PoliticsNation, Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
October 22, 2014
Guest: Chloe Fedio, Justin Ling, Laith Alkhouri, Tyrone Benskin, Jim
Munson, Jonathan Dienst, Kendall Coffey, Seema Iyer
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That`s "THE ED SHOW." POLITICS
NATION with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now. Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Breaking news tonight, the identity of the suspected gunman in the Canadian
parliament shooting that left both a soldier and the gunman dead. NBC News
reports, the accused shooter was a Canadian national named Michael Joseph
Hall. He also goes by the name Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. He was 32-years-old,
a convert to Islam.
Canada`s prime minister is expected to speak soon. President Obama talked
about the shooting late today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don`t yet have all the
information about what motivated the shooting. We don`t yet have all the
information about whether this was part of a broader network or a plan or
whether this was an individual or a series of individuals who decided to
take these actions. But it emphasizes the degree to which we have to
remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of
senseless violence or terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: (INAUDIBLE) of Corporal Nathan Cirillo is confirming to Canadian
media outlets that he was a soldier and he was killed. In this video, you
can see emergency responders and witnesses trying to save his life,
performing CPR just after the shooting. And in this dramatic video from
moments later, you hear gunshots in the parliament building where the
suspected gunman was killed.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: The two shootings at the memorial and parliament are less than a
mile apart. The prime minister and many lawmaker were in the building when
the shots rang out. One member of parliament shared this photo of
lawmakers using chairs to barricade a door and startling accounts from
witnesses who watched the gunman open fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were on the statute and heard a bunch of pops. I
thought it was firecrackers going off. SI I looked across the street and
there was a man with a rifle shooting at a bunch of people.
SCOTT WALSH, SHOOTING EYEWITNESS: We saw a man with a scarf, long black
hair, he was wearing blue pants and a black jacket and he had a double
barrel shotgun. He ran up at the side of this building here (INAUDIBLE).
Didn`t hurt the gentleman in the car and then took off toward the back and
headed in that direction toward the construction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Earlier today, police refused to rule out the possibility of a
second gunman. Still so many questions about what exactly happened and
Joining me now from Ottawa is CBC reporter Chloe Fedio, by phone, freelance
journalist Justin Ling who was on lockdown today in Ottawa, and Laith
Alkhouri, counter terror expert here with me in the studio.
Thank you all for being here.
Chloe, let me go to you first. What`s the latest tonight in Iowa?
CHLOE FEDIO, CBC REPORTER: Well, in Ottawa. Well, the situation is less
tense than before but the lockdown is still in effect in a lot of downtown
Ottawa. And in fact, the perimeter shrunk but it still includes this
building here in down Ottawa.
And as you mentioned, you know, police refused to rule out the possibility
that there was another shooter. So I think, you know, here we are
wondering, is someone out there? And we don`t know. One man was killed.
Police said that he was a shooter and killed in the parliament building.
But we don`t know if there is someone else out there. So I kind of just
waiting to find out if there is another suspect, if that person is in
custody and at what point we can be safe to go outside and walk the streets
as we normally do.
SHARPTON: You know, Justin, the first shooting happened around 9:50 a.m.
The gunman was shot about 10:30. Where were you when all this happened?
JUSTIN LING, LOCKDOWN IN OTTAWA (via phone): So, I`m actually, so I`m
still in lockdown. I`m still in the parliament building where I was this
morning when the shooter first opened fire at the war memorial and
downstairs. I was just upstairs, a couple floors. I was actually heading
down to the floor where the shooter was. It is caucus day which means
we`re normally trying to get a-hold of MPs and ministers outside. The
caucus which happens to be where the shooter was this morning.
So on my way down there, one MP stopped me and said you have to go. There
is a serious situation. There is an active gunman. I turned around and
ran. He ran in the direction to go tell more people. Security was flying
everywhere. I went back and basically told the others in the room that I`m
in, I won`t say where it is right now because, again, we`re not sure if
there is a second shooter. But I basically told them the situation. We
got low, we got behind walls. We took cover.
