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New Video in South Carolina Police Shooting; Large Tornado Confirmed in Iowa. Aired 6:00-7p ET

Aired April 9, 2015 - 18:00   ET


[18:00:02] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, dash cam evidence.

Just-released video shows the traffic stop that led to a deadly shooting by a police officer in South Carolina. Why did the suspect run from his car? I will ask the lawyers for his family. I will get their take on this just-released video. They are standing by to join us live.

And witness speaks out. Stand by for our exclusive new interview with a woman who says she saw a tussle unfold before the fatal shots were fired.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, new video just released from the lead-up to a deadly shooting by a police officer in South Carolina. It shows the initial traffic stop at a critical moment, when the driver jumped out of his car and fled.

So what happened next? We have an exclusive interview with a new witness who says she saw a tussle unfold before the fatal shots were fired. This hour, we're breaking down all the evidence in the case that is stirring outrage across the nation, indeed around the world. We are going to get the first reaction to the dash cam video from the lawyers for the victim's family.

They are standing by live along with our correspondents and analysts. They're all covering the breaking news.

First, let's go to CNN national correspondent Jason Carroll. He's joining us now from North Charleston with more on the breaking story.

Jason, first, I want our viewers who may just be tuning in to watch the dash cam video play out in real time. Watch this.


MICHAEL SLAGER, SOUTH CAROLINA POLICE DEPARTMENT: See your license, registration and insurance card. What's that?

OK. Let's start with your license. The reason for the stop is your brake light is out.




SLAGER: Do you have insurance on the car?

SCOTT: No. I don't have insurance.

SLAGER: Well, if you don't have insurance on your car, since you bought it, you have got to have insurance.

SCOTT: Well, I haven't bought it yet. I'm saying I'm about to do that Monday.

SLAGER: You told me you bought it.

SCOTT: (OFF-MIKE) drive the car.


SCOTT: Yes, because my car is down. (OFF-MIKE)

SLAGER: Fine. Let me have your driver's license. You don't have any paperwork in the glove box?

SCOTT: No, sir.

SLAGER: No registration in there, no insurance?

SCOTT: No. He has all that stuff.

SLAGER: Why isn't it -- OK. But you are buying this car?

SCOTT: Yes, sir.

SLAGER: Did you already buy it?

SCOTT: No, not yet. I'm about to buy it Monday.

SLAGER: Just a minute ago, you told me that you bought it.


SLAGER: ... Monday.

SCOTT: I'm sorry about that. (OFF-MIKE)

SLAGER: OK. All right. We will be right back with you.

Got to stay in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taser, Taser, Taser!

SLAGER: Get on the ground now! Get on the ground.


[18:05:01] BLITZER: All right, so there it is.

That's the video that has been released just a little while ago by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which is in charge now of this investigation after local authorities in North Charleston, South Carolina, the police and mayor, they decided that the investigation would be better handled by the state.

Jason Carroll is still with us. You can hear the words Taser, Taser, Taser, Jason, right at the very end of that video that's just been released. For our viewers who are not familiar with the background, Jason, tell us the decision-making, why this video was released just a little while ago, why they made this public.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Full disclosure. That's the basic answer to that one, Wolf.

The investigators wanted to make sure they were putting all of the evidence that they had in terms of video out there for the public to see, given the important nature of the case and given how sensitive the community is to what happened here. That was part of the decision-making process.

In terms of why it took this long, when I spoke to one of the investigators a little earlier, basically, they have six dash cam tapes. They were basically deciding, do we release all of them, do we release the ones that are most important, some of them said, simply? Officers racing through the streets, it doesn't show anything pertinent to what happened here.

The decision was made to release three, one that you see here from officer Slager's car, another one from officer Habersham's dash cam. You remember him. He was the first backup officer that arrived at the scene, and also a third officer. But, clearly, the most important dash cam video comes from officer Slager.

You can see there what happens there in the tape when he pulls Scott over and what investigators are going to be keying in on is not only just what happened in the few minutes after the stop, but what happened in the moments right after he was stopped. I want you to listen to once again the exchange that the two of them had at the car there.


SLAGER: The reason for the stop is your brake light is out.




SLAGER: Do you have insurance on the car?

SCOTT: No. I don't have insurance.

SLAGER: Well, if you don't have insurance on your car, since you bought it, you have got to have insurance.

SCOTT: Well, I haven't bought it yet. I'm saying I'm about to do that Monday.

SLAGER: You told me you bought it.

SCOTT: (OFF-MIKE) drive the car.




CARROLL: Shortly thereafter, you see there on the dash cam tape that the officer, officer Slager, gets back inside his car.

