tv PBS News Hour PBS November 24, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions we are moments away from the announcement of a grand jury decision in st. louis county, missouri on whether to indict police officer darren wilson in the death of michael brown. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> i'm gwen ifill. also, homeland security chief jay johnson on president obama's executive order to halt deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants. undocumented immigrants. >> woodruff: defense secretary chuck hagel announces plans to resign, opening up a change of command at the pentagon at a time of multiple crises abroad.
and arctic ground squirrels give scientists clues about how warmer temperatures are affecting tundra ecosystems. >> those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. the people of ferguson, missouri are about to learn whether a white policeman, darren wilson will be indicted in the killing of a black teenager, michael brown. governor jay nixon already appealed for calm. he was joined by st. louis county executive charlie dooley, st. louis mayor francis slay and the state public safety chief, dan isam. >> 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 had rate my call for peace, respect andúo and thank everyone out there who is working hard to make sure communities throughout the region are safe and secure. many, many people have spent countless hours working on ways to manage this situation, once the grand jury situation is announced ample noun is the time to show the world that we can, we're confident this will be a fact. 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. this community there are peaceful protest and through dialogue we will continue to grow and violence will set this ÷qvñ progress bac we community forward and i haveax( confidence that that is exactly what we will do tonight and in the daysfjv( ahead of us. >> the newshour stephen fee is
outside the courthousehj in clayton, missouri and joins us now as we await the official announcement. stephen as you stand outside courthouse, is there a mood of the people waiting? >> well, certainly is sort of we're in this limbo period, right? we had the announcement earlier that the charges were coming. when they heard from the governor as you just played out and some other local and state officials. and then we just have these sort of moments going by where no one is sure what's going to come next. right here in the courthouse area, we haven't seen a lot of activity. góy one cruiser, a few officials appeared to be in some kind of protective vests. and we have seen shops here as well, not every shop in the community has been boarded up but we have seen people starting to put boards up, really starting to hunker down as we prepare for this announcement that could come really just any minute now.r?> stephen, one of puzzlements is this announcement
is happening at night. has anybody explained the timing of this? >> well, it's a great question. as you well know governor nixon said he had nothing to do with the timing. there had been speculation earlier in the day that they were waiting until after rush hour, to not disrupt the day. that perhaps it was to wait until after schools were out. as you well know, ferguson schools have been closed for tomorrow. originally scheduled to be on monday and tuesday of this week. so really a lot of uncertainty now that in missouri. folks have begun to gather at ó1 police headquarters in particular, in the community of ferguson, which is about a 20-minute drive away from where i'm standing right now. again, they're all waiting just as eagerly as we are to get a little bit of resolution on what comes next here. >> stephen, you've been on the ground for awhile here covering this for us. you've been talking to a lot of people and listening to the pleas for as we heard, the pleas for non-violence. is that resonating with the people you talk to,
the young people? >> absolutely. i think that the message of non-violent activity has really resonated. it's connected through all of the organizers that we have met so far. and remember, a lot of these organizers, these are people who have had lots of plans on the table. they said tonight we go to the police station, this is where we will garths. they have been organized on social media, organized online, and yet there's still a question, we're now at another big moment in the saga that's[8 unfolded here about whether or not we might see more anger, people who maybe weren't organized before but him come out tonight anyway. no way to know how people will react to the decision we'll hear tonight. >> stephen fee on the ground for us in ferguson, in clayton, missouri tonight, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> judy. >> as we wait for announcement about the grand jury's decision, we turn to three people, roger goldman,
professor at st. louis university school of law. gill alba, former new york police department detective who currently runs a private investigation firm. and a past store from well spring church joining us in a moment, pastor from well spring church what this grand jury has been going through. 7q remind us of what are the range of findings that we are looking to learn? what could they possibly be telling us tonight? >> judy, at the@vú most serious charge could be first degree murder. then second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and of course a decision not to indict at all. >> and how much detail do we expect to hear? we know that the prosecutor has said he's going to be releasing transcripts if there is a decision not to indict. and other information.
