Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Protests In Charlotte After Fatal Police Shooting; Mecklenburg EMS: One Person Shot in Charlotte Protest; Tear Gas Used on Charlotte Protesters; Police Chief: One Dead In Protests. Aired 9- 10p ET
Aired September 21, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:28] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us for the second hour of 360. We begin this hour with breaking news from Charlotte, North Carolina. At least one person has been shot in protests tonight according to local emergency services Mecklenburg EMS.
We do not know if it was a protester or police officer. It was the second night of protest following the fatal police shooting yesterday of African-American man, Keith Scott. Our Boris Sanchez is there. We're going to check back with him live in a moment. But first I want to show you the chaotic scene from just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. So basically we were following the crowd all the way down to this part of downtown. At one point people got really agitated, there were trash cans thrown from the top of the mall and then they came here. And as you can see people are trying to damage these vans.
So far they've put out -- oh wow. They've put out a pepper spray. People are running from it.
Jerry, get out of there. Jerry, get out of there.
So as you can tell, the situation is totally out of control. Justo give you a look at where the police line is right now, you could tell from all the debris in front of me, things very quickly got out of control. And they are still doing what they can to disperse this crowd but it's very difficult. It's very difficult -- whoa, OK.
They clearly want us out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was probably about 10 or 15 minutes ago. Boris Sanchez joins me again now, what's the scene there Boris?
SANCHEZ: Hey, Anderson, when we left you, things had appeared to calm down, the protesters had mostly dispersed. But things have escalated once again. It appears that police have brought out reinforcements. So now there are two lines of SWAT officers decked out in riot gear with gas masks and they're separating the crowds in downtown.
On one side where my camera -- where my camarographer is, there is a huge group of people, things are being thrown at the SWAT teams. On this side things are slightly more peaceful. But again things are starting to escalate again.
We saw some property damages. We saw things again being flung at officers. And as you reported just a moment ago, Anderson, it sounds like someone was shot. We're not sure if it was a police officer or potentially a protester. But again, earlier I spoke with someone who said she saw a young man with a head wound and she showed me the video of it. Police were attending to him. That may be the person.
We obviously don't have that confirmed. We'll have to wait until all the facts are in. But things very quickly got out of hand. It didn't appear that police were in control.
Now with reinforcements here, things are starting to slow down. But again, there's this tension, the line of protesters and the line of police eye to eye, a lot of emotion overflowing from the community here as police try to keep control, Anderson.
COOPER: Boris, is this in the same location of the Omni Hotel where we saw you just a short time ago where the tear gas was fired? Or where is it compared to that?
SANCHEZ: So we are on the side of the Omni Hotel. Again, there are two lines of SWAT. The other line of the SWAT team where my camarographer is blocked off. So we can't get to that, that's what you're seeing now, that's the other side of this street but it's only about a couple hundred feet away from the Omni Hotel, it's right on the corner.
So this is still a sizable crowd, the same crowd that followed these officers into the Omni Hotel. They started banging on the glass. That's when officers came out and confronted them. There was an exchange of words, an exchange of -- there were all -- rocks, water bottles, all kinds of things thrown. There was a window broken at a restaurant nearby.
Police vehicles were trashed, people slamming windows and mirrors. And obviously police appear to restrain themselves but at one point it was just chaos.
Pepper spray in the streets, people running in all directions. Now they've gone to reorganize. And we can hear police officers speaking over a blow horn.
I - frankly I can't make out what's being said but I can't imagine that they're doing anything but trying to get people out of here, Anderson.
COOPER: It looks like some objects are being thrown off there to the right.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, it looked at one point like protesters were throwing what appeared to be firecrackers at police. And they just did that again. And now it looks like some people are running. Some people are starting to run. I can't really tell where they're going. It's hard to get across this line, this SWAT line.
There are a lot of people with their hands up. And I see smoke in the air. But I can't make out exactly what's going on on this side. Again, emotion just overwhelming here.
I'm not sure, it looks like the police are starting to move forward but I can't tell what going on from this side Anderson. There's a big crowd and hopefully things get resolved in at least a more peaceful way than we've seen so far.
[21:05:03] COOPER: Boris, often in past situations like this what we've seen is police try to identify particularly people who are being particularly vocal or agitated or violent in any way going quickly, grab them, bring them behind lines and arrest them and allow the protests to continue. Have you seen that? Or is it this point it's sort of static lines of police with the protesters in between?
SANCHEZ: Frankly, Anderson, I did not see officers go about that practice of pulling the agitators line. They're not appearing to do that right now. They didn't do it in front of the Omni Hotel. It was really just on one side, it was officers standing by. On the other side, it was people throwing objects at them and yelling at them.
And as I mentioned earlier, it was honestly disheartening. There was a crowd of people that were trying to keep the peace. Clearly peaceful protesters that lined up in front of police, they got in the way of the protesters themselves and the agitators, pulling them aside. And at one point it was chaos. You know, I saw people crying. I saw people running off with tear gas in their eyes. I was trying to get across ...
COOPER: Yeah, we're having obviously a - Boris is obviously breaking up the transmission there. We'll continue to check in with Boris throughout this hour.
Joining me now, CNN law enforcement analyst and former president of the National Organization ofBlack Law Enforcement Executives, Cedric Alexander and criminologist and former LAPD officer David Klinger.
I appreciate both of you being with us. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances that you are.
I'm wondering, David there's, you know, at this point there's a lot we do not know about this shooting. The police say that Terrence Crutcher refused orders to get on his knees and that the officer felt he had a gun, even though no gun was found. Is that enough to justify a shooting legally? Or if the officer simply thinks the suspect has a gun?
DAVID KLINGER, FORMER LAPD OFFICER: An officer merely thinking that a suspect has a gun, no, unless there is some remarkable bit of information leading to that.
Let's say you have specific knowledge that this individual always carries a gun and the individual says I've got a gun and they go reach for a gun, something like that.
But my understanding of the situation in Oklahoma, which is the one I believe we're talking about, that sort of information wasn't there.