Security came in later and that that there was still an active gunman. I
believe this would have been at the point where they had already shot the
first suspect. So you know, whether or not that`s the fog of war, whether
it is unconfirmed reports at that point, whether or not they`re just
following a lead, I`m not sure. But he told us there was another active
gunman. And we basically to stay very low for as long as we could. We`re
now waiting to be cleared and evacuated out of this building. You can hear
behind me some of the chaos as we`re all trying to, you know, call loved
ones and, you know, just kind of back to normal.
SHARPTON: So a lot of people including you are still on lockdown tonight
in the parliament building.
LING: Yes. As far as I know, and virtually nobody removed from the
parliament building itself. That means there`s a lot of MPs and ministers
in here. I did at one point see the minister of defense escorted out. He
is probably one of the only ones to be out now. But the building is
certainly locked down. There is a heavy police presence here. I can say
that they have heavy automatic weapons. There are police dogs here
sniffing out to see if there is anyone in the building. I think we`re
reasonably sure the building is clear. It is a matter of time but they
have to coordinate our escape.
SHARPTON: Laith, what do we know about the accused gunman?
LAITH ALKHOURI, FLASHPOINT GLOBAL PARTNERS: Well, Mr. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
is in his early 30s, allegedly his passport was confiscated by the Canadian
authorities. He is a recent convert to Islam. Seizing his passport is
just an indication that he might have been a security threat.
SHARPTON: When was his passport seized, do we know?
ALKHOURI: We don`t know when but apparently that it was seized recently.
Probably, last year. Now this might be an indication that he might have
tried to travel somewhere, maybe to a Jihadi war zone. Maybe to fight
overseas. Likely Syria or Iraq.
SHARPTON: But it appears he was definitely on their radar.
ALKHOURI: He was definitely on their radar.
SHARPTON: Now, police haven`t talked about a motive but even before the
shooting today, Canada had already raised the terror threat level, citing
Islamic chatter. A Reuters report quote "the new terrorism threat level
met Canadian intelligence services, it indicated an individual or group
within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of
So Laith, what kind of things were intelligence officials hearing?
ALKHOURI: Well, going back to Monday when the ramming incident happened.
The guy who ran over two soldiers, both of them died. He was ultimately
shot by the police. The very next day ISIS Canadian fighters from the
region tweeted out, messages celebrating this act and actually asked others
and in Canada radicals to follow suit, to act the same, to shoot whether it
is individuals, whether its military personnel, it appears that there has
been a lot of insightful messages online and this chatter is just
increasing every day.
SHARPTON: Police this afternoon wouldn`t answer when they were asked if
there was a second gunman. I want to play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You`re telling the public to be vigilant.
So are there still suspects out there? Are there people -- you said there
was more than one suspect earlier. So, is there still someone on the loose
who committed a crime here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still investigating the active operation. We are
on the process right now with the RCMP in the clearing and security
(INAUDIBLE) and that is a installment approach where we are asking the
community is to be continue to be aware, to be vigilant. And to report any
suspicious activity that they deemed serious that could impact their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Chloe, are people concerned that there is a second gunman or is
this just caution and procedure? I mean, are they concerned as a second
gunman? And that more damage can be done?
FEDIO: Well, yes, absolutely. You know, earlier on today, rumors on
twitter and social media were that there could be as many as five shooters
out there. Now, I don`t know who started that or if it was the, you know,
even floated by police. But certainly, a question that people had.
And what was fueling some of that was that there was a belief that there
was also shooting at a the Redo Center which is a shopping central not far
from Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial where the two other
shootings took place.
So there was concern about how did a single shooter get to those three
locations within the same time frame. So, of course, people were
speculating on how many shooters there could be. How could they have done
all this in such a short amount of time. And so, of course, those rumors
floating around were fueling some concerns. And the fact that police have
refused to rule it out is a concern. The fact that there is a safety
Even here in the building for several hours, reporters weren`t allowed back
into the building. We weren`t allowed out. Now, at some point earlier
today, there was a bit of the switch. So we just had a round of folks come
in and we had a little round of applause as reports who have been off to
the building all day. And out in the streets where, frankly, maybe they
didn`t feel safe. We`re finally allowed back in.