Then, at one moment, you see Scott try to get out of his car. He is instructed to get back inside his car. Scott does get back inside his car. And then at a certain point, he makes a run for it.

Again, six dash cam videos that investigators have in their possession, Wolf, none of them show the shooting. None of them show the altercation that Scott and Slager had before the shooting. But investigators still believe that this is a key piece of evidence, the Slager dash cam video, because once again it does show what happened in the moments immediately after Scott was shot.

And a final thought here, Wolf, and that has to do with questions being asked about the investigation. Some people asking questions why Scott decided to run. Well, that's not what Scott's family and those who support him are asking. They say it's not a question of why Scott decided to run. The question is why Slager decided to shoot -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jason, I want you to stand by, because we have a lot more on this dash cam video that's just been released. We will go through it frame by frame.

But there's also other critically important information we're learning today, a new witness account of the shocking police shooting, that video that was released the other day by a private individual. A woman who saw the moments leading up is now speaking out for first time and revealing what happened. She's revealing it exclusively to CNN.

She spoke to our own Brian Todd. He's also in North Charleston with more on this part of the story.

Brian, tell our viewers what you have learned.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is an exclusive new account from a witness who is just now coming forward. She says she has not yet spoken to police.

This woman says she witnessed part of this confrontation.


TODD (voice-over): The video of Walter Scott's shooting not only shows the end of his life; it shows the end of a confrontation that began hundreds of yards away.

GWEN NICHOLS, WITNESS: We heard the police siren.

TODD: But in an exclusive interview tonight, Gwen Nichols tells CNN she saw how it all began.

Nichols says she was in the neighborhood when she heard the police cars speeding by. Curious, she followed them to the Advanced Auto Parts parking lot, where officer Michael Slager pulled Walter Scott over. At that point, she says, there was chaos. She didn't want to get any closer. She says she saw the two men at the entrance to a vacant lot less than a block away.

[18:10:03] NICHOLS: I didn't hear Mr. Slager saying stop or halt.

TODD: Nichols says that's when she saw a physical confrontation.

NICHOLS: Before, what you saw on the videotape, there was like a little tussle over there like at the end of that gate down there.

TODD (on camera): Were they on the ground rolling? What were they doing?

NICHOLS: No, it wasn't on the ground rolling. It was like a tussle type of thing, you know, like what do you want or what did I do type of thing.

TODD (voice-over): She says she has yet to speak with police. Tonight, despite the video evidence, experts say some key questions still remain unanswered. Among them, why would Walter Scott have exited his vehicle during a routine traffic stop?

MILLER SHEALY, CHARLESTON SCHOOL OF LAW: It's not unusual for someone when they're stopped for a traffic incident like this just to get out of vehicle, to get their wallet out, to get their license. Sometimes, they do it for safety reasons. Person gets out of the car. You see that they don't have a firearm. You see that they're not threatening.

TODD: And why would Scott have run? Feidin Santana, who recorded the amateur video, told NBC of one possibility.

FEIDIN SANTANA, WITNESS: Before the video, I saw that he was trying to get away from the Taser, and his reaction was just, you know, to get away of the Taser.

TODD: The confrontation ended up a long way from where it started, more than two football fields, by our measurement. so far, it appears Feidin Santana was the only bystander in the immediate area where the fatal shots were fired.

(on camera): This house abandoned, this apartment building also abandoned. This is the spot where Feidin Santana picked it up and started filming. Had he not done that, we might never have found out what happened.

(voice-over): Gwen Nichols says her son also had a run-in with the North Charleston police after a routine traffic stop. She says she was overwhelmed when she heard the gunshots that killed Walter Scott.

NICHOLS: I started to cry. Sorry. I started to cry because I thought about the altercation with my son, and it could have been my son. It could have been any one of these young -- black young men around here.


TODD: Gwen Nichols says she believes there are still a lot of good police officers in North Charleston, but she says she thinks it's time for them to do more community policing.

We have to say, Wolf, tonight also there is another important witness in this entire thing, a passenger who was in Walter Scott's car, according to the police report. We have not yet heard his account -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Have they identified him? Do we know his name even?

TODD: I don't believe we do know his name, Wolf. He was in the car. He was left there when Scott took off. He was actually left behind when officer Slager took off after him.

But we do not know his name. We have not heard anything from him. I believe he was taken into custody at least at one point. You better believe he is a focal point of this investigation. He is the one witness left who really could probably tell us why Walter Scott took off running.

BLITZER: Took off running from the vehicle, then later took off running, as we all saw in that other video. Brian Todd, good reporting. Thanks very much.

Let's bring in the lawyers for the family of the shooting victim, Walter Scott.

