tv The Situation Room CNN November 24, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
one more person can you kill or not be held accountable for under the system you are supposed to be enforcing. the problem is the police forces that are mounting with this unnecessary show of violence against people who have been peaceful protesting and have proven ourselves to be peaceful. >> ashley yates, best of luck if you do protest, i hope it is a peaceful one and meaningful one. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to wolf blitzer who is in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news, the grand jury decides. the deliberations are over. we'll now learn very shortly whether the officer, darren wilson's fatal shooting of michael brown will be treated as a crime. ferguson on edge, michael brown's family is notified of the decision and months after protests has a request for demonstrators. businesses are boarded up. authorities say they're prepared for anything. hagel resigns after less than two years on the job. the defense secretary chuck hagel is stepping down.
sources say he was forced out by president obama. we're going to find out why. and holiday storm. thanksgiving travelers will face some nasty winter weather just as they hit the highways and head to the airports. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's get right to the breaking news. the grand jury has reached a decision in the fatal police shooting of ferguson, missouri, teenager michael brown. we're now awaiting a public announcement which is expected soon. the key question for the 12-member jury has been whether the officer, darren wilson, will face charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder or whether the jurors would choose not to indict. the august 9th shooting of an african-american teen by a white police officer led to violent protests and a very tough response. ferguson and the surrounding areas in missouri have been on
edge ever since and amid appeals for calm, authorities say they're ready for whatever comes next. the naacp president is standing by live along with our correspondents, our analysts, our newsmakers. tensions have been building ahead of this decision. and shortly the people of ferguson will know the outcome let's go to ferguson right now. jason carroll has the very latest. jason? >> reporter: wolf, i'm standing on west florison street, the area in august where we saw so much of that unrest. in talking to the people out here now, people are basically calm for now. but you can see buildings here are boarded up. in fact, they've been boarded up here for weeks in anticipation of that grand jury decision. the decision by the grand jury has been more than three months in the making. 12 members of the community poring over documents,
interviewing key witnesses, including darren wilson himself, all in an effort to decide whether the ferguson police officer should be indicted for shooting 18-year-old michael brown on august 9th. while the seven men and five women have operated largely in secret, the community has voiced its anger in public. overnight graffiti was discovered on this archway in st. louis reading "if we burn, you burn with us," a line from the popular "hunger games" series. the community is on edge, concerned that the grand jury's decision could spark violent protests like those that erupted in august after brown was shot. police and community members in the ferguson area have stepped up security, building barricades around the police department in nearby clayton while boarding up local businesses in ferguson. >> making sure we have all the resources to make people safe and make our businesses safe and that those rights of freedom,
the protests, are maintained. >> reporter: overnight, a reporter from "the los angeles times" was injured when he was hit in the head by a protester. >> i didn't see what it was. >> reporter: michael brown's parents have urged protesters to remain calm. his father recorded a public service announcement asking people not to riot and on saturday, his mother joined area demonstrators to encourage peaceful protests. and i spoke to michael brown's cousin earlier today who is not optimistic about the grand jury's decision. as you heard in the piece, everyone from michael brown's parents to the president urging for protesters to be nonviolent. i received a text message from some of those who are out here on the ground organizing protests, we are getting ready to organize over at the police station there in ferguson. once again, the hope is that all
of the demonstrations, whatever they may be tonight, will be peaceful. wolf? >> let's hope they are peaceful. demonstrations are fine, protests are fine. but let's hope they are peaceful. jason, thank you. getting new details on what's been happening behind the scenes. evan perez has been at the justice center in clayton, missouri, not far away. what else are you learning, evan? >> reporter: we've been officially notified that they plan to have a press conference in a couple of hours. the state prosecutor, the county prosecutor, bob mcculluch, has officially notified the media that he plans to hold a press conference. for security reasons, he's not saying where the press conference is going to be held. i've been told to be ready and go witness the press conference where he will make the grand jury's decision official. we don't know what the decision is. we know the grand jury has finished its work. they've been sent home. we know that local and state
officials are getting ready to hold a briefing in which they're going to urge the community -- for calm in this community because of concern obviously back in august when there was some violence after the shooting. you know that they're very concerned what the public reaction will be to this decision by the grand jury. we also know that law enforcement around the country have been put on alert. we know they've activated their command centers because they know there is likely to be public protests not only here in the st. louis region but around the country, wolf. >> evan, stay with us. i want to bring in also cnn's don lemon along with our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin, our cnn political commentator, donna bralzile, as well. don, what are you seeing, what are you hearing on the streets? >> reporter: wolf, you remember when i was here reporting with
you, there is canfield drive. down that street is where michael brown lost his life. we have been seeing sporadic protests usually in the evening, maybe 40 or 50 people on most nights, not every night. as far as violence, not a lot of violence. those protests are mostly peaceful. a lot of the video that we show sometimes is from august or from earlier times. pretty much it's been fairly peaceful. last night, no one was arrested. the night before that, two people arrested. the night before that, a handful of people arrested. but it's usually people standing in the middle of the street, not breaking windows or looting, what have you. some of the businesses, still boarded up. that's red barbecue that was boarded up. if you go to the left here, there is a business that was burned down during the height of the demonstrations. and you see here some of the businesses still boarded up
along west florison. but mostly peaceful protests. we have been talking to people, what they want, obviously they want this to be over with. but they want some sort of resolution and they want the relationship between the community and the police department to improve. that's really what they want, beyond an indictment for the officer and a jury trial. >> clearly a tense situation as we await this grand jury decision? don, stand by. donna brazile is here with me. you've been told the highest federal officials are monitoring what's going on very closely right now. >> the department of justice has been on the ground, the community relations division, as well as five or six other divisions of the justice department. they have two separate investigations, clearly eric holder, the attorney general, is someone the president has dispatched to ferguson to meet with officials. there's clearly a coordination between the federal government and the state and local officials. >> as should be right now, the
tension being significant. jeffrey, give us an idea of the possibilities if -- we don't know what the decision of the grand jury is. but if an indictment is handed down, could the police officer, darren wilson, face first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, none of the above? give us a range of options. >> well, i think you provided the five options that are available. there is first and second-degree murder, which are basically versions of intentional, deliberate murder, and voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, which are murder through essentially reckless behavior. homicide through reckless behavior. and the other possibility is no charges at all. but the same issue underlines all of the charges, which is, was officer wilson's decision to shoot michael brown reasonable under the circumstances?
that's the core of this case. you can get confused thinking about the different charges. but fundamentally this entire grand jury investigation has been about the decision that officer wilson made and was it one that was reasonable, legal or so reckless, so wrong that he deserves to be criminally prosecuteded? >> we should know fairly soon about that decision. don, you know that michael brown's parents have been notified that a decision has been reached. they're urging calm. they're also requesting 4 1/2 minutes of silence before protests begin if in fact there will be protests, symbolic for the 4 1/2 hours that michael brown's body lay on the streets of ferguson following the shooting. here's the question to you because you're speaking to a lot of people there in the community. do you think their requests -- and they have been emotional requests for peace, if you will -- will be heeded?