COOPER: And so yeah you're right, I'm sorry. I was talking about the Tulsa situation.
KLINGER: It's OK, right.
COOPER: In here in Charlotte, the fact that the officer involved in this was African-American and the fact that there is a dispute about the facts of this case. I mean so many times, you know, there is a rush to judgment, one way or another.
And I assume -- I mean Cedric, as somebody who's been involved with law enforcement and president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, what do you hope transpires over the next several days? I mean I assume you want, you know, to avoid this rush to judgment.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT: Well, certainly we do and we certainly don't want to see the violence that we see out there tonight. And that really must stop. And because it just really serves no purpose whatsoever.
But to your point here, Anderson, what we want to see is an investigation that's going to take place there in Charlotte specifically that's going to bring some recognition arrange and shed some light on to what occurred out there, according to those officers' report.
But you know, we're at this place in this very moment in policing that no matter what the police does, right or wrong, the community is not in a place where they're willing to accept anything the community is - accept anything the police are saying.
So that makes it very tough to try to work through these issues because so much lack of trust currently exists. And we've been struggling with this the last couple of years and it doesn't seem to be getting better. It seems to be becoming more challenged.
COOPER: David, do you agree with that? I mean again this is a situation where the police officer involved in the shooting is African-American. There's has been such a push to, you know, justifiably and to get a more diverse police force a police force that represents the community that they are actually policing. That was such an issue that we talked about in Ferguson. And yet, you know, you still have police officers shooting somebody in very contested circumstances.
KLINGER: Well, I think we don't know whether these are contested circumstances. It might be very clear cut. And the protesters who have legitimately gone about their business because of their concerns, that's fine. But these people that are running riot beyond the point that it's illegal, how about the point of wait a minute, before you go off.
And there may well be some information that would indicate the officer did something wrong. There may well be some information that indicates everything the officer did was correct. But getting back to your point about a black officer shooting a black suspect, it's incredibly frustrating to me because when I come into law enforcement 35 years ago, the mantra was, in order to improve American policing, we need to diversify, we need to get more black officers in particular to police black communities.
[21:10:04] And now we've had it in Milwaukee, now we've had it in Charlotte where ...
COOPER: David I got to...
COOPER: ... I got to just jump in. I'm just going on quickly go to Ed Lavandera. Ed what are we seeing here?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are on East Trade which is just a few blocks away from the police department and just a few - just right down the street from the Omni Hotel where the shooting took place.
Now there's a crowd of people that have busted the windows out of a souvenir shop, almost like a convenience store type thing. You can see them rushing inside. We've seen them blowing out the windows and just overtaking the stores, dozens of people going inside of this scene as we speak.
About 200 yards off to the left of this shot, there have been a group of firefighters waiting to come into this area with these - with an EMS unit but it sounds like the situation here is still too hostile and too dangerous for those units to come into this area.
They're trying to get a better view. But there have been, you know, they have actually gone off to another area, Anderson. So, the tension continues here in this block near where the shooting took place ...
COOPER: We're having obviously communications problems. But I want to bring in Cedric Alexander, David Klinger again. David just in terms of a situation like this for police to deal with I meant it is got to be so difficult when you have hundreds of people on the street and moving, you know, it's not like an organized demonstration in one spot and this is a large crowd on the move. And I mean I guess police forces now have increasingly had to deal with this over the last several years.
KLINGER: Yes. I think one of the issues is we have to understand what's going on on the ground and we don't have enough information. But the descriptions that I've just was listening to and what I saw before I walk into the studio here, it appears to me that we have a riot. And we have a riot, you need to put that riot down, and you need to use forceful action, you need to arrest the people and you need to take them before a judge, and you need to get them into a trial past that and you need to keep them locked up, you need to get them convicted of whatever crime they committed and get them off the street and out of the community.
American police has to take a firm stand and what the police need is they need the support of the mayor, the governor, and I might say the White House, to say this has to end. You are not allowed to riot. No matter what else is going on. We have a criminal justice system and there are flaws in it that we need to address, that's fine. But you do not have the right to take the law into your own hands which is what these people are doing.
And if we don't crag down and we don't do what I just said in terms of identifying, arresting, and prosecuting and imprisoning people, this is going to continue. We have to do something to stop this.
COOPER: Cedric, we've seen a number of police forces in similar demonstrations to this over the last year or two as we talked about earlier with Boris, kind of rush identifying particular agitators, kind of breaking police lines, grabbing them, arresting them, and then allowing others to just, you know, continue to demonstrate. We -- it seems like we haven't seen that and then it may be a matter of the police don't have enough personnel on hand.
ALEXANDER: Well, what you see out there in Charlotte tonight what I'm seeing and the rest of the country is seeing, I is a full-scale situation where there is violence that is going on. Those persons have to be identified. You've got to extract them from those crowds.
But at the same time, it's a double-edged sword. Because you want to allow them an opportunity to vent but you cannot allow them the opportunity to damage property and to hurt innocent people.
COOPER: OK let me - I'm sorry Cedric, let me just bring in Boris, he's just right here. Boris, what's going on?
SANCHEZ: Hey, Anderson. Anderson, they just started shooting tear gas. The crowd of people broke up and we are running from the scene. So there were agitators that were getting pulled in by police. And a couple of people started sitting down. But police grabbed one and that's when everything just went out of control.
You could see a police -- you could see police are trying to control the situation, but there's tear gas everywhere. People started launching the tear gas back at the police. Oh, man.
Anyway Anderson, reinforcements are in, you could tell police are trying to grab people and bring them behind the line.
But again, things escalating very quickly. I'm going to describe the scene again to you.
So there were two lines of SWAT teams lined up by the Omni Hotel - hey watch out, there's gas under you, get out of there. There are more cans of tear gas getting thrown into the street right now, Anderson. We're trying to get out of the way.
So there were two lines -- oh, my eyes. Anderson, I've got to send it back to you.