Joining us now, Chris Stewart and Justin Bamberg. They're both joining us from North Charleston.

First of all, I want to just get your thoughts on how the family is doing, because earlier today we know one member of the family just as this person was about to go on television and talk about what was going on fell ill. What do we know about that? I will ask you, Chris Stewart, first.

CHRIS STEWART, ATTORNEY FOR SCOTT FAMILY: Yes. That was one of the brothers. It's just the stress of all of this and talking about their brother is affecting them, dealing with all of the stress of the media and just the outside world. Just, it's getting to the family.

BLITZER: Is he OK, the brother?

STEWART: He is OK. He is OK. This is a very strong family, a very strong family.

BLITZER: All right, well, that's good to know.

Mr. Bamberg, Let's talk a little bit about this video, the dash cam video that has just been released. I assume you have seen it now, right?

JUSTIN BAMBERG, ATTORNEY FOR SCOTT FAMILY: I have not been able to sit down and watch it as closely as I would like to for the first time. But I am aware of what's in the video.

BLITZER: Do you know why Walter Scott would get out of the vehicle and run away? The police officer says stay in the car and he started to run away. Do you have any idea why he would do that?

BAMBERG: I go back to what I still originally think, and that is with regard to the child support and a fear of maybe going back to prison after the stop.

But one thing that I want to stress that I think is very important is that this dash cam footage does not change the fact that at the moment the officer shot and killed Mr. Scott, that shooting was completely unjustified.

[18:15:09] And that is the key point of both the criminal investigation and the civil lawsuit that will be filed later.

BLITZER: Chris Stewart, who was the only passenger inside that vehicle, inside that Mercedes with the broken taillight?

STEWART: It was a co-worker who was a direct friend of Walter's. The family didn't know him. We're searching for him. We have people looking for him. A lot of people are looking for him.

But I can be honest. That's not even really the most important thing. Who was in the car doesn't really have impact on what happened later. We actually want to know, why wasn't CPR performed by any of the officers more than who was in the car.

BLITZER: And those are excellent questions, obviously. But we're just trying to understand a little bit about -- a little more about Walter Scott. When you say he served time in prison, what did he serve time for?

And I will ask you, Mr. Bamberg.

BAMBERG: I said prison. Jail. I believe it may have been with regards to child custody. I'm not 100 percent sure with regards to that. But I know that it had nothing to do with anything violent. He was not a dangerous person.

BLITZER: Do you know any of the answers to that, Chris Stewart?

STEWART: We can't hear you.

BLITZER: I said, do you know the answer, what he was serving time for, why he was in jail?

STEWART: He had previously been arrested for outstanding child support warrants issued by the court. He had one incident, I believe in '87, an arrest. But for the past 20 years, it has just been child support issues.

BLITZER: And he had served earlier in the Coast Guard, right?


STEWART: Yes. And he still -- he was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard.

But I want to also make one thing clear. Even looking at the dash cam video, which we have recently just looked at -- we have been meeting with the family. They actually met with the witness for the first time. He met the mother today for the very first time.

And we looked at the video. Wolf, just looking at it, he even looks like an older man getting out of the car and running away. That even further pushes the fact that that cop shouldn't have run after him and shoot at him.

BLITZER: Walter Scott was 50 years old. Michael Slager, the police officer, 33 years old.

Mr. Bamberg, has the family -- obviously, they are distraught, understandably so. Have they seen this dash cam video?

BAMBERG: Not to my knowledge, sir, they have not.

BLITZER: Because I assume it would be very painful to see Walter Scott in those final few moments before he eventually runs away and he is shot and killed by Michael Slager.

Do you know if -- Chris Stewart, do you know if the family has actually watched this dash cam video that has been released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division?

STEWART: No, we literally,as I said, were meeting with the witness who just met the mom and the dad in person for the first time, hugged them and talked for a while at the same time that this was released.

We took a quick look at it before talking to you. But nobody in the family has seen it, because they're all inside meeting with the witness in person.

BLITZER: When you say the witness, you mean the individual who shot the video that is so awful, the video that we actually see the police officer shooting Mr. Scott several times in the back as he is fleeing?


STEWART: Yes. He met the mother for first time in person just now.

BLITZER: Well, take us -- were you guys inside when that happened?


BAMBERG: Yes, sir.

BLITZER: Give us a little sense of how that went down.

And I will ask you, Mr. Stewart.

STEWART: It was beautiful, I mean, beautiful. They just hugged and prayed. And it was just beautiful.

BLITZER: Mr. Bamberg, remind us what happened. This whole incident occurred on Saturday, right?