this has beenfén( jury process, hasn't it? >> yes, it's more like a trial, judy, because in 99% of the cases the grand jury, is presented to the grand jury, just the evidence showing there's been a crime. but in this case, it's more like a regular trial jury where everything the defendant might put in as well as the prosecutor. in other words, it's really being left up to the grand jury almost to decide the case. >> how unusual is it? i'm going the stay with you for one more question right now, roger golnlui again, professor at st. louis university. how unusual is it for the prosecutor to go on this long, almost 3 1/2 months. >> well, again, what make it so unusual is that all of the evidence, apparently, as opposed to just a little bit that's typically needed to show probable cause has been introduced. this may be typical, however, in these police involved shooting cases which by themselves are fairly rare occurrences that
even get to the grand jury. >> as i mentioned a moment ago we have also joining us, gill alba, former new york city police department detective. gill, you've been involved, you've seen other cases where police officers are accused in shooting. how would you compare this case that has gotten so much national attention to other cases where police are accused of shooting someone? and they may be subject to indictment. >> you know, the high volume of recognition as far as, you know, when you get a white police officer shooting a black male, especially out when he's not armed. so that is a big deal. but you know, for this to happen and this to come together think it may be a good thing and especially if there are like riots like we had before and start the healing process. however, when the verdict comes down and they would say guilty
and especially not guilty, i'm sure the frustration and the anger is going to come out for a lot of people because they have seen this before. and they really are going to get frustrated over this. >> let me jump in, this is gwen ifill, gill alba. people frustrated, i wonder whether this is a frustration which.g or the kind of thing where law enforcement is watching all around the country to see how this plays #% ñ> yes, of course they're watching all over the country and see how it plays out and see how actually you control the riots when there are riots and what really is the basic reason for the riots because it's far more than just the police. how does the police deal with that? because the police take the community. if it's a feeling of them against us, whether it's the people against the police or the police feel that they are against, everybody is against them, that is a bad feeling. it has to be a community. >> are you assuming riots? >> tonight you mean?
>> >> no, definitely not. i hope not and i think not, no. >> we also want to bring in reverend willis johnson, who as we mentioned a moment ago, he's in ferguson, he is the pastor at this has been such a long process for those of us who are watching from the rest of the country. how would you describe from your perspective, how everyone in ferguson, the people you talking to every day, how they see the culmination of this as we wait any minute now for this announcement? >> well, this has been a long and tedious and many times frustrating journey. many of us are just challenged to remain hopeful and anxious to have at least some direction to
go from with the announcement tonight. >> there has been, there have been so many different people including emergency michael brown's family who have been urging calm and restraint. is that a message you think has been heard there in ferguson? >> definitely. i think it's a message not only heard but a message lived out over these 107 days. protests, demonstrations have not necessarily been violent in nature. obviously we're challengedt different points and there are some times things that are said and actions that are taken that are a little bit overstepping bounds. but the a little station oftentimes that you heard this before, the agitation has been spurred by the presence of force, the threat of excessive force being applied by the
officers. in large number -- yes. >> reverend johnson, gwen ifill. we met in st. louis when we were talking about the ferguson, at the town hallkn one of the things said at the time you were so hopeful. this was about halfway through this process, which is going to end at least for now, tonight. are you still hopeful? >> yes, yes. i won't lie to you. we are challenged to be hopeful. but we are hopeful. we know that this inñny and of itself does not bring the full measure of resolution or"h understanding that we're going to need to continue to foster, develop, but it is a start. it is something that needs to take place because we need to know in which direction to go from here. >> reverend johnson, i wonder tonight is theazufñ challenge fu and for people of faith who have to talk to young people some of whom may not be very happy with the outcome. >> yes. the challenge is to remember
that while we are powerful within ourselves and together, that there's a greater power, greater call, authority that we all have to surrender to. we are praying for god's will to be done tonight and going forward. >> reverend johnson, how will the people there hear the word of what's happened? how is that going to be spread? >> f go the way this thing i mean social media is abuzz right now. there are folks at home watching tv, there are people in churches like mine rí[ç now streaming it in on their various smart phones or laptops. >> we're going to interrupt you right now because, my apologies, reverend johnson, we're going to go to the courthouse where the prosecutor, robert mccullough is getting ready to talk to the
interest. >> extend my deepest sympathies to the family of michael brown. as i've said in the past i know here, they lost a loved one to violence and i know that the pain that accompanies such a loss knows no bounds. on august 9, michael brown was shot and killed by police officer darren wilson. within minutes various accounts of the incident began appearing on social media. accounts filled with speculation and little if any solid accurate information. almost immediately, neighbors began gathering and anger began growing, because of the various descriptions of what had happened and because of tbzx underlying tension between the police department and the significant part of the neighborhood. the county police conducted a extensive investigation at the crime scene. at times under very trying circumstances interrupted at least once by random gunfire. beginning that day, continuing for the next three months, along
with, they with acts of the federal bureau of investigation at the direction of attorney general eric holder located numerous individuals and gathered additional evidence and information. fully aware of the unfounded but growing concern in some parts of our community, that the investigation and review of this tragic death might not be full and fair, i decided immediately that all of the physical evidence gathered, all people claiming to have witnessed any part or all of the shooting, and any and8%,tñ all other related matters would be presented to the grand jury. grand jury of 12 members of this community selected by a judge in may of this yearlong shooting occurred. i would like to briefly expand upon the unprecedented cooperation between the local and the federal authorities. when attorney general holder first announced the federal investigation just days after the shooting, he pledged the federal investigators would be working with local authorities as closely as possible at every step of the way.
