we're doing in the war on drugs.
BLITZER: Well, that's one case, the war on drugs, but there are a lot of people out there who think a lot of other laws are also biased against African-Americans. Do you agree with that?
PAUL: You know, I think that I was referring mostly to the war on drugs but I would say that sometimes, poor people in our society may not be getting the same representation that rich people get. So I am very concerned that the criminal justice system is not treating people equally.
One of the tragic cases was Kalief Browner up in New York City, 16 years old, accused of a crime, kept in prison for three years without a trial. The Sixth Amendment says you get a speedy trial. And I was horrified to find out in America that this young boy was accused of a crime, never tried, finally released from prison, but he was kept in solitary confinement, tried to commit suicide several times. That really bothered me. And that shouldn't be happening in our country. And I want to be part of trying to fix that and make it better, more fair and more just.
BLITZER: The North Charleston police chief said today that he plans to have body cameras on all of his police officers. You think that every police officer in the United States should wear a body camera?
PAUL: You know, it's difficult to say everybody and that we should direct it from the federal level, but I have supported legislation to allow some of the grants that are already going out to be used for body cameras. I'm not big on telling South Carolina what to do or big on telling Kentucky what to do.
But if I were a member of the police force, I think in some ways the body cameras protect them, because while there are accusations that are justified, there are also some unjust accusations against police, and I think the cameras will protect the good policemen, which I think are the vast majority of or police.
BLITZER: Let's get into some other issues, Senator. Our own justice reporter, Evan Perez, yesterday right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, he broke the news that the Russian government used hackers to break into the State Department and the White House computer system, had access to details about the president's schedule, his meetings, his movements. You're on the foreign relations committee. How vulnerable is the United States that this could happen again?
PAUL: Well, it concerns me a great deal. And I think we have to protect ourselves. That's one of the reasons why I think we require that our high officials use government servers. And this is one of the concerns about Hillary Clinton, and using a private server that she may have opened herself up to espionage. And we'll maybe never know the truth, because she erased the files. But this is of a great deal of concern to me.
BLITZER: If you were president, how you would handle these threats? Let's say from Russia's President Putin?
PAUL: Well, we have to use all the technology at our hand. We have to have the ability to block espionage, cyberespionage. We have to have the ability to have the best and brightest of our minds to help us to write code that can keep people out. And we also, though, have to have certain rules for our high government officials. I don't think the secretary of state should communicate with the president via e-mail through a private server without the protection of the government cyber-controls and cybersecurity controls.
[17:15:11] So I think that is a mistake, and we should make sure that the -- any next secretary of state or secretary of defense or what have you is communicating through a secure channel.
BLITZER: I want you to respond to this new ad that was -- came out yesterday. Apparently a million dollar buy by some Republican group out there that basically charges that your foreign policy is very close to President Obama's foreign policy, and they specifically have a quote from you back in 2007. I'll play a little clip of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate is considering tough new sanctions on Iran. President Obama says he will veto them, and Rand Paul is standing with him. Rand Paul supports Obama's negotiations with Iran, and he doesn't understand the threat.
PAUL: You know, it's ridiculous to think that they're a threat to our national security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul is wrong and dangerous. Tell him to stop siding with Obama, because even one Iranian bomb would be a disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. I want you to respond to that, but specifically, the 2007 quote where you said that Iran was not a real threat to the United States.
PAUL: You know, I think the whole thing's sort of a farce and factually incorrect. In fact, Politifact said it was mostly false. When you look at the actual facts on the ground, I've been one of the leading proponents saying that any agreement that we come to with Iran has to come back and be voted on by Congress. I've been saying repeatedly that I'm skeptical for the main reason that Iran's foreign minister is now tweeting out in English that the agreement doesn't mean what President Obama says the agreement means.
And so really, I think that people are desperate somehow to latch onto the status quo. And so they put out falsehood but there's really nothing about the ad that's correct. Even the statement from 2007, even in 2007 I did believe that Iran was potentially a threat and developing a nuclear weapon was bad. And now eight years later, which is a long time, I think the threat has become heightened.