BAMBERG: Yes, sir, on Saturday.

BLITZER: And obviously, you heard that Walter Scott was dead, he was shot. What did they tell you at the time?

BAMBERG: What did who tell me?

BLITZER: The law enforcement, the police.

BAMBERG: At which point in time?


BLITZER: When you first learned -- I don't know when you were brought into this case. But when -- he obviously was shot and killed on Saturday. At some point, somebody had to notify the family, the Scott family, that Walter Scott is dead. And I was wondering what the police said, how he died.

BAMBERG: Yes, sir. I was not there at the time. So I do not -- I cannot answer that question.

BLITZER: Mr. Stewart, do you know?

[18:20:01] STEWART: Yes, the incident happened Saturday. I was brought in Sunday. So they had already informed the family.

Actually, the family was informed from I think a friend who was in the area that said something had happened and that's where they found out about the incident.

BLITZER: I want both of you, both Chris Stewart and Justin Bamberg, the Scott family attorneys, if you don't mind, I would like you to stand by.

We have just received an extended version, a much longer version of this dash cam video that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has just released. And there's more information in this new video. We have a lot to discuss. If you don't mind staying with us, we will take a quick break, resume our special coverage right after this.


[18:25:12] BLITZER: Welcome back.

We're following breaking news out of North Charleston, South Carolina. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has just released more dash cam video showing the lead-up to what -- that ugly situation that occurred when a police officer, Michael Slager, shot and killed Walter Scott as he was running away.

We're going to show you more of this video in a moment. We have got an extensive panel of experts ready to react, including the attorneys for Walter Scott's family. They are standing by. They're going to watch the new video as well.

But I want to bring in Lonnie Randolph. He's the president of the South Carolina NAACP.

Lonnie, have you seen the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division video, the dash cam video that has already been released? We have more of it that we are about to show our viewers, because I want your reaction to what we saw when we saw Walter Scott actually get out of the vehicle, the police officer ordered him to stay inside, get out and then he starts running away. I want to get your thoughts on what we saw from the dash cam video.

LONNIE RANDOLPH, PRESIDENT, SOUTH CAROLINA NAACP: I saw the first part of the video that was aired on your program just moments ago. And it's...

BLITZER: Go ahead, Lonnie.

RANDOLPH: OK. I saw the first part of the video that was aired on your program, and that is the only one of the videos released by SLED that I have witnessed.

I heard your commentary regard the other videos. And I hope to view those so that I can make -- have a conversation about all of it, piecing it all together, or putting it all together to better understand what happened.

BLITZER: I think that's fair enough. And we're going to show more video momentarily.

Marc Morial is with us as well. He's the president of the National Urban League.

Marc, you have had a sense, an opportunity now to digest what we have just seen, the new video, the dash cam video. We have a lot of viewers out there who are anxious to get your thoughts. Go ahead.

MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: I think the dash cam video is important information. What we know is it appears as though the officer had probable cause to

stop the vehicle. We also see the officer approaching in an appropriate way. We see Mr. Scott giving the officer his license, but saying he did not have the other papers because -- quote -- "he was in the process of purchasing the car."

We see the officer returning to his own vehicle. And then Mr. Scott looks like he wants to get out of the car once, but then gets back into the car, and then gets out of the car and begins to run. So this is important in terms of piecing everything together.

But nothing in this video bears on the essential question as to whether or not excessive force was used and whether there was justification to shoot Mr. Scott in his back. So, as to that question, I would say to you, this video does not shed any new light.

I think the testimony or, if you will, the other witness who came forward to CNN may have offered more pertinent information, because she suggests that there was a tussle or a struggle between Mr. Scott and the officer at some point or an argument at some point before, in fact, the chase that we saw and the shooting took place.

But even that, even that, I would suggest, Wolf, doesn't suggest that there was any reason for Mr. Scott to be shot in his back. After all, this began as a traffic stop. The other thing I would say -- and this is an important question. And that is whether the officer exercised the best judgment in chasing Mr. Scott. After all, by chasing Mr. Scott, he allowed this car with another person to remain there unattended.

What would have occurred if that person would have just slipped into the driver's seat and drove that car away? So, I wonder -- and I don't wonder. I question whether the appropriate and best police response was to chase Mr. Scott on foot or whether the response would have been to call for backup, radio a description of Mr. Scott, indicate that he was in flight and see if he could get some reinforcements to assist you with this situation.

So, lots of questions, and I think it's important discussion about police tactics. It's not -- quote -- whether the officer -- quote -- "had a right to chase Mr. Scott."

BLITZER: All right.

MORIAL: It's whether chasing Mr. Scott was the appropriate thing to do, because his car still was there. There was another person in the car.

