tv Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield CNN April 9, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT
clearly, yes, a lot of noise, a lot of destruction. it seems that no one noticed, john. >> noticing now. i'm going to start saying, forget saying debris, i'm now going to say debris forever. that's it for us today. >> "legal view" with ashleigh banfield starts right now. hello everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield. and welcome. this is "legal view." at this hour, we have brand new information about that fatal encounter between a south carolina police officer and a man he pulled over for a broken taillight. now details about what happened in the moments before that shooting happened. and it comes from the bravy witness who shot this video, a video that could ex-pose a possible murder. that's the charge and so far, it's the story. in the meantime, the north charleston police department is
taking swift action. they have fired officer michael slager as he faces these murder charges. and they're making some further changes to the department on top of that as well. slager was not wearing a body camera when he shot 50-year-old walter scott. now the mayor has said the city is also ordering an additional 150 body cameras to outfit every one of their officers. the man who captured the video, feidin santana is now speaking out. he turned on his phone. here's his explanation of what he saw before he started recording the video. >> what made you pick up your phone and start shooting on saturday? >> well, when i saw the scene, i was walking to my job. i was walking to my job and i
see mr. scott, rest in peace, and i saw police after him, chase him. i was on a phone call and i decide to go over there and see what was going on. >> was there a struggle? >> there was. they were down on the floor. they were down on the floor before -- before the -- i started recording. they were down on the floor. i remember the police had control of the situation. he had control of scott. and scott was trying just to get away from -- from the taser. you can hear the sound of the taser. >> he had been tased at that point? >> yeah. >> and you heard the sound? >> yeah, i heard the sound before i started recording. i believe he just wanted to get away of the taser. >> so this is still a rapidly changing story. i want to bring in jason carol on the ground following the
developments for us in north charleston, south carolina. there are a lot of questions at this point as to what happened before that now famous video actually began. we only get a split second of what looks like some kind of altercation. but there is dash cam video from the cruiser, yet we don't have it. is there any indication of whether that will be made public and when? >> reporter: it will be made public. question of when is still out there. the agency that's handling that is the south carolina law enforcement division. i spoke to the spokesperson just a short while ago about those dash cam videos. here's the problem. there are multiple dash cam videos from these officers that responded to the shooting. so that is what they're looking at at this point. there are two in question, obviously, that from officer slager and the second officer that showed up following the shooting. in all likelihood, they'll
probably release those two dash cam videos first. but in terms of what we will actually see on those dash cam videos might be somewhat disappointing. according to the spokesperson, tom berry, who has not personal lie seen the videos yet, but does have knowledge of what is on them, he basically says officer slager's dash cam video first of all does not show the shooting. it only shows in all likelihood the initial moments following the traffic stop. it may not even show the struggle between scott and slager. according to berry, that happened some distance away and out of camera shot, if you will. from that dash cam. so we're not likely to see very touch, but they will eventually be released. >> i recall that witness who shot the video saying the same thing, that it was quite a distance apart from where the traffic stop happened to where that shooting actually began. one quick question for you about
the community. i think we all remember ferguson exploded so quickly after the killing of michael brown. yet, there seems to be some sense of reserved judgment in this community. not all, but the treats are definitely not on fire where you are. is that likely to last? >> reporter: you know, it's drastically different. as you know, i was in ferguson, so i saw what happened there, saw how it developed here. this is a much different situation. you have -- first of all, you've got the police who made an arrest almost immediately once that video came out. so that certainly satisfied many people here in the community. certainly satisfied the family in some ways, the scott family in some ways as well. also you have the mayor and the police chief reaching out to the family almost immediately after as well. want you to listen quickly to what scott's own attorney had to say about the situation here. >> no justice, no peace. the problem with that is if we
don't have peace, we can't get to justice in this case. because this thing is going perfectly. we're fighting hard for the family, the man has been arrested. we're going to fight to make sure he's prosecuted. we're going to file the civil claim so that his children are taken care of. his family is starting to heal. no peace would wreck everything this family stood for, that the man who died stood for. >> reporter: also you remember the interview anderson cooper did with scott's mother last night even where she said she could find it in her heart to forgive officer slager. so a much different situation on the ground. >> just a remarkable element of grace from all members of that family. there are a lot of questions and they are troubling in the fatal shooting of this apparently unarmed man in north charleston, south carolina. i want to show you a google earth view.