>> reporter: i think every little bit counts. and i think they are, the people at the center of this as well as officer darren wilson, i think they will have some impact on what can happen here, as well as the captain of the missouri highway patrol, ron johnson. as you know, wolf, he has -- as we've been watching television here and listening to the radio here, there are public service announcements from him, from the family of michael brown and from other city officials and from community leaders here in the area urging there to be calm and to be level heads. so, yes, i do think the family's wishes will be met in some ways. but people are upset and there's a level of frustration. you don't know what's going to happen. everyone is urging calm, but, again, we don't know -- because we don't know what the decision is. >> evan, do you know why they're waiting? we learned about three or four hours ago that the grand jury has reached a decision. why are they waiting to make the announcement?
>> reporter: there's a bunch of procedures now going on behind the scenes. they have to notify the judge who is overseeing this case. they have to, as you know, bob mcculluch, the prosecutor, had planned to release all the evidence that's been presented to this grand jury. that is something that he is going to have to get a judge's okay to do based on what the grand jury in the end decided. they were trying to give notice to law enforcement here and around the country. whatever the grand jury decided, they want to make sure people understand that it goes beyond this case, that there's reform of the ferguson police department, police departments in this entire region are also going to be reformed. so whatever the grand jury decides, this story is not over. >> not by any means. everyone, stand by as we await the announcement of the grand jury decision. i want to bring in the president and ceo of the naacp, cornell
william brooks. thanks for joining us. first of all, have you heard anything from ferguson about a decision? >> i've not heard anything regarding a decision, other than a decision is forthcoming. and like much of the country, the naacp, along with young people in this community and families in this community and across the country are awaiting that decision. >> so you've got -- you're obviously -- any protests that erupt, you obviously want them to be peaceful? >> we obviously want them to be peaceful. the naacp stands with a generation of youthful practitioners of democracy who have been on the streets for week after week, days on end seeking justice for a grieving family and justice and systemic reform for an outraged community. so we stand with those protesters who are simply protesting under the american constitution. but we expect and we hope and
believe that those protests will be nonviolent. >> have you been concerned as a lot of other people have been in ferguson and st. louis county, that the st. louis county prosecutor, bob mccullouguch, t way he's been dealing with the grand jury, has that been a source of concern to you or do you have confidence in this process? >> we have concerns about this process. the naacp filed five complaints with the justice department against the st. louis county police departments before michael brown was killed. the county prosecutor did not respond to those complaints. this grand jury process has been unusual, to say the least. and so we have concerns. we have concerns where you have a process where it appears that the county prosecutor has dumped a lot of evidence into the laps of the grand jury. so we have concerns. but we are looking for both justice for michael brown's family and systemic reform for
this community and the country as a whole. >> i want you to stand by, mr. brooks. we have a lot more to discuss. we have more questions. we're going to get to those questions in just a moment. we'll take a quick break. you see what's happening over there. this is not far from ferguson. this is the justice center where the announcement will be made, the decision of the grand jury. we'll be right back. a secure retirement.
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on whether that means charges for the police officer, darren wilson. we're back with the president and the ceo of the naacp, cornell william brooks. mr. brooks, once again, thanks very much for joining us. you were critical of the governor of missouri, governor jay nixon, for declaring a state of r emergenemergency in advanc decision, suggesting it was presumption to assume there would be violence. what do you think of his decision now? >> i still believe it's presumptuous with respect to any violence. what we've seen is 99% of the protesters have been nonviolent. the family has appealed for nonviolence. so where we have seen militarization and a pervasive presence of the police force escalating precipitating unconstructive behavior, i think it's important to treat this not as a security crisis but a
social justice crisis. in other words, to the extent the governor can talk about reforms, making sure that no more tragedies like this happen in the future, those things are calming, those things speak to the needs of this community and people across the country. >> tell us what you meant, mr. brooks, when you called the shooting of michael brown in ferguson, missouri, a generational assault? >> absolutely. where we've seen one out of every three african-american men expect to spend some time in prison. one out of every four african-american men reporting in the last month that they've been mistreated at the hands of police. where we see statistics along the lines of african-american men being 21 times more likely to die at the hands of the police than white men. there's an empirical basis for people to be concerned about how they're being treated by the
police. so we have a generation of people -- of young people who in the midst of the lowest crime rate in 20 years feel like they're in the midst of a pandemic of police misconduct. so the point being here is that we have young people who are walk beside police officers whose jobs it is to protect them, to serve and protect them. and they are, in fact, afraid of them. the reality is, we can police our communities in ways that are respectful and that also protect those communities and we can do a much better job than we have done. >> if no indictment is handed down and the only people who have seen all the evidence, as you and i know, are the 12 members of that grand jury and the prosecutor in this case, but if no indictment is handed down, would you be among those who would say there has been a miscarriage of justice? >> i think it's safe to say that
if no indictment is handed down there will be a great deal of disappointment. but i believe that that disappointment has been exceeded by a sense of determination, a sense of determination in terms of bringing racial profiling and police misconduct to an end. we have to be clear here. before michael brown, there was eric garner. going back 20 years, there was rodney king. we have seen over and over again young people who are suspected in the most underwhelmingly minor of offenses, major use of force is used at the hands of police. michael brown, think about this, was suspected at worse in terms of the initial reaction of the police of jaywalking. a teenager suspected of jaywalking who ends up dead. this is a problem. this is a major and fundamental challenge in our country.