and would follow the facts wherever they may take us. as general holder and i both pledged, our separate investigations followed that trail of facts with no preconceived notion of where the journey would take us. our only goal was that our investigation would be thorough and complete to give the grand jury, department of justice and ultimately the public all available evidence to make informed decision. all evidence obtained by federal authorities was immediately shared with st. louis county investigators, likewise all evidence gathered by st. louis county police immediately shared with the federal investigators. additionally the department of justice conducted its own examination of all the physical evidence, and performed its own autopsy. another up as topsy performed at theydr this information was also shared. information provided to the department of justice.
although the investigations are separate, both the local and the federal government have all of the same information and evidence. our investigation and presentation of the evidence to the grand juryg county6v has been completed. more significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24 hour news$ for something, for anything to talk about. following non-stop rumors on social media. i recognize of course that the lack of accurate detail surrounding the shooting frustrates the media and the general public, and helped breed suspicion among those distrustful of the system. closely guarded details about the physical evidence give law enforcement a yardstick for measuring truthfulness of witnesses. eyewitness accounts must always be challenged and compared against the physical evidence. many witnesses to the shooting of michael brown made statements inconsistent with other statements they made, and also
conflicting with the physical evidence. some were completely refuted by the physical evidence. as an example, before the results of the private autopsy were released, witnesses on social media, during interviews with the media, and even during questions by law enforcement claimed they saw officer wilson stand over michael brown and fireman need rounds in to his back. others claimed that officer wilson shot mr. brown in the back as mr. brown was running away. however, once the autopsy findings released showing he had no wound to back of his body no, additional witnesses made such claim. and several witnesses adjusted their stories in subsequent statements. some admitted they did not witness the event at all, but merely repeated what they heard in the neighborhood or assumed had happened. fortunately for integrity of our
investigation, almost all initial witness interviews including those of officer wilson, were recorded. the statements and testimony most of the witnesses were presented to the grand jury before the autopsy results were released. by theñ and before several media outlets published information and reports that they received from d.c. government official. the jurors were therefore prior to the time that released, information going public and what followed in the news cycle, the jurors were able to have already assessed the credibility of the witnesses including those witnesses whose statements.hcix testimony remain consistent throughout every interview and were consistent with the physical evidence in this case. my two assistants began presenting to the grand jury on august 20th. the evidence was presented in an organized and orderly manner. the)f jurors gave us a schedule when they could meet. all 12 jurors were present for
every session and heard every word of testimony and examined all evidence. beginning august 20, continuing until today, the grand jury worked tirelessly to exam all of the testimony of the witnesses and all of the physical evidence. they were extremely engaged in the process, asking questions of every witness, requesting specific witnesses, requesting specific information, and asking for certain physical evidence. they met on 25 separate days in the last three months, heard more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses, and reviewed hours and hours of recordings of media and law enforcement interviews by many of the witnesses who testified. they heard from three medical examiners, and experts on blood, dna, toxicology, firearms and drug analysis. they examined hundred of photographs, some of which they asked to be taken. they examined/
physical evidence. they were instructed on the law and presented with five indictments ranging from murder in the first degree to involuntary manslaughter. their burden was to determine7w' probable cause exists to believe a crime was committed and that darren wilson is the person who committed that crime. there is no question of course that darren wilson caused the death of michael brown by shooting him. but the inquiry does not end there. the law authorize as law enforcement officer use deadly force in certain situations. the law also allows all people to use deadly force to defend themselves in certain situations. so the grand jury considered whether wilson was the initial aggressor, in this case or whether he was or whether there was probable cause to believe that darren wilson was authorized as a law enforcement officer to use deadly force in this situation or if he acted in self-defense. i detail this for two reasons.