it shows where walter scott was pulled over on saturday morning by officer slager allegedly for that broken taillight. the officer report add foot chase that enshoed. look at the distance between those two points. it's a long distance talking about camera angles. it ended near an alley. and that's where scott was shot to death while fleeing from officer slager. one insist tency, is whether police gave help to scott. with that, here's cnn garry tuckman. >> the chief of police or the -- >> the questions about officer michael slager came hard and fast. eddie drigers is the chief of the new orleans charleston police. >> to my knowledge, nobody was witness to anything but slager. >> at least in video, he did not appear to aid him. shortly after the shooting,
another officer shows up. in the incident report, he declared, i attempted to render a aid to the victim. ultimately, several police officers are seen on video at the site. one of them says in his statement, habarsham did form cpr. he said, i exited my vehicle and assisted the officer with first aid and cpr. we continued until ems arrived on the scene. still another officer, i observed private first class habarsham administering chest compressions to the victim. the question remains. >> was cpr ever performed on this man as far as you know? >> i'm going to be totally honest with you.
>> do that. >> i am. and give me just a second. the honesty comes from my heart. i have watched the video. and i was sickened by what i saw. >> part of what the chief saw was no cpr. >> in the end of it, what i saw was a -- a -- i believe to be a police officer removing the shirt of the individual and performing some type of life-saving, but i'm not sure what took place there. >> you don't know if cpr was performed? i do not know -- i -- i was told that life-saving -- that they tried to save his life. >> the investigation has been handed off to the south carolina law enforcement division known as sled. without elaborating, the north charleston police department does say there may be more video to examine. so did any of those other officers give inaccurate statements about the aftermath of the smoothing?
amid the sadness and tragedy, that's a possibility that will most certainly be examined by the state agency now conducting the investigation. at the end of the news conference, the mayor was asked one more question about cpr. >> not every officer is cpr certified. >> and with that, the mayor and police chief left the podium, so many questions still unanswered. cnn, north charleston, south carolina. >> and coming up next, the police taser. did walter scott grab it? did he take it? did the police officer who shot him drop it? that weapon is one of the keys to this case. we've got some veteran police officers coming up to talk about what they see in this very damming video. know your financial plan won't keep you up at night.
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one brave witness, feidin santa na is the only reason right now that the public knows about the possible murder, and i do say possible as this is a charge in the murder of wallter scott. i want you to listen to what mr. santana says. >> i even thought about erasing the video. >> why? >> i don't know. i felt that my life -- with this information might be like danger. and i tried to -- to -- i thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community and living someplace else. >> leaving town? >> yes. >> because you were that scared?
>> yes. i knew -- i saw the video, i knew that a cop didn't do the right thing. like i say, i feel kind of scared about that. >> but you decided instead of deleting the video, you decided to do what? >> i decided -- i look at the police report. i went home after finish work. i went home. i was -- people went to the barbershop, you know, talking about what happened. and next to my -- to my house, because it's right there. i saw the police report. i read it. it wasn't like that. >> the video of the shooting is more than likely going to be a very critical piece of evidence in officer michael slager's murder trial, if it goes to trial. but the taser he fired at walter
scott will also be a very important piece of this puzzle. and this could be the model taser used. it's the x26p. to be clear, we are not exactly sure which model was used in this incident, but we do know slager was trained on a model slightly older than this one. and the police department has not released the exact model he was using during this altercation. with that in mind, i want to bring in our team of experts to talk about the investigation now especially with regard to these tazers. former baltimore police officer, and then forensic scientist and dna expert as well. doctor, if i could begin with you. forensically processing this scene, taser and everything else, what will they be doing to try to assess exactly what happened from a very microscopic and dna aspect? >> well, there are a lot of