it has to be addressed as such. >> would it make any difference, mr. brooks, if he's charged with first or second-degree murder or of the lesser charge manslaughter, voluntary or involuntary? you think the community would react differently? >> i think the community is looking for the charge based upon the evidence. and if there's an indictment that's based upon the evidence that holds this officer accountable, i believe the community will be satisfied with that. but this officer has to be held accountable. that's what people are looking to. in terms of gradations of response based upon the charges, that's hard to predict. but people want this officer held accountable. this young man has his hands in the air and he was killed and his body was laying on the ground for 4 1/2 hours. >> you're a lawyer, you know if he's not charged right now, he's
still open to a federal investigation. there is a justice department investigation into the civil rights part of this entire -- this entire development, or private lawsuits, if you will, civil lawsuits. those are still options, right? >> absolutely. so there is certainly the possibility of a civil rights suit with respect to michael brown. there's also the matter of the justice department monitoring this police department and the st. louis county police department. we've seen settlements in los angeles and newark, new jersey, where these police departments have some federal oversight. clearly there's a basis for that here. there are various avenues for accountability. but right now at this moment, on the eve of this grand jury announcement, we have a family and a community looking for justice for michael brown's family in particular, even as we
press towards systemic reform beyond that. and that reform includes legislative responses both at the federal and state levels. we have to address racial profiling because before michael brown was killed, it is our belief that he was, in fact, profiled. >> cornell william brooks, president and ceo of the naacp, mr. brooks, thanks for joining us. we hope that everyone heeds your words, heeds the words of michael brown's family. go ahead and demonstrate and protest but keep it peaceful, no violence in the best traditions of dr. martin luther king jr. as well. thanks for joining us. >> indeed. we hope and pray for that. >> we certainly do. coming up, much more on the breaking news as we await an announcement on the grand jury decision in the fatal police shooting of ferguson teenager michael brown. tensions are rising. authorities say they're ready for anything. we'll also get a closer look at the police officer, darren
wilson. he has stayed silent in the months since the shooting. we learned he did manage to get married recently. we'll have details on that. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." hello... i'm an idaho potato farmer and our big idaho potato truck is still missing. so my buddy here is going to help me find it. here we go. woo who, woah, woah, woah. it's out there somewhere spreading the word about americas favorite potatoes: heart healthy idaho potatoes and the american heart association's go red for women campaign. if you see it i hope you'll let us know. always look for the grown in idaho seal.
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and in consideration of the safety of all students and staff, the ferguson florissant school district will be closed on tuesday, november 25th. all after-school and evening activities will also be canceled. so that's just coming in. we're following the breaking news, the grand jury reaching a decision in the vafatal police shooting of michael brown. an announcement revealing that decision expected soon. the police officer darren wilson has largely kept out of sight since the shooting. our brian todd is standing by to take a closer look at the man at the center of this extraordinary drama. brian? >> tonight we've gotten information that officer wilson got married recently. but very little is known about this young man. he's kept out of sight, hasn't spoken out publicly since the shooting occurred in august. so it remains a mystery just how darren wilson and those close to him really feel about that horrible day in ferguson.
his city and his police department became embroiled in one of america's most explosive conflicts over race in years. while the teenager he shot became a household name. but tonight ferguson police officer darren wilson, the man at the center of conflict and controversy, still remains largely a mystery. while cnn has learned wilson did testify before the grand jury, neither he nor his attorneys have ever offered a public account of what he says happened the day he shot michael brown. they've ignored repeated requests for comment. there's been no trace of him on social media and friends say he remains in hiding. >> his location is not known. >> he really can't go out there because -- >> not known to me either. >> he can't walk around freely, go to a store or movie or anything like that, is that right? >> i can't imagine that he can, no. >> reporter: cnn has learned the 28-year-old is an eight-year police veteran, spending six of those years in ferguson, just this past february, he was given a commendation by his
department, seen in this video. wilson, seen here in surveillance video leaving the police station the night of the shooting, has never returned to active duty. and cnn has learned once the grand jury decision is announced, he plans to resign. still tonight it appears he has maintained a personal life. a source close to wilson says he and his fiancee, another officer with the ferguson police department, were married in recent weeks. a friend of wilson's who didn't want to be named tells cnn wilson was divorced last year and has a child. for the most part, those who know darren wilson, including his fellow officers, have also stayed silent, refusing to share photos or memories. one longtime friend who has spoken says he once played youth hockey with darren wilson and that wilson is a good man who was not motivated by hate. >> he never talked about minorities. he was of the moral virtue where he would never bring something like that up. i doubt he even with his closest
friends talked about stuff like that. >> so what is next for darren wilson? depending on what the grand jury's decided, he could face murder or manslaughter charges, he could go free but would still face a justice department investigation for possibly violating michael brown's civil rights and he faces an internal investigation by the ferguson police department. analysts also say michael brown's family will probably file a wrongful death lawsuit against wilson. and we know he'll never likely wear a badge again. wolf? >> brian, thanks very much. let's go in depth right now with our cnn law enforcement analyst, tom fuentes, our cnn senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin and the community activist there in missouri, john gaskin. say he's not indicted right now. he's presumably worried about his safety? >> i think so. not only that but the safety of his fellow officers, other policemen who might be on the street.
but as brian just mentioned, i would seriously doubt he'll ever wear a badge again if for no other reason than it's going to be everything he does is going to be questioned no matter what the outcome of the grand jury or these other investigations. >> john, what do you think? if he's not indicted, what's the mood out there? what's going to happen? >> if he's not indicted, i believe and i know that the protests will continue because someone has to be held accountable for an 18-year-old young african-american man that was shot with his hands up and laid in the street for 4 1/2 hours. the people within this community, wolf, want accountability. they want transparency. and they want the prosecutor and that grand jury and the judicial system to hold darren wilson accountable for his actions. should he be allowed to be a police officer anymore? i certainly hope not, to be quite frank with you. i don't know what type of law enforcement organization would even allow him to serve under these types of circumstances.
>> jeffrey, under what circumstances can a police officer shoot and kill someone, assuming that those eyewitness accounts are accurate, those people testified before the grand jury, with someone having his hands up? >> i think the short answer is, if it is a reasonable act of self-defense. now, that is not a term that defines itself. it is a term that ordinary people, grand jurors, perhaps jurors ultimately, will have to decide. but it is really about whether the grand jurors believe that officer wilson was facing a genuine immediate threat from michael brown. that is the gist of the decision they have to make. it's actually a fairly simple standard. it's just very complicated and difficult to apply it in a fast-breaking, life-and-death situation like this one.
>> we suspect, tom, this police officer, mr. wilson, he told the grand jury he was acting in self-defense. presumably he will argue that inside that car, michael brown sought to get his gun, a shot went off, there was a struggle, he started running away. would he still be, under those circumstances, justified in going ahead and shooting him? there's going to be so much nuances as to what happened at that car and the forensic science applied to that investigation i think is almost more important than what officer wilson said or what other witnesses have said about that. we've heard people say that wilson was trying to pull michael brown through the window of the police car and that that's how brown was inside struggling for the gun. no police officer is going to try and pull somebody through the window of their car, especially if they weigh 300 pounds. so that's suspect in and of itself. there are many aspects of this. i'd like to make one more mention. the idea that michael brown's
body laid in the street for four hours has been portrayed as a complete act of disrespect on the part of the police. and it was not an act of disrespect. that's the law. and ferguson police were not allowed to touch that body. once michael brown was pronounced dead by a paramedic and the medical examiner's office was notified, they can't touch the body -- >> but they could have put some protective devices, shields around there so it wouldn't be visible -- >> no, they really couldn't. >> they can't even -- >> no. you'd have to walk through the crime scene to do that. you don't know where the bullet casings are lying. that could be kicked out of the way. that's going to matter, wilson's position, as he's firing and the empty casings are being ejected from the pistol. so all of that crime scene -- we're normally used to having these type of crime scenes indoors or in a black alley where it could be blacked out.
but people were out on balconies looking. you can't shield it. you can't cover the body because that disturbs the hairs and fibers and other physical evidence. but if you're going to hold somebody to task for that, discuss that with the medical examiner because the medical examiner releases the body only after the crime scene investigation. >> that's a good point. tom fuentes, stand by, john, jeffrey, stand by as well. much more of the breaking news coming up right here in "the situation room." she's still the one for you. and cialis for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment is right. cialis is also the only daily ed tablet approved to treat symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess.
