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Protesters Confront Officers at Baltimore Police Station; Another Man Died of Spinal Cord Injuries in Police Custody in 2005; U.S. Drone Strikes Kill American Hostage. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired April 23, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, our continuing coverage of the breaking news in Baltimore. Violence breaking out tonight on the streets there. An angry confrontation between protesters and police. We're going there live.

It has been 11 days since Freddie Gray's arrest. We still don't know what led to his arrest or how he died. OUTFRONT tonight, a top official from the Baltimore Police Department OUTFRONT.

Plus, an American hostage killed by a U.S. drone. How could intelligence officials not know he was there? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with the breaking news. Anger boiling over on the streets of Baltimore. A major confrontation between protesters and police moments ago. Our Brian Todd was caught right in the middle of it all and let me show you.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's go over here. Watch out. Watch out. Here they just got another man. We're being -- easy, guys. We're being pushed. If you can see what's going on, when they try to arrest someone, they are being swarmed by the protesters. Okay. Okay. Thank you. And some --

BURNETT: As you can see this obviously a violent confrontation there between police and protesters. That was literally just moments ago. It comes after days of mostly peaceful demonstrations. I want to show you the live pictures at this moment. Protesters are gathering at city hall and the police station again demanding answers to the many unanswered questions. It has been 11 days since Freddie Gray's arrest. Here's what we don't know. What led to his arrest, what happened to him in the police van, why has his autopsy still not been released and why have we heard nothing from the arresting officers even though five of the six have given formal investigators?

Today, Gray's body was finally released to his family. Family attorneys are ranging for another autopsy before his funeral this weekend.

Brian Todd is OUTFRONT on the streets of Baltimore. And Brian, we just saw you right there in that footage moments ago. I know that must have been tense last night what you went through on this show was extremely unpleasant. You have been in the middle of a lot of tough scenes. What are you seeing now? TODD: Erin, the situation is still very tense. The crowd is

still very angry. They're confronting the police here at the Western District Headquarters of the Baltimore police. Our photojournalist Adrian Reyes is kind of move with me over here. You can see people over here confronting police across the barricades. The police have been very stoic standing still, staring straight ahead, not responding through them. They're allowing them to yell and vent their anger which is clearly what these protesters want to do right now. They're chanting, "no justice, no peace." They're chanting, "support for Freddie Gray," they are saying they're going to be here for a while.

Now confrontations earlier with the police that you saw were the result of two arrests that we saw, two men being taken into police vans. One of them being wrestled to the ground. There were objects being thrown in those incidents. There were a couple of objects thrown at the location where we are. But I have to say, Erin that this crowd has been pretty good so far about policing itself. Here this crowd is committed to be peaceful. They are angry, they're swearing on occasion but they are peaceful. They are committed to self-policing because some of the protest leaders have appealed to the people in this crowd not to throw objects. They're saying (INAUDIBLE). But they do not want any more confrontations with police --

BURNETT: And Brian, how are you feeling standing there? I know last night, you know, you were treated very poorly by one protester. We saw it. I know what happened even after the cameras turned away. How are you feeling right now in terms of how you're being treated as a reporter amidst the crowds?

TODD: Well, we're fine here. I mean we don't really feel like we're in danger at the moment. The thing that we have to say, when you say that there is anything can happen at any moment. But we feel like the crowd is being respectful. They do want to get on camera sometimes and yell things into the camera. They want to vent their anger. They mostly want to vent it toward the police and they want to take advantage of the cameras being here.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brian Todd. You can see evidence of what Brian is talking about behind him right now. And the anger and frustration that you're seeing in Baltimore, as Brian said, much of it directed at the Baltimore police commissioner. Some of it also directed at the mayor. Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throughout all the cries for justice, both of Baltimore's top city officials, the mayor and police chief, have repeatedly promised a thorough investigation.

ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: I want every stone unturned. I want everything exposed and I want to look at instant grief.

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, CITY OF BALTIMORE: My commitment to the community is we'll get to the bottom of it and we will go where the facts lead us.

[19:05:08] CARROLL: Their words falling on deaf ears in the neighborhood where police confronted Freddie Gray. This is where critics of the mayor and police commissioner are increasingly vocal about both are handling the investigation into his death.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You want to put them on notice?

CARROLL: Tamia Burley says the mayor is on notice as well.

(on camera): Have you been satisfied with her performance up until this point or you've just not been satisfied with her since she's been in office?

TAMIA BURLEY, DEMONSTRATOR: To be truthful with you, I do believe that she may have tried to tried to strive to make some changes but I believe that her efforts were not strong enough.

