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THE SITUATION ROOM
Protests in Missouri; Interview With Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver
Aired August 14, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news.
A Missouri town is bracing for the worst, fearing another night of unrest. Police are promising to show restraint after a teenager's death and violent clashes with protesters. Will President Obama's appeal for calm make a difference in the coming hours?
Police officers across America are equipped with deadly weapons of war straight from the Pentagon. We're investigating their arsenal -- new calls to demilitarize local law enforcement.
And ISIS terrorists make new advances. Religious minorities plea for help escaping Iraq, but President Obama now says a major evacuation operation isn't needed.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Tonight, the Missouri governor is taking action to prevent more chaos and violence like this. He says the state Highway Patrol is taking over security in the Saint Louis suburb of Ferguson where local police have clashed with protesters every night since an officer was shot and killed -- an officer shot and killed, I should say, an unarmed teenager.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI: What's gone on here over the last few days is not about what -- is not what Missouri's about. It's not what the Ferguson is about. This is a place where people work, go to school, raise their families and go to church, a diverse community, a Missouri community.
But, lately, it's looked a little bit more like a war zone. And that's unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Governor Jay Nixon revealed that he even doesn't know the name of the officer who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Nixon spoke just hours after President Obama shared his concerns about the unrest and announced a federal investigation. We have our correspondents standing by in Missouri. They're awaiting
a new round of protests. We're also covering the breaking news out of Iraq.
Let's go to CNN's Jason Carroll first. He's is in Ferguson with the very latest -- Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I'm standing in the same spot where some of the protests broke out last night and the night before and Monday night.
If you look behind me, you can see a number of protesters have already started to gather out here to demonstrate. So far, they have done it peacefully. Missouri's governor certainly hopes it stays that way. Going forward he says there is going to be a change in police tactics.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now is the time for healing, and now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson.
THOMAS JACKSON, FERGUSON, MISSOURI, POLICE CHIEF: It's a powder keg and we all recognize that. We're going to try to facilitate the protest tonight to help everybody bring this down.
CARROLL (voice-over): Calls for calm in Missouri following war-zone- like scenes in suburban Saint Louis overnight. Demonstrators and police clashed for a fifth night after an officer shot and killed an unarmed teen, Michael Brown, just days before he was to leave for college.
Some journalists covering the mayhem were swept up in it and an Al- Jazeera crew flees as tear gas canisters detonated in front of them. Minutes later, police officers dismantle their gear. And two other journalists, one from "The Washington Post," another from The Huffington Post, were confronted and detained while working at a nearby McDonald's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurry up. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don't wave your gun at me.
CARROLL: They were both released after about 45 minutes, no charges filed. The governor of Missouri acknowledges these tensions are deep- seated.
NIXON: Over the last few days, there has been a fear to hear, a fear to hear not just about this action, but about how it fits in a much longer and broader context of a deeper march to justice.
CARROLL: And residents agree.
(on camera): Why would you say there's so much anger here?
CHRISTOPHER PHILLIPS, FERGUSON RESIDENT: They are angry because they can relate to the situation as far as being harassed or antagonized by police. Sometimes, they are getting put on the sidewalk as if they are selling drugs or that they have a weapon and no charges are being filed. They are just being let go. They are being humiliated. And it's happening on a consistent basis.
CARROLL: As the investigation continues, this cell phone video obtained by CNN shows officers keeping one of the teenager's family members away from Michael Brown's body as it lay in the street.
Tiffany Mitchell shot the video. She says the struggle began at the police car window.
TIFFANY MITCHELL, EYEWITNESS: When the cop and Michael were wrestling through the window, it looked as if Michael was pushing off and the cop was trying to pull him in and then the cop shot a -- fired through the window. Michael breaks away and he starts running away from the officer. The officer gets out of his vehicle and pursues Michael as he's shooting his weapon.
Michael jerks his body as if he was hit and then he turns around and faces the officer and puts his hands up, and the officer continues to shoot him until he goes down to the ground.
CARROLL: So, again, Wolf, as you can see out here today, some demonstrators have started to gather. Again, the demonstration has been peaceful so far.
What you cannot see, Wolf, is up the street some 50 to 60 police cars are stationed there, SWAT team there as well in the ready. Once again, the governor and community leaders hoping all of that will not be necessary tonight.
BLITZER: Let's hope. We will see what happens in the coming hours. Jason, thanks very much, Jason Carroll reporting for us.