COOPER: All right, so what we were -- we're seeing -- and Cedric, I'm sorry for interrupting you. We're here with Cedric Alexander the former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and also David Klinger, former LAPD officer and also criminologist.
[21:15:01] I mean clearly you have at least two police lines right now. And it does seem like, Cedric that they -- as we had just been discussing, they had started pulling particular individuals behind police lines in order to hold them or arrest them.
But now clearly deploying tear gas to at least try to disperse this crowd as much as possible.
ALEXANDER: Yeah this is a very volatile situation that we're looking at right here, Anderson. The officers are trying to do their job, they're trying to extract the bad guys that are out there, that are clearly being a problem. And in their doing so, they're getting a negative response from that crowd.
Look, Charlotte's a very good police department. They have great leadership there. It's no doubt in my mind that they're going to put all the necessary resources that they have on the ground in order to quell that situation. But you've got to get that situation there under control before more people are hurt and more damage to property is done as well.
COOPER: Yeah, Ed Lavandera who's on the ground there. Ed, the -- clearly police have brought in reinforcements. I mean the police line we're seeing at least one of those police lines is much more -- is much larger than the police lines we had seen certainly in the entrance to the Omni before.
LAVANDERA: Well, there's no question. That line, we're just off to side of it. We're helping some of our colleagues here, Anderson, who were in the middle of that, giving them water. But those police lines pushing the crowd back away from that Omni Hotel area, which has been obviously the center of a lot of the violence tonight and trying to push that crowd back. They were trying to get various people, agitators, out of the crowd and this other people came in to try to grab those people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Murder, murder, murder, murder, murder, murder.
COOPER: Ed, are you OK?
LAVANDERA: Yeah, yeah, yeah we're fine Anderson, thanks. So just someone taking out their frustrations on me. Right.
COOPER: So -- if you need to leave that location, Ed, that's fine, just let us know.
LAVANDERA: Yeah we're going to (inaudible). I'm going to think what to do here, is give us a second, Anderson. We'll figure it out.
COOPER: All right, yeah. We'll check back in with you a little bit you take care of yourself and your crew. Boris Sanchez is also standing by also.
Boris, if you can explain where you are in relation to where Ed was and just what you're seeing around you, seems like the crowd, though smaller than it was, it seems like there are a number of individuals there, dozens who are not trying to leave at all, who are still staying there.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, you're absolutely right, Anderson. We're actually standing right next to Ed and his team was nice enough to bring us some water because of the tear gas that in our eyes. It looks like the crowd starts to disperse and then when the tear gas goes away, they come right back. And the people that are coming in are agitators.
You saw Ed get hit by somebody. Clearly they're not very friendly to the media or the police right now. But again, they're going right back to the front line to confront the police officers.
I'm walking back over to the line right now as my crew tries to get better -- you're going to knock me over too? You're going to hit me? You' going to hit me? You're going to hit me. Get out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to hit you.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, the crowd is very, very agitated, Anderson. (Inaudible) what I'm saying. Get out of here, guy.
Anderson, things are out of hand. I'm going to have to send it back to you for a moment.
COOPER: Yeah, you do what you need to do. I want to bring in Cedric Alexander, David Klinger. David, in the situation like this, I mean and now we're seeing at the top of the screen again, police pulling in certain agitators, bringing them through the police lines, trying to get them out of there. How do you disperse a crowd like this? I mean they tried tear gas. It seems like some die-hard elements, several dozen people, looks more like certainly mostly young men, not leaving.
KLINGER: Go out there with the appropriate tangle teams as we call them and arrest them. It's very simple. And each and every time there's a protest that turns into a riot, you have a firm hand not an overstretch -- excuse me, not an excessive hand but a firm hand using the appropriate levels of force to get these people into jail, get them off the street.
That needs to happen. And like I said, we need to have support for that type of a tactic by the police, by the mayor, the governor, and the White House. This has to stop because it will spin off into other cities and it's only going to get worse. COOPER: And Cedric, when we're -- this is video probably from about 40 or so minutes ago outside that Omni. It was the first sort of violent acts we started to see from protesters. Police had formed a line right in front of the Omni. And now this crowd has moved down a little bit from the Omni but is still in that area.
And we see people -- this is people who are broken into a business, or taking items from a store. I mean Cedric, when you start to have people just now breaking into businesses, this is not a protest anymore about a particular act. This is now just lawlessness.
ALEXANDER: This is lawlessness and this is unacceptable. And Charlotte police is going to have to get in there. And as we're seeing, on the latter part of the video here, they're going to have to get in there and take affirmative action, remove and or start arresting people.
[21:20:05] And it's going to be a tough night for them. Because as you can see, whenever tear g is launched, they will leave but soon as the tear gas leaves, they come right back. We've seen that pattern over and over and over again. And it's even getting to the point where your staff there and your colleagues are being threatened as well too.
So this is not a very good situation. But here again, Charlotte is a well put together police department. And I have confidence that the leadership there are going to take the appropriate levels of action throughout the course of the evening to bring this to some calm. But this is going to be a challenging night there in Charlotte.
COOPER: For officers involved in something like this, it's got to be -- I mean it's obviously a chaotic situation you don't necessarily have the big picture of what's happening elsewhere. I assume, you know, there are conflicting reports about what's going on. How do you maintain order just among your officers to execute properly what you want to do?
ALEXANDER: Well, in many police departments across this country, and Charlotte is no different, they train for scenarios certainly like this and certainly over the last couple of years, post Michael Brown, we all have been training for scenarios such as this.
But it becomes a leadership issue. You're there leading your men and women on the ground against those crowds. You keep them together. You make sure that they are all accounted for. You give them the support that they need.
But is it very stressful for them? Certainly it is. The other night you had 12 officers injured. And that's 12 officers that are taking out of that police department in order to recover from the injuries. That is devastating.
But we got to keep them encouraged. And like we just heard Dr. Klinger say, they need all the support that they can have from both their city, state, and county government need to support those officers in the work that they're doing. As long as they're being constitutional and they're acting under the color of law and they're doing their job the way that it was trained, we've got to go in, we've got to make those arrests, we've got to get those agitators out of there before more people get hurt and more property is damaged because this is not what we want to see happen.