CARROLL (voice-over): Ciara Butler and Tawanda Jones have shared the same feelings about the commissioner and mayor for some time.

TAWANDA JONES, SISTER OF TYRONE WEST: It sounds like the mayor is reading from the script. Because the same thing she told Freddie Gray's family about doing a thorough independent review and, you know, investigation, she told my family the same thing.

CARROLL: Jones lost her brother Tyrone West almost two years ago after he was stopped by police on suspicion of carrying a weapon. None was found. Police say West violently resisted when they tried to take him into custody. Autopsy results showed found West may have died because of a heart condition made worse because of the struggle with police but an exact cause of death could not be determined. The state attorney's office cleared the 11 officers of wrongdoing saying force was justified.

CIARA BUTLER, COUSIN OF TYRONE WEST: We know how he died. The witnesses in the neighborhood know how he died.

JONES: He was brutally murdered. He was beat to death, he was pepper sprayed, tased, tossed on the ground like an animal.

CARROLL: The West family filed a civil suit against the city which is still pending. They're hoping that the mayor will listen to them now.

JONES: Right now, lives were on the -- people were dying. You look my family in the face without crying in tears. I told you how we didn't want this to happen to nobody. We can't bring Tyrone back but all we're trying to do is save other people's lives. We told you this. Stop playing with us and do something.

BUTLER: Enough is enough. How many more people in your city have to die? How many more families have to feel this pain before you use the power that you have to take action?

(END VIDEOTAPE) CARROLL: A lot of emotion there from the West family. And a lot

of emotion still here in this crowd that you see. You see some people taking pictures behind us. Holding up a sign saying "Black Lives Matter." "Justice for All." And obviously still a lot of emotion coming here from people who feel angry, they feel upset. It's a small crowd but it's a vocal crowd of people who are out here. They're saying it's not a black issue, not a white issue but they say it's a blue issue, meaning the police that are out here -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to Jason Carroll maintaining his composure as you've seen on this program the past few nights. There are some protesters who do want to come out and used expletive lead opportunities to get on camera. But by and large the protests that we've seen have been peaceful, incredibly peaceful.

OUTFRONT now, Ganesha Martin, she's the chief of Community Relations for the Baltimore City Police Department. I appreciate you being with me Chief Martin. We just saw moments ago, one of our reporters Brian Todd on the streets caught up in the middle of a clash between protesters and police. Which I know you've seen it. We're showing it again right now for our viewers. With five or six police officers and one man there who was protesting. We have -- this is something that we had not seen in recent days. Right? We've seen swearing, we've seen expletives, we've seen spitting. We have not seen this. How concerned are you that the situation could escalate?

GANESHA MARTIN, CHIEF OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: People are angry and they're frustrated and we completely understand that. And we knew that people were going to be angry and frustrated and they were going to take to the streets to let the nation, the police commissioner and all of us know how they feel. But as you've mentioned and several other reporters have mentioned that that have been peaceful and that the police officers have remained calm. They've done their best to acquiesce as the police commissioner has instructed them to do. Allow the protesters to march down the streets. To even stop traffic. We have done everything that we possibly can in order to allow the protesters, the citizens of Baltimore to express their hurt and their anger. But, you know, the flip side of that is you can't have citizens either putting other citizens or police officers in situations where they can be harmed. And so we hope that things will remain peaceful as been noted on this program and as we've seen. We think that's the intention of most of the protesters, is to express their feelings, to express their frustrations, doing it in a peaceful manner gets their message out, encourage some change.


MARTIN: And we encourage them to do that.

[19:10:18] BURNETT: But Chief Martin one thing I'm confused at though is part of the reason there's this anger and frustration is because there's been no information and now answers, right? Eleven days. Five of the six officers have given statements. None of the protesters, no one knows what they said. There's a preliminary autopsy. The Police Department continually refers to that says, they say shows there was no violence or bruising on Freddie Gray. They haven't released that. The body they had for five days before they released the body. They say something happened to him in the police van but yet we still don't have any idea as to what. There's been no answers to any of the questions. Why is it taking so long?

MARTIN: So, a couple of things there. I don't think that there are going to ever be answers given fast enough given the situation, because people are hurt and people are angry. And as you know, just like with any documentary or anything that you all do, there is a process. You have to, as a police commissioner said, he's not going to leave any stone unturned, he's not going to leave any pebble unturned. He called a briefing for the entire investigative team this morning to have them go through what they have learned thus far. He was very dissatisfied with the amount of things that we have not been able to track down.