So I think it's unfair to take statements out of context from eight years ago and then to basically lie about my position on Iran now.
BLITZER: Because in 2007, you did say -- we heard you say it, it's ridiculous to think that they're a threat to our national security. But what I hear you saying is your views have changed.
PAUL: That's not to say -- but that's not -- look. That's not to say that in 2007, them developing a nuclear weapon wouldn't be a threat.
Really, the threat to the United States that we've always been concerned with is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles and developing a nuclear weapon. So that statement taken out of context, even in 2007 isn't to say that I didn't believe developing a nuclear weapon was a good thing or that that might not be a threat.
But I think after eight years, one thing we do all know is that events change, and as you've seen, their capacity and their ability to quickly build a nuclear weapon has become more -- more significant and more immediate over time.
PAUL: But I think the main thing about this is these are people -- this is sort of this neocon community, and the neoconservatives have really never met a war they didn't like. And so what you'll see is these attacks saying, oh, you're close to Obama's position?
In reality, the neocons who have been with President Obama on the war in Libya. They've been with President Obama on wanting to bomb Assad. And they were really also for taking out Hussein. Everything they have been for over the last decade has really been to make America less safe and to make the region more chaotic.
I think we could have a good intellectual debate about this, but attack ads like this that are mostly untrue if not entirely false probably don't serve the public very well.
BLITZER: You want to name names when you're criticizing or blasting these so-called neocons?
PAUL: Well, you know, if these people would release their jokers (ph), then we'd know who they are. But these are people who want to be in the shadows and have something secret and then put up a bunch of lies.
But I think there are people you will see in the Senate who basically favored giving arms to Gadhafi, and then the next year they were favoring giving arms to the so-called freedom fighters. But now it turns out that the war they had in Libya, which was supported by the neocons and President Obama, the war's a disaster. Radical jihad has run amok in Libya. It's chaotic. And I think we're more likely to be attacked by people organizing in Libya than we were before the war. So people need to think through when war's in our interest and when war is not in our interest.
BLITZER: I want to give you also a chance to clarify your position on foreign aid, specifically foreign aid to Israel. Israel, as you know, gets about $3 billion a year in economic and military assistance from the United States.
Back in 2011, you and I had a pretty famous exchange. I'll play that clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:20:10] PAUL: I don't think funding both sides of an arm race, particularly when we've got to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else, we just can't do it anymore. The debt is all- consuming, and it threatens our well-being as a country.
BLITZER: All right. So just to be precise, and all foreign aid, including the foreign aid to Israel, as well, is that right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. But you don't believe that anymore, do you?
PAUL: Well, the interesting thing is yes, I still believe it; and people keep reporting that I've changed my opinion. But here are the facts.
I said in my speech today, I said in my announcement speech we can't borrow money from China to give it to Pakistan. But I have acknowledged over the last four years that I'm in the minority.
And so what I've been trying to do is say, look, to begin with, why don't we eliminate foreign aid for those who hate us and burn our flag? And that would be enemies of ours and enemies of Israel.
But my position on foreign aid really is no different than Netanyahu's position. In 1996, he came here to a joint session of Congress, and he said that, ultimately, he believes that Israel will be stronger by being independent of foreign aid.
But people try to misreport this, and I know you know how emotional this issue is with Israel. People try to misreport this as that I am somehow targeting Israel to remove aid to Israel, that I'm not a friend or an ally of Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've supported the Iron Dome. I've supported our alliance with Israel. I'm one of the people probably most prominent in Congress to say that it's wrong of American officials to be criticizing Israeli policy on where they build or what they decide on their internal politics.
So I think that, as long as it's reported accurately, my position really hasn't changed. Ultimately, I believe as Netanyahu does, that Israel will be stronger when they're entirely free of foreign aid.
BLITZER: All right. Let's move on to another sensitive issue. Something you raised today. You were questioned about your stance on abortion rights for women. And you said something along the lines, ask Debbie Wassermann-Schultz, she's the congresswoman. She's the chair of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee. You said, "Ask Debbie Wassermann-Schultz if it's OK to kill a seven pound baby in the uterus."