And so yes. I can speak from how we`re feeling here in the newsroom. But
also, just looking at social media, looking at how people were feeling
they, you know, Ottawa is a pretty safe city usually. We don`t have a very
high crime rate. And so, something like this to happen in the middle of
the day, you know, in the middle of the week at such prominent locations in
our country is really concerning.
SHARPTON: You know, Justin, I would imagine there`s been all kinds of
rumors, as I was listening to Chloe and misinformation going around the
building all day. Give us a sense of, in these tense hours, you`ve been
under lockdown in the building all day. What was it like, what kind of
information, misinformation has been passing around the building?
LING: Well, for a long time we didn`t even have the ability to turn on the
TV because we were afraid that any noise or any kind of sound might attract
anybody else who may still be in the building. So a lot of information by
twitter via security bulletin that sent to our emails.
But it is pretty sparse. I`m glad to say that, you know, knowing the
reporters in the city, I had a pretty good feed of, a pretty reliable
information that could I pass on to the others in the room. So, we were --
we are stay pretty up to date. I don`t think we got two kind of worried,
you know, two, the speculation and the rumors that were going around were
all, you know, for example, the prime minister was a mere 50 feet, 60 feet
away from where the active shooting took place. In the room adjacent. We
got very, very quick confirmation that he was safe. And had been taken to
a secure location. So that was definitely kind of comforting message for
us. So, you know, that sort of thing was definitely kind of keeping us up
to date so we weren`t completely in the dark.
SHARPTON: Chloe, Justin and Laith, thank you for your time tonight.
ALKHOURI: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the eyewitness accounts. We`ll talk live to two
members of parliament on lockdown today.
Also, President Obama talked about remaining vigilant at home. So how are
officials stepping up security today?
And our other top story tonight, our most detailed account from officer
Darren Wilson on why he shot and killed Michael Brown. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: The shooting today has dominated talk about social media,
community and social media worldwide. Images like this one of the first
responders on the scene went viral. And so did the striking photo we
showed earlier of lawmakers barricading the door as shots were fired.
The owner of the Ottawa senators hockey team wrote, my thoughts and prayers
are with the families of the victims of today`s shootings in Ottawa, as
well as with all members of parliament and staff.
Olympic gold medalist Marie-Philip Poulin tweeted, thoughts and prayers for
everyone in on the Ottawa #staystrong.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Canada tonight.
Coming up, the powerful eyewitness accounts. We`ll talk live to two
members of parliament on lockdown today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAIYO NOMMIK, EYEWITNESS: And also, I just heard a shot. Turned around
and there was a guy with a rifle just around on the back corner. And just
pow! Then I saw one of the other armed forces guys just running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`re back with our breaking news. The shootings at the
Today`s shootings happened right in the heart of Canada`s political system.
Members of parliament were holding their weekly caucus meetings. As we
showed earlier, lawmakers used chairs to barricade the door in the
lockdown. Another photo showed this member of parliament and her baby
Along with reporters and other lawmakers. Shots were fired just outside
the room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was holding a meeting. He was
safely removed from the building and later briefed on the situation. We
still don`t know what motivated the accused gunman, but given where this
happen, you have to wonder if the Canadian government itself was the
Joining me on the phone are Canadian Senator Jim Munson who was inside a
committee room with other politicians during the attack and member of
parliament, Tyrone Benskin who was caught up in the lockdown. Thank you
both for being here this evening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Senator, where are you now? Where are you right now?
SEN. JIM MUNSON, CANADIAN SENATOR (via phone): We are still on parliament
hill. We`ve been in a lock up for eight and a half hours now. And people
are still quite shaken, having gone through an ordeal the never want to
experience. We hope to get over it, some arm forces personnel later today.
But it is a day I feel where Canada lost its innocence.
SHARPTON: Senator, how long have you and the others been in that room, all
day, you say since when?
MUNSON: Me, I didn`t quite get your question.
SHARPTON: I`m saying how long have you been locked up in that room today?