And, obviously, the officer must have had a question as to the status of the car, given the fact that Mr. Scott did not

MORIAL: ... whether the officer, quote, had a right to chase Mr. Scott. It's whether chasing Mr. Scott was the appropriate thing to do, because his car still was there. There was another person in the car. And obviously, the officer must have had a question as to the status of the car, given the fact that Mr. Scott did not produce a registration or a license.

[18:30:22] So interesting information, but the essential fact here, the essential case here as to whether there was justification for the shooting, this video may not bear on that.

BLITZER: Let me ask Tom Fuentes -- and Tom, I'm going to show some more video we've just received from the South Carolina law enforcement division. But react to what we heard. Did the police officer in this case, the 33-year-old Michael Slager, did he do the right thing by chasing Walter Scott as he was running away from that vehicle?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think under his discretion, it would have been the right thing. You know, the fact that there was a passenger in the car, the passenger hadn't done anything wrong. When Scott takes off running, he's doing something wrong. So to say that he automatically should never have done it and then go and hold in custody someone who wasn't driving the car and wasn't posing at that point any kind of a threat or any resistance, that's a judgement call on the officer. And I will agree with the point that it doesn't show any reason for what later happens in terms of the shooting.

BLITZER: We heard from Chris Stewart and Justin Bamberg, the attorneys representing the Scott family. They're looking for that passenger. They would like to talk to that passenger. They can't find that passenger to get a -- apparently, it was a friend. Here is some more of the dash cam video as the police officer is following now -- this is on the road there in North Charleston. The police officer, Michael Slager -- this is his dash cam video, following the car of Walter Scott. He's driving it. You see he's got the blinker on. He's about to make a left turn.

Let's watch this video.

All right. So there's the video. Now we see this is the video that we've seen before.

But Tom Fuentes, the video from the road, you see the dash cam following that Mercedes, making -- turning the blinker on. The police officer decides to pull him over. Was the police officer justified in pulling over Walter Scott's vehicle?

FUENTES: You see Scott brake coming to the intersection. And you see two bright white lights on both sides of the rear of the vehicle come on, meaning two red lenses are gone. And the reason that's dangerous is a car following that...

BLITZER: By the way, what we're showing our viewers now, this is more of the video. But this is after Walter Scott had run away. This is the passenger from the vehicle who came out. And in the meantime, another police officer shows up and takes that passenger out and frisks that passenger. You can see.

Let's cue that back up again, and let's watch it from the top. This is the passenger who has now emerged from the vehicle. A second police officer is there who's questioning the passenger. Let's get that cued up, and we'll see it from the top.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taser, Taser, Taser. Get on the grass. Get on the ground now. Get on the grass.


BLITZER: All right. So there you see it. That's the passenger who's being escorted away from that vehicle. The police officer -- the second police officer showed up and did some questioning. We don't know what happened to that passenger afterwards, although the attorneys for the Scott family tell us that they're looking for that passenger, as well. Must have been a friend, a friend of Walter Scott's from work, we're told.

Tom Fuentes, your thoughts on what we just saw there?

FUENTES: Well, it gives reason why maybe the officer chased after Scott, because he would have been aware -- we don't hear the radio dispatches. But he would have been aware how close backup is. If he knew that a squad was coming quickly, and he goes and pursues Scott on foot, he would have been aware that the passenger is going to be covered by another police officer shortly.

[18:35:06] BLITZER: All right. The lawyers for the Scott family are back with us, Chris Stewart and Justin Bamberg. I know you had a chance to watch the video. Let me start with you, Chris Stewart. What's your reaction?

CHRIS STEWART, LAWYER FOR SCOTT FAMILY: Nothing. You know, it looked like a potentially proper stop. If so, that's fine. You know, he did get out of the vehicle and run. And as we said, he did run, because he had outstanding child support, which he would have went to jail. And he didn't want to.

He ran down the -- there's an alleyway down that street where this new alleged witness saw what she described as them not on ground whatsoever. She described it even as a tussle, which he could have reached for his arm. And then the witness who saw everything picked it up from there and filmed it.

BLITZER: And Justin Bamberg, so you have no doubt the reason Walter Scott ran away from that vehicle was because he didn't want to go back to jail because of the child support issue? He was still -- he was still wanted, right, for failure to pay child support. Is that right?


BLITZER: And that's why he -- do you know how long he had served in jail originally for failure to pay child support?

BAMBERG: No, sir, I do not.

BLITZER: And you just -- you were watching this with the family, is that right, inside the home? Is that right, Justin?

BAMBERG: Yes, sir. I watched it in the home.