first, so that everyone will know thatzxa= as promised by me the attorney general holder, there was a full investigation and presentation of all evidence and appropriate instruction of the law to the1- jury, to the grand jury. second, as a caution to those in or out of the media who will pounce on a sentence or witness and decide what should have happened in this case based on that tiny bit of information. the duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction. after a full and impartial and critical examination of all the evidence in the law, and decided that evidence supported the filing of any criminal charges against darren wilson. they accepted and completedaf&e monumental sponsz bill in conscientious and expeditious manner. it is important to note here and say again that they are the only people, the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence.
they discussed and debated the evidence among themselves before arriving at their collective decisions. after their exhaustive÷ñv revief the evidence, the grand jury deliberated over two days, making their final decision. they determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against officer wilson and returned a no true bill on each of the five indictments. the physical and scientific evidence examined by the grand jury combined with witness statements supported archáb substantiated by that physical evidence tells the tragic story of what happened. a very general synopsis follows. note that as i have promised, the evidence presented to the grand jury with some exceptions and the testimony of the witnesses called to the grand jury will be released at the conclusion of this statement. at approximately 11:45 a.m.
saturday, 9th of august, ferguson police officer darren wilson dispatched to the apartment complex for emergency involving a two-month old infant having trouble breathing. at approximately 11:53 while still at the call, wilson heard a radio broadcast for a stealing in progress at a market on west, the broadcast also included a brief description of the suspect. a black male, white t-shirt and took a box of cigars. other officers were dispatched to that store. officer wilson remained with the mother and the infant until ems arrived to transport them to the hospital. officer wilson left north wind com#m vehicle, chevy tahoe0=fsuv and drove west. additional description of theb stealing suspect was broadcast about that time. wearing a redhat, yellow socks, khaki shorts, with another male.
as officer wilson was attending to his emergency call on north winds, michael brown and a companion were in the local convenience store. michael brown's activity in the store was recorded by the store's security cameras. the video often played following its release in august by the ferguson police department shows michael brownu of cigars, heading to the exit without paying. as michael brown and his companion left the store, someone insi$héjq the store ca the police. after crossing the street, the two walked east on canfield in the middle of the street. mr. brown behind his compan on. officer wilson continued west on canfield, he+ encountered michl brown and compan onstill walkin1 in the middle of the street. wilson slowed or stopped as he reached mr. brown, he told him to move to the sidewalk. words were exchanged and they continued walking down the middle of the street. as they passed wilson observed
that michael brown had cigars in his hand, was wearing a redhat andn3 approximately 12:02 p.m., wilson radioed that he had two individuals on canfield and needed assistance. officer wilson backed his vehicle at an angle blocking their path and blocking the flow of traffic in both directions. several cars approached from both east and west but were unable to pass the police vehicle. alteration took place with the car with officer wilson seated in side and mr. brown standing at the driver's window. during the alteration, two shots were fired by officer wilson while still insidebn mr. brown ran east on canfield and officer wilson gave chase. near the corner of canfield and copper creek, mr. brown stopped and turned back towards officer wilson, officer wilson also stopped. mi[qum= brown moved toward officer wilson, several more shots were fired by the officer
and michael/-ñi brown was fatal wounded. within seconds of the final shot, the assist car i?b less than 90 second passed between officer wilson's first contact with michael brown and his companion and arrival of that assist car. during the investigation, many eyewitnesses interviewed by various media outlets. several others chose not to talk on the media, but contacted law enforcement directly. witnesses interviewed by local and federal law enforcement. sometimes together, sometimes separately. all statements were provided to the other party. all previous statements of witnesses who testified before the grand jury were also presented to the grand jury whether they were media interviews or whether they were interviews by gqò÷ fbi or by th county police department. the statements of all witnesses civilian, law enforcement and experts were challenged of course, by other law