As the violence has unfolded in Missouri, some members of Congress say it's time to demilitarize the police in Ferguson and indeed across the nation so officers aren't armed with weapons of war.
Brian Todd is looking into this situation for us.
The Pentagon is arming American police forces. What is going on?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you are seeing military-grade weapons all over America's streets these days. They are getting into the hands of more and more police, many of whom are not trained properly in how or when to use them.
TODD (voice-over): Men in Kevlar vests and helmets, camouflage, carrying automatic rifles, moving in tactical armored vehicles, these aren't American troops on the battlefield, but police in Ferguson. One observer says he thought he saw police in an MRAP. KARA DANSKY, ACLU: An MRAP is a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle. It's built to withstand armor-piercing bombs. This is not something that we need in American communities.
TODD: But Kara Dansky of the ACLU says more than 500 MRAPs have made their way from Afghanistan and Iraq to local police forces in America just over the past couple of years.
It's part of what the ACLU, in a recent report, called the excessive militarization of American policing. Indications of that are everywhere in Ferguson. Police in these towns are getting much of this combat equipment free of charge from the Pentagon. The Defense Department says just in 2013, nearly $450 million worth of military equipment was given to law enforcement.
A defense official says Ferguson police only got a couple of Humvees and a trailer. But police departments throughout Missouri, which are assisting in Ferguson, got 20 MRAPs and hundreds of M-16 rifles in recent years. Critics say often when they get these weapons, policemen's attitudes change.
DANSKY: Increasingly, the police are trained to view the people in the communities that they are supposed to be protecting and serving as enemies.
TODD: Dansky says having well-trained SWAT teams in major cities is necessary, but all too often police in smaller towns, sometimes without the proper training in how to use all of this military gear, overreact when conducting minor operations, like serving search warrants.
DANSKY: They will drive up in an armored personnel carrier, raid a person's home, holding assault rifles, holding people at gunpoint, yelling at everyone to get on the floor. This is an extremely traumatic experience and we have seen over and over again situations like this where people are traumatized and sometimes people are injured and killed.
TODD: But current and former police say criminals have increasingly more firepower and law enforcement can't be afford to be outgunned.
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If people are shooting at the police and committing looting and other violent acts, then the police need to protect themselves.
TODD: The Defense Department supports this trend as well.
While it takes someone like you or me four to six weeks and of course unending hassle and documentation to secure a passport, as reported by "The Washington Post," your local police force need only fill out a one-page form -- there you see it there -- for an armored personal carrier -- Wolf.
BLITZER: How and when did this militarization of local police get started?
TODD: It started in earnest, Wolf, in the 1980s and 1990s with the war on drugs, when the federal government started to supply local and state forces with better weapons to counter the drug cartels.
It accelerated after 9/11 and the two wars, when the military started to procure more weapons and of course then it had a much bigger surplus and had a lot of weapons to give to these police forces and a lot of them did need it, but now it's gone overboard.
BLITZER: Now you see what is going on in some of these local communities with a lot of the military gear on the streets there. Thanks very much, Brian Todd, for that report.
President Obama says there's no excuse for police to use excessive force against protesters. We're also learning new information about the investigation. The Justice Department and FBI are now getting involved, ordered to do so by the president.
Let's bring in our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. She is taking a closer look at what federal officials are about to do.
What are we learning?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're learning that federal officials from DOJ and from FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Saint Louis are on the ground in Ferguson conducting the investigation.
And the first major step that has been taken is interviewing eyewitnesses who say they were on the scene when Michael Brown was shot on Saturday. Wolf, we have learned from a source that federal officials have interviewed 22-year-old Dorian Johnson. He is the young man who claimed that he was with Michael Brown walking with Michael Brown when Brown was shot by police.
Of course, he's a key witness in all of this, but we have learned that several witnesses have been interviewed and this is just a small part of the puzzle for the investigation. Authorities, Wolf, are also going to be looking at of course ballistics, autopsy results to try to piece together whether or not Michael Brown's civil rights were violated.
A key distinction, this federal investigation separate from the local investigation, and these civil rights investigations, Wolf, take time. You look at the probe into whether Trayvon Martin's civil rights were violated, that probe is still going on. It's a long process.
BLITZER: It certainly is.
Attorney General Eric Holder, what is he saying about the militarization that were just talking about with Brian of this local police force?