There's a lot of things that we're still looking to do. But I'll tell you what we did. We met with the Gray family today and we gave them as many answers as we possibly could. And at this point of course they want to know everything that happened. Quite frankly so do the police commissioner and I. But we hugged. We prayed at the end of that meeting. We vowed to work together to bring change in Baltimore. And I believe they understand that we are doing all that we can to find out what happened to Mr. Gray.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Chief Martin. I appreciate your time. And OUTFRONT now, Reverend Jamal Bryant, of the empowerment temple of Baltimore. He is organizing Freddie Gray's funeral services. Reverend, you just heard Chief Martin say that she doesn't think she'll be able to get answers fast enough for the people on the streets. But they're doing the best that they can. What's your response?

JAMAL BRYANT, PASTOR AND BALTIMORE PROTEST ORGANIZER: Then the best is clearly not good enough. When you realize that this gentleman, Mr. Gray, had absolutely no probable cause for arrest and then finds himself in a coma and then within a week is dead is inexcusable, especially with six police officers on paid vacation. It doesn't make any sense to all of the citizens here in Baltimore.

BURNETT: And what about the answers to some of those questions that we don't yet know. What led to his arrest, why is there still no autopsy. The autopsy that the police have cited which defends their point of view. Why have we not heard what five of those six arresting officers have said in their formal statements?

BRYANT: Because we're seeing a nationally televised conspiracy to protect the police and expose the citizens. Anytime the police officers here in the state of Maryland have ten days before they can give a testimony, they have their free time to get themselves legal aid. But Mr. Gray was not given due process, wasn't given coverage and these police officers feel as if they have no repercussions. It's a trend across America that you feel like you can kill black men and there not be any consequence.

BURNETT: And Reverend, there are of course many who believe and feel passionately agree with what you're saying. There are others who say you have to look at every case individually. And that it may appear to be race, there might be broader racial problem but that in this specific case perhaps that is not the issue. Perhaps he was doing something wrong, perhaps he was injured by his own because he fell. Or, you know, this is what some people say. Are you open to that possibility?

BRYANT: I'm not open to that possibility when Baltimore had paid out $5.3 million because of aggressive police officers they've given to citizens because they've been out of control. Loretta Lynch who just got confirmed hours ago has an incredible task in front of her because the entire justice system has to be scrubbed down from top to bottom from Ferguson to Sanford, from Staten Island to Cleveland. We're seeing a trend, it's an isolated incident, it's all over the country. And the attorney general is going to have to make it her number one priority now that she's finally in office.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Pastor. I appreciate your time, sir. Of course as we've said, he is planning the funeral services for Freddie Gray which are scheduled for this weekend.

And OUTFRONT next, live on the streets of Baltimore, protesters chanting "no justice, no peace." They're in front of the Police Department again tonight. Freddie Gray also not the first man to suffer a fatal neck injury in the custody of the Baltimore police. It may surprise you but this has happened before and we're going to tell you exactly how.

[19:15:14] Plus, a fatal mistake, an American hostage accidentally killed in an American drone strike. What the White House is saying about it tonight.


[19:19:06] BURNETT: Breaking news. Protests in Baltimore taking a turn just moments ago. Violent clashes with police. Demonstrators confronts officers. People throwing punches. Some were standing on cop cars. This all happening obviously very early in the evening. Two people at this point are now in custody at least from this altercation that you are seeing happen. State troopers have been called in from the broader state of Maryland as crowds are growing larger and larger demanding justice for Freddie Gray, that's the 25- year-old black man who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody and died.

You can see Gray here. You hear him screaming in pain. This is the image that has so many so angry. He's been dragged by police to their van. Questions remain though about how he sustained what became a fatal injury. How his spinal cord was severed. But this is not the first time a Baltimore man died from a spine injury after a ride in a police van. It's a bizarre thing but it has happened before.

Joe Johns is on the streets tonight OUTFRONT from Baltimore. And Joe, first of all, what is going on where you are tonight? Obviously we saw things take a dramatic turn just moments ago. JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right. We've

seen people move in and out of this location. At the moment it's relatively quiet where we are in front of city hall. Family members of Freddie Gray attended a rally right out here just a couple of hours ago, they also met with the police commissioner. They're still looking for answers. And tonight we're learning a little bit more on why people in this city are saying a rough ride in a police van may have contributed to his injuries.


JOHNS (voice-over): Freddie Gray under arrest at least partly mobile as he enters a Baltimore police van. A police union lawyer says the answer to what killed Gray lies in what happened next.

MICHAEL DAVEY, ATTORNEY, BALTIMORE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: Something happened in that van. We just don't know what.