enforcement, by the prosecutors and by the grand jurors themselves. the common and highly effective method of challenging a statement is to compare it to the previous statements of the witness for consistency and to compare it with the physical evidence. physical evidence does not change because of public pressure or personal agenda. physical evidence does not loon away as events unfold. nor does it block out or add to memory. physical evidence remains constant and as such is a solid foundation upon which cases are built. statements change, witnesses confronted with inconsistencies and conflicts in statements and physical evidence. some witnesses admitted they didn't actually see the shooting or only saw part of the shooting. or only repeating what they had heard on the street. some others adjusted parts of the statements to fit the facts. others stood by original statements even though their statements were completely discredited by the physical
evidence. several witnesses described seeing an altercation in the car between mr. brown and officer wilson. it was described as tussling, wrestling, tug of war or just some movement. several other witnesses described mr. brown as punching officer wilson while mr. 6 was partially inside the vehicle. many witnesses said they heard a gunshot while mr. brown was still partially inside the vehicle. at least one witness said that no part of mr. brown was ever inside the vehicle, and that the shot was fired through an open window while mr. brown was standing outside. the vehicle and officer wilson's clothing and equipment were examined by various technicians and scientists. mr. brown's blood and/or dna were located on the outside of the driver's door. his blood and dna were also found on the outside of the left rear passenger door of the police vehicle. mr. brown's blood and dna was found on the inside of the
driver's door. the upper left$ pant leg, upper color of his shirt and on officer wilson's weapon. additionally a bullet fired from officer wilson's weapon located in side the driver's door. the shot was fired from inside the vehicle, striking the door in a downward angle at the armrest. the secondafull recovered. regarding the gunshot,4 wound t mr. brown, it should be noted that the three separate autopsies were conducted. one by the medical examiner, private pat thol gist and department of defense medical examiner. result of all three autopsies are consistent with one another in all significant respects. mr. browí wound to the right thumb. the path of that bullet is away from the tip of the hand, soot
consistent with a close-range gunshot is present inside that wound. officer wilson also had a medical examination which indicated some swelling and redness to his face. almost all witnesses stated that after they heard the shot fired while mr. brown was at the car, he hesitated and then ran east on canfield. most stated that almost immediately officer wilson got out of his vehicle and chased after him. some witnesses stated wilson fired at mr. brown as he chased after him. striking him at least one witness#o of the shots others stated that he did not fire until mr. brown turned and came back toward officeré at least one witness stated that as officer wilson got out of his vehicle, he shot mr. brown multiple times as mr. br5 stood next to the vehicle. yet another witness stated that
officer wilson stuck his gun out the window and fired at mr. brown as mr. brown was running. one witness stated there were actually two police vehicles and four officers present but only one officer fired a weapon. most witnesses agreed that near the corner of canfield and copper creek, mr. brown stopped and turned around facing officer wilson. some said mr. brown did not move toward officer wilson at all, but was shot multiple times as he stood near thed3n+ corner wh his hands raised. in subsequent interviews with law enforcement or testimony before the grand jury, many of8 the same witnesses acknowledged that they didn't actually see the shooting. some were running for cover, some were relating what they heard from others, or as i said, what theyá. assumed happened in that case. several other witnesses maintained their original statement that mr. brown had his hands in the air and was not moving toward the officer when he was shot.