BROWN: Yes. Eric Holder released a statement today, Wolf, and he made it clear
that he's not happy with the militarization of the police there in Ferguson. In fact, this is what he said in a statement. "I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message."
So in response to this, Wolf, Eric Holder has actually sent a team to Ferguson to assist with technical assistance. That means they are going to be helping police there on the ground in Ferguson use some less extreme measures to control the crowd.
BLITZER: Including officials from the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department as well. Pamela Brown, thanks very, very much.
We're joined now Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. He's a Democrat of Missouri, the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Also joining us, the superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He's joining us on the phone, Colonel Ronald Replogle.
Colonel, thanks very much first of all to you for joining us.
Give us your mission exactly because it looks like the governor, Jay Nixon, lost confidence in the Saint Louis police force, asked them to give way to the Missouri Highway Patrol. You're in charge. What's your mission?
COL. RONALD REPLOGLE, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: You know, I wouldn't characterize it as the governor losing confidence.
It's just a shift. We have been here since Saturday with troopers. And Captain Johnson, who is taking more a leadership role as of today, has been here since Saturday working hand in hand with the local authorities, the Saint Louis County Police Department.
It's more of a shift of him stepping forward and taking more of a leadership role of how we respond to the situation. Hopefully we will see a different response tonight and it will be more peaceful. We're not going to have those SWAT team on the front line and we're going to be interacting with the crowd. And hopefully the community will cooperate and those that are there will be peaceful and we certainly want to protect them as they have that right to protest, too, and it will not escalate into what it has done for the last three or four nights here.
BLITZER: Are we going to see, Colonel, any military hardware, if you will, Humvees, other kinds of military equipment that could trigger some sort of very, very explosive reaction?
REPLOGLE: First of all, we don't have any Humvees.
There are some tactical vehicles that have been in play here over the last few days. Those units are going to be still available. They are not going to be on the front lines like what you have seen the last couple of nights. We're going to have uniformed officers still working hand in hand with the local facilities, the Saint Louis Police Department, Ferguson Police Department and the local departments. But the assets, if they are needed, if you have got somebody throwing
things at you, such as bricks and rocks and bottles, I think you want some of that protection that you have seen in the past. But we're hoping that doesn't escalate to that tonight.
We're asking for peaceful demonstrations. They certainly have the right to do that and we want that to occur tonight and we're going to allow that to occur tonight as long as it's peaceful and there's no assaulting that is going on of the law enforcement officials and there's no looting that starts. We want a peaceful demonstration and we're going to protect that.
BLITZER: We're showing our viewers, Colonel, some live pictures of people gathering right now even though it's not sundown yet. People are gathering in Ferguson. They are angry. They want a protest.
Is there any consideration to a curfew in Ferguson? Because in other communities when there's been these kinds of problems, as you know, local law enforcement, state law enforcement, sometimes the federal government imposes a curfew.
REPLOGLE: That has been discussed in any meetings I have been to.
I have in the city for most of the duration of this. I did come over today with our governor and our captain. It's a troop commander here in the Saint Louis area. This is our largest troop for the Highway Patrol personnel wise. He is going to be our on-scene commander and it would be very inappropriate for me to talk about any curfews or the need for a curfew from my standpoint at this time.
BLITZER: So basically you're going to let people protest and they will be able to express their views, but if you see people starting to loot or anything like that, get involved in violence, you have got the wherewithal to deal with that, right?
REPLOGLE: That's exactly right.
Let me put it this way. Since 1931, that's the year Missouri State Highway Patrol was created, we prided ourselves as being ladies and gentlemen who enforce the law. There's two key components of that, ladies and gentlemen. We do it in a very professional and respectful manner but we do enforce the law.
As long as it is peaceful and there are no violations of law occurring, this is going to go very smoothly tonight. But we do have the resources in place that if looting starts or unrest starts as far as assaults occurring on law enforcement that we do in the past, then we do have resources in place to take care of that. But we're hoping that it doesn't come to that tonight. We want to be there in a capacity and interact with this crowd and for them to do this peacefully and we're going to protect them and allow them to do that tonight and try to keep the roadways open here in Ferguson.
BLITZER: Colonel, we're showing viewers again these live pictures. People are gathering right now. They are getting ready to protest.
How many members of the Highway Patrol are there in Ferguson right now?