JOHNS: If Gray wasn't struck by officers, then the likely explanation for his severed spine, a fall against the van's metal interior. Possibly caused by a rough ride. The police union says it may have been an issue in the past.

DAVEY: Something that people on the street tell us a lot that that happens. In my 16 years of representing police officers, have I had anyone disciplined for that? No.

JOHNS: But it's more than urban myth, November 2005 Dondi Johnson walking home from a bar stopped here to relieve himself. That offense is usually punished with a ticket but Johnson was arrested and transported to a police station unbelted in a van. At the station Johnson complained that the officer "was driving like an (bleep). I fell and I can't move." Taken to a hospital, he told a doctor, "the wagon made a sharp turn, I fell, hitting face first, heard a pop and blacked out." Philip Federico has filed two excessive force cases against the Baltimore Police Department.

PHILIP FEDERICO, ATTORNEY FOR TWO BALTIMORE POLICE EXCESSIVE FORCE CASES: Clearly it's not a problem with the vans. It's a problem with the van operator.

JOHNS: Like Gray, Johnson had a broken spine. He died just two weeks later. Dondi Johnson's family filed a $100 million lawsuit against the Baltimore police.

NICOLE LEAKE, DETECTIVE: Detective Nicole Leake, Regional Auto Theft Task Force.

JOHNS: At trial, Officer Leake who drove the police van testified, I did not seat belt him because she thought he had a full bladder. She denied purposely giving him a rough ride, a tactic some charges used against difficult prisoners. The Johnson family won a wrongful death verdict and was awarded $7.4 million. But on appeal it was reduced to just $500,000. Now the Gray family is wondering if these two eerily similar cases are more than just coincidence.


JOHNS: Newly updated police rules here say, detainees are supposed to be strapped in or seat-belted before they're being transporting. The Police Union says that likely didn't happen in the Freddie Gray case and they say, police say sometimes that's a little bit impractical. Erin, back to you.

BURNETT: All right. Joe Johns, thanks very much.

And now Marc Lamont Hill is with me, professor at Morehouse, host for BET News and HuffPost Live. And the former NYPD officer and secret service agent Daniel Bongino. Good to have both of you with us. Marc, let me start with you. I want to ask, start with that image that Joe just ended his piece on. All right? This is the side by side image, Freddie Gray on the Left, Dondi Johnson on the right.


BURNETT: These are both men who were put into Baltimore police vans and these pictures are eerily similar.

HILL: They are eerily similar but there are probably a thousand other people who would look the same way with those same injuries and it didn't happen in the police van. The thing here is that unlike the case of Mr. Johnson, we have a videotape of this man screaming in pain before he gets into the van. We have bystanders who say that he was beaten and abused before he got in the van and we have some doctors who are suggesting that this came from some sort of blunt force. Could it have happened in the van? Absolutely. This is -- of law enforcement using transport as another former tortures, something called diesel therapy. What it means is, you shackle prisoners, you put them in there, you give them a rough ride and it causes them damage and physical harm. So, even if they did do something in the van of that nature, that's not exculpatory, they just means that the violence happens somewhere else. But there's plenty of evidence to suggest that it happened before. They're trying to get these officers off and blame the boogie man in vans so that nobody goes to jail.

[19:24:26] BURNETT: Dan, I mean, that sounds like that's a distinction they're trying to draw. Because they have explicitly now said something happened in that van. They're trying to put it in the van because clearly because legally they think that will be better for those police officers. Again I speak as a citizen when I say, if you're in police custody and this happens to you in the van or outside the van, what difference does it make, to quote Hillary Clinton.

DANIEL BONGINO, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Right. Well, intent matters here Erin. And Marc mentioned diesel justice. I've never heard of that before. I don't know if he got that out of a book. I was a cop. I don't remember anything called diesel justice. I remember you arrested someone, you flip the backseat of the car to make sure they didn't put anything back there and then you transported them to the station. That was really it. Now I don't know what happened in this case. Nobody does. If we did, we'd have breaking news at this point.


BONGINO: But intent matters. I mean, was it a rough ride because it was just a rough bumpy ride or was it intentional? That's the distinction here. And I don't think you're jumping to conclusions is responsible.

BURNETT: But Dan, hold on. Okay. Let me jump in here. Marc, probably I want to make this point.

HILL: Yes.

BURNETT: But let me just again show the original video here of Freddie Gray crying out in pain and his legs clearly not working. Now, when he did get put in the van, he was, it did looked like he was able to stand, so it looked like maybe a bit of a recovery. But it's hard there to say that he was completely fine before he got in the van when you look at this image.