others said that he was shot,+! excuse me, several witnesses stated that mr. brown did not raise his hand at all, or that he raised them briefly and then dropped them and turned toward officer wilson who thenñou÷ fir several rounds. other witnesses stated that mr. brown stopped for a very brief period, then moved toward officer wilson again. one described his movement toward officer wilson as a full charge. according to some witnesses, officer wilson stopped firing when mr. brown stopped moving toward him, and resumed firing when mr. brown started moving toward him again. these witnesses did not make any statements to the media. the description of how mr. brown's hands, raised his not consistent among the witnesses. some described his hand as being out to his side, some said in front of him with his palms up. others said his has been were raised near his[c:cz head or we
his shoulders, still others said they were in front of his chest or or down by his stomach. others being in a running position or in fists. also various witness statements regarding mr. brown's movement after he stopped and turned back toward officer wilson. several witnesses said mr. brown never moved toward officer wilson, was shot where he stood at the most said that the shots were fired as he moved toward wilson. mr. brown's movements. >> that's robert mccullough, prosecute st. louis county reporting what he calls a tragic story but end in no probable cause being found to indict darren wilson the police officer who shot in august michael brown, the unarmed teenager, created as you can see, lots of unrest in ferguson, for months. he told us that there were 25 days of grand jury meetings, 70
hours of testimony, 60 witnesses, including three different medical examiners, hundreds of photos and that they basically concluded that a lot of the things that we have heard, a lot of the eyewitnesses did not, were not consistent with this story that they found the evidence they say they have now found, that the physical evidence basically refuted a lot of the eyewitness evidence and that as a result tonight there will be no indictment for that ferguson police officer as you can also, have been able to see, there has already been some at least so far, peaceful processes. >> i think it's fair to say, what we're listening to now is the prosecutor recount what different witnesses said, but what you just summed up is what was important tonight, there is no indictment of officer darren wilson. they are saying there's no probable cause, he was trying to explain it was an exhaustive process, he talked about eyewitnesses but in the end, he said it's the evidence that mattered the most. we do have three guests. we want to bring in to talk
about what we just have heard. roger goldman, professor at st. louis university school of law. gill alba, former new york police department detective, currently runs a private investigation firm. and reverend willis johnson, pastor at well spring church in ferguson. let me turn to you first, reverendpñ johnson. you heard the prosecutor's explanation for why no probable cause, why no indictment. what's your reaction? >> very sad and as a parent, as a leader in my community, my heart aches.
my heart is heavy. just very disappointed. >> reverend johnson, it's been very interesting to, as people have been basically bracing themselves for what they expected, that they might get exactly this outcome tonight. did you find anything that the prosecutor said in making the case here about physical evidence versus the original testimony, did you find any of it persuasive? >> i understand, i won't even begin to tell you that i suspected something different as much as i hoped. i'm not surprised. i'm not saddened becaus because there was not an indictment. two families will never be2rcas same again. so there's nothing that was going to be said this evening that was going to bring the type of resolution for michael brown's family and havin their son back or darren wilson and having his life back. what i'm disappointed by is what
i heard, which was some very at times insulting and insensitive kind of description. i understand the law. i respect it. i respect the technicalities of it. but what i sensed inherent in not only the decision, but really in the presentation of it was that once again, we have not and are not taking seriously the human life. i mean this is not just something that is just simply easily explained away or is justifiable or probable. that's why my heart aches. i think we're just really challenged as people. now you our community is furthe" challenged. i just hope that we will respond in the days to come with level heads and with open hearts and still be optimistic and hopeful. but it is very disturbing and very disappointing. >> let's bring in roger goldman, who is au louis university.
roger goldman, what did you hear that persuades you? what is your best understanding of why they did not find probable cause? >> well, judy, this is very, very typical, i think most people you would talk to ahead of time would have predicted just this result in these officer involved shootings. you just look very difficult these cases are to sort out. so it was no surprise. as i say, tragic and the only hope is that we can move forward to make some much-needed reforms here and throughout the country. >> but in terms of the evidence that was &yjd÷provided, his description of what happened, was that a persuasive case to your ears or@5u'ñ not? >> well, from what he said and you know, of course i wasn't there, what the grand jurors heard, but when you have that kind of disagreementófll among
witnesses and the forensic evidence is the other way, you can understand why the grand jury came to its decision. >> and gill alba, new york police detective, your reaction, please. >> certainly i'm not surprised, but here you have a white police officer shooting a black male who had no weapon. so what does the grand jury, what do they listen b$ @to, wha the biggest thing is? it the evidence? i don't think. so i think it's? the tent. what it was intent of the officer, what was the intent? what i mean by intent is did he fear for his life? not for his safety or not that he would get hurt or anything else, did he far for his life? could he shoot him in the leg? if he could shoot him in the leg, he's not afraid he's going to get killed. i think the grand jury thought about it, listened to his articulation, how he went about doing this, and i think that's the end result. >> thank you very much, gillqwñ alba, reverend johnson of the well spring church and roger goldman at st. louis university.