BLITZER: And can you give us a sense -- I don't want to, you know, interfere in the family's privacy, how their reaction. This must be so painful for them to see the brother, their son dealing with this kind of a situation, the dash cam video, if you will. What can you share with us? And I'll ask both of you. Chris Stewart, you first.

STEWART: You know, they actually weren't even watching that channel. And I hate that I just had to do that to the family. They were watching something funny. And I had to walk in and take the remote and turn the TV to CNN so that they could see it.

And it happened to be his mom and dad sitting right there. And they had no clue what we were turning it to. And they had to watch that clip of their son running away, which in their eyes, in my eyes, in this nation's eyes, further strengthens, why would you shoot an older man that's running away that you know you can easily catch, you know you can easily tackle, you know you can easily just let get away. It's not even like it's a violent crime. But instead, you take eight shots at him. It is sickening.

BAMBERG: I will add this, that it may be painful to watch that. But I can think of absolutely nothing more painful than watching your son, your father or your brother running, posing no risk of serious body harm or death to an officer or anyone else, and he is shot at eight times. He is struck four times in the back, once in the ear and watching him die on video. Nothing is more painful than that.

BLITZER: And tell us -- Chris Stewart, did you know Walter Scott before you were -- you started representing the family in recent days?

STEWART: No. A cousin who lives in Atlanta who had seen some of my cases before, the East Point Taser case where a young man was killed by the police with a Taser, and a couple other cases, thought that I needed to speak to the family. And she introduced me to them. And I drove straight up from Atlanta as soon as they called and let me know.

BLITZER: And what did the parents say, the family when they saw this video on CNN just a few minutes ago, when they saw their son running away from that vehicle?

STEWART: Nobody said anything. And we had to run back outside to finish talking to you. But you don't understand how strong this family is, is the catch, is no one understands the strength that this family is showing right now. We could show them however many video and tapes we want. But they know their brother, son, father. They've seen the tape which validates everything.

So we don't care what new witnesses are found, what new transgression happened before the video started. If it's not on that video, this family could care less.

BLITZER: Justin Bamberg, do you have confidence in the way South Carolina, the law enforcement division, is handling this case?

BAMBERG: I will say this, is that throughout this entire process, SLED has kept an open line of communication with us. I think that, with a murder charge being brought and an officer being arrested within four days of him gunning down Mr. Scott, I believe that is evidence of the work they are doing. And I am hopeful and prayerful that they will continue in their efforts to ensure that justice is done in this case.

[17:25:12] BLITZER: Chris Stewart, where does the legal process from your perspective go from now on?

STEWART: You need to make sure that you don't make any public statements or let your witness make any public statements until you have all of the facts. Because, as you can see, even that goes for a police station.

Before this video surfaced, the police station spoke first and made statements that supported the alleged taking of the Taser. The cop made statements that his Taser was taken. The attorney made the statements. You need to make sure from now on that -- look at both sides. Don't just take the word of the officer without checking the facts first.

BLITZER: Justin Bamberg, I assume the family is filing a lawsuit. Right?

BAMBERG: Oh, definitely, yes, sir.

BLITZER: Tell us about that.

BAMBERG: Essentially, we are going to bring suit against the city of North Charleston Police Department, against the officer and against every other agent and/or agency that contributes to or caused this incident to occur and caused the death of Mr. Scott. We anticipate filing a wrongful death action, a survival action, as well as a 1983 claim against the parties that are responsible.

BLITZER: A 1983 claim, what does that mean?

BAMBERG: It's a -- for violation of his civil rights and liberties.

BLITZER: And Chris Stewart, you want to elaborate, anything else what you're planning on doing?

STEWART: You know, this entire process, like I said, you know, when we found out about the charges being brought against the officer and the family was there and they hugged, and you know, there was a prayer said, I was happy that the family was happy. But that's just step one. He has to be found guilty. That may have to go to trial for them to get justice in that area.

The civil suit hasn't even been filed. They'll have to get justice in that area. That may end up with a jury.

But the one thing I'm confident in are the people of South Carolina, the people of this city that either of those situations will end up in front of. Because citizens decide cases. And that's where it's going to end up. Everybody across this country, across this world knows that this was wrong.

BLITZER: ABC News just aired this little clip. And I'm going to play it for both of you. And both of you are attorneys. You're representing the Scott family. This is from Karen Sharp. She's the mother of the police officer who's now been arrested, charged with murdering Walter Scott. This is Karen sharp, the mother, speaking out for the first time. Listen to this.


KAREN SHARP, MOTHER OF MICHAEL SLAGER: I can't imagine him -- he loved being a police officer. I can't imagine him doing something that -- it's just not like him. That's not his character.