This is far from just people exercising their first amendment right to speech. This is violent acts. That is just not acceptable by that community or anyone else.
COOPER: Yeah, David, I mean in a situation like this, you have obviously plenty of people who are legitimate protesters, who have legitimate grievance and, you know, want to have their voices heard. But you also have people who are there, you know, to agitate, to get a response, to provoke something.
KLINGER: Absolutely. And hopefully Charlotte has been working with their intel units and maybe the county intel units, state intel units, so on and so forth in terms of figuring out who the outside agitators are, also local agitators so that you have something going in about who the people are, who are likely or most likely to do some criminal act, focus your attention on them and get them out of there.
Circling back to the issue of what it's like to be in a situation like that, I was never involved as a police officer in riot control but I've spoken with dozens and dozens of officers who have been across the country and in Ferguson. And it is very trying and it is very difficult, and it's very challenging.
KLINGER: And as Cedric was talking about, the issue of command and control becomes really, really vital and as you were mentioning, the big picture versus what the officers on the ground can see, they only know what's going on right in front of them so there has to be command and control...
KLINGER: ... both right with them and then up and down the chain of command so that there are appropriate movements as a group to try to shut things down, open other lanes up, give legitimate protesters lanes of egress so they can get out of there and so that the people that are the hardcore rioters are the ones that remain then round them up and get them out of there.
COOPER: Let me go back to Boris Sanchez. Boris, it looks like there's more gas now being fired.
SANCHEZ: That's right, Anderson. They just started tossing tear gas again. At one point it looked like the SWAT team is going to go right into the crowd. People started running away and then they came right back. They're throwing the tear gas back at the police who are right now standing still. I can tell you that the peaceful element of this protest is completely gone.
My colleague, Ed Lavendera, was just assaulted by a guy as he was delivering his report. Ed fortunately is fine. We got hit with pepper spray, ourselves. But obviously the crowd here is not a friendly one.
There's a lot of people fleeing right now from what I can tell. A lot of people just standing around and dancing in the tear gas.
Again, this started as a peaceful protest outside the police department. Things were somewhat tense, but there were conversations being had.
At this point as you can see, people are now kicking the tear gas at the police officers who are sending it right back, Anderson. Things spiraled out of control.
At one point, protesters were trying to get inside the Omni Hotel where the SWAT team had gathered to try to get away from them. And they started bangs on the glass, some glass was broken.
[21:25:01] Police vehicles were vandalized and destroyed. There's more tear gas coming our way as we start to move back. And the tear gas keeps being thrown at the police.
Right now looks like the crowd directly in front of the police officers is mostly dispersed. But it's the side roads to the left and right of where the police are where most people are gathered right now. There's a lot of people just standing and watching but there are people that again, as you can see, are throwing things at the police. Anderson?
COOPER: And Boris, I mean the clearly with the latest salvo of tear gas, they have been able to clear out that intersection but as we've seen a lot over the last 30 or 40 minutes, as soon as the tear gas clears, it seems like some of the harder core elements, these young guys come back to confront police again.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, they're not going anywhere. They scatter. The problem here is that they're only on one side of the intersection and there are people on the other three corners that keep running back when the gas disperses, they run right back at the police.
As you can see, people are starting to walk back into the intersection now. And what was a mass of about 100 people that started with chanting and a conversation, again, outside the police station then at a park became this.
You could see the reinforcements are now moving in. We're not sure exactly what they're going to do but it looks like officers are going to start to march forward to try to clear these streets. There are quite a few police officers and they're directing them as I mentioned, Anderson, toward the sides of the intersection that were being used by people to hide.
We're starting to pull back but there are people that simply are not moving. They're staying right there. At one point, they did start pulling the agitators behind the line but that's when things really got out of hand o this side of the street. As you can see, they're now setting up a barrier. They're moving into the intersection. Behind us, I can hear sirens.
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: It looks like they're not moving in the intersection.
SANCHEZ: It appears that reinforcements are coming. The officers are moving in the intersection, miss.
COOPER: So it looks like now they're basically ...
SANCHEZ: So Anderson ...
COOPER: ... trying to cover three sides of that intersection as far as I can tell. Is that right?
SANCHEZ: Right, exactly. They're trying to cut the protesters off. But there are people that are simply not leaving. And they are trying to insight something it seems like. It looks like there's somebody on the ground now. So another agitator has been arrested. I've seen several people arrested obviously and there's more shouting as we try to move away.
I'm trying to get an idea of how many people there are. There's about I think three, four dozen on my intersection. On the other side there's at least 50 and then on the third intersection there's another about 70 people. So there's still well over 100 people here.
Some people are now sitting in front of the line of police. This does not appear to be calming down any time soon. At least for right now, tear gas isn't being thrown. It appears that police are now forming a circle. I can't tell what they're picking up on the ground but obviously they're being extremely cautious here trying to keep people from going behind them. Anderson, I'll send it back to you as I try to figure out what's next here.
COOPER: Yeah. I also want to show you that video. We'll cue that up of Ed Lavendera who was knocked over by one of protesters. Let's take a look at that. It happened I think about 20 minutes or so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: ... other people came in, tried to line those people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Obviously something done intentional as we've often seen in situations like this, it's not just the police who are the focus of anger. Also many times at reporters as well.
Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis police officers association is joining us on the phone. Jeff, good to talk to you again, sorry it's under these circumstances.
In terms of what you're seeing on the streets tonight, what do you make of what you're seeing? How difficult of job is this for police right now in Charlotte?
JEFF ROORDA, ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION SPOKESPERSON: Hey Anderson, I turned on my T.V. and I thought that I was on the DVR and catching old footage from Ferguson. I mean, it's the same thing all over again. And, you know, my thoughts all day have been with those police officers in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Sixteen of them injured last night, you know, the same sort of irrational pandemonium on the streets there that we saw in Ferguson and in Baltimore and other places. I, you know, I sure wish people would just wait for facts and details to come out before they jump to conclusions and take to the streets and turn to violence.