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shortly, the grand jury in ferguson, missouri, decision will be released. other stories we're following, including a major development here in washington. the defense secretary of the united states, chuck hagel, is stepping down. despite all the hugs and the handshakes over at the white house, today sources are telling cnn hagel was basically pushed out by president obama. let's get the details from our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. barbara? >> reporter: wolf, all day long, the conversation has been, was hagel pushed out or did he jump? either way, the president, the white house, making it clear it was time, in their view, for a change. after less than two years on the job, defense secretary chuck hagel resigned, saying it was a decision he did not make lightly. >> it's been the greatest privilege of my life, the greatest privilege of my life to lead and most important to serve, to serve with the men and women of the defense department. >> reporter: the white house
offered words but no real explanation. >> over the course of the last month or so, the president and secretary have had a number of conversations. they determined that it would be best for the pentagon to transition to new leadership. >> reporter: all indications are hagel was forced out, though pentagon officials say it was a mutual decision by hagel and president obama after a series of conversations since late october. just last week, hagel hinted change was coming. >> i don't get up in the morning and worry about my job. it's not unusual, by the way, to change teams at different times. >> reporter: senior hagel aides for weeks have complained about white house micromanagement. >> i can tell you he was in my office last week, very frustrated. >> reporter: hagel had also warned the white house that its syria policy was in trouble if bashar al assad was left in power. hagel came into office trying to downsize the military, which has
now racked by the war on isis, the ebola crisis and a looming fight with a republican congress on defense spending. >> he wanted a loyal team player who was also a strong secretary of defense. i think what he got was a loyal team player whose skill sets as a senator never fully translated into being the secretary of defense. >> reporter: even at his confirmation hearing, hagel told of his doubts to the president. >> i didn't try to sell him on the job, that i could do it. in fact, when he asked me about why am i qualified or why would i be uniquely qualified, i said, i'm not. there are a lot of very qualified americans who could do this job. >> reporter: one of hagel's closest aides tells me it is just a cold, hard fact, he was pushed out by the white house potentially for reasons of political expediency. hagel has said he will stay on
until his successor is confirmed. that could keep him at the pentagon until early next year. >> barbara, thank you. jim acosta is standing by at the white house. what are you hearing over there? >> reporter: you heard the president say earlier today this was chuck hagel's decision. but the white house all but acknowledged that was not all hagel's doing. press secretary josh earnest said this all started about a month ago when the president and hagel began having conversations about the direction mr. obama wants to take the pentagon and then realized it was time for a change. but white house officials have made it no secret, they have problems with hagel's message discipline, starting with his rocky confirmation hearing when he mishandled a whole slew of questions. then hagel's assessment of isis that the group was way beyond anything the u.s. had seen, after the president described isis and other terror groups as the j.v. team. and hagel's critique of the president's syria policies. white house officials insist the
president took a lot of pride in the fact that hagel was the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as defense secretary. and both mr. obama and mr. biden developed a kinship with the senator when he criticized the iraq war surge when they were all in the senate. the question now is whether the white house and the president can find somebody who will be on that same page for the last two years of this administration. >> and can get confirmed by the united states senate. jim acosta, thank you. coming up, much more of the breaking news out of ferguson. also, the holiday storm is new on the way, thanksgiving travelers hear in the united states will face some really nasty winter weather just as they hit the highways and head out to the airports. they take us to worlds full of heroes and titans. for respawn, building the best interactive entertainment begins with the cloud. this is "titanfall," the first multi-player game built and run on microsoft azure. empowering gamers around the world
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let's bring in our meteorologist chad myers at the cnn weather center. what should we expect this >> rain along the coast, wind, and snow inland. depends on what computer you believe right now. the european model, over a foot of snow. all along massachusetts into connecticut. the u.s. model not quite so white. a little bit more wet along the coast. either way, boston, new york, philadelphia, d.c., all the way up and down the east coast, even with the wind and rain, it's going to be a mess on the highways, as well. it's nor'easter that's going to run up the east coast. we say nor'easter in the winter seem and we go oh, no, we're going to get three feet of snow. this is going to be a rain maker more than a snow maker. it isn't quite cold enough to make that big snow event. yes, there will be snow and you'll see snow in the poconos and the alleghenies and in
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whether the police officer, darren wilson, is being charged in the shooting death of michael brown. the brown family reacts. they've just issued a special request to anyone who might protest the decision, and we're standing by for a news conference by the missouri governor. bracing for violence. officials say they're prepared for all possibilities and law enforcement is standing by in case appeals for calm go unheeded. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following the breaking news. at any moment, we'll be learning whether the ferguson, missouri police officer, darren wilson, has been indicted in the august shooting death of michael brown, an unarmed african-american teenager. after months of protests, there's a sense of relief in ferguson, where many people just want this ordeal over. but there's also very real fear that the grand jury has decided not to indict wilson that there will be a violent backlash.
we will know the answer to all of that very soon. we're covering the breaking news with our correspondents, our guests. they're in key locations in ferguson and beyond and we're await ing a noing a the news co by the missouri governor. jason, what are you seeing in ferguson right now? >> reporter: the grand jury going over evidence for three months, listening to eyewitness testimony. so many people in this community, waiting to hear the grand jury's decision. we near -- are near an area where we saw so much unrest in august. many of the businesses here have been boarded up for months in anticipation of the decision. so many people out here want this to be over. they want justice, but they also want this whole ordeal to be over.