MUNSON: We`ve been locked up since about 10:00 this morning. And when
this whole incident took place, we had a security guard coming into our
committee room saying basically get out, get out, there`s a shooter in the
building. And then we heard a lot of gunfire and we were taken to a
special room and locked up here with other members of parliament.
But for myself, it was kind of difficult because my wife drove me to work
this morning. We drove by the national war memorial which is right
adjacent to the hill and saw the two young soldiers doing their sentry
duty. And she drove back after she let me off and saw the car pull up
beside the war memorial and saw a gentleman get out of the car with
blankets. Obviously, now there is a rifle inside that blanket. And walk
up to, and witness, not personally witnessed in the sense of seeing the
shot but saw a glimpse or a flash. And then of course, after that, the
gunman made his way to the hill.
SHARPTON: So your wife, after dropping you off, went back to the war
memorial and actually saw a young man get out of his car with blankets
which you believe he was hiding rifles, and approach the two guards at the
war memorial, one of whom now has been killed.
MUNSON: Yes. She found it rather strange that this car in a major
thoroughfare here in Ottawa , the car stop with no flashing lights. He was
in the front seat, he went to the back seat and moved to the war memorial.
SHARPTON: Now, how many people were in the car that she saw?
MUNSON: She didn`t say. She didn`t quite look at that because she was
still driving. And she was trying to move herself around the car. So it
appears that it was just the shooter himself.
SHARPTON: Mr. Benskin, can you describe what happened this morning inside
the building from your vantage point?
TYRONE BENSKIN, LOCKDOWN (via phone): Well, we were in our weekly caucus
meeting, our caucus meeting is held across the hall from the government
caucus meeting. Which is in, directly in the hallway where the incident
took place. We were in our plenary session when we heard the pops which
initially sounded like something metallic being dropped in the hallways.
For those of you who don`t know the parliament buildings, they are old
gothic style buildings, which have a the lot of resonance in the hallways.
We realized it wasn`t that. We basically hid under tables and did what we
could to barricade the door where the shots were taken place, where
literally right outside the door. And it was quite a concern that whoever
was responsible for this was going to come and make their way through the
doors into our caucus room.
SHARPTON: Mr. Benskin, how concerned are you that the gunman may have been
aware, this was caucus time with all parties in one room?
BENSKIN: Well, not sure. But we do have a very open democracy here. And
Wednesdays are known to be the caucus days for all the parties. So whether
or not this was a plan for this day specifically, I am not sure. We`re
still waiting to get information. The police are still doing their
investigation so I don`t want to make any speculation. But, you know, the
fact remains, if he had made a short left or a short right from where his
location was, he very well could have come through doors of either of our
SHARPTON: All right, Senator Munson and Mr. Benskin, thank you both for
your time tonight. Please stay safe and know our prayers are with everyone
MUNSON: Thanks very much. Thank you.
BENSKIN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, are we safe here at home? After the Canada
shootings, we`ll look at what officials are doing to stop potential
homegrown threats in the U.S.
Plus, the day`s other big story, lots of questions tonight about a new
version of Michael Brown shooting by officer Darren Wilson. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight on Ebola and it is good news. As of
yesterday evening, official at Emory University hospital and the centers
for disease control are no longer able to detect the Ebola virus in Dallas
nurse Amber Vinson`s blood.
Her mom releasing a statement saying, we all know that treatment will be
necessary as Amber continues to regain strength but these latest
developments have truly answered prayers. We look forward to more good
news and continue praying for her and the other hero nurse, Nina Pham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We don`t yet have all the information about what motivated the
shooting. We don`t yet have all the information about whether this was
part of a broader network or plan. Or whether this was an individual or
series of individuals who decided to take these actions. But it emphasizes
the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing
with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: President Obama on remaining vigilant. Today the New York
Police Department beefed up security at the Canadian and British
consulates. The military authorized additional security at the tomb of the
unknown soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The President was briefed
on the situation in Canada and spoke to Prime Minister Harper on the phone.