thank you all very much for your time tonight. >> thank you. . >> now to ak obama administration. the resignation of defense secretary chuck hagel. the move comes as the u.s. expands its mission to go after the islamic state group. just weeks after the president's disappointing midterm election >> it's been the greatest privilege of my life-- the greatest privilege of my life-- to lead, and most important, to serve with the men and women of the defense department, and support their families. >> woodruff: hagel's announcement came amid widespread reports that he's leaving under pressure after 21 months on the job. publicly, at least, president obama offered only praise. >> when i nominated you for this position, you said that you'd always give me your honest advice and informed counsel. you have. when it's mattered most, behind
closed doors in the oval office, you've always given it to me straight. for that, i will always be grateful. >> woodruff: the vietnam war veteran had served as a republican senator from nebraska for 13 years, alongside then- illinois senator barack obama. like the future president, hagel was a critic of u.s. involvement in iraq, and became an obama friend and supporter. but that stance put him at odds with fellow republicans, as evident in his rocky senate confirmation hearing in january 2013. at one point, arizona senator john mccain challenged the nominee on whether he was wrong to oppose the 2007 "surge" of u.s. troops into iraq. >> i'm not going to give you a yes or no, i think it's far more complicated than that, as i've already said, my answer is i'll defer that judgment to history. >> i think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you're on the wrong side of it. >> woodruff: hagel eventually
won confirmation, and faced a shifting list of tough challenges, including syrian president bashar al assad and the on-going civil war over his rule, and more recently, the threat from islamic state militants in iraq and syria. even winding down the u.s. combat mission in afghanistan took an unexpected turn this past weekend, with word that american forces will target the taliban after all. even so, hagel today pointed to achievements. >> i believe we have set not only this department, the department of defense, but the nation, on a stronger course toward security, stability and prosperity. >> woodruff: for now, hagel will remain in office until the president nominates-- and the senate confirms-- a successor. for a closer look at what's behind the hagel resignation we get two views. thomas donnelly is the
co-director of the center for security studies at the american enterprise institute. and p.j. crowley is a distinguished fellow at george washington university's institute for public diplomacy and global communication. he had a career as an air force officer, and was an assistant secretary of state under president obama. we welcome you both back to the program. i think the president, tom donnelly, was one of the few that said this decision was chuck hagel's and wasn't forced on him. what's your understanding? >> it's difficult to tell. probably by mutual agreement. it doesn't really reflect a change of policy, maybe a change of personnel -- but the president did not announce his departure from past policy. >> woodruff: what's your understanding, p.j.? >> i think chuck hagel offered his resignation and the president accepted it. i think the administration is in, perhaps, a different
position as it enters its last two years in office. they probably expected it and this president probably felt there was something else he'll need in the coming years. >> woodruff: was there any question he was under pressure to resign, do you think? >> i think, you know, you can make it clear that you would like to see a resignation. >> the term "scapegoat" has been making its way through the press today and that's probably fair. >> woodruff: a lot has been written all over the map about his relationship with the white house, how he got along at the pentagon. what's your idea of how he was seen at the pentagon? >> both his predecessors have expressed repeated frustrations at the inability to really influence policy. i can easily believe secretary hagel came to the same sorts of frustrations and decided it wasn't worth it anymore.
>> woodruff: how do you see it? >> well, i think you have to look what changed in the past six months that moved us to this situation. there is a change in the political climate. chuck hagel is a very self-effacing guy and, so i think the president may think he needs a more vigorous voice to defend the administration's policy in the next two years. you have the challenge in iraq and syria, and perhaps the president is looking for to understand and clarify the strategic underpinning. >> woodruff: -- how to deal with syria they weren't getting that.