just within the past hour or so, antonio french, a local alderman, he was caught up in much of the unrest in august. he said, pray for peace. work for justice. push for change. so these are -- he's one of the local community members, like so many here on the ground, calling for peace, calling for change. as you know, michael brown's parents, his father recording a public service announcement, calling for people to be nonviolent in their protests. the only hope now is that those people are listening. wolf? >> we know the governor of missouri, jay nixon, he's about to hold a news conference. do you see evidence that he's activated national guard? he's also declared an emergency. what are you seeing in terms of local, state, federal law enforcement on the streets of ferguson? >> reporter: let me give you a sense of what it looks like. it looks like any other day
here. basically traffic is moving in and out. take a look at the street here, you can see traffic moving in and out. no road closures, no police presence along here. and again, speaking to law enforcement in the many weeks leading up to this, what they're going to try to do is measure their responses. you know, wolf, they were so heavily criticized for their response last time. this go around, they're going to measure their response in terms of how they deal with protesters and in terms of what we're seeing out here right now, peaceful, no demonstrators out here right now. traffic is flowing. no sense of law enforcement, at least not at this point. wolf? >> jason carroll, we'll check back with you. i want to bring in our justice reporter evan perez in ferguson, as well. you broke the story earlier today that the grand jury has reached a decision. walk us through what you're hearing right now as far as when the announcement will be made, precisely who has been notified
already. are the family members, for example, michael brown's family members, are they getting word of what the decision is? that the decision was reached, but they do not know what the decision is. we know that behind the scenes, the judge is being notified. there's a procedure in place right now where the prosecutor wants to release some of the documents or all of the documents, all the evidence that was presented to the grand jury. that was the plan. and that process is now in the works, we're told. we are told that the prosecutor here, the st. louis county prosecutor, is planning a press conference. the latest we heard is 8:00 p.m. central time is what the timing is right now. we'll wait to see where exactly that will take place. for security reasons, they did not want to announce that, wolf. we know if there was an indictment, by now, darren
wilson's attorneys would have been notified that he should turn himself in. they would be making those arrangements. we've been checking. no word on whether that is in the works. and darren wilson had been in negotiations that he would resigned if cleared by the grand jury. that is something we're also we're checking on. he wanted to do that once word came from the grand jury that he was in the clear. wolf? >> we'll be speaking momentarily with a friend of darren wilson. we'll get word on whether or not he's been notified of any of this. stand by that for that, evan. this grand jury decision comes after more than ten weeks of near daily protests. cnn's jake tapper has more on the fear and tension about what happens next. jake, what's the latest from your vantage point? >> reporter: wolf, we visited ferguson and the surrounding area today. we met a lot of people who were concerned about the verdict. we met people who were concerned about a possible violent
reaction to the verdict. and we met people who were concerned about a possible police overreaction to the violence. a city on edge. it's cliche, but it seems almost too quiet here. boarded up shop windows line the streets of ferguson, missouri, as if a hurricane is he woulded here. here, a grand jury decision is about to be announced, determining the fate of officer darren wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager mike brown. sporadic protests have continued here since august. there are those worried about whether justice will be served. and those worried that their livelihoods will be destroyed. >> we don't want to have to go through what we went through last time. >> reporter: jim and his dad own this convenience store. their store was looted twice. over the summer they showed us this surveillance footage of looters kicking and breaking in, stealing things, then trying to
set the store on fire. you were thinking about, we're going to shut it down? >> yeah, we had a lot of conversations back and forth, my dad and i. we wanted to say open. we've been here so long. >> reporter: the plywood is now back on the windows, even though that means business drops off. >> we're going to hope for the authorities to take care of whatever is going to happen outside. >> reporter: at the canfield apartments where mike brown was shot and killed, a memorial has grown. here his former neighbors are waiting and hopeful there will not be a repeat of what they saw this summer. >> kind of difficult getting in here when all that took place. but i'm prepared for it as if i can't get into where i live. >> we're keeping a positive thought on everything. >> reporter: just blocks away, the businesses are on edge.
owners are reluctant to talk to the media today, for fear they will become targets. >> the true residents know when this is all said and done, they have to come back here and live here. they don't want it destroyed. i think some of the outside folks have come in and said we don't care. they're going to leave this behind once they've had their 15 minutes of fame. >> reporter: wolf, all we can do now is wait to see what the decision is by the grand jury. then, of course, report on how the surrounding areas respond to that grand jury decision. >> where you are, jake, are people gathered or is it relatively quiet? >> reporter: i'm here where the county seat is, and there is no presence right now in terms of protesters. i'm not really sure where the protests are, or if and when they do, although there will be
some protests in ferguson should the verdict -- or the decision come back this evening, the announcement this evening. wolf? >> we're standing by for that decision to be announced. jake, thank you. as we await the grand jury decision, in a news conference expected by the missouri governor, we want to hear from a friend of the police officer. jeff warda looks for the st. louis police officer's association. thank you very much for joining us. we spoke with you on friday, as well. have you been in touch with darren wilson, the police officer, today? >> no, not since last week, wolf. >> so you don't know if he's actually been notified of a decision? >> i do not, no. >> based on what you do know, if he's about to be indicted, he would be told, he and his lawyers would have been told by now, presumably. is that your understanding?
>> that's right. you know, the charity that i'm involved with, the police charity that's helping officer wilson with his legal expenses, we would be prepared to post bond if he were indicted. so if that's the case, and i don't expect it will be, but if that were the case, we would be hearing something soon in the way of making arrangements for bond. >> his lawyers have not been in touch for the charity or you so far, right? >> that's right. >> but we shouldn't necessarily read anything into that one way or the other, right? >> no, i wouldn't, wolf. i would say that would be a conversation that happened after he would surrender himself. again, i'm telling you this is just jeff warda speaking, but i would be shocked based on what i know of the evidence that's publicly available if darren were indicted. >> even for a lesser charge, let's say involuntary
manslaughter? >> i just don't think that the forensics and the ballistics and the physical evidence support that. again, we don't know what the grand jury knows. bob mccullough went to great lengths to make sure they had all the evidence. if there's an outcome from the grand jury that's unexpected, i will calmly review the documents as they're made public. i hope that's what everyone will do in this case. calmly take in the evidence that the prosecutor presented to the grand jury and that they ruminated on and calmly reflect on, on what they know. >> bob mccullough is the st. louis county prosecutor. there were several eyewitnesss who said that he was standing outside of the vehicle, he was standing outside of the car with his hands up when he was shot. so why would you be shocked if he were indicted, even for let's
say involuntary manslaughter? >> i just don't think that the physical evidence as we've seen it repeatedly presented in the media and elsewhere is consistent with those statements. i mean, eyewitness statements can be flawed. that's why law enforcement doesn't depend exclusively on those. we depend on physical evidence in combination with witness statements to tell us somewhat actually happened. that's why it's so important that we not get out ahead of ourselves. this case is a comedy of errors when it comes to the reaction coming in advance of the facts. >> mr. roorda, i want you to stand by. on the line is ben crump, one of the lawyers for the michael brown family. mr. crump, thank you very much for joining us. i know you've been in touch with michael brown's parents, family members, other attorneys.