BONGINO: Right. Well, that's a valid point. And I'm not suggesting that this was a text book operation either. We would say at a scene like this in New York, call a bus, a bus meaning an ambulance and you have what's called an aided case. And the ambulance would then transport that person and you would have to sit on him in the hospital until he could, you know, go to court and be seen for that initial hearing. So, yes, we probably could have handled things a little differently on this one. But, you know, suggesting that he was somehow thrown around in the van. I mean, do you realize this force Erin, it takes to fracture someone's spine? I've been in two really brutal car accidents and I've never fractured a spine, thank the lord. So, you know, you'd have to give someone a pretty rough ride intentionally to do that.

HILL: My suggestion isn't that something happened in the van. My point is that the police claim that something happened in the van is somewhat absurd. The term diesel therapy by the way, yes, I did read it in a book, I spent the last 15 years as an expert in scholar in social science studying prison and prison torture and this is one of the terms that emerges. Not just from me and from researchers and from prison guards to do it.

BONGINO: Not from cops.

HILL: I agree with you. What I'm saying though is that there is a long history of these vans having the capacity to produce violence.

BONGINO: Really?

HILL: Yes.

BONGINO: How do you know that?

HILL: Based on witness reports, based on -- reports, based on prison reports.

BONGINO: You know how I know the opposite. I was a cop.

HILL: I understand. Again, the example I gave you --

BONGINO: No, you don't.

HILL: If you let me finish, you'll understand. Again, you were a police officer, not a prison guard. I'm saying this happened in prison, I'm only talking about the capacity of these vehicles. But again, you're making a case that it didn't happened in the van.

BONGINO: No, I'm not making that case.

HILL: Please let me finish.

BONGINO: That's not what I meant because that's not what I said, you're putting words in my mouth Marc. I said neither you or I know what happened in that van. Did I not say that?

HILL: I agree. But you were saying that it would take something fairly hard and impactful worse even in your own car accident to cause the type of damage to somebody in a van. And I'm saying I agree with you, I think it's far more likely that happened before we got in the van. I'm not basing that truly on conjecture, I'm basing that on the videotape that I saw, I'm basing it on the police van that just ran from them and somehow a few minutes later he couldn't run anymore before he ever got to a van. I don't think it's a huge leap of logic to say that if someone is running and then they no longer have the capacity to run, that something stopped them from having the capacity to run.

BONGINO: Yes. But Marc, don't you understand how it's just a tad bit irresponsible for you to suggest that? And Marc, you don't know. Let's be honest. You have no idea what those cops did. For all we know --

HILL: I agree.

BONGINO: Listen, we don't know what happened with Freddie. Freddie may have been beaten by police, Freddie may have gotten in a bike accident. You don't know. I mean, that's the point.

HILL: But the police aren't even claiming he got in a bike accident.

BURNETT: To be clear. Well, to be clear, Dan, he was running down the street. He was completely fine before this altercation with the police. So, we do know it happened post the arrest.

BONGINO: Right. But Erin, we don't know --

BURNETT: In police custody.

BONGINO: -- that the police, that it was a violation of use of force rules.


BONGINO: In other words, I don't know that. It could have been. It may not be.


BONGINO: The point is, we don't know that the police chased him and beat him into a fractured spine either.

HILL: But I have never said that. What I said is, is that first of all I'm rejecting the police claim that there's no evidence that anything violent happened prior to entering the van which is what they said two days ago. I'm saying, that is absurd on its face because he could run before and then he could no longer run. I'm saying also that it is unlikely that it happened in the van because his injuries seemed to be sustained before he got in the van based on what we saw with our own eyes. And what we can never do is allow us, that the American public to be seduce into this narratives that what we saw with our own eyes is somehow less reliable than the police who's being accused constantly of doing this types of --

BONGINO: But Marc, you saw none of this with your own eyes. I don't know what you're talking about. You didn't see any of this. You're purely speculating.

HILL: What are you talking about? Can we roll the tape (INAUDIBLE).

BONGINO: No, no, no, no. Marc, I'm not talking about --

[19:29:21] HILL: That's what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this thing that America is looking at right now where he's attempting to stand and he doesn't have the capacity to use his own legs. I'm saying I saw that and I'm saying I'm taking the police claim on its face that he ran from them. So if he ran from them and now he can't walk. I'm just saying that something stopped him from being able to walk. And yes it's entirely possible that he beat himself. Yes, it's entirely possible that a mediocre drone or a predator drone came from the sky and hit him. Yes. But nobody is claiming that. I'm saying something happened before he got in the van. And even if it happened in the van, I'm saying, that's just as bad. That's not exculpatory.