The secret service is monitoring developments. So are we safe here at home
and how are we preparing to keep the homeland safe? It is important to say
again, we don`t know what motivated the shooting today. We do know three
teenage American girl from Denver were stopped in Europe this week
traveling, trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS fighters. And we know as
many as 100 Americans have tried to join ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq.
Some of them successfully.
Just last month, NBC News spoke with one man who joined ISIS in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD MORGAN, AMERICAN FIGHTING FOR ISIS: I purchased a ticket with the
intent of entering to Syria, out of joining out with medical and cool food
aid convoys or directly with the Islamic State.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So are we safe here at home? And how are we preparing to stay
Joining me now, is NBC senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing.
Chris, how is the President addressing this situation in Canada tonight?
CHRIS JANSING, NBC SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, late this
afternoon he was meeting with his senior advisers and we know he was
actually in a prescheduled meeting with his Homeland Security Adviser Lisa
Monaco this morning when he first got word of what happened in Ottawa. And
she has been getting him updates throughout the day. We heard from him for
the first time just a short time ago after he met with his new Ebola czar
and said obviously we`re all shaken by it and asked what it meant for U.S.
Security, he said it is too soon to really tell but that it is something
that it`s going to have to be factored into our ongoing assessment of how
we deal with the threat of terrorism. And there have been these ongoing
conversations about the threat of foreign fighters.
Now, again, we don`t know for sure exactly what the motivation is here.
But the President has had conversations with Canadian officials in the
past. As have other members of this administration. In part because on
October 8, the Canadian parliament voted to join the war against ISIS to
join in the air strikes in Iraq. And that`s one of the reasons that their
own security had been heightened. But the President in a series of ongoing
meetings today, including many of them with his homeland security adviser,
SHARPTON: What can you tell us about that phone call the President had
with Prime Minister Harper?
JANSING: Well, he pledged support. The White House officials continue to
be in close contact, several of them with their counter parts in Canada.
We also know other members of other agencies, the obvious one, Homeland
Security, State Department, the Pentagon, talking to folks and pledging
help in the investigation. That has become particularly interesting since
we`ve learned a little more about the suspect in this case and the fact
that he was a recent convert to Islam. Also obviously increases the U.S.
interests in this. So he pledged ongoing cooperation and ongoing
conversations across all agencies here in the government, Rev.
SHARPTON: NBC`s Chris Jansing, thank you for your time this evening.
JANSING: Thank you.
SHARPTON: I want to bring in Jonathan Dienst, chief investigative reporter
with WNBC here in New York. And bring back Laith Alkhouri,
counterterrorism expert. He`s back with us now. Jonathan, how concerned
are police here in New York? And in the united states about a similar
attack here at home?
JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It has been an ongoing
concern since 9/11. You remember New York has seen 15 attempts since 9/11.
In terms of home grown or al Qaeda-inspired type plots. It remains a
concern. They`re increasingly concern because of all the propaganda
involving ISIS so this type of lone wolf attack, if that`s what it was in
Canada. It appears to be. It appears to be a convert to Islam. A recent
convert to Islam. A gentleman who had a possible drug history who
converted and may have carried out this attack on his own. The
investigation is in its early stages. They`re taking a hard look. So what
is being done here in New York? NYPD stepping up security as you mentioned
at the consulates, FBI ramping up some of its data bases and shaking out
possible sources and methods. But as of now, no new threat to New York.
No new threat in the U.S. but obviously always a concern when you see an
incident like this.
SHARPTON: But let me ask you this, today NBC News learned that nearly two
weeks ago a joint intelligence bulletin warned ISIS was calling for U.S.
based sympathizers to carry out attacks here at home. The report said, and
I`m quoting, these calls could motivate home grown violent extremists to
conduct homeland attacks, particularly against law enforcement personnel.
Jonathan, can you tell us anything about this?
DIENST: Yes. People such as myself, Rachel Esposito, we all work on that
bulletin the day it came out. And again, nothing specific there but the
propaganda is there. There are several individuals in New York, in
Chicago, in Minneapolis, that they are following. That they`re watching,
that they`re concerned about. Nothing to indicate any threat or attack is
imminent and he plot is imminent. But there is always that concern. So,
they sent out these bulletins to remind people to be vigilant. But it is a
real concern, because they`re not worried about the people they know about.