have they been notified with what the grand jury decision is yet? >> we have not been notified what the decision is, wolf. we are waiting to hear from the prosecutor's office. >> do you expect to get word in advance of a public announcement? >> well, that's what they told us, they're going to give it to us before they announce it publicly, so we will wait to see. >> how did you learn that a decision had been reached? >> well, unfortunately, michael brown's parents found out that a decision was pending today from the media. and then they were notified later by the prosecutor's office that there is a decision coming today. and it was very painful, wolf, on top of everything else that they're dealing with. >> so just to be precise, the media, i think we were first here on cnn, evan perez, our reporter there in ferguson, in
clayton, he reported'9", and then everybody else confirmed'9". and only then did the prosecutor's office notify the family that a decision had been reached. is that right? >> that's correct. >> so that was painful to the family because they wanted to know that in advance. whoever called, was it mr. mccullough, was it somebody else who called from his office? >> it was a representative from his office. >> did they assure the family that before the decision is announced publicly they would get word of it? >> that's what they said, yes. >> but you don't believe it, is that what you're suggesting? >> well, you know, i'll take it at face value. we're going to take them at their word. >> how is the family dealing with all of this? >> it's very emotional. they're on pins and needles. wanted to know if the man who killed their unarmed child is going to be held accountable, if they even have a chance at justice or if it's going to be no indictment and it's likely
that the killer of their unarmed teenager would never be held accountable. so it's very emotional for them, as it would be for every other parent. not only the parents but the family and the extended community in ferguson are all on pins and needles are wanting to know if again the system is going to, you know, not hold the killer of our children accountable. >> if there's no indictment, there are other legal steps, you're a lawyer, well known lawyer that you could take. you could file a lawsuit in the federal government, and the justice department here in washington, they could file a civil rights lawsuit. those would be two other steps out there, right? >> wolf, as you know, you've been in the journalist business for a long time, you know as a journalist, that it's a very high burden for the federal government when they bring civil rights actions against police officers. so they know the most likely
chance of having the killer of their child held accountable is what happens in the state of missouri. certainly they have the civil action that they can bring to give them some sense of justice. why can't we ever get full justice? no police officer is hardly ever held accountable when they kill young people of color. and we have to do something about this epidemic. >> i know you want some indictment to be filed. but from your vantage point, and obviously none of us knows the exact evidence that was presented to the grand jury, only those 12 members of the grand jury know, and the st. louis county prosecutor knows, but based on what you know, do you believe first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary, invowel l involuntary manslaughter, what from your perspective would be a fair inndictment? >> i think the prosecutor could
charge based on whatever he wanted based on the probable cause standard. when a police officer kill ass a cause standard. when a police officer kill ass a citizen, it automatically goes to a grand jury. the constitution speaks to this notion of due process, everybody gets equal treatment of the law. they don't make a distinction for police officers. and clearly there is far more evidence to have probable cause in this case. the rules just changed. if the rules were reversed and michael brown had killed this police officer, do you think we would have a grand jury or they would just charge him? so we have to really try to educate people and say we can't let the system keep going like this. if we keep doing the same thing and expect something different, that's insanity. we are tired of police officers killing young people of color and nobody held accountable. >> you're right with a grand
jury, it is probable cause. probable cause for manslaughter or murder, mr. crump? >> either one. you know, the prosecutor normally would come out and recommend charges. but this process has been done differently than any other process i've seen in my 20 years of practice in law that he's not going to recommend any charges. it's just the grand jury make up their mind because he wants to be fair, as he said. so he was unfair to everybody else for 28 years. don't change the rules when it's our children killed. don't change the rules on us. >> benjamin crump, i want to continue our conversation. jeff roorda, i want to conversation our conversation with you, as well. we've got to take a quick break. much more on the breaking news coming out of ferguson, missouri right after this.
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an announcement soon in the michael brown shooting. we're about to learn whether the police officer, darren wilson, will be charged in the death of the unarmed african-american teenager. the missouri governor is about to hold a news conference. this is live pictures coming out of missouri right now. let's continue our conversation with jeff roorda, friend of darren wilson and works for the st. louis police officer's association. jeff, you're confident that the police officer won't be indicted. once again, walk us through why you believe that. >> first of all, wolf, let me
say this. nothing i say or any police officer says is meant to contribute to the pain that the brown family is going through. we understand what an unimaginable experience this is for them. but to hear their attorney, mr. crump, repeatedly use costic, inflammatory terms, i think i counted him calling darren wilson a killer six times. that doesn't contribute to the peace that the brown family and others are calling for. >> you think mr. crump is contributing to the problem out there by using the word killer out there. he did kill this teenager, right? >> yeah, i think putting it in those terms and he's not a killer if -- he's at least not a murderer in the eyes of the law if he's not indicted. i think that using that inflammatory language out of one side of your mouth and then saying you're hoping for
peaceful demonstrations out of the other is a bit disingenuous. >> we're showing live pictures on the left part of the screen. this is where the incident occurred, where michael brown was shot by the police officer, darren wilson. you see what's going on over there right now. once again, a decision has been reached by the grand jury. we don't know somewhat that decision is, but we expect an announcement fairly soon. the legal team that darren wilson has, are they -- it's a strong legal defense that he has? do you know this team? >> i do. they're all great attorneys. they all handle a lot of police cases and they've handled a lot of police officer involved shootings. i mean, i don't think he could have a better legal team. >> just to confirm, darren wilson did testify before the grand jury at length presenting his side of the story, right?
>> that's what has been publicly reported and that's my understanding, yes. and that's extraordinary too, wolf. >> i know it is extraordinary. if they want to go after him, usually they don't make him go before the grand jury, the st. louis county prosecutor, right? >> right. and just back to mr. crump's point about there being some injustice here with taking this case to the grand jury. you know, the prosecutor did have the option of charging officer wilson outright. that would have been the easy way out. if there was evidence to do so, i would suspect bob mccullough would have avoided this grand jury process and gone straight to taking a charge before the circuit court. i don't know what he's thinking or what he knows. but it certainly would have been the easier route to just charge him outright and it would also have been the easier route to make a recommendation to the grand jury.
but if his recommendation would have been not to charge them, he would have been crucified in public for making that recommendation. so he's left this in the hands of a jury of darren wilson's peers. i think that's a very responsible, prudent course. >> we only learned the other day, you might have known this longer than us, it was only publicly revealed that darren wilson, within the last several days, got married, right? >> you know, i know that's been publicly reported. i don't know anything about that, and i wouldn't talk about it if i did. it's bad enough that darren is in harm's way because what -- of what he believes is strictly discharging his duties. i don't want to talk about his family situation. >> you're worried about his safety irrespective of the grand jury decision, right? >> yes. you know, wolf, what we saw in
the wake of the shooting in august was two solid weeks of violent protests where there were organized attempts to kill and injure police every night. that should have been the leadoff on every news cast every night for those two weeks is that again, attempts have been made to kill police. instead, we heard peaceful protests. that's just not what was happening. we'll check back with you. we're standing by for the decision of this grand jury. whether or not they're going to go forward with charges against the police officer darren wilson. we're standing by for this news conference. the governor of missouri, they're getting ready for this news conference. the governor of missouri, jay nixon, getting ready to speak out with other officials on preparations that are being made for the official announcement. we'll be right back. a secure retirement.