BONGINO: Marc, let me ask you something.

BURNETT: Dan, what about that one point?


BURNETT: What about that one point though, Dan. I want to get you on the record about it. Do you agree that it's just as bad if it happened in the van in police custody as opposed --

BONGINO: No question.


BONGINO: No question.

BURNETT: So, you do think that's equally as inappropriate?

BONGINO: Absolutely. Listen, Erin, the intent matters. If the intent is to hurt this man, not to kill him, hurt him and you do it by tossing him around in the back of a van on a rough police ride or beating him with a nightstick, it doesn't matter. The moral, ethical and legal consequences should be the same.

My only point to Marc is, Marc is saying, OK, we see a guy gotten in a police chase, we see a guy is having a hard time walking, Marc somehow making this leap of faith that, you know, the probability is that the police may have been involved in beating him. You don't know that. You have no idea.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Give me another plausible possibility other than the police doing it. What else could have happened? Even as abstract to ontological possibility. What else could have happened?

BONGINO: Marc, I'm going to handled this responsibly and say I don't know. What you can't seem to do. And you don't know either.

HILL: Because I'm using a reasonable man, a reasonable person --

BONGINO: No, you're not being reasonable because you don't know. You're reasoning on what, that you know, that someone told you? You're just totally guessing, you have no idea.

HILL: If I were running down the street and suddenly I was laying on the ground with blood dripping out of my body and a bullet wound, wouldn't you reasonably suggest that I was shot?

BONGINO: Marc, but that's not what happened here. You can't just make up a scenario and apply new rules. That doesn't work that way.

HILL: I'm not applying new rules. I'm saying he was running and then he no longer had the capacity to run and I'm saying something happened that stopped his capacity to run.


HILL: Could it have been something other than police? Absolutely.


HILL: But the police have the responsibility to tell us what that is, because a reasonable standards suggest he was in police custody and the police are not suggesting that they lost custody of him. But that's what happened.

BURNETT: Fair point. All right. Thanks to both of you.

And next, more of our coverage of the breaking news, the Baltimore protests turning violent tonight. Angry protesters confronting police, demanding answers in the death of Freddie Gray. We are live in Baltimore.

Also today, two al Qaeda hostages killed, one an American in a U.S. drone strike. How did the U.S. make such a fatal mistake?


[19:35:55] BURNETT: More on the breaking news out of Baltimore tonight. Protesters clashing with police after days of peaceful demonstrations.

Our Brian Todd was there as it happened just a few moments ago, caught in the chaos, there were projectiles being thrown, protesters resisting arrests, punches were thrown, they were screaming at officers. Police struggled to keep control.

This is what actually happened. We understand at least two people were put under arrest at this time as we're trying to figure out the fallout from the scene that you're seeing.

We'll show you now what you're seeing obviously a bit calmer but crowds are gathering at the Baltimore police station. Protesters have made their way there. They marched from city hall. We're going back to Baltimore in just a couple of moments.

There is, though, one other key story that we need to get to you tonight. And that is two innocent al Qaeda hostages accidentally killed by an American drone strike. Two Americans who joined the terror group were also killed in this strike.

Now, President Obama said the United States had no idea that any of these people, that any of these Americans were at the al Qaeda compound that was targeted.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I take full responsibility for all of our counter terrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni. I profoundly regret what happened.


BURNETT: Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT from Washington.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It was in this border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan that a U.S. drone strike killed two Western hostages held by al Qaeda, including one American, Warren Weinstein abducted in Pakistan in 2011. The al Qaeda had been under surveillance for hundreds of hours. What the U.S. did not know was that Weinstein and the Italian La Porto were being held and hidden inside.

In this proof of life video, Weinstein, an aid worker, pleaded for his freedom. WARREN WEINSTEIN, AID WORKER: It seems I have been totally


SCIUTTO: Today, President Obama apologized for a fatal mistake.

OBAMA: We believed that this was an al Qaeda compound, that no civilians were present, and that capturing these terrorists was not possible.

SCIUTTO: Weinstein's wife blamed his captors for his death but also demanded answers from Washington saying, "We do understand the U.S. government will be conducting an independent investigation of the circumstances. We look forward to the results of that investigation."

Killed in the same attack was al Qaeda leader Ahmed Farouq. Farouq, also an American, was the deputy head of al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent, a new branch of the group that attempted to hijack Pakistani naval vessels last summer.

ADAM GADAHN: In the framework of America's war on so-called terror --

SCIUTTO: Killed in another air strike in January, American al Qaeda operative and propagandist, Adam Gadahn, originally from California.