REPLOGLE: I don't think it's important for me to start talking about numbers.
We have got an adequate number of law enforcement personnel here in the area we think to handle this. We have had that in nights past. The Highway Patrol has been a part of that every single night here in Ferguson. I think what you're going to see tonight is just a shift in the tactics that will be used. And hopefully the protesters will see that and appreciate that shift in tactics and they will remain peaceful and we can have a good evening here in Ferguson.
BLITZER: Colonel Ronald Replogle of the Highway Patrol in Missouri, Colonel, good luck to you and good luck to all the men and women who are out there. We will watch it very, very closely together with you.
Let's bring in Emanuel Cleaver right now. He's the congressman from Missouri, a Democrat.
What do you think, Congressman? What should we be bracing for tonight?
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: For nothing.
I think the colonel said all of the right things. I think the governor did the right thing. I thought the president spoke the right words today. I don't think there's going to be a problem tonight.
As soon as you see the Highway Patrol beginning to interact with the peaceful protesters, you're going to see a de-escalation of the turmoil, the violence. When you disallow peaceful protests, you almost certainly will have provocative and raucous protest because people will need to express themselves.
I don't think that we're going to have any violence tonight. I think you're going to see a crowd gather. I have been in contact with ministers like Reverend Willis Johnson, who is right there with a church not far from where you see the crowd gathering.
And I think these folk are trying to use the situation to make the community better. Now, there are some hoodlums who show up all over the world where there's an opportunity to take advantage of chaos, and they showed up, and I don't think they are going to show up further because I think things are now under control.
When you get the military equipment out of the way, I think it gives the protesters the feeling that we can now protest peacefully and there's no threat hanging over us.
Congressman Lacy Clay and I are going to request a meeting with the secretary of defense. We think that if this military equipment is going to be dispersed around the country, there ought to be, from the Defense Department, some very stringent requirements.
There should not be a one-pager. The communities that receive this equipment must have police officers who must agree to be well-trained ahead of time. I think the head equipment probably should only go to cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, where there is always the threat of some kind of a terrorist attack.
But in Middle America, you don't need left-over equipment from Iraq. ISIS is using that equipment now.
BLITZER: Yes, they certainly are. They have got a lot of that stuff that the U.S. left behind for the Iraqi military, but they have stolen it, as you well know, Congressman.
Let's talk a little bit about the Saint Louis County police. They were in charge. The governor says no more. The Highway Patrol is coming in. What did they do wrong?
CLEAVER: Well, first and foremost, the greatest flaw is not to understand that you have a flaw.
And when you have a community that is becoming increasingly diverse, it would make sense to most police departments that we have got to have a diverse police department. They don't have that. And I think that -- if you talk to the people who are coming in and out of the community every day, they will tell you that there's a lingering problem with the police.
And so I think that they were ill-equipped to handle a crisis like this. They didn't acknowledge it. They didn't say, we need help. I think also some of the officers there I think seem to have the idea that the Constitution is not a document that we have to embrace.
I mean, you don't arrest reporters. You don't take their equipment in the United States. That's what they do, you know, in Syria. And so I think they somehow need to be retrained and desegregated.
BLITZER: What do you think of what the president of the United States had to say today about what's going on in Ferguson?
CLEAVER: Well, I think the president had to speak.
He said all the right things. Keep in mind, however, that the hoodlums are not going to be listening to what the president says. They are going to stand in the shadows, hoping that things can become chaotic enough so that they can come and steal and rip off.
The overwhelming majority of the people, 99 percent of the people, who want to protest simply want to express their displeasure with what has happened to Michael Brown. They are angry and many of them don't believe that they are going to get justice.
They believe that this is going to be whitewashed by the police department there, and so now that the president is saying, we have the Justice Department and the FBI are involved, I think people are feeling a little bit better.
But it has to continue, and I think all of the elected officials, from Congressman Lacy Clay, the president, the governor, Senator McCaskill, they are all saying and doing the right things. And that's why I think tonight you're going to see a lot less volatility.
I will join some of the ministers of the community tomorrow evening when we will begin to try to worship and talk about what is necessary for healing. And then I think over the next few days, you're going to see a quieting of everything.
But I have to say, you know, if the police are not very careful, we could have another tragedy. And if we have another tragedy, then everything I have said should be erased because there's no telling what could happen.
BLITZER: Let's hope that doesn't happen.