we're following the breaking news. an announcement soon in the grand jury decision of the michael brown shooting. we're also about to learn whether the police officer, darren wilson, will be charged or won't be charged. you're looking at live pictures coming out of missouri right now. we're standing by for a news conference. the governor of missouri, jay nixon, he's getting ready to meet with reporters to discuss what's going on, plans for potential demonstrations, hopefully they will all be peaceful, no violence, even irrespective of what the decision of the grand jury is, the governor will be joined by the st. louis county executive charlie dooley, the st. louis mayor, the department of public
safety director. they will have statements. they will be followed, we're told, by a statement eventually by the prosecutor, the st. louis county prosecutor, robert mccullough, who will make the official announcement on what that grand jury decision is. but it's a tense time right now, because people are obviously very, very anxious to get word and see where this goes. let me bring tom fuentes in, former assistant director of the fbi, our cnn law enforcement analyst. tom, we're waiting for the governor right now. here they come right now, the governor surrounded by the others. let's listen in. >> good evening. i'm pleased to be joined by mayor, missouri director of public safety dan eisman. later this evening, the
prosecutor will announce the grand jury's decision. while none of us know whas whatt will be, regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint. earlier today, i visited with some folks in ferguson, and it's understandable that, like the rest of us, they are on edge waiting for a decision. but they're doing their best to go about their daily lives, conduct their business, support one another and their community. i also spoke with a number of faith leaders late this afternoon who offered their prayers for peace and safety. together, we are all focused on making sure the necessary resources are at hand to protect lives, protect property, and protect free speech.
several churches will be providing safe havens to pro-food, shelter and care. these health professionals are working right now to provide counseling and other services to the people that need them. law enforcement officials continue to maintain open lines of communication with protest leaders to improve the interactions between police and demonstrators and prevent violence. i want to thank my director of public safety for taking part in these ongoing discussions. state and local law enforcement agencies are continuing to work hand in hand to make sure the best, most experienced officers are on the street. the men and women of the national guard will also be in the area to provide security at critical facilities like firehouses, police stations, and
utility substations and offer logistical and transportation support as needed. this will help free up law enforcement officers to do their jobs effectively. in closing, i would like to reiterate my call for peace, respect, and restraint and thank everyone out there who is working hard to make sure communities throughout the region are safe and secure. i would now like to ask the county executive to make a couple of comments and we would be glad to take questions. the county executive charlie dooley. >> let me say good evening to all of you. i do not know what the prosecuting attorney will have to say this evening, but i do know this -- no matter what is announced, people will be emotional. i want people to think with their heads and not with emotion. no matter what, we have to
remain focused on a long-term, systemic changes that has to take place in our community. our immediate priority is to ensure that people are safe and able to voice their concerns in an orderly fashion. police and community groups have been working for weeks to ensure their rights are protected. we are committed to deescalating negative situations in a responsible manner. i do not want people in this community to think they have to barricade their doors and take up arms. we are not that kind of community. i do not want people to accidently shoot or harm someone out of fear. this is not the time to turn on each other. it is a time to turn to each other. we are one community. again, our main priority at this time is to ensure that we keep
people safe and protect property. we intend to do that. but it is to be said and to be clear that in achieving these objectives, we recognize the right of people to peacefully assemble and to express free speech rights. we were honor that as long as safety and security are not jeopardized. i personally believe that people in this community will do what is right. in october, there was thousands of people here peacefully protesting, and expressing their views. no one was hurt. many, many people have spent county hours working on ways to manage this situation once the grand jury decision is announced. and now is the time to show the world that we can act without
being destructive. i am confident this will be a fact. thank you. >> thank you. now the great leader from the great city of st. louis, mayor francis sleigh. >> thank you. st. louis is a region that endures during challenges times. we have seen it time and time again. we have seen it in the face of personal tragedy and we've seen it in the aftermath of natural disaster. we face one of those times today. what happened to michael brown has deeply divided us. whatever is announced this evening, some people are going to be angry and frustrated. and some people are going to be angry and frustrated about that. my message to the protesters, we will protect your right to peacefully assemble and to speak your mind.
like last night, we will give you leeway to occupy public safety, and we will listen to your grievances. but turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated. to the people who disagree with the protesters, the actions we are taking are designed to protect you, to protect your family, your homes, your businesses, and your neighborhoods. that is our paramount concern. over the next few days, we expect to see the people of st. louis loudly and passionately expressing their views. we expect to see some of the best police officers in the country protecting their rights and keeping everyone safe. but after that, it will be time to heal. to close the racial divide and to make st. louis a better place for everyone regardless of race or color. we all may experience some
inconvenience during the coming days. we may allow demonstrators to slow down traffic, but we will not allow them to hurt anyone or damage anyone's property. that's how it went last night in the shaw neighborhood. it wasn't perfect. there were two acts of vandalism, but there was no other property damage and most importantly, no one was seriously injured. when president abraham lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving in 1863, it's worth recalling that he sought to help a nation heal and to work together toward the promise of what he called a large increase in freedom. the world will be watching us. they're going to watch how we handle our disagreements in the coming days. and how we make needed change in the coming months and years. st. louis finds itself with an opportunity to show the nation the ways in which a community
can be more fair and more just for everyone. we must seize this opportunity together. >> now one more speaker and i'll be glad to take questions here. the director of public safety in the state of missouri, director dan eisam. >> thank you, governor. i've spent my entire life as a resident of the city of st. louis and served 24 years as a member of the st. louis metropolitan police department, retiring as chief of police. the st. louis county police, the st. louis city police and the missouri highway patrol has spent the last two months manning and training for the anticipated reaction to the announcement that will be made in the next few hours. the plan is designed for all
contingencies, but we hope that officers will only observe peaceful protests. i am great confidence in the design of this plan. it has prioritized keeping all people safe, residents and protesters, the protection of property, and ensuring that people can exercise their constitutional rights. i also have tremendous confidence in the men and women in st. louis law enforcement. they understand the importance of protecting everyone, and i know they intend to do so. i also have great confidence in the people of my community. a tremendous dialogue has begun to take place here about more than just policing. this community understands that through peaceful protests and through dialogue, we will continue to grow. and that violence will set this
progress back. we must continue to move this community forward, and i have confidence that that is exactly what we will do tonight, and in the days ahead of us. >> with that, i would be glad to take questions. >> governor, i'm wondering is there any plans of delaying this until tomorrow morning? it seems like the element of night makes it more dangerous for protesters if it they do show up, as well as the police officers. >> those were decisions made by the st. louis county prosecutor's office. that is who made that call. >> governor, what would you say to the thousands of people, the millions of people around america who felt like the government has failed them more or less, that the legal system has failed them over the last 3 1/2 months.