They`re worried about the individual they don`t know about. And all it
takes is one lone actor armed to the teeth to walk into Times Square or
somewhere else and the type of damage. It`s a nightmare scenario that law
enforcement worries about day in and day out.
SHARPTON: Laith, as you know, this is the second incident in Canada this
week involving an attack on government. On Monday a Canadian named Martin
Rollo was shot and killed after he ran down two Canadian soldiers in his
car. Here`s what we know him. He converted to Islam in 2013 and was
quickly radicalized. He followed ISIS fighters on twitter. In July he was
arrested by the royal Canadian mountain police when he tried to fly to
Turkey. His passport was then seize and he was being closely monitored by
Canadian police for being a potential threat to national security. In
fact, police met with him as recently as October 9th, so Laith, they knew
this guy was a threat. He lost his passport. Yet he still managed to kill
one soldier in this attack. What does that mean for step up security here?
ALKHOURI: Well, terrorist have always looked at soft targets as desirable
targets. You know, everything from open areas to molds, to soldiers
walking down the street, we`ve seen that case in England before. But to go
back to the Canadian incidents, you know, after that incident on Monday
after Martin Rollo ran over the two soldiers, the ISIS Canadian fighters
started tweeting out. Messages of celebration, celebrating this act. And
as a matter of fact, inciting more acts of terrorism at home in Canada.
One ISIS Canadian fighter who recently also converted to Islam and joined
the group in Syria said he doesn`t even care if his parents were killed
because they are infidels. And that just shows you that the level of
radicalization is extremely high and so should be our security level.
SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, we don`t know what was behind the attacks again
today. Let me emphasize that. But on October 8th, NBC News reported, ISIS
imitators discussed attacks on U.S. targets in Canada. And the Canadian
authorities had heard would be terrorists discussing potential ISIS
inspired knife and gun attacks against U.S. and Canadian targets inside
Canada. So, Jonathan those plans were supposed to be in the aspirational
stage. But could the incidents this week be linked to that intelligence?
DIENST: You never know. They need to go back and look at this suspect who
has been identified as Michael Joseph Hall. Thirty two years old. He took
on the name Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. And he apparently has a drug history.
And so they`re going back. They`re going to look at his computers, they`re
going to see whether he was inspired by any of this online propaganda. Why
did he go and carry out this attack on the parliament and shoot that
soldier. So, it`s unclear, what is clear is there is a lot of online
propaganda that`s inspirational. The people are sitting in their basement
logging on watching this stuff. Learning from this stuff and as it appears
in past cases, some people have acted on it. And that is a concern. That
they continued to try to monitor. So, this bulletins go out, these
warnings go out because the threat is real. We had a recent case in long
island. Two gentlemen inspired online trying to go overseas to join al-
Qaeda affiliates in Yemen. Both home grown Americans who converted to
Islam and got caught in this and were caught before they were able to
travel. It remains a real concern.
SHARPTON: Jonathan Dienst, I`m going to have leave it there. Jonathan and
Laith Alkhouri. Thank you both for your time this evening.
DIENST: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, we have the most detailed account from Darren Wilson
on why he shot and killed Michael Brown. What does it mean? And what
happens now? That`s next.
SHARPTON: Breaking news out of Ferguson tonight, we`re getting the most
detailed account yet from Officer Darren Wilson on why he shot and killed
Michael Brown, earlier in the week we learn he said he was fearful for his
life. But the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" has new details from a source with
knowledge of Officer Wilson`s statements, reportedly Officer Wilson says,
Brown instigated the initial struggle in the police car claiming, quote,
"Brown slammed its door shut and punched Wilson in the left side of the
face through the open window."
The report also details what Officer Wilson says occurred after he left the
car and pursued Brown. Wilson says, Brown stopped and turned around. And
Wilson told investigators, Brown began running toward him. Wilson said he
had yelled for Brown to stop. Then fired. Brown flinched as if he were
hit and Wilson said, he had stopped shooting. Brown continued running
toward him and Wilson said he had fired several more shots. This is a very
key claim. Darren Wilson is saying, Michael Brown kept charging at him.