OBAMA: Our initial assessment indicates that this operation was fully consistent with the guidelines under which we conduct counterterrorism efforts in the region, which has been our focus for years, because it is the home of al Qaeda's leadership.

SCIUTTO: Little solace for two families who had hoped desperately for a much better outcome.


SCIUTTO: So, how could you have hundreds of hours of surveillance of this compound and not know that those hostages were inside? I'm told they were high value hostages. I would have been normal practice for a group to keep them very well-hidden, perhaps never go outside, never leave the compound.

There were no bodies. There was no DNA. This was a collection of circumstantial evidence over time. And, Erin, I'm told that there was one crucial pieces of evidence just this month that put them over the top. It was only yesterday that senior White House officials told the family.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim.

And now, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, also an FBI retired special agent, and Phil Mudd, former CIA counterterrorism official, sits on the advisory board for the National Counterterror Center.

Phil, let me start with you with the point Jim just made. A lot of people watching will say, come on, the U.S. government, they know so much of what's happening. You have a compound that was under surveillance nonstop for hundreds of hours.

[19:40:01] You have multiple Americans there, a high value hostage. You have an American who was working for al Qaeda with a million dollar bounty on his head.

And people will ask, and you're going to tell me, they didn't know those guys were there?

Say, come on, the U.S. government, they know so much of what's happening. You have a compound that was under surveillance for monies of hours, multiple Americans there, a high value hostage. You have an American who was working for al Qaeda with a million dollar bounty on his head, and people will ask and you're going to tell me they didn't know those guys were there?

PHIL MUDD, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: I'm sorry, I'm going to tell you that. Let's go inside the room and break this down.

You get intelligence that says the adversary -- the enemy is concentrated at a compound at a place where not even Pakistani security services can reach. You start looking at the compound to look at what we call for patterns of life.

BURNETT: And they're doing this by drone. They're doing this from the air, they're looking down.

MUDD: Correct, you can do it from the air. One of the questions you have, typically in the part of the world, women and children sleeping in one place, men in another. I want to ensure I minimize, I can't eliminate, I minimize the risk to civilians, so I'm going to look and see what the pattern of life is over hundreds of hours.

Now, the next step is to say I need to validate every person in that house so we never kill an innocent -- I'm going to say get out of the business of drones and get out of the business of war. That's not going to happen.

BURNETT: So, you're saying, you know, people saying the U.S. should have known, but they didn't know. This is an accident. You buy that.

MUDD: That's right.

BURNETT: All right. So, Mike, let me ask you about this -- the president today saying he takes responsibility. He was very clear about that. I take responsibility.

But then within minutes officials from the administration were telling CNN the president didn't specifically approve this operation. That sort of sounded like he's taking responsibility, they're trying to say don't blame him, he doesn't take responsibility. Which is it?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it was completely uncalled for after the president said he takes responsibility, somebody goes out and obviously leak to say, well, the president really wasn't involved. He's just being courageous.

This is one of the toughest jobs in the intelligence business we have today. And the one part I disagree with Phil is they do take the extra time to try to make sure that there are no civilians in there to the nth degree. Those hundred hours are the aspects of it. The logistics of development of intelligence for something -- for any air strike is as extensive as you would hope it would be. And there may have been days they thought they had something and didn't take a strike because there may have been a civilian there.

So, I really -- I was disappointed that the president's team came out to say she didn't have anything to do with it. All of these are reviewed as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, I reviewed every single one of air strikes in the counterterrorism effort, for that very reason.

It is an important program. You have to make sure it stays within its lanes.


ROGERS: This was an unfortunate mistake.

One other piece of this, Erin, remember why they would keep these folks so well hidden. The administration did something pretty courageous I thought in Syria when they went after Foley and the other hostages. It ended up being an empty building.

BURNETT: Right. They missed them.

ROGERS: They moved too early. But they were willing to risk the lives of U.S. citizens to go in and try to rescue these hostages. We know it and so do the bad guys know it.

So, what they were doing is trying to make sure that nobody understood, even in their own ranks it's compartmentalized about where these hostages are, how they're treated and where they're kept, especially in this region where there are air strikes that are taking them out quite frequently.

So, great decision to move forward. The president really should support these people who are trying to make these decisions. Hundreds of these things happen, very few instances just like this. Hardly any.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you.

And next our breaking news, back live in Baltimore, protesters taking a violent turn, now gathering steps away at the Baltimore Police Department demanding justice.

We'll be back live in a moment.