COOPER: It's certainly something which one of the things we've been talking about tonight. There obviously is a difference of opinion about what happened, different -- and all the facts are not known, certainly, at this point.
We're also joined by Cedric Alexander and David Klinger.
[21:30:01] You know it's interesting, Cedric, you know, often we've seen just even in New York recently in the wake of terror attacks, you know, oftentimes there's these people -- not only appeal for calm, but say look "Don't rush to judgments, don't make judgments, don't rush the judgments about the facts of what happened, about who might be involved with their motivations" and yet, you know, in the situation like this, things are so tense and there is such distrust, there is often a rush to judgment.
ALEXANDER: Yeah. And certainly, there's a rush to judgment. And I think part of the problem is when you guys look at it from a much broader perspective, Anderson, is that this country have seen a number of these shootings, rather they are good or bad. People have seen a number of these shootings over the last couple years and certainly we've seen some on video that has created a great deal of concern and pause and created a whole lot of anger with people.
So what we're seeing when we see these types of situation on tonight is a culmination of that anger that people had and they vent. It's the wrong way to do it, but this is what we're contending with.
So we have a bigger issue here in this country and as to relationships between police and community is we know that we're going to have to do things different in policing.
I've been in the profession for 40 years now. Here in the Cab County, we are doing things different. There are a lot of departments across this country that are doing things different.
But in the immediate, at this very moment, what we need Americans, particularly like tonight, Americans on the street there in Charlotte tonight, is to back away because this type of demonstration does not benefit anyone. It didn't benefit the community. It didn't benefit the loss of the person who lost their life. It's just not good. It's not a good optic for their city. And there's a much better way, of course, to manage this. We know this is very tough for police and community today. But what we see here tonight where you put a whole community at distress, and a whole nation and people around the world looking at you, this is not an optic that none of us want. So we got to do something different here.
And another thing I want to add, too, Anderson, before I end here. We got a debate coming up in five days. A presidential debate, and I would hope during the course of that debate that each one of those candidates have an opportunity to address police community relations in this country. What we've been seeing for the last couple years as of concern. And what is their plan? I want to hear about foreign policy. And I want to hear about their economic policy but I also, the American people, all the American people need to hear what the policy are going to be on in terms of advancing policing and community engagement in this country.
So that what we see here tonight is a lesson and those however who are out here get on a supporter and people who are doing damage to property and who are hurting others is not acceptable and all of us must support our police in the time of crisis such as this.
COOPER: Ed Lavendera is there. Ed, first of all, are you doing OK? And if -- assuming you are, just tell us what you're seeing around you.
LAVANDERA: We're fine, Anderson, you know, just at point kind of joking about it. I told our producer that that hit wasn't, that's not much of a future in the NFL with a hit like that. But we're good. We're good. I joke because it's kind of the easiest way to handle it at this point.
We're just standing off to the side. This street, if you look off to the left, when we first started talking to you about 30, 45 minutes ago, just down the street is back toward the police department and that's where we saw a group of protesters busting through that souvenir shop and busting out the windows and just causing mayhem inside that store and throwing out everything on the street.
Then they moved back up this way where they're still confronting the SWAT teams here have moved a little bit on the screen from your right to your left and that's where we have seen the confrontations take place here in this intersection.
The intensity is still there. I think a lot of people, as Boris mentioned, the peaceful protesters at this point are long gone, and at this point, we have a group of very serious agitators and here we go, looks like -- start seeing a group of people moving and makes you -- it gives you the impression that officers are moving in to remove somebody and that's when they usually start dispatching the tear gas into the crowd as well.
Where we're standing and the wind is blowing back where the windows at our backs so tear gas will move away from us that's why we're standing over here at this point. But things are kind of calm right now. You can clearly tell that police are still trying to figure out how they need to get this crowd dispersed from here for good for the night.
COOPER: And Ed, it looks like we're seeing one man in a tie there sort of trying to talk to some of the younger men who are out there. Actually, Boris, I think you're closest to that.
[21:35:01] What's going on there?
SANCHEZ: So, Anderson, right now, people are starting to get closer and closer to the line of police. Some people are trying to make peace. There's a gentleman in front of me that keeps trying to get people to back up. But we've seen people go straight at the police and get pulled into that barrier behind them.
You know, as I watch this, Anderson, I cannot imagine this is what the wife of Keith Lamont Scott wanted to. She put out a statement today, Regina Scott saying that she was proud of people protesting but that she did not want this. She did not want violence in the streets.
So far, we've seen several people get beat up. We've seen several people get clobbered with tear gas. We've seen several people making very, very, you know, dangerous comments to police saying that they're not afraid of them. Saying that, you know, I heard one man say "We have guns, too, you guys should be afraid of us."
Obviously, as I said before, Anderson, the people that are here do not appear to be interested in peace. Right now, the police are starting to shift. Then we see them moving forward and somebody just got grabbed in front of us.
And as we mentioned earlier, Anderson, police have started that process of pulling in people they deem as agitators. Right now, it looks like they're trying to block out this intersection. At one point it looked like they were going to start moves forward. But then they pulled back. We heard reinforcements coming in. I have not seen them so far.
We're going to keep monitoring this, Anderson, and send it back to you right now.
COOPER: Ed, let's check in with Ed Lavendera, from your vantage point, Ed, there are people sort of clearly trying to keep some of these more vocal protesters away from the police. Was -- it seems to be with kind of mixed results to say the least.
LAVANDERA: And Anderson, not only that but you also have, well I can see clearly on the other side of the SWAT officers from where we are. I don't know how much you can see in our camera and go but that there's a ...
COOPER: Yeah, I see them.
SANCHEZ: ... dozens more SWAT officers arriving, there's reinforcements for the group of SWAT officers that are here on the scene. So we've just seen them start walking up. We're trying to get you the best vantage point we can of this as we can.