pieces to this puzzle. part of it is the autopsy. we do know that mr. scott was hit five times in the back. whether there was a video or not, that evidence exists. and quite frankly, using lethal force when your life is not in jeopardy is something that police are supposed to be trained not to do. >> let's just suggest for a moment, if the officer in this case was suggesting his life was in danger and he suggested to his dispatch that the victim -- he used the words "grabbed by taser," will there be a significant amount of dna of the victim on the taser if that happened? >> probably not. this is what we call touch dna. people shed skin cells all the time. when they touch an object, they leave their dna behind. if he grabbed for that taser, i would expect to find some low level amounts on the taser. >> and there would be sweat you would think which helps doesn't
it? >> it would. moisture helps the transfer of cells onto the taser. clearly, there could be fingerprints as well. >> can i ask you this? there is this picture of the taser, it looks like, the taser being tossed down the either dead or dying mr. scott. is there any possibility for some transfer dna to get -- here's the picture i'm referring you to. you can see something dark being tossed down. i don't know if it hits the body or the ground besided body. >> i think it's very unlikely there would be a transfer that would take place at that point. dna is going to be part of this routine procedure. the whole crime scene will be looked at. and again, you know, it will all come together whether there's a video or not. the video certainly is the strongest piece of evidence. >> peter, i want to bring you in on this. as a police officer, firefighter, and lawyer, you have a very large basket of knowledge. that picture that we just showed, it was a still picture
of whatever was that black object in mid-flight falling from the hand of the officer. i know this is grainy and i know this is difficult, but it is the best that investigates have. best of your knowledge, does that look at all like any model of taser that you've seen in your experience? >> it's not discernible from this picture. however, it is discernible that something was dropped at the scene. >> what possibly could have been dropped? what else would be in the hand of an officer in an instant within minutes of having a fatal shooting and having had some kind of an altercation? >> well, the logical conclusion was it was the taser. we don't know for sure at this point. so these are questions the investigation is going to have to be thorough and complete because if you rush to judgment in something like this, even though this is a compelling video and everybody who watches it is going to say, this police officer is guilty of murder, let's hear from the other officers at the scene. the other officers at the scene
may be able to validate everybody's concern and then we may end up with a plea bargain here. >> there are other people who filed reports and who were there at certain junctures. when we come back, peter, i want you to do something for me. with your experience as a police officer and as a professor, i want you to help walk me through what's going on with these other officers. a, what they did after this incident, and b, how they themselves are now being investigated since they effectively are witnesses in this case as well. we are back right after the break with that question and more. my advice for healthy looking radiant skin. a good night's sleep... and aveeno®. [ female announcer ] only aveeno® positively radiant has an active naturals® total soy formula. it helps reduce the look of brown spots in just four weeks. aveeno®. naturally beautiful results™. aveeno®. i care deeply about the gulf. i grew up in louisiana. i went to school here. i've been with bp ever since.
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i want to bring back our team of experts to talk about this issue of tasers and what the investigation does from here on in. former new york city police officer peter gleeson. former baltimore police officer, and forensic scientist and dna expert. peter, to you, the issue i asked before the break. what's happening with those police officers right now? what kind of investigation are they under for what they witnessed? >> when they showed up on the scene, the first thing is to render aid to the victim. that's always the first responsibility for a cop. after that, is to preserve the crime scene. they're going to face an issue is what they wrote in the report. but they went there at the time of the shooting. the report's going to be in some ways -- they secured a crime scene and rendered aid and describe what happened -- >> so the video really becomes
the star witness in this case. peter, i'm going to get you to weigh in on a picture i want to show the audience. you have to really be careful. you're about to see th moment that the victim in this case started to run from the officer. the officer, he has what might be a taser in his hand. you can see something black flying off behind him. we do have sort of a shadow box effect so you can see that black piece behind the officer that is moving. some people thought that's the actual taser gun. peter, you can also see in some of the images what looks like taser wires that still appear to be connected to the hand of the officer. can you help me figure out what it is i'm seeing? >> there's a possibility that what you see to the rear of the officer is the second cartridge. the first shot, you can see is making some connection with the individual running away from the police officer.