But at least eight eyewitnesses dispute that claim. What does this new
account mean for the investigation? And what happens next?
Joining me now is the former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey and Trial
Attorney Seema Iyer. Thank you both for being here.
SEEMA IYER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Thanks, Rev.
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Kendall, what questions do you have about Officer Wilson`s
COFFEY: Well, I think the clear thing is that he has a very detailed
explanation of what happened inside the car. Whereas we know, there is no
living witness that can contradict what he`s saying. The critical facts of
what happened outside the car, which is where Michael Brown was killed,
seemed to support a view that there is a contradiction. Does that mean
there is no prosecution? Absolutely not. It isn`t a matter if whether
there are different witnesses with different accounts. It`s who is
credible? Who has got a motive to lie? And who is corroborated by the
forensics. Here we have independent witnesses` spontaneous witnesses that
seem to directly corroborate what the Officer Wilson is saying. If
prosecutors are willing to accept that testimony, that it means a couple
things. One is the officer could be considered to be lying if they accept
the independent witness account. Secretly his false testimony would be
evidence of guilt. But additionally Reverend, it would indicate that
independent witnesses say that whatever happened inside the car, if
somebody is trying to surrender outside the car, you can`t kill them. And
if you do, it is a crime.
SHARPTON: Seema, what`s your take on this?
IYER: Well, Rev. I have to enlighten you on the ugly truth of being a
defense attorney. This is what we do. We have the forensics, we have the
autopsy, we have the police reports. And then we sit down with our client
and we prep them. Do you see where I`m going with this? His entire story
matches up with the independent evidence. I agree, there are some
conflicts between the eight eyewitnesses. Yet, Darren Wilson, he admits
what he has to admit. For instance, he says that the final shot that
Michael Brown`s head was down. Because he cannot get away from that. That
is part of the autopsy. He says such self-serving gratuitous comments
which I think that defendant who are lying say. He says at one point, he
almost lost consciousness.
SHARPTON: Well, let me just be frank. Are you saying he might have been
IYER: He has to be coaxed. That`s our job. He has to be coached by his
defense attorney. So, let`s take for example, POJ Crenshaw or Mr. Johnson,
they don`t have Rev the ability to be coached 18 hours a day by a team of
IYER: OK? And he will be coached on even crying to the grand jurors,
showing emotion, showing remorse, and then feeding every single detail to
SHARPTON: All right. But Kendall, you`ve been a prosecutor. I mentioned
this in the intro, at least eight eyewitnesses have said Michael Brown was
not charging Officer Wilson. Philip Walker said the Post-Dispatch, Brown
did not rush the officer. A construction worker who did live in the
community at all said, there was no bull rush. And piaget of Crenshaw said
Michael Brown was compliant and so on. Those are very different accounts
than what Officer Wilson is saying.
COFFEY: Very different and certainly compelling for prosecution if there
were a will to bring prosecution. We haven`t seen that.
IYER: That`s right. That`s right.
SHARPTON: You`re talking about providing a will by the local district
Attorney McCulloch who many of us said in the beginning, we did not have a
lot of confidence in.
COFFEY: Absolutely. If you put a well prepared police officer with a well
prepared explanation in front of a grand jury without a well prepared
cross-examination, then you`re not going to get nine out of 12 grand jurors
to vote to indict.
IYER: That`s exactly it. That`s exactly it. So, what Kendall is saying,
is that if the prosecutor isn`t cross examining Mr. Wilson properly --
IYER: Then he`s not going to get indicted. In a 70 percent white county.
SHARPTON: Well, if he didn`t want to indict him, then he probably
wouldn`t. If he did, certainly when you have eight witnesses saying
something different, most of whom did not know each other. Two of which
were men that were not even in the community. They were construction
workers happened to be observing. And not even of the same racial group
saying things --
IYER: That`s right.
SHARPTON: Saying things that corroborate this. Then you can proceed.