She did respond to what you said. She put out a statement saying, "Here's an answer. I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved, period, end of story. And I would appreciate it if you could respond without shushing me." That was Debbie Wassermann-Schultz. Go ahead and respond to her.
PAUL: Well, it sounds like her answer is yes, that she's OK with killing a seven-pound baby.
But the interesting thing is I understand our country's polarized on the issue and not everybody agrees on the issue. But even most of my friends who are pro-choice will tell me they're not OK with seven- and eight- and nine-pound abortions. They're not OK with really end stage when the baby's fully developed.
You know, there's a bit of doubt and discussion earlier in pregnancy, but Debbie's position, which I guess is the Democrat Party position, that an abortion all the way up until the day of birth would be fine, I think really most pro-choice people would be a little uncomfortable with that. So I don't know. I really think that she's got some explaining to do, and if that's the position of the party, a lot of pro-choice people are going to be uncomfortable with that position.
BLITZER: I want you to explain your position, because traditionally, libertarians believe the government shouldn't be involved in making these kinds of personal decisions for individuals. So when should a woman have a right to have an abortion?
PAUL: The thing is, is that there is a role for government in our lives, and the role is basically to prevent violence. And so when a baby is born -- I'm a physician and so I examine babies in the neonatal nursery often. Sometimes these babies are one and two pounds. They can fit in the palm of my hand. And everybody agrees that that baby that I examine has rights, that no one can injure that baby, and the government has a role to come even into the household if a mother or dad or a relative is somehow injuring a baby, that the baby has rights.
So somehow we have to decide when does a baby get rights? So a one- pound baby has rights, but a seven-pound baby in the uterus still, getting ready to be born or a nine-pound baby would have no rights. It seems like an abrupt sort of diminution of rights that all of a sudden you have rights and then a couple minutes before you didn't have rights. These are very, very difficult, I think, discussions. And then that's a question of when does life begin? And I don't think we all agree on that.
I personally believe that life is special, that human life is special and that there is a sanctity, and that we're more than just, you know, clay and dirt.
BLITZER: What about -- what about rape -- what about rape and incest?
PAUL: You and I have had this discussion before, that there will be extenuating circumstances. And I've supported legislation, both with exceptions and without exceptions.
[17:25:05] Basically, my point of view has been that anything that puts forward and develops and says, "You know what? There is something special about life, and there's a role for government," I've supported. That's been a variety of things, both with exceptions and without.
BLITZER: I want to just get a final question in, because I know you've got to run. There's a lot of commentary today following your interview this morning with Savannah Guthrie on "The Today Show." Other interviews you've had with female reporters suggesting that you're abrupt with them. "The Washington Post" has a headline saying, "Rand Paul's problem with female interviewers just cropped up again."
I want you to respond to this suggestion that you interrupt your female interviewers, that you're not polite to them. Go ahead and tell us what you think.
PAUL: You know, I think I've been universally short-tempered and testy with both male and female reporters. I'll own up to that. And it's hard sometimes. As you know, like during our interview right now, I'm looking at only a camera. I can't see you. And it's hard to have a true interaction sometimes, particularly if it's a hostile interviewer.
And so I do think that interviews should be questions and not necessarily editorializing. So if you get sort of two minutes of editorializing by the interviewer that draws conclusions, you feel somewhat at a loss on the other end. You can't see the person who you think is mischaracterizing a position and not really asking a question.
And I think I should have more patience, but I think I'm pretty equal opportunity. If I get annoyed, I was annoyed with a male reporter this morning. So I will have to get better at holding my tongue and holding my temper, but I think it's pretty equal opportunity, not directed towards one -- you know, male or female.
BLITZER: Basically, I want to just wrap it up with a question about you have been suggesting over the past few days that new information is going to come out about Hillary Clinton that will be very, very embarrassing to her and the Clinton Foundation. What exactly are you talking about?