But I just have to -- I just -- I just have to let it be and hope God takes care of everybody involved. Not only my family but the Scott family. Because I know they're grieving just like I'm graving.


BLITZER: Chris Stewart, your reaction.

STEWART: I mean, it's honesty. You know, this situation isn't -- isn't just the Scott family. This is a tragedy for everybody involved. It's a tragedy for this officer. It's just sad. It's sad all around. Whenever something like this happens, it's a ripple effect.

Of course, the immediate family is upset and devastated. But the transgressor, the person who caused it, they have a family. They're devastated. It's just a sad situation whenever things like this happen.

I could tell you the Scott family is going to be praying for his family and his mother that just spoke, because that's the kind of people they are. You heard them in the interview. They said they're not even holding any grudges. Who says they're not holding grudges after just seeing that tape? That family. So nobody is happy about this.

BLITZER: Nobody is happy. It's so sad all around. Justin Bamberg, let's not forget, Michael Slager, the police officer who's now been arrested and charged with murdering Walter Scott, his wife eight months pregnant right now, as well. You heard the mayor yesterday, saying that they were going to provide health insurance, at least through delivery of that baby, even though he has now been fired, terminated from the police department. He's in jail right now.

Your heart, I'm sure, goes out to his family, as well, for what is going on, right? BAMBERG: Yes, sir. My heart goes out to each and every person involved, whether it be immediately or by a stretch.

[18:45:00] As Chris stated, Mr. Scott's family was not the only family affected by this. The officer's family was affected by this, as well as the law enforcement family in whole is affected by this. I will continue to pray for the officer's family as I have been from day one. This is a very unfortunate incident. This is an incident that could have and should have been avoided. But unfortunately, we deal with the facts at hand. It happened. It must be dealt with.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly has. It's a tragedy all, all around.

We're going to take another quick break. We're going to resume our special coverage right after this.


[18:50:04] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news: the authorities in South Carolina have now released dash cam video showing what happened when the police officer in this particular case, the Michael Slager, pulled over Walter Scott's vehicle, pulled it over for a broken taillights in the back.

Here you see he's following him on the road there in North Charleston, South Carolina. You'll see the vehicle, that Mercedes make a left turn. The blinker goes on, make a left turn, going to pull in and the police officer is going to get out, walk over to the vehicle, ask a few questions, driver's license, registration, insurance, that kind of information.

And then you've seen this video by now at some point, the police officer goes back to the police car, but, unfortunately, Walter Scott disobeys the police officer's order to stay in the vehicle and he runs away and the police officer chases him. We all know what happens in the end with the other video that we have all seen by now.

Marc Morial, we just heard the attorneys, Chris Stewart and Justin Bamberg, representing the Scott family and our hearts go out to the Scott family.

But give me your reaction -- you're the president of the National Urban League -- to what we've heard of the painful words not only from the Scott family but from the mother of the police officer who just spoke out as well. This is an awful tragedy all around.

MARC MORIAL, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Well, it's a human tragedy. And that's why as a nation, we've got to fix this problem. We've got to confront that we have a problem when it comes to police community relations in this country.

And we've got one family that's got a dead loved one and, of course, you got another family who is looking at a very long jail term. This is a tragedy. Once again, we see it being played out with video. So, we can make a judgment as to what's occurred. You know, Wolf, we had a long discussion today about the new dash cam

and a lot of discussions about what led up to the killing of Mr. Scott. An important set of facts have come out. None of it as I said before bear on weather this was excessive use of force, which it was. This man was shot in cold blood. He should not have died.

What we didn't discuss today, which I think is important is the actions of the other officers in reporting on a police report that they witnessed the administration of aid to the dead Walter Scott and to the dying Walter Scott. So, we have got to have an additional discussion about whether not only was there a tragedy but the extent to which there was an effort to cover it up.

Both of these officers -- I mean, both of these lawyers for the family certainly talked about the statements that were made by lawyers for the police officer by spokespersons for the police department prior to this tape coming out. And that tape has sheds light. It's brought the truth out into the open. And that's the most important fact.

But for that -- but for that, we'd be having another debate of a different course which is weight of opinion would have been to give the officer every discretion because the taser would have been found right at the person's body. All of the officer who is responded who have said there was an effort to administer first aid. None of that was true.

So, it's a human tragedy of immense proportions. But I think the next part of this discussion has to talk about how it's not only what happens, but it's the official effort to cover it up -- deeply troubling.

BLITZER: I think that's well said indeed. Marc Morial, I want you to stand by.

With us also is Lonnie Randolph. He's the president of the South Carolina NAACP.