Emanuel Cleaver, the congressman from Missouri, Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
CLEAVER: Good to be with you.
BLITZER: We will stay in close touch with you.
Stay with us. We're going to continue to follow the breaking news. The latest protests, you're taking a look at live pictures. People are gathering right now. They want to make it clear that they are not happy with what happened in Ferguson, Missouri.
BLITZER: We're back with breaking news out of Missouri tonight.
Take a look at this. You're looking at live pictures, the protest march beginning. it's under way right now in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. The state Highway Patrol now has taken over the lead in providing security after violent clashes between local police, county police, and protesters over the past few days.
We're also seeing a big difference in what is going on as far as police are concerned. They are trying to deignite this very, very dangerous situation. We're also hearing from more witnesses.
CNN's Tom Foreman is keeping track of a lot of the eyewitness accounts of what we're hearing and seeing.
Tom, what is going on?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, aside from the protests and all of the concerns right now, this is what this is going to come down to in some ways is basically the story of what happened.
The whole incident took place in this northern suburb of Saint Louis. Ferguson has about 21,000 people. And let's take a look at the street that we're talking about, because sort of agrees about what happened there.
They agree that on early Saturday afternoon, Michael Brown and a friend were walking down a street when a police cruiser pulled up and an officer told them in no uncertain terms to get on to the sidewalk and they did not immediately comply.
But then the stories diverge. Here is the police version in a nutshell. Then they say that Brown confronted the officer, pushing the car door as the officer tried to exit the vehicle. Then they say that Brown attacked and he tried to take the officer's gun while striking him through the window. And the gun went off and then, as Brown fled, the officer pursued him and about 35 feet away from where all of this began, they say the officer then shot Brown, killing the 18-year-old and Brown was unarmed at the time.
That's the police version of things. Brown's friend though and other witnesses are telling a very different story. Their version is that the officer pulled up and he rapidly used his vehicle to block the way of the two young men and then shoved his door into them. The officer then reached through the window and grabbed Brown, again, who was unarmed, threatened and then shot him.
Then, as Brown fled, these witnesses say the officer chased him and even as Brown turned around raising his hands, the witnesses say, shots continued until Brown was dead. Same events, no doubt over a matter of seconds, Wolf, and yet very different stories about what occurred.
BLITZER: Very different stories indeed.
I want to show you our viewers the live pictures coming in from Ferguson, Missouri, right now. They are continuing to gather. They are continuing to march. So far, it looks pretty peaceful. We will see what happens.
Let's discuss what's going on. Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, our law enforcement analyst, the FBI former Assistant Director Tom Fuentes, and CNN contributor and commentator Cornell Belcher.
Is it unusual, Tom, to have these very divergent eyewitness accounts, if you will, two different stories of what happened, why this police officer shot and killed this young man?
FUENTES: No, not at all. And it's not unusual that every single witness would have a slightly different story.
But I think the fact that there's a big difference in the story has added to all of the problem of what has occurred since the shooting incident.
BLITZER: Because I spoke with that young man who was with him, and he was very blunt.
He said, you know what? We weren't doing anything. We were just walking. The cop stopped us and then for no reason, in the end, the cop repeatedly shot and killed my friend.
CORNELL BELCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's a tragedy.
But it's -- it seems like a confrontation where -- on a nightly basis with African-Americans, particularly young African-Americans, even myself as a younger man -- and you can also see in the polling, if you look at the confidence in certain institutions and look at the confidence in the police department. You know, there's a better than 12-point spread between whites and blacks who have confidence in the institution, in the police department and, you know, there's a better than four-point spread for whites and blacks. The majority of African-Americans have very little confidence in the police department. And these sorts of things continue to happen.
And look, I think whether you -- whatever side you decide to fall on, I think Congressman Cleaver (ph) was right and Congress Marshall Clendon (ph) in the CBC (ph), saying, you know, look, what we saw in Ferguson is not who we are. It does not sort of encompass our ideals. I mean, it looked more like Tahrir Square problem from Egypt a couple years ago in an American city, and none of us want to see that.
BLITZER: I just came back from the Middle East. And I saw those images the last few nights right in the heart of the United States of America, I said, is this really going on here?
The police officer in question, he potentially could be facing homicide charges, right?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, absolutely. But, you know, we have just the barest outline of the evidence so far. Think of all that we don't know: how many shots were fired? Where were the entry and exit wounds on Michael Brown's body? Have all the witnesses been canvassed? Are there any videos out there that -- that we haven't seen yet?