now, if that -- if that wire or that barb did not make contact with the skin, it's not going to take the suspect down. and in this case, the individual was not taken down. >> do you have another cartridge you can fire at that point? >> you do, you're supposed to pull it out of the butt of this taser device. if it was kicked out from the butt of the device, then he doesn't have the device. >> put that picture back up if we can. we're looking at the example taser right now from taser international. we're not exactly sure this is the one that was used. again, explain to me if that item in the shadow box behind the officer is in fact a cartridge, then that would explain why you can still see the lines attached to what appear to be something in the officer's hand. what's critical here is it's not the taser that is behind the
officer if the lines are still attached to something in the officer's hand, correct? >> that is correct, yes. >> so larry, help me forensically figure out what might have happened next. the taser wire is still somewhere around the vicinity of the officer's arms or hands. yet, the officer -- when he aapproach approached the victim on the ground, he returned to this exact site and picked something up. can we be fairly clear it's not the taser? >> it's quite possible he picked up the cartridge. these devices come with two cartridges. one obviously was fired and he is still holding the taser in his hand at this point. and the barbs are now attached to mr. scott. it didn't take him down. >> can i ask our control room to do me a favor? can we go back to the image that shows something being dropped from the hand of the officer
towards the body of mr. scott as he's on the ground? and now i'm going to re-ask you, peter gleeson, if you could look at the item -- blow it up as big as possible. does that resemble the shape of a taser, now i'm going to ask you if it resembles the shape of perhaps the cartridge that might be what flew out of his hand and flew behind him? >> again, it's not discernible. but to your point and to the point of the panel, if -- if the wire was attached to mr. scott, is it reasonable for the officer to walk with the taser device which is still attached to the -- the wires are attached to mr. scott as well as attached to this device he has in his hand. is it logical to walk over there and drop that next to him? i don't know. did he pick up the cartridge -- i'm assuming this cartridge is
about the size of an average ink cartridge in a printer. >> it's not too far afield that that might have been the shape or size? i want to be clear. every detail is going to matter in this case. either one, whether he dropped a taser at the body or whether he dropped the cartridge would lead some to believe that he was trying to make sure the tazing happened where he fell and not a very long distance between where those gunshots were fired and that man fell. i have to leave it there for now. we're getting a lot more information. we're still waiting onnen that dash cam video. excellent analysis and very helpful. thank you so much to all three of you. so the policeman who shot walter scott dead is now fired. he has been kicked off the force and he's facing that murder charge. but there is at least one person out there who is forgiving him today. you're absolutely not going to believe it. but it is the woman who says her
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devastated. judy scott, his mom, spoke with our anderson cooper last night about her son, about his death, and about that now famous videotape that put this story into a whole new light. >> so when did you learn that there was a videotape? >> it was the next day. >> so when you finally saw it, i can't imagine what -- >> i couldn't really watch the whole tape. when i saw my son running and i saw the policeman behind him, i couldn't take it. i had to turn away. i couldn't handle it. >> knowing what you know now, i mean, that not only what happened to your son, the way it happened, that it was all
captured on tape and even what seems to be pictures of the policeman picking up, maybe the taser, placing it near your son's body, what do you think about what happened? >> that was not right. the policeman is supposed to protect the people, not try to frame them or get out of what they've done wrong. they supposed to be honest people. protecting us. >> overnight, residents of north charleston gathered together at a candle light vigil to honor walter scott and demand some changes from their city. we take a look back at walter scott's life. >> walter scott now lives in our mind for the way he died. for his family, the people who struggled for an imperfect world
and his place in it. >> i had two brothers. i had two brothers. but now i have one brother. but out of my brothers, he was the most outgoing out of all of us. he knew everybody. >> that outgoing personality brought him to the u.s. coast guard at age 19. he served for two years until the coast guard says a drug-related offense led to an involuntary separation. scott received a general discharge under honorable conditions when he left in 1986. his family says the years that followed brought ups and downs. scott's first wife and the mother of his two older children died. scott remarried, had two more children. but that marriage ended in divorce. unpaid child support piled up and according to south carolina authorities, a warrant was issued for his arrest. that may be why, says the scott family attorney, he ran from
officer michael slager. his brother says he was a huge dallas cowboys fan and was happy the last time the family was together. scott's parents just celebrated their 50th anniversary where he danced with the family he loved. >> he was a great father. he was a great father. he was a good friend. and he was a good brother. and he was also a great son. >> as far as his court record, we looked at it. everything we saw was traffic related or child custody related. you have to go back almost 30 years, back to 1987 when he was 21 years old to find the only mark of violence, that an assault and battery charge. cnn, los angeles. >> thanks. it should be noted that his mother, judy scott, says that she forgives the man who killed her son. with remarkable grace she
articulated that on live television no less, just days from the death of her son and having said she could not even watch the entire video. walter scott's funeral will be held this saturday. i want to move onto another big story. guilty 30 times over. 17 times of a death penalty offense. the boston marathon bomber described as quote, a monumental failure at striking fear in people. and now the process begins as to whether he lives or he dies. and the voices are coming out for and against. you'll hear about it next. i love making sunday dinners. but when my back hurt, cooking all day... forget about it. tylenol was ok, but it was 6 pills a day. but aleve is just 2 pills all day. and now, i'm back! aleve.