We've heard from the attorneys representing the Scott family, and you heard it as well, Lonnie, that the reason he may have run away from that vehicle is because he had -- he was wanted for child support.

We just received this information from South Carolina. There was a bench warrant out for his arrest because Walter Scott, they say, he owed back child support for two children totaling $18,104. This according to the Charleston County Family Court documents. He had not made child support payments since July 2012, according to those documents. There was a bench warrant issued against him for failure to pay at the time he was stopped by the Police Officer Michael Slager.

And the lawyers suggested he may have wanted to run away from the vehicle because he didn't want to go back to jail.

Give me your reaction to when you hear that kind of information.

LONNIE RANDOLPH, PRESIDENT, SOUTH CAROLINA NAACP: Well, in this situation where a life is actually been taken, is $18,104.43 worth Mr. Walter Scott's life?

[18:55:06] I don't think so. If it was $18 billion, his life should not have been taken as a result of that. This man being shot in the back.

I said earlier in one of the interviews that I did earlier, and Mr. Morial alluded to it also, beyond this, there has to be a period of introspection and law enforcement not just in South Carolina but law enforcement across this country, we should evaluate law enforcement. I don't ever recall in my lifetime, an actual evaluation of law enforcement by an independent group, or even by the government, to establish what their policies are --

BLITZER: All right.

RANDOLPH: -- their personnel in every department, who they hire and, of course, what is law enforcement's true purpose. We have not seen or heard that discussion. And until we do so we will continue to have incidents of this nature where persons who may have had trouble with the law, but I can't imagine a person not being a threat being killed as a result of what we have, the incident they're using here.

And I still don't like the fact that we're even having this discussion while we're talking about the death of this young man.

BLITZER: Well, let me bring Don Lemon into this discussion.

Don, you told us earlier it was a mistake for Walter Scott to run away from that vehicle.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. We've been doing a lot of lecturing to people about how they should deal with law enforcement. But, you know, I think the folks in this panel are right. We also need to look at how law enforcement deals with the community as well. And a lot has been said about that considering what's happening across the country.

But also, having lived here in New York a long time, you know, what the gentleman said before me, individually, in certain cities, we have looked at police, I remember the Mullin commission. I remember, I was just starting up in news and they had the Mullin commission and we were dealing with that.

But I think it's time for reflection for everyone. This doesn't show everyone they need to come together and do something about it, I don't know what will.

BLITZER: I think you're absolutely right, Don.

Stand by for a moment, because there's another breaking story happening right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We have a severe weather alert. Chad Meyers is standing by.

A tornado on the ground in Iowa. What do we know, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Eastern Iowa, Clinton, Iowa, moving over to Fulton, Illinois. It's that cell right there and we've been watching it for hours, just to the north of the Quad Cities. We know a tornado has been on the ground creating damage. We saw a tractor trailer rolled over at one of the highways.

There's the storm right there. This is a populated along the river, behind it, pretty unpopulated, farmland. But now, we're going to move into parts of Illinois. And there are more storms that could affect Chicago late tonight and other big cities. We'll keep watching it for you, Wolf.

BLITZER: What a story that is as well. Of course, we will -- Chad, thanks very much.

Very quickly, Tom Fuentes, button this up for us right now. This is an opportunity for the country to step back and learn some lessons.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hopefully, there's a number of lessons to be learned. But one of them has to be if a police officer has a legitimate reason to stop somebody and a legitimate reason to arrest somebody, they do need to comply. You know, I'm not saying -- he should not have been shot down. I agree with that.

However, he shouldn't have run away in the first place, whether he wants to go to jail or not. You know, he has to comply. He has to be taken into custody.

BLITZER: Based on these two separate video, the dash cam video, and the other video we've seen, it doesn't look like the police officer, this particular case, Michael Slager was really in any danger.

FUENTES: Well, no. And I said he shouldn't have shot him as he did. But I'm also saying that it's not up to the person to decide whether he will or will not be arrested. Nothing good comes from that if he decides that the police officer is not going to take him into custody.

BLITZER: You agree, John Gaskin?

JOHN GASKIN, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Well, I think the bigger issue is what we have discussed so many times this afternoon and on your show, is the relationship with law enforcements and black and brown communities. There's a level of distrust and this incident doesn't help that at all.

BLITZER: It's an opportunity for the country to step back and learn from this.

Let me thank Lonnie Randolph, the South Carolina NAACP president, Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, and everyone else for helping us. Don Lemon will be back later tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. A special "CNN TONIGHT", you're going to want to catch that. Don Lemon, 10:00 p.m. later tonight.

In the meantime, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.