There's so much more to know, and it will be a lot more than just the officer's word against the witnesses' word. It will be all the evidence together, which will paint a picture one way or the other.
BLITZER: What I don't understand, Tom, it took about four days for that young eyewitness, who was walking with Michael Brown, to be questioned, to be interviewed by local law enforcement. It seems like a long time to wait to speak with someone who was right there?
FUENTES: It does. I don't have the explanation to that, but it also took five days for the authorities in Missouri to come in front of the cameras and say, "What's going on here?"
I think this incident, as bad as it was, the shooting itself, has been only made much worse by the complete mismanagement of the message and what's being done since the shooting.
The police should have been out there every day this week saying, "Here's who's in charge of trying to bring peace back to the community. Here's who's conducting the homicide investigation on behalf of Missouri state law. Here's the FBI conducting a federal investigation to look into civil rights violations by that police officer." This is all ongoing, and you should have had -- we've had St. Louis County Police in charge of the tactics for four days. Where's that sheriff been? Where's their leadership been? This has been a failure of leadership on the authorities' part for five straight days.
BELCHER: And also, Wolf, let's be clear, I tweeted about this today. We talk about Social Security and American politics. Race matters in American politics. Politicians from both -- either side want to sort of touch that, and if they can get -- sort of move away from not, you know, talking about race matters, they will, because it is so treacherous. The political minefields we're delving into with race matters in this country have been treacherous.
However, when we don't delve into it, you see this sort of thing going on. Our political leaders should have stepped up and we should have been having these conversations three, four, five days ago.
TOOBIN: And there actually has been a sort of phony story told by the authorities which is that we can't talk about anything, because it might compromise the investigation. Sure, you shouldn't talk about the details of every witness' statement, but basic facts like the author -- the -- the officer's identity, how many shots were fired, what was the cause of death, those are basic facts that, if you give them to the public, the public may not protest.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by for a moment. I want to go back to Jason Carroll, who's in Ferguson, Missouri, for us. Jason, we see the live pictures. We see the protesters. They're marching on the street. I take it so far, so good. No violence. Is that right?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So far, peaceful demonstration. As you said, Wolf, they were marching right up here. Several hundred people quietly, peacefully marching, chanting, as well, police watching. Again, a peaceful protest.
I just also want to point out, Wolf, we saw a lot of peaceful protests like this throughout the week. I think sometimes, when you have the problems, when it's happening, it's late at night. But in terms of what we're experiencing out here, right here, several hundred people just marching by, peacefully demonstrating through the area -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I told Jason what we're showing now is this is near the area where the incident occurred, where Michael Brown was shot and killed by that police officer. So they're going there, I guess, to pay their respects. Is that what they're doing?
CARROLL: Well, let me just tell you, just to sort of set the lay of the land, in terms of where we are, this is the Quik Trip right here. This is the convenience store that was burned down.
If you just go up the street to your left, not even a mile away, that is where the shooting incident happened. That is where Brown was walking to his grandmother's house, and apparently, that's where many of these demonstrators are walking now.
Cornell, why does the governor think the state highway patrol will do a better job than the St. Louis County Police?
BELCHER: Because the county police have done such a horrible job that I guess they have to do better. Well, look, I think to -- the county police clearly have done a poor job, and there's been some questions about sort of diversity there and the need for diversity there. At this point, you know, kudos for the governor to finally step in and say, "OK, I'm going to take more control of the situation, because I have to, bring om state police, bring some calm to this and start treating these protesters like Americans and not treating them like they're terrorists."
BLITZER: I think the highway patrol. I think the guys on the highway, they're going to give speeding tickets or whatever. I don't necessarily think of crowd control and demonstrations with the state highway patrol. But hold on a second, because Don Lemon is joining us on the phone right now.
Don, where are you? I take it you're with the protesters. Is that right?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR (via phone): I'm right with the protesters, and they were quite rowdy just a moment ago, but they're asking them to move back off the sidewalk. They're asking them to be respectful to the people who live here and who have to drive through.
But we're right here, right in front of a makeshift memorial where Michael Brown lost his life. It's Canfield Road, and it's the Canfield Green apartment building. And they have been walking down the street here, Wolf, saying, "No justice, no peace, no justice, no peace" and holding their hands up. "Hands up, man down" is what the signs are saying. "This land belongs to you and me." Another says, "We're tired of it. We're Americans."