So they're now moving in, I saw the vehicles pull in of that one block away and they quickly started making their way down the street to reinforce the line of SWAT officers that already in place here along these streets.
And we saw their vehicles move in just a short while ago. And within seconds, they were moving very quickly down the street to position themselves behind the line of SWAT officers that we have out here right now.
So a huge group of reinforcements coming in for these SWAT officers on the front line. And we'll see how this begins to play out here as the chanting continues.
COOPER: And Ed, I mean, oftentimes in a situation like this, because we're only seeing what our cameras are pointed at, it can often seem larger than this. Can you give us kind of a bird's eye, or kind of a big-picture view here about how many -- I don't know, protesters is the right word, agitators, whatever you want to say, are there still left there? I mean, it looks like dozens to me, but from your vantage point, what does it look like, the size of this crowd?
LAVANDERA: Well, so imagine the officers are in the middle of this intersection and everything fans out in three different directions. From where we are, there's a small group on this side. The main street -- oh, here we go. Hold on, hold on -- what's going on, Anderson, but we got to move.
COOPER: So clearly we just saw again that tactic, they're trying to grab somebody, bring them through the lines. And that gentleman there in the white is trying to keep them apart.
LAVANDERA: Hey, Anderson?
COOPER: Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.
SANCHEZ: That guy in the white shirt is actually a public defender. I just talked to him. He said he's not here with anybody. He's here to help people in the crowd. He actually almost got pulled in by police as you saw but then he -- it appears he reasoned with the police officer. There's more tear gas being thrown. Something is being yelled over the loud speaker but right now we cannot make out what is being said.
They're telling people to control themselves and to leave, to disperse, that they will use physical force against them. They're about to disperse more tear gas. They're about to disperse more tear gas. So ...
SANCHEZ: ... the people should leave immediately. It's actually been said in Spanish, believe it or not Anderson.
COOPER: Boris, I've gotten a word that they're apparently has been one fatality -- it's a civilian. And we're told that it did not involve the police officer at all, that it was a civilian-on-civilian altercation of some sort. But we're again, we're trying to confirm that and get more details on that. We're obviously going to bring that to our viewers as soon as we can.
[21:40:02] But Boris was talking about that gentleman there in the white in the tie. He says he's a public defender who's just trying to help out as much as he can. He has been very active in trying to kind of move back some of the more vocal protesters.
But as much as they move apart, then it seems like people edge back toward the police then the police reach in, try to grab some people that they believe are being particularly vocal or particularly causing trouble and arrest them. Sometimes that does seem to have ...
COOPER: Yeah, go ahead.
SANCHEZ: I just wanted to mention, it appears that people here just got the news that you were talking about, that someone was killed. It's obviously on social media right now. And I just heard a woman screaming and shouting, crying, very angry, reading the news saying he was doing nothing. It doesn't appear that that news that it was a civilian-on-civilian incident that has gotten to her yet. And she's under the impression that it was police-on-civilian. She is very angry.
So you can imagine this crowd is only going to continue to get angrier as the kind of, you know, misinformation or rumors start to spread about what happened and we, again, don't have all the details yet. But obviously people on the ground are reacting to the news that someone was badly, badly hurt in incident at this protest, Anderson.
COOPER: I'm told that information, by the way came from the chief of police, again, we are trying to just confirm all of this. Obviously, you know, that word is spreading in the crowd through social media. The question, of course, what kind of an impact, if any, is that going to have on the crowd? Is that -- do they have all the information?
The vantage point we're seeing now, I'm not actually sure where it is in relation to the failings of police officers we have been seeing. We did see at least one business being broken into, people running off with items from that business.
Ed Lavendera is still with us. You know, Ed, in the store that we saw being robbed before, is that still -- to your knowledge, is that still a target for people?
SANCHEZ: That was around the corner from where you see here. So I haven't been able to make my way back down for that area. I suspect that has probably settled down at this point. Essentially, this Ransacked the place from what we could tell they busted out all of the windows, we're taking out all the merchandise inside basically throwing it out into the streets. Across the street from that is a hotel and lot of the landscaping along that area had been ripped out thrown into the streets. So that is around the corner to my left. And at this point, it's just too dangerous really to make our way back to where we were so we're staying off to the side here.
You hear SWAT teams basically telling everybody that they need to leave this area, they no longer have the right to be standing out here, they have, have regardless of what you're out here for. So they are now bringing in those loud speaker systems and telling people that they need to leave, that they're essentially breaking the law at this point.
Of course, places like Ferguson, we saw similar tactics. You know, it doesn't necessarily work all that quickly it takes some time. And we'll see how that plays out. It doesn't seem like, you know, once again, as you've been mentioning of these SWAT teams move up and then the crowd retreats for a little bit. Now that they start coming back after things settle down.
So we'll -- with those reinforcements that we were talking about before we had to run off, there was a crowd of people that started taking off. It sounds like the SWAT teams' patience for how much longer this is going to last is this, you know, the big question about how much longer before they really start pulling and arresting more people here on the scene.
So they're starting to send that message out now. And we'll see from the people who are still left here how much longer they're going to last here in this confrontation with the SWAT teams.
SANCHEZ: Art Roderick, CNN law enforcement analyst and former assistant director to the U.S. marshals service is also joining us as is Tom Fuentes formerly with the FBI, he is a senior law enforcement analyst and also a former FBI assistant director.
Tom, just in terms of what you have seen so far and how this is being hand l handled, what do you make of it?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well Anderson, unfortunately I don't have access to a television. But I've the most main broadcast all evening and I think that's a, you know, and have it there's been a report of a fatality, the police have to ask themselves how much longer to leave this level of tension on the street or they just say, it's time to clear the street and get the people who are causing the violence to get to leave, to disperse.
And I think that the longer people are out there -- and it sounds like top me like a tug-of-war. They're pushing back then the people come back toward the police. The police push them back out of the way they come back. And the longer this goes, the more chance there is for more people to possibly get killed out there and the possibility of police officers, themselves, being attacked. So I think that at a certain point, the police are going to have to say, "We've tried to be kinder and gentler all evening long, we're not succeeding.