a jury found dzhokar tsarnaev built on all 30 counts he faced. now that same group of people has a bigger decision, whether that 21-year-old should be locked up for life or whether he should be executed by the state, by the feds, by america. this is a heart wrenching time for the survivors and for the victims' families. >> i don't know what justice is. i'm grateful to have him off the street. >> over the past two years now, i really thought a lot about what's more of a punishment to live with your sins or to -- to have to face them and face that judgment right away. so i -- i still wonder very much so what is a greater punishment. >> i don't believe that there will ever be justice brought to this no matter if he does get the death penalty or he remains in prison for the rest of his life. >> well, the question really from the beginning was should
tsarnaev's life be spared and the boston globe is weighing in, quote, tsarnaev obviously should spend the rest of his life in prison. his defense already made a good case that he does not meet the exceptionally high standards for a federal execution. really? really? want to take a closer look at those standards with our legal experts. i'm going to ask you that question, guys. really? the exceptionally high standards for a federal execution? i don't know, i counted at least six, seven standards that he met perfectly. >> right. but it doesn't work quite that way as simply taking the aggravating factors and taking the mitigating factors and balancing them out. the procedure is slanted in favor of life and that's the way it's designed out of an abundance of caution. they must prove the factors
beyond a reasonable doubt. but the defense is under a much lesser burden to prove the mitigating factors. they're both statutory and nonstatutory. that's shored hand for anything you can come up with that can demonstrate to the jury that this young man's life is worth saving. >> okay. joey jackson in the mit gators here. you can look for yourself at the federal statute. what's good about him and then what's bad about him. just to be simple. what's good about him, apparently impaired capacity is one of the things he can look for. >> minor precipitation. >> they were equally cup panel defendants and then that big bread basket of other factors. nice guy, liked puppies and kitties. i'm making that up. >> that could page it in. >> there are plenty bad and we know it. he meets so many, grave risk of death to additional persons, heinous, cruel, depraved matter
of committing the offense. he blew up a child. i'm not going to go through the list because it's too long. >> ultimately, you have to think about what the jury is going to do back there. remember, they've been processing throughout the time of these 92 witnesses how heinous and cruel and atrocious this act was. in laying out the compelling testimony of the victim, we can talk about the father's testimony about making a choice to protect his daughter who also lost her leg. >> a choice. that child was dead. he knew it and he went to his daughter. >> they've been looking for that. the jury since the outset of the case. now they have to process it. they also have to process the fact he did it based upon punishing america. ultimately the answer is going to be whether or not they feel, the jury, is the punishment worse really if we sentence him for life or should it be death. >> whatever you feel about the
death penalty, and that's not what i'm talking about, if you have it, this is kind of why, this is the guy that you have a death penalty for and why we sit in the likes of north korea and saudi arabia and iran and the other people who have states that kill their people. if you're going to have it, i don't know why that wouldn't fit the bill. that's a whole different debate and program. we're keeping a close eye on another courtroom in massachusetts where it's verdict watch in the trial of aaron hernandez. this is a murder trial too folks. the prosecutors say that former football star was the trigger man. but what is the jury talking about all these hours? your baby is getting more than clean. your touch stimulates her senses and nurtures her mind. and the johnson's® scent, lather and bubbles help enhance the experience. so why just clean your baby when you can give her so much more™? won't keep you up at night.n
this just in to cnn this hour. not guilty plea from robert durst, that millionaire real estate developer who is facing a first-degree murder charge in los angeles and hasn't pled to that, but is pleading to something in louisiana. gun and drug charges. he was arrested with cash and gun and drugs and a disguise. and then to the aaron hernandez case where the jury after three days of deliberating does not have a verdict, but they do have questions. we're outside the courthouse in massachusetts. what are the question skbs what are they doing, susan? >> reporter: they've had six juror notes so far since late tuesday afternoon. i think probably the most interesting one was one that