I've been speaking to young people since I got here earlier, and they have been telling me that they feel like they're under occupation by police and that they are under suspicion all the time. And one young man just told me as he was walking down the street, he said, "I've been -- since 15 years old, I've been harassed by police, and I'm 30 years old."
Let's talk to you. You're -- what's your name again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trevor.
LEMON: Trevor, we're on live, so watch your language. Why do you think -- how do you feel? Why are you guys here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because, like I said earlier, we're all Americans. It doesn't matter the skin color, what kind of music we listen to or how old we are. We're all Americans. We all deserve the same rights as other people. We don't deserve to be getting harassed by police in the street. We don't deserve to be shot, gunned down in the middle of the street like dogs.
My brothers are here today, and if they had been one of them, I'd have been just as angry and just as upset. This rally is a time all of us can get together and finally do something about it.
LEMON: People are watching around the country, and they don't understand what the anger and the frustration. Explain. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's been happening for years. It's been
happening -- in my lifetime. I'm 48 years old, and this has been happening for 28 years. I've seen my father get harassed. I've seen his father get harassed. Everybody out here at least knows one person in the St. Louis County/North County area that have been harassed by law enforcement, and it's just sickening, and we're finally tired of it. And now the nation is there because it's a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) country. We're bubbling (ph); we're tired.
LEMON: OK. It's a powder keg. Thank you, Trevor.
Wolf, so you know, I'm looking at hundreds of people who are walk -- who are marching down this street. I don't know what the outcome is going to be, meaning if this is the final place that they're going to. But it is quite a big assembly of people, a big group of people who have assembled here. And I'm looking down the street. I just walked down the street from the Q-T (ph), which is maybe about a half mile away. I didn't see this many people earlier, and now all of a sudden they've assembled. And -- and, listen, we've seen a lot of unrest here, but this appears to be extremely peaceful and somewhat organized, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Let's hope it stays that way, Don. I'm going to get back to you in a moment. I want you to tell us also if you see law enforcement anywhere near where you guys are right now with this march that's continuing.
Let me take a quick break. Our special coverage continues in a minute.
BLITZER: Protesters, they're moving on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, right now outside of St. Louis. We're following the breaking news. They're marching peacefully right now, but let's go to the community and discuss what is going on with Patricia Bynes. She's the Democratic committeewoman for Ferguson Township.
Patricia, thanks very much. What's going on right now? What do you anticipate will happen in the next hour or two or three?
PATRICIA BYNES, COMMITTEEWOMAN FOR FERGUSON TOWNSHIP: Well, what I'm looking forward to seeing, I can usually check the pulse of the community around where the Quik Trip protests have been happening. That when I get in that area, that's when I'm going to be able to tell how people are feeling, how many -- I call them agitators have shown up. And I can really get a feel for how the evening is going to go.
And it -- things usually tend to turn once the sun starts going down a little bit after 8 a.m. That's when we can see how things are going to turn out here.
BLITZER: You mean in terms of people getting violent, looting, stuff like that?
BYNES: Yes, yes, yes. That's when things tend to go south. BLITZER: Are you fearful that could happen again tonight? Because as
you know, the St. Louis County Police, they're no longer in the lead. It's now the Missouri Highway Patrol that has taken charge. Do you have more confidence in the highway patrol that they know what they're doing?
BYNES: Well, you know what? I'm not going to knock the St. Louis County Police, because I've been out every night with my community, and I've witnessed them show restraint on numerous occasion, on incidents that aren't being reported. So I understand what's made them become more tense in the situation.
So I'm interested to see what the changes are, and hopefully, they're going to get better, because I think what's happened, as the day progress, everything has been very reactionary. So if the police make a wrong move, then the protesters, then the agitators, you know, they become more agitated. But there are people out here who are dedicated to peaceful protest, and then there are people out here who I've witnessed by myself, just want to come and seem to provoke some type of interaction, negative interaction with the police.
BLITZER: Patricia, we're showing our viewers live pictures. That crowd seems to be growing as the minutes go by. It looks like a significantly bigger demonstration, correct me if I'm wrong, than last night or the night before. Are people coming from out of the area to protest?