[21:45:07] Now we have a fatality on our hands. It might just be time to put an end to this situation."
COOPER: Cedric Alexander is also with us, former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, 21st century Task Force. David Klinger as well, Former NYPD Officer and Criminologist.
David, we haven't heard from you in some time. Just in terms of the progress that we have been seeing now over the last hour or so that we've been monitoring this developments in real time, it seems like police, certainly, have brought in reinforcement. They seem in a much better position to try to put an end to this tonight.
KLINGER: Could be. It's difficult to say, you know. I'm not watching the video feed and even that video feed is going to be limited in terms of what it's showing.
We don't know what's going on in other places where the video feed is not. We don't know about the command and control, don't know where the command post is, we don't know who's in charge, we don't know if additional reinforcements are coming.
But clearly, things have spun out of control. And one of the things that we learned in Los Angeles from the Rodney King Riots going way back is that if you seed ground to rioters, then it will spread.
And so, I'm with Tom that we need to -- excuse me, that in Charlotte, the authorities need to get control of this and they need to get control of it sooner rather than later.
Because, as things continue to spin out of control, more and more people with social media, so on and so forth, can be called to bear for the folks that want to create the problems. It needs to be shutdown.
COOPER: Art Roderick, Law Enforcement Analyst, Former Assistant Director of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Art, I mean, again, a very difficult situation for police when you have, you know, you have a dozens of people who refuse to leave, who are there, some totally legitimately to continue a protest, others to rob, get targets of opportunity, others to engage with police.
ART RODERICK, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yeah. And Anderson, I've been watching this for quite a while. And this is a typical civil set of disturbance type tactics.
You see the front line of law enforcement officers there. They generally, they will hold that line in tact and then when they identify specific individuals within the crowd, an arrest team will come out and will fill in behind them and then let them back into the line.
And then that individual that they are targeted that they put hands on will be cuffed and arrested in and then processed and taken away.
It looks like, from what I can see here, that quite a few other law enforcement officers geared up in civil disturbance riot gear have just recently showed up.
And it looks like, I think, they've got pretty good numbers there at this point in time. Of course, we are kind of, you know, just looking through the camera lens here as to what's going on.
But I think also, earlier this morning, I saw the chief of police and the mayor holding the press conference with community leaders also.
And the mayor specifically talked about individuals coming from outside of Charlotte.
And, you know, this probably started as a relatively peaceful protest and it'd be interesting to see how many individuals that they've arrested that aren't from the Charlotte Mecklenburg area.
COOPER: I don't know if we still have Ed Lavandera or Boris Sanchez available, but if we do, Boris, I mean, if people wanted to leave, I mean, sometimes in a situation like this, people get boxed in by police. But if people wanted to leave, could they leave this area?
SANCHEZ: Oh, without question, Anderson. We're looking at three empty intersections behind the police. People -- a lot of people have left already.
I would say that there's a couple hundred that are still here. Some people are now kneeling in front of the police and praying. But from what I can tell, there's nothing holding these people back from leaving even though we've heard several times over the loud speaker police asking the crowd to disperse.
That public defender that we mentioned earlier was trying to keep the space between protesters and police is also asking people to leave.
But obviously, that they are not moving. A lot of people are starting to yell, really agitating things towards the police.
And again, it does not look like this crowd is actually moving, Anderson.
COOPER: And in terms of just numbers, you said, perhaps, I think you said as many as 100 or so or more. Do you have a sense of how many people there are still there and approximately sort of police presence as well?
SANCHEZ: It's hard to really get a scope because, again, there are around three intersections so I can see two of them right now.
I can't really see over to the other side where the police are. I would say there's at least 100 or more people still here, potentially, 150. And it looks like more people are starting to come back.
Again, they dispersed when the tear gas turns and they come right back when they goes away.
[21:50:02] And from what I can tell, police have not taken any more people behind the crowd, but we did see reinforcements come in. Now from what I can tell, police are starting to arrange in and align
behind the circle. I can't tell exactly what they're doing, but it's obvious that they're getting ready to do something, Anderson.
COOPER: Art, in a situation like this, I mean, at a certain point, once police feel they have enough personnel, what is the next step?
I mean, is it just, you know. We've talked about kind of grabbing individuals, arresting them, but is that -- do you just continue to do that as you whittle down the crowd size?
RODERICK: Well, they could continue to do that, but I think at some point, what they'll start doing is moving, moving in formation, probably down the street to a pre-designated area where people can disburse. That's generally what happens in these types of disturbance situations.
And it looks like we got a pretty good amount of police officers there at this point where they, at some point, we'll get a command to start moving and move the crowd down the street to a park or to an area that they can disburse properly.
And I'm sure they have this, probably, all planned out already. I mean, they've had a couple days to get ready for this ...
COOPER: Yeah. Looks like ...
RODERICK: ... especially after last night.
COOPER: It looks like police there arresting somebody.
COOPER: It looks like they have hands-on now water battle being ...
SANCHEZ: Yeah, Anderson, it ...
COOPER: Go ahead, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Anderson, whoa, here we go. They just started shooting pellets. Yeah. It looks like they came out to grab somebody out of a crowd. An agitator and now, they're pulling him back in.
But people started running though as tear gas. There on this water battles being thrown now.
It looks like they fired at someone, but it didn't look to be a bullet, it seemed like smoke.
COOPER: It also it seems ...
SANCHEZ: We're trying to move closer to the direction where the police are, but we -- again, there are some people that sitting on the ground not moving or there are some people that are running away.
There's all kinds of debris in the streets. COOPER: There you see ...
SANCHEZ: I'll send it back to you, Anderson. We've kind of need to cover ...0
COOPER: Yeah. It seems like one kind of wing of the police formation is sort of moving up, moving up trying to, I guess, extend the line, the failings of police that they have.