came up yesterday. they were asking about the weapons charges. remember, he faces that in addition to a murder charge here. and they wanted to know what is the meaning of constructive possession. this is how the minutia and detail involved. it means, according to the judge, that you have to have possession of the gun and the ability to control it, but you don't have to have intent to use it. they're talking about the .45 caliber gun that prosecutors say is the murder weapon in this case. that's an example. other things had to do with, we need the exhibit list, we need laptops to look at the videos. so they're seeking particular information about things they need. so they may still just be getting settled in. but they're clearly hard at work. >> roughly 400 or so exhibits. so they do have a lot to go over. thank you for that. let us know if there's any other moment from that jury room. we're back right after this.
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renaissance man. part time scientist. >> cool, look at this. >> yeah, this is where it starts getting fun. >> all of which makes him among the best wildlife photographers in south florida. which can only come from someone with a deep love of this misunderstood place, a passion for the vast variety of creatures, great and small, that exist only here, not just bears and birds. oysters and/ orchids, but even the fresh scented weeds. >> lemony fresh. >> put that in your water. >> this is cleaner than mom's kitchen. >> people are afraid to put their toes in this, but there's nothing to worry about here. this is just nature. this is it. this is the way to see it too,
you know. >> right on cue. the alligator takes his leg. >> yeah. ♪ >> what do you call this one? princess? >> this is where snakes like to hang out, like right on top of these. >> i don't mind saying this. i wouldn't do that. >> it was awesome. >> are you crazy? >> it was amazing. it's not like yosemite where you go wow. you have to go out there, oh, hey, look over there. beautiful. >> those beasts actually come close to there under the water when your ankles are looking so appetizing. here's the weird thing. you did that and got all these spectacular pictures and then you just -- right off to the al alps.
>> actually it's the other way around. trying to understand why the glaciers are disappearing so fast and climate change skeptics are not. i go to a heart land institute convention in vegas. and then we come down and go into the swamp which is one of the great examples of man realizing, wait a minute, you can't destroy entire ecosystems with impunity. they said drain the swamp, let's make florida the home of the good life. without that swamp, without the fresh water, there can be no good life in florida. there can be no life in florida. >> i love florida. i'm there all the time, in fact because my folks are there. it's always been my understanding that they got smart after the dumbness. >> yes. >> how good have they been at that? >> that's why we went out there. the same army corps of engineers that blew it up and stopped all
that fresh water from flowing, they're now under orders to fix it and put it back to $13 billion. >> billion with a b? >> billion dollars. you remember the florida recount, jeb bush went to see bill clinton sign the bill that would spend billions. >> that's why we missed that. >> you were distracted. >> i'm at fault because i was in the middle of that incredible litigation. so, okay, so this is going to be a program with both of these issues? >> two-hour. we're starting at 9:00 in the alps and 10:00 in the glades. >> one suitcase or two? >> we came home in between. >> you're wonderful. you love that. thank you. again, the wonder list, cnn this sunday evening 9:00 eastern with this guy. you're like the -- that's what you are. >> stay thirsty, my friends.
>> thank you everyone for watching. we have a lot of breaking news today and a lot still to cover. wolf blitzer now takes the helm. stay tuned. he begins right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer, it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 8:00 p.m. in jerusalem. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. what happened before a police officer fatally shot a ban man in the back as he was running away. that's one of the key questions in the deadly police shooting in north charleston south carolina. the witness says he never saw the victim grab the officer's stun gun. >> before the video, i saw that he was trying to get away of the taser. and his