PAUL: You know, there are certain businesses that the State Department oversees that are sensitive for security reasons. I believe and have been told that there's going to be information about donations to the Clinton Foundation that may or may not have had or could possibly have had influence over who gets to do business in various countries around the world. Some of these countries, very sensitive to our national security.
And that's all I'm at liberty to say right now. It's not something we're publishing, but we're aware of a book that will be coming out in the next couple weeks that will make these accusations. And then the public and journalists like you will have to figure out and sort through to see what is true. But I do know there will be made accusations that certain companies that were approved in countries that are sometimes our enemies or adversaries, these companies were approved and some of the shareholders of these companies gave large donations to the Clinton Foundation.
BLITZER: And I just want to be precise. You're talking about the new book that's coming out entitled "Clinton Cash." You've heard about the book, but you and your staff have not actually gone through and verified all the accusations in there, have you?
PAUL: No. But they're troubling. And I think they fit sort of other troubling revelations about foreign countries giving to the Clintons.
And you know, we've had rules in our country for a long time about foreigners, non-U.S. citizens, but foreign countries in particular aren't allowed to engage in our elections. And the question here is are they skirting election law? Are they taking money and potentially getting influence bought by foreign countries through a foundation?
It is unseemly. And I think even the Clintons realized this at one point when they said they were going to stop doing it. At least for a while, they would stop while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. But then it turns out that's not true, either.
So these were very troubling accusations. And I can't prove the veracity of them, but I do know that what's coming forward, there should be a lot of questions asked about whether or not this was appropriate behavior while she was secretary of state.
BLITZER: Senator Rand Paul, I hope the next time we talk, you'll be here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We can do it face-to-face, sitting around a table. I agree with you. Those are always better interviews. A remote interview via satellite is good, as well. Appreciate the time you gave us today.
PAUL: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Senator Rand Paul is running for the Republican presidential nomination.
We'll have more on the breaking news coming up. We're going to break down the disturbing video of the deadly police shooting. Does it show the officer trying to plant evidence?
Plus, the life or death decision now facing jurors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial. What's ahead in the critical penalty phase?
BLITZER: We're following breaking news as South Carolina officials try to defuse the anger following the fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American man by a white police officer. An attorney for the victim's family tells CNN the man was hit four times in the back and once in the ear.
[17:34:31] Saturday's killing in North Charleston, South Carolina, was all caught on videotape. The entire video also contains other important clues.
I'm joined now by the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, and our law enforcement analyst. Tom, set the scene for us. How did the incident, first of all, start?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It starts with a traffic stop, and this will come up shortly.
OK. So we see a traffic stop here. Scott is pulled over in his Mercedes by Officer Slager. Whatever happens there, we're not sure, but they end up -- they end up leaving and walking down the street.
[17:35:11] Sorry. Get this to come up. OK. They come down the street and they end up here. Somebody with a camera ends up -- that's restarted. So anyway, they've left the area of the traffic stop. They've come down here by the park and someone is going to film this now with an iPhone camera right over here.
Then what we see is the first image, now that they've arrived in the middle of this park, they're having a little bit of a grabbing match. We're not sure what. The officer in his report says that Scott was trying to take his Taser. We think he may have already been Tased at this point, and it didn't work. But we don't know.
In any event, two things of importance are that he has ahold of his arm here, but you see the right arm of the officer up here and this is important. He's already going to his gun. That's his firearm on his right hip. He's already in the position to be trying to get that.
BLITZER: The next image is in the park, as well.
FUENTES: IN image two, they're at the same spot. He's let go of his arm. And what we think we see down here in between his feet -- we're not sure -- might be the Taser on the ground, the empty now used Taser. We're not positive.
But in any event, Scott now is getting ready to run. The officer again with his right hand back near his firearm on his right hip.
Now he takes off running, and we can see at this point the officer is shooting. So he's firing shots, shooting at Scott's back.
Now, one of the things that we've seen in the initial arm hold that we have is it doesn't appear that Scott is in any way attacking the officer. He's pulling maybe or resisting, but he's not actually threatening the officer or trying to wrestle or fight with the officer. But at some point, he decides he's out of here. And he starts running down this sidewalk, and the officer is shooting him in the back as it turns out. And as he gets further down, you know, we can see what happens to him.