>> the underlying problem is there. whether a more convincing presentation of that, happier face, that's still possible but you will still have to sell the same message. >> woodruff: meaning what? >> well, it means the war policy is going to be limited to do the minimum amount possible. the defense budget is not going to change, the white house is sort of happy with the way things are. so whoever follows secretary hagel's position -- has the job will still have the same task at hand to try to carry out. >> woodruff: so, p.j. crowley, we don't look for a significant policy change or tweaking. >> i agree with tom. i don't think this was about disagreements with policy or strategy, but i think we also should be -- we should recognize that this is a very, very tough job, and if you serve four or
five years as the secretary of defense, it's the largest enterprise in the world, getting your arms around a building that is always pulling in different directions is hard. this is not a challenge that the average human being, you know, can necessarily do. >> but it is a little bit of a contradiction because as we heard in that report, this is someone close to the president who came in having this somewhat long-standing relationship with the president going back to their days in the senate together, and then not to be able to work at the white house, explain that. >> it's a tough task but a particularly tough job now to preside over a pentagon that is being drawn down, is being cut in every way imaginable, yet the demand in the world for american military power is the same or going up. nobody anticipated the i.s.i.s. war when chuck hagel came into office, so it's naturally frustrating. he just doesn't have the
resources to do what he's being asked to do. >> woodruff: what is your sense, p.j. crowley, or who the successor names may be? >> well, i think the administration is a pretty tightly bound group. i think you look first at those who have already served in the administration and, you know, can work within the inner circle that the white house has. ash carter was the deputy secretary of defense, michelle floinoi. someone who can work on policy in syria, is someone to look at. >> woodruff: not an outside name. >> no, and it's hard to see who will change the policy picture or becomes a more convincing representative of the administration policy. >> woodruff: but and there's -- something was made today of the fact that this is
the president's final quarter of his time in office, final two years, that he wants this person to be the person who stays there until the end of the term. >> i think he would have liked to have secretary hagel serve out the full four years as the secretary himself anticipated, but it's a tough job. >> woodruff: well, that's certainly what's coming across today. tom donnelly, thank you. p.j. crowley, thank you. >> thanks, judy. pleasure. on this night when as we have reported, grand jury in st. louis, missouri, indict police officer darren wilson in the death of michael brown. another fatal police shooting, this one today in cleveland. it was also in the spotlight this day. officer shot and killed
12-year-old tamir rice on sunday near a playground. he was carrying a pellet made to look like a real weapon. police chief calvin williams says the boy was ordered to raise his hands, but pulled out the pellet gun. he says the officer had to make a split-second decision. >> he didn't want to do this. but he had to protect himself. and as the investigation goes on other things will come out. we know that the family maybe does not want to hear that part of it but the investigation, all the video evidence, the scientific evidence, will show everybody exactly what happened. >> woodruff: the chief said a surveillance video captured the shooting, and is "very clear", but he gave no details. a 9-1-1 caller had alerted police, and said the boy's gun was "probably fake", but it's unclear if the officer ever got that word. >> ifill: in afghanistan, two u.s. troops died in a bombing attack in kabul today, the latest in a new surge of violence. it came a day after the afghan parliament approved an agreement
keeping some u.s. troops there after 2014. their mission will now include new operations against the taliban, but-- the white house said today-- only with clear limits. >> any sort of combat operations carried out by u.s. military personnel will be for force protection or to go after remnants of al quaida or extremists like al quaida that work with al quaida that pose a threat to u.s. homeland or u.s. interests around the globe. that's the change in the mission that will move forward at the end of the year consistent with the directives the president has been discussing for some time now. >> ifill: all of this followed the deadliest attack of the year so far, sunday's suicide bombing at an afghan volleyball tournament. the death toll from that attack rose to at least 50 today. >> woodruff: government troops in iraq recaptured two eastern towns from islamic state militants today. fighting was continuing in
pockets outside the towns in diyala province. shi-ite militiamen and kurdish forces joined in the fight. the two towns had been taken by islamic state militants back in august, when they tore across northern and western iraq. again, major news, a grand jury in st. louis county, missouri decided not to indict a white policeman, darren wilson, for killing a black teenager, michael brown, in ferguson, last august. brown's family said in a statement they are profoundly disappointed. lawyers for wilson said the outcome shows he followed his training5u/tt and followed the that's the news for tonight. i'm gwen ifill. >> i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you you know line where we will continue updates from ferguson. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial--
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