Because help me out here. Because I think, Kendall, a lot of people get
confused. A grand jury doesn`t try the case. The grand jury says, there`s
enough probable cause to go to trial. If you`ve got eight witnesses that
corroborate many key factors against one witness, which is the officer, if
you want to proceed, you clearly have enough to proceed if you`re the
prosecutor. Am I right, Kendall?
COFFEY: You`re exactly right. It is about probable cause which does not
require a detailed consideration of the defense evidence. Is there enough
probable cause to make out a prosecution case? Somehow as you point out,
that`s been lost in this process. And that`s why the opportunity for
prosecution may be being lost in front of the local grand jury.
SHARPTON: Now which brings us Seema to the federal grand jury. Because I
think a lot of people understand, many of us have openly said the federal
government should do it again. Let the evidence go where it may. But
let`s have a fair process not tries --
IYER: Eric Holder prompted the investigation way before any other attorney
exactly would have gotten involved.
SHARPTON: Exactly. Now, what I`m saying is, that there`s a lot of
confusion, where does civil rights come in here. You do not need race to
have civil rights charges.
IYER: No, this is an excessive force.
SHARPTON: Excessive force is a violation of civil rights. And you could
argue, could, that shooting several times after --
IYER: I agree with that. I agree with that.
SHARPTON: -- could face lead a federal standard?
IYER: That`s right. What happened in the car has to be look at separate
and apart from when Michael Brown ran away. The events stopped. A new
event starts when Michael Brown runs away. And then the question becomes,
was it excessive force for Officer Wilson to shoot at Michael Brown during
that second event? Was that excessive force?
SHARPTON: And that`s also where you have a lot of witnesses. Don`t you
also Kendall have the situation here where if this prosecutor, Mr.
McCulloch, who many of us have questioned from the beginning, and the
family has questioned of Michael Brown from the beginning. Don`t you
really have also the question here of, if he does not indict as many
expected, and if he does not go forward, then he is really saying that we
in this country can have the possibility of eight people saying something?
And one policeman can say no, they`re wrong, and we go with that? I mean,
isn`t that a bad press dental to have in the system no matter what your
view of this case?
COFFEY: Well, it certainly would be something that could be troubling for
a lot of reasons. But I wanted to get back to the point just made. When
we talk about a civil rights violation, it doesn`t mean you have prove a
hate crime. What it means is you have to show excessive force, lethal
force with a sufficient degree of intentionality. And if an officer killed
somebody, visually clear was trying to surrender, that sounds like a pretty
good case for intentional use of excessive force.
SHARPTON: All right. We`re going to have to leave it there. Certainly a
lot of questions. Certainly we`ll be staying on top of this. And again,
many of us only want to see a fair, impartial investigation. And let the
evidence lead where it may but not see it in any way tainted by politics.
Kendall Coffey and Seema Iyer, thank you for your time tonight.
IYER: Thanks, Rev.
COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, brand new video on what appears to show the shooter
getting into a car today. More on that, next.
SHARPTON: Breaking news, we have brand new video and it appears to show
the gunman in the Canadian Parliament shootings. NBC News has not verified
the authenticity of this video but you can see a man getting into a car
today outside parliament. The accused shooter was a Canadian national
named Michael Joseph Hall. He also goes by the name Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
He was 32 years old. A recent convert to Islam. But again, this new video
appears to show our first look at the suspect. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We saw some frightening moments in Ottawa today inside the heart
of the Canadian government. The parliament building. You could not be
near a TV today without feeling the anxiety. Watching events unfold in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There was a guy with a rifle just around on the back
corner. And just pow, pow!
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I heard a bunch of pops, I thought it was just
firecrackers going off, so I look across the street and there`s a man with
a rifle shooting at a bunch of people.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We saw a woman take cover. She was crying, her kids
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a day that changes everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Everybody was just in shock. Couldn`t believe that
something like this could just happen or be real. It was just beyond
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It was beyond realism. Make no mistake, these are frightening
scenes and we must stay vigilant. But at the same time, we can`t give into
fear and we can`t allow our leaders to create policy based on panic. That
would be a betrayal of our best values.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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