We'll go to the video taken by a bystander with his smart phone and later turned over to the family, who turned it then over to the media and to the police. So we can see he's running, and he goes to the ground. When we see -- when we see Mr. Scott go to the ground, we see that it looks like his hands are bare. He's just trying to break his fall on the grass. So again, as he comes over to here, his hands go out, hands up in the grass.
BLITZER: Finally, after the shooting, the officers, another officer or two shows up.
FUENTES: Right. This is kind of important here, because the officer, you know, whatever happened that the car at the original traffic stop, both of those two left and ran into this park here. And what's really important is when we hear the police dispatch tapes.
At what point does Slager, the officer, ask for help, call for backup, or is it clear to his fellow officers that he's about to try to make an arrest on somebody who, whether he resists or fights at that point, we don't know, but he does run.
And so at this point, though, we see within a minute or two that a second officer has arrived. So it does raise the question why didn't he wait? If he had an officer that close, he should have heard it on the radio, what the estimated time of arrival was for his backup. Why doesn't he wait for the second officer to come?
BLITZER: All right. Tom, stay with us, because I want to bring in our -- the former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin; along with CNN anchor Don Lemon. Let's get some analysis from you guys.
Don, without this video, obviously, do you question whether the police officer would have even been charged?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I can't speak to whether he would be charged so quickly, but I don't think that we'd be talking about it on television. I think that, you know, they would be looking at the evidence back there, the possibility that it might be covered up and that people would pay attention and believe the police reports that turn out now to have a lot of suspicion around them.
So I think without that videotape, we would not be here at this moment. What would happen later on down the road, I don't know. I can't tell you.
BLITZER: Sunny, North Charleston, South Carolina is, what, about half black, 47 percent, according to the most recent statistics, 37 percent white. Eighty percent, though, of the police force is white. Do you think that that plays a role in this? Are there divisions in the community, in communities like this, a predominantly white police force?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I certainly think that that's a problem countrywide. We've talked about that often. And even the mayor of this city mentioned that race could be a factor.
But I think the larger issue here, and what Don is talking about, is without this video, we wouldn't be talking about it. And quite frankly, I think without this video, he would not have been charged. Because the narrative, Wolf, first came out from this officer was that he shot in self-defense because he feared for his life.
And so you know, without the video showing a very, very different sequence of events, I'm quite sure he would not have been charged. I think what's also interesting is -- and perhaps a result of all the protests and result of all this type of coverage, this city needs to be commended, North Charleston, for acting so very quickly.
We have to remember that this shooting occurred on April 4. This officer was charged on April 7 with murder three days later, was also fired. His name was divulged. He -- this did not go to a grand jury. And so, you know, this city is to be commended, quite frankly, for this swift action.
I've never seen anything this quick involving a police shooting. So perhaps, you know, everything that has happened with Michael Garner where there was a video. Michael Brown, there was no video. Tamir Rice, there was a video. May in a sense now, those situations are acting as the template for these police shootings.
BLITZER: All right. Sunny, Don, Tom, I know you'll all be back with me later. So stand by.
This important note to our viewers. Don will be back later tonight, as well, 10 p.m. Eastern. Much more on his program, "CNN TONIGHT."
A lot more coming up from North Charleston, but we're also following another breaking story right now. What's next now that a jury has convicted the Boston Marathon bomber?
Also ahead, new worries that airstrikes could open the door for an al Qaeda comeback in a country President Obama once pointed to as a success story in the war on terror.
[17:45:55] BLITZER: We'll have much more on the North Charleston, South Carolina, police shooting.
But we're also covering breaking news in Boston where a jury convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on all 30 counts related to the Boston marathon bombing. The mysteries now, will Tsarnaev testify during the death penalty phase of his trial and will the jury spare his life?
CNN's Alexandra Field is joining us from outside the federal courthouse in Boston.