[19:47:32] BURNETT: We are following the breaking news out of Baltimore tonight where protests over the death of a black men in police custody took a violent turn. The anger escalating. Hundreds of people confronting officers on the street and at the police station in Baltimore, crowds yelling, bottles have been thrown at police. This is what our reporters have seen.

Brian Todd is there. He was in the middle of the violent confrontation that happened.

And, Brian, obviously the protests have been mostly peaceful. I think that's important to emphasize. That's what you've seen, we've seen here on this program. But what you've experienced was different.


It got very tense in that moment, Erin, when those two men were arrested by police and escorted to the police vans. Whenever they see a confrontation like that, that's when they get really riled up and really agitated. At that moment they really rushed the cops and tried to get them to stop arresting those men. The police got between the protesters and the police officers who were trying to arrest those men.

We've got a little bit more of a confrontation over here. This is a typical scene. The protesters crush up against the barricades, yell things like this man is yelling. And if you see this, they'll pan over to the police officers, just a stoic stare by the police. The police are being measured.

And the crowd here, despite their anger and passion, they have actually policed themselves. Because in those moments when they were confronting the police over those arrests, there were objects being thrown, we have objects flying near us. But here when a couple of objects were thrown, some of the protest leaders were telling each other and telling the crowd, stop throwing things. Make this peaceful.

You can be angry. You can yell, but don't throw objects and don't be violent. So, they pretty held to that here, Erin.

BURNETT: You know, Brian, having it turn violent for that time that it did, obviously now it appears to be calmer for the moment. But you think about Ferguson and how things so quickly escalated. Maryland has sent in additional police officer to help the Baltimore police.

But it sounds like what you sere seeing and what we're seeing when the watch these police officers is they are stoic. They are refusing to engage at all, very unlike what we saw in Missouri.

TODD: They are absolutely refusing to engage, Erin. And I've seen a police commander coming behind his officers here and talking to them and basically telling them, don't engage.

[19:50:04] There was one officer who kind of did engage got into -- I wouldn't say an argument, but a heated conversation with one of the protest leaders, and then one of the commanders told him, come on back here and just let it calm. So, they are under orders not to engage, it looks like.

BURNETT: We'll see what happens tonight.

And next, we're going to continue to cover the breaking stories. Live pictures. This is at the police department outside right now live in Baltimore. There are still so many questions. Part of the reason the anger that that violence erupted tonight is that there had been no answers to some of the crucial questions like why did Freddie Gray die and where is his autopsy?

We'll be back in a moment.


BURNETT: Breaking news, live pictures of the Baltimore Police Department. Protesters are gathering there tonight, as well as in the city hall in Baltimore. They are demanding justice. They are angry. They feel they have not gotten any answers in the debt of 25-year-old Freddie Gray who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody and died as a result of his injuries.

CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill back with me.

One thing that I know a lot of people -- you look at Baltimore City, right? It's more than 60 percent black, in terms of population. It has a black mayor.

HILL: Yes.

BURNETT: She's been on our program. There is a black police commissioner.

HILL: Yes.

BURNETT: The police force itself is 50 percent black. This is not a Ferguson where it is out of whack.

[19:55:03] It actually seems to pretty much add up.

HILL: Yes.

BURNETT: But yet we're in a situation where we are not getting autopsy results, the body hasn't been released, we don't know what the officers said there -- and we're not getting answers even though we have black leadership.

HILL: You're right, and if you remember back when Ferguson is happening, I said to people, yes, you want a police force that matches the citizenry but that's not the only problem. People didn't march and integrate and fight so they could be beaten by black cops, right? People want to change the culture of policing. Some of this isn't a black or a white, it's a blue problem.

We have to figure out the relationship between police and the communities and re-imagine and reshape. That's a structural problem.

BURNETT: But you do believe this is a racial issue --

HILL: Absolutely.

BURNETT: In the sense that you don't think that Freddie Gray, this is what would happen if you were white.

HILL: You know, I try not to say what would happen if he were white because there's so many other factors. But we know that statistically he is far more likely to have this as a black person, irrespective of the race of the police officer. We know that statistically, he's more likely to be chased, arrested, abused, incarcerated and get a longer sentence if he is black. We know that statistically. So, I don't want to sort of say, well, if he were white, this would have happened. I can't say that. But historically and empirically, yes.

BURNETT: Statistically you can say it, but not in specific case.

All right. Thank you very much, Marc Lamont Hill.

And we'll be right back with our breaking news coverage.


BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us. Set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us any time.

Our breaking news of the protests in Baltimore continues right now with "AC360". Here is Anderson.