>> our focus is not about what happened over the last 3 1/2 months. i think it's provided additional training, additional sensitivity and knowledge. our focus today in the short run here is to protect lives, property and protect speech. and in the longer run, as the mayor said, to find paths for progress. so our focus is on those clear principles as we move forward. yes, ma'am? >> how are you going to move forward healing the racial divide, what steps are you going to take? >> tonight is about the pieces that are in police to do what we've got to do. clearly, all of the folks behind me, as well as significant leaders in the community, have begun that process. i had a chance right before i came in here to have a conference call with a number of faith leaders who are working deeply and with long hours to do just that.
all of these folks behind me have been engaged in outreach. and also the commission i appointed. i expect with their independent voice and their clear ability to chart a long-term path forward, that we will all have suggestions which can lead us in a positive path forward. yes, sir? >> have you ruled out the use of armored vehicles and tear gas? >> i'm not going to get into operational details. but the bottom line is that the police have been trained as the mayor said and others said, to make sure that we are respecting people's rights to communicate and that allowing them to do that. however, on the other side, if people are violent, or threaten property, you know, then resource also be used to manage the issues. yes, sir? >> are you planning to stay in
the area in the coming days? >> i've been here i believe 7 of the last 8 days. we'll be here tonight and as long as it takes to make sure that we move through this particular phase, whatever it may be, into the next phase. >> we've got time for one more question. >> joe, quick. >> what is the lack of an indictment would be a justification of police violence and -- >> i called on this man first. >> you need to let the alternative press speak. i'm from revolution newspaper. so wouldn't a lack of indictment mean fear for black people all over this country and effectively a green light for further police violence? second, i would like to pose to you how you would respond to the call by carl dix and many others from the revolutionary communist
party that if darren wilson is not indicted for murder that the country be brought to a halt through energetic civil disobedience by millions of people? >> i don't know what the grand jury is going to rule tonight. >> can you say now how many national guard will be on stand by? i know the mayor has said before 400. how long do you think they may be here? >> as i said before, we'll have guard resources here that will play a support role. for example, providing utility substation security. as we know on halloween, the w power went out in ferguson. most of the proof would indicate that was not accidental. nor was it a squirrel running down the wire. also, police substations and stations, the guard can provide
support roles there, so the police officers can get out in the community. and also things like firehouses, where those -- if called upon, both emt and fire resources need to get there in real time and providing that security. so in support roles like that, the guard will be out it is for a short period of time. as is necessary. that that back-up role is all that will be necessary. thank you all very, very much. >> all right. there he is. the governor of missouri. announcing steps that the community, the state local authorities, the stiff st. louis, the county of st. louis, are taking to deal with potentially some violent demonstrations. let's hope the demonstrations are all peaceful. john gaskin, you're there in ferguson. is there any explanation why they decided the prosecutor in this case, the st. louis
prosecutor, to go ahead and make this announcement at nighttime in it will be 9:00 eastern, 8:00 p.m. central? are they giving any explanation why he is making this announce. when it is already dark there? that could further complicate a situation if they do erupt. >> reporter: many young people on the ground are saying this is sketchy. why would you make this kind of huge decision while the world is watching. i would think a prosecutor that works for the state would want to do everything that he can to accommodate all parties and try to promote peace, calm and ensure that no one is injured or there is no necessary unrest. as you look behind me. it is dark here. i can understand, maybe he wanted to make sure that all students had left school or that everyone had cleared out of clayton. he could have easily made this decision tomorrow morning. i think it puts both law
enforcement and protesters in a great deal of potential danger. especially in a situation where you have many people on the ground within the community that are trying to diffuse it. and ensure that things remain peaceful. >> stand by. everyone stand by. we have full analysis of what we just heard as we await this grand jury decision. we'll take a quick break. much more after this.
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tom fuentes, you've been watching this from the very beginning. former assistant director of the fbi. do you have an explanation why the announcement will be made at 9:00 p.m. eastern, 8:00 people central when it is dark already? >> no. it is this is ridiculous. this whole situation has been so much drama and tension for two months. why add to that? people have had six, eight hours notice the announcement would be made. they're not relying on the old days, pony express to send the message. everybody should know in the world that this decision is ready to be announced. announce and it get this over with. >> you've been watching it as well. donna, what did you think about what we heard from the governor, the st. louis county executive, the st. louis mayor, man in charge of public safety? >> i'm a little baffled about the timing. why so late. i'm also concerned that some of the messages that you're hearing, these are peaceful protesters by and large.
these are members of the community. something was clearly broken before michael brown was shot and murdered. and tonight, this is a very tense moment. and i just thought, they're making a mess out of it once again. >> is there some legal explanation tubin? we got word around 1:30 p.m. eastern when cnn first broke the story that the decision by the grand jury had been reached. we don't blank it is but we got word then. is there a legal reason why they have to wait all these hours to make the decision public? >> absolutely not. this was entirely, or this is entirely under the control of the missouri authorities. i thought it was very interesting when the governor was asked this question. why do this at night? and he essentially threw up his hands and said it was up to the prosecuting attorney. i thought he was the governor of the state. he is not sim play passive participant in this. if he thought it was a good idea
to announce it during the day, he certainly could have imposed his will. now, in fairness, presumably the justification for doing this at night is that school children are at home. most people are at home. most businesses are closed. but nighttime is generally not the time that police like to be dealing with potentially dangerous situations. i find this a completely bizarre decision to do this at night. i hope and expect it will work out fine but it seems weird to me. >> i think everybody seems to agree. button this up for us. the fbi, you used to be the assistant director. they're watching closely. >> they're watching and they're also looking for people showing up from out of state, out of the country to show up and cause trouble. >> out of the country? >> many of these situations whuvg international monetary fund, world bank, the bureau and
other countries through interpol track that. >> we'll stay on top of this story throughout the night. thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. erin burnett "outfront." >> the grand jury's decision on ferguson police officer darren wilson is coming shortly. we are standing by for an announcement. plus, not if he killed michael brown but was michael brown surrendering with his hands up in surrender mode when he was shot? we break down the time line. and indictment or no indictment. what is next for darren wilson? let's go "outfront." >> welcome to our viewers from around the