Tell us how this all went down -- Alexandra.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a 21-year-old whose life will soon be in the hands of this jury. He barely looked at the jurors and the jurors barely looked at him when the verdict was read out loud in open court, guilty on all 30 counts.
It took some time. Tsarnaev looking away, looking down at his hands, fidgeting as many of the counts were read. At some points talking to his attorney, Judy Clarke, who is by his side. Eleven of the 12 jurors looked straight ahead, they looked at the judge, they looked at the clerk, they did not seem to lock eyes with Tsarnaev. But the rest of the courtroom, all eyes were on Tsarnaev.
It was filled with survivors of the marathon bombings. It was filled with family members of the victims of those blasts, the family members of Sean Collier. They hung on every word that was said out loud in that court today. And this is the day they've been waiting nearly two years for. There was no audible emotion in the courtroom. People were quiet, they were reflective. A few of them wiping away tears.
But again, it's been nearly two years. A lot of them say that this doesn't bring a sense of closure but it is the first step toward the kind of justice, Wolf, that they have been hoping for. The next step, the penalty phase. And again, it could begin as early as next week here at the federal courthouse.
BLITZER: We will of course cover that. And we'll have much more on this story coming up as well.
Alexandra, thanks very much.
Still ahead, we are going back to South Carolina where angry protesters have blocked streets, interrupted a news conference about the shooting of an unarmed African-American man by a white police officer. Will there trouble tonight?
Also coming up, al Qaeda offers gold, gold to whoever kills two of its biggest enemies.
[17:52:18] BLITZER: We'll have much more ahead on the North Charleston police shooting of an unarmed African-American man. But there's other breaking news that we're following, including al Qaeda announcing a bounty on the heads of two leaders including the former president of a crucial U.S. ally. And now the Defense secretary is warning al Qaeda is strengthening amid all the chaos in Yemen.
Our chief national correspondent Jim Sciutto is working the story for us.
What's the latest, Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that's right. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP, it put out a bounty of 50 pounds of gold, nearly 50 pounds of gold on the leaders of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who've taken over large parts of the country. Just another example of how a group seen as a principal terror threat to the U.S. homeland is taking advantage of the crisis there as Yemen falls into further disarray.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): A wounded fighter tries desperately to crawl out of the crossfire. Under a barrage of bullets, others drag the injured man to safety.
This is the chaos in Yemen that the terror group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is now exploiting to its advantage. Today, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned that AQAP is taking advantage of Yemen's collapse.
ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: You see them making gains on the ground there as they try to take territory, seize territory.
SCIUTTO: U.S. counter terror officials consider Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula one of the most severe terror threats to the U.S. homeland and to international aviation. The group's master bomb maker, the man behind the underwear bomb plot, Ibrahim al-Asiri, still remains on the loose in Yemen.
CARTER: AQAP is a group that we're very concerned with. We all know that AQAP has the ambition to strike Western targets, including the United States. And that's why we've long conducted counterterrorism operations against AQAP.
SCIUTTO: Those counterterrorism operations greatly diminished after U.S. special forces tracking the militants had to evacuate the country last month. The U.S. embassy and intelligence gathering operations also closed. And the Yemeni government, America's partner in the terror fight, fell to Iranian-backed rebels.
SETH JONES, RAND CORPORATION: Most important, the United States has lost awareness of what's going on in Yemen by pulling out its special operations forces. This is absolutely critical.
SCIUTTO: Defense Secretary Carter really laying out in the starkest terms we've heard so far from an administration official just what a -- what damage the situation in Yemen is doing to U.S. counter terror policy. You had a friend government there that was a partner in the fight against terror. You had U.S. special forces on the ground. You had intelligence gathering on the ground. Those are all gone now. The U.S. relying on drone flights, assets out of the country.
[17:55:13] Wolf, that's a very different situation than we were just a few months ago. And in there you have AQAP seen as one of two principal threats to the U.S. homeland.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto reporting for us. More on this story coming up in our next hour as well. Thank you.
There's breaking news we're following. New details of the police shooting all caught on camera. We are live at the scene.
Plus new revelations about the police officer's record.