Or earlier on, that sort of that front row police, not everybody had shields in that front row. Some of them did have clubs, but not everybody.
Now, it seems like that entire front row of police officers does have riot shields as well as the helmets with ballistic face masks, as well. Obviously, they also have masks for tear gas.
And we've been seeing now for more than an hour, tear gas. Not huge amounts but tear gas being disbursed from time to time, the crowd moving away from it. In some cases, kicking it back or throwing it back toward police lines.
We'll just show you kind of how this -- when this began to transition, as far as we can tell, from what would seem to be according to Boris Sanchez, who was part of it early on, a peaceful protest of people moving through the streets starting out with about 100 people and then gradually growing larger. Let's show what happened about an hour or so go outside the Omni Hotel on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: That's right Anderson. So, basically, we were following the crowd all the way down to this part of downtown.
At one point, people got really agitated. There were trashcans thrown from the top of the mall and then they came here. And as you can see, people were trying to damage these vans. So far, they've put out -- oh, wow.
They've put out on pepper spray. People are running from it. Jerry, get out of there. Jerry, get out of there.
So, as you can tell, the situation is totally out of control. Just to give you a look at where the police line is right now, you can tell from all the debris in front of me, things very quickly got out of control. And they are still doing what they can to disburse this crowd, but it's very difficult. It's very difficult.
Oh, OK. They clearly want us out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Boris Sanchez about an hour ago. Boris, it looks like now where the line is moving a little bit?
SANCHEZ: Yeah. Officers are starting to really clear the intersection. They have moved us back. And protesters are confronting them. They're going right back at them, Anderson, right now.
And things are getting launched at the police. Just a few moments ago, there was a glass bottle tossed at a police officer and I think that may have spurred them.
And there's tear gas again in the street, people starting to throw things again at the police officers.
From what I can tell right now, it looks like -- and glasses again being thrown. Oh, OK. Yeah. There's a lot of things being thrown at the police right now. It looks like the police are continuing to move forward now very slowly.
[21:55:02] Some people are still standing in front of them -- and there's the tear gas, Anderson.
People are starting to run off. I think you can see as we start walking back, some of the debris that's in the street. There's more tear gas now coming in all directions.
And again, people are trying to get people out of the way.
COOPER: And that -- again, that ...
SANCHEZ: People are working to get people out of the way. Nobody's being stopped from getting out of here. In other words, people are here because they want to be here.
So, there's a lot of tear gas, Anderson. We'll send it back to you so we can try to find some kind of shelter for a moment.
COOPER: Yeah. And again, you saw that man who Boris said is a public defender trying to get protesters to continue to move.
There he is again. There amidst the protesters amidst the tear gas as police now are moving on from -- moving outward from that intersection that we've been watching them in for about 45 minutes or so.
A large amount of tear gas there were certainly on the ground. And as you can see, the city now is saying that a policeman has been injured. We don't know the extent of his injuries.
Earlier, the chief of police had said that one person was dead, had been shot to death. Not by police, though, by somebody else, I assume amidst that group that protest. But the police were saying, the police chief saying that one person has been killed, but not by police.
We're trying to get more details obviously on that. And now, city officials saying a police officer has been injured in the protest.
We just saw earlier looked like a glass bottle of some sort being thrown, hitting a traffic light, bursting a shattering glass, all over, that's obviously something of concern. There's a woman trying to pour water on her face. That man there on the right in the ties, the public defender who had been trying to keep people separate.
And it seems that the area directly in front of the police has largely cleared out now because of the tear gas. But this now, another vantage point.
Is this Boris's camera or is this Ed's? OK. This is Ed Lavandera's camera. So, this is a different camera now vantage point than we were just seeing of those police moving forward.
Ed, if you can explain, have the police in the area you're in, have they also moved forward?
LAVANDERA: I'm looking for the camera. I can't play. We've got separated. Great back forward.
The police department, and that's the area where I was telling you a little while ago, Anderson, where we saw the looting of that souvenir shot and various other location.
So, this line of officers here have kind of flanked out to keep people from moving into this trade street area and moving back toward the police department.
And that's where the brunt of the most intense protesters are and that's where you see just the most recent firing off of the tear gas there in that area.
So, I can see it kind of goes down to about a quarter of a mile or so. And there are a large crowd of people there as they kind of keep pushing them back. But I'm not sure how much further back these officers are going to move their way down the street.
I think they're just going to try to protect this intersection right here and make sure that nobody moves in behind that other line of officers right now, Anderson.
COOPER: And Ed, now, this has been going on for what? I mean, by my count, it's been almost started since the first tear gas started to get thrown for about an hour and 10, hour and 15 minutes or so. So this has been going for quite sometime.
LAVANDERA: Yeah, it has Anderson. It's a point you mention that, because I've completely lots track at time here at this point.
This stuff just seems to drag on and on and on forever, which is kind of a combination of a little bit nerve-wrecking and then just trying to pay attention to what exactly is going on around us.
But there was a -- before the SWAT team started moving this way down towards trade street, toward t police department, there had been an increase in the number.
I could hear bottles of glass crashing on the cement in the intersection behind the line of police officers.
Up there, you can see, I think there had been some things thrown. And some of the neon lights and the billboard lights up there, those were getting smashed out, as well. As well as the several other stores being smashed and ransack pretty well.
It's hard to tell from our vantage point here if all of that is continuing. As you can see here, this line of officers has kind of stood still and they're asking us to -- I think get out of the area, right. I think we might need to get moving as what we're being told.
COOPER: OK, whatever you have to do, just so we'll continue to check back in with you, Ed, checking his situation. That's there you see the overhead vantage point. One of those lines of police officers with the area in front of them, largely clear, that last help of, sort of firing of tear gas did seem to clear out a large number of the protesters.
[22:00:05] It's not clear though how far they have actually gone, whether they continue to be in the area. And as we've seen so many times as the tear gas disperses, they'll come back.
Our coverage is going to continue. I want to toss it over to my colleague, Don Lemon. Don?