BYNES: Yes, more people are coming from out of town. As I have been working the crowd, I'm noting that a lot more people are coming from out of town. Some people are having their own agendas. You know, they are coming with their own publications to pass out.
So, obviously, the news is getting around and everybody is not here with good intentions.
BLITZER: Did the president's remarks have a positive impact on the community today?
BYNES: I think so because a big part of the African-American community, they voted for President Obama. But when it comes to the issue of police brutality and police harassment, it is such a personal issue for so many people who I've talked to. I've heard stories about, you know, my grandfather was shot, or my uncle was shot, my mother died in the hands of the police.
And so, I'm just wondering, is that something that even the remarks of the well-respected president of the United States can get over but I think the test is going to be this evening.
BLITZER: Patricia Bynes, good luck to you. Good luck to all the folks there in Ferguson.
BYNES: Thank you.
BLITZER: We'll continue to watch these live pictures. Thanks very much for joining us. Stay with us. We're following the breaking news.
Take a look at these live pictures. The crowd is growing in Ferguson right now. Much more of our special coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news out of the St. Louis suburb rocked by violence over the past few nights. But right now, protesters marching in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. We're looking at live pictures.
Our own Don Lemon is right in the middle of all of it. What's it like now, Don?
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Wolf, I know you're looking at aerials of the protest (INAUDIBLE) but we actually have a lower shot -- a shot that we've set up actually using my cell phone here right in the middle of all these people. And I've wondered because (INAUDIBLE) here and I started shooting on this road I guess about 20 or 30 minutes ago.
Hardly anybody was out here, then in a short amount of time, people showed up and they're getting text messages from community leaders, community organizers, they're getting text messages from their church.
You got a text message, you said, from your church, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LEMON: They just said where you should be and what time?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It came from Shalom Church and a rally for Michael Brown. We started at the chambers, come out to support justice (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: So, we've seen so many violent protests on television. This is completely nonviolent and peaceful?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is. I was actually out here every night. I'll be putting a lot of my pictures out on social media, being shared all over the place. This is the most peaceful protest I've been to. I came out here (INAUDIBLE) this very location. As you can feel, there's something was going to happen, something that was (INAUDIBLE)
LEMON: You feel that things have changed now that it's turned, that it's not violent?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely a different tone with it. On the streets since yesterday, there was --
BLITZER: All right. Don, hold on for a moment, Don. I'm going to get right back to you.
We're going to continue to watch what's going on, peaceful demonstration. Don Lemon is right in the middle of all that. Much more of the breaking news coming up.
First, though, this "SIXTIES" minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The drug culture really took hold and they started saying let's get as many people to try LSD as he can.
MUSIC: There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, EDITOR: The idea was if everybody is trying to work for the corporation, that you are losing a sense of self.
JOEL PERESMAN: Kids were starting to question authority, question what was happening in their country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are young people who are hungering for older people, for their parents to listen to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rules were changing and the rules were really that there were no rules.
QUESTLOVE, MUSICIAN: This is the dawning and the start of something new.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woodstock was an opportunity for people to realize they weren't alone.
MUSIC: Stop, hey, what's that sound? Everybody, look, what's going down --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lot of freedom, there was a lot of drugs, there was a lot of beautiful women, there was a lot of good rock and roll being made. It was a fabulous time.
ANNOUNCER: "The SIXTIES," tonight at 9:00 on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: This is my community. A lot of people I saw walking and marching are people that I know. People's whose homes I have been to. Their kids have been to my home. So, as they said, I've got a dog in this fight. I've got a big dog in this fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That's Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who has now been put in charge of security in this St. Louis suburb.
Don Lemon is right in the middle of the marchers there. What's the latest? Give us a quick thought, Don.
LEMON: People are walking down the street here, Wolf. They've (INAUDIBLE) screaming, and they've got hands up, man down.
And -- so, listen, I am considering what we have seen in the past couple days in the news. It is quite a refreshing change to see a very large, very peaceful organized protest going on. That's exactly what they say they want here today.
BLITZER: Let's hope it stays like that. Don Lemon right in the middle of that. Don will be back later today. He'll be anchoring CNN tonight live from Ferguson, 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
Don, we'll be watching you later tonight.
I'll be back filling in for Anderson Cooper 8:00 p.m. Eastern later tonight. Much more of the breaking news we're watching from Ferguson, Missouri.
That's it for me, though, right now. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.