tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN August 13, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
there. they are going to start early. they say to allow additional time for the situation to stabilize, and for all of our students and their families to resume normal routines, they're pushing it back to next week. so you can see that this stretches through every single facet of the community. >> and let's not forget as well, journalists have been arrested there trying to do their jobs on the scene. so it's really a city of unrest tonight. and we're keeping an eye on it. this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone. it's the top of the hour. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. >> and i'm alisyn camerota. breaking news. tear gas as we said fired on protesters in ferguson, missouri, on another night of unrest after the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager gunned down by a police officer. we still do not know the name of the officer who pulled the trigger or the details surrounding that. >> we have a lot to get to. meanwhile, another young black man gunned down in los angeles. is justice a moving target for
young black men, or is something else going on here? and the american al qaeda prisoner that you don't know about. his family is going to tell us about the frightening message that they got today from al qaeda. but also we're going to begin with our breaking news tonight that we have been reporting on for so much of our hour last hour here on cnn. tear gas fired on protesters on another night of unrest. ferguson, missouri is what we're talking about. cnn's david mattingly joining us. also our producer yon pomrenze on the phone with us as well. so let's talk about -- let's talk about this. first, let's go to david mattingly. david, where you are, you said you're right outside of the police department there is a peaceful protest where you are. yon is seeing a much different scene. we'll talk to yon in a moment. but take us through what is happening. >> what is happening is something we've seen repeated every night since the violence we saw on sunday. we haven't seen the same kind of looting, the same kind of violence. but every night crowds gather here in that very location where
the stores were looted and one store was burned. they gather. the crowds have been of varying sizes. but at some point, police move in to have them move out of the area. when people resist, the police orders to move. that's when the police fire the tear gas and disperse the crowds there have been arrests on previous nights. we haven't received any word of any arrests tonight. but as you saw what was happening tonight, this played out again. there was a large crowd gathering. when they didn't disperse, police launched tear gas. quite a few canisters from what i understand. you we saw the large cloud of tear gas on the street this obstructing the view of the crowd. so we're not exactly sure how many people were there at the time. but then police move in to clear the street, to clear the crowd back, and then probably we'll see the same thing again tomorrow night as people begin to gather. we saw something similar earlier today. but that remained peaceful. there is a group that marched
into the area. this is in the daytime. they marched into the area. some of the people sat in the street. police had to block traffic for about 30 minutes until those protesters left the street and moved on. but there is no tear gas needed at that point. but, again, tonight a cloud of tear gas, a crowd again being pushed back after gathering and ignoring police appeals to disperse. now what you see behind me, you can probably hear them. this is an example of what we're seeing most of the time here in town, which is a peaceful demonstration. there has been a -- >> david, can you show that to us? can the cameraman please show that to us? >> sure. we'll get a close-up shot while i move out of the way here. this is directly across the street of the ferguson police department there is a couple of dozen people out here. they're out here chanting. they're out here holding signs. people driving by, blowing their horns in support. sometimes you'll see the protesters put their hands up in the air, starting to chant
"don't shoot me." that's something very common that we've seen with all the demonstration here. but again, nonviolent, law-abiding, and pretty typical of what we're seeing most of the time here. it's just every night when those crowds gather in that area where the original looting was occurring. >> right. >> that's where the crowds gather, and that's where the confrontations happen. but again, since sunday, we have not seen any violence like that, and no looting. >> all right, david mattingly, thank you. alisyn is going to get to yon pomrenze now. >> first i'm actually going to go to two eyewitnesses to the shooting. piaget crenshaw and tiffany mitchell. they were there. and along with tiffany's attorney peter cohen, they say they witnessed what happened that night. tiffany, i want to start with you. you say that you did not see what led up to the shooting when you showed up on the scene, the altercation was already in progress. but we have video that i believe you shot of what happened. let's take a look at this, and
you can tell us what you saw. what is this? >> what i saw is when the cop and michael were wrestling through the window. it looked as if michael was pushing off and the cop was trying to pull him in. then the cop shot a fire through the window. michael breaks away. and he starts running away from the officer. the officer gets out of his vehicle and pursues michael as he is shooting his weapon. michael jerks his body as if he was hit, and then he turns around, face the officer and puts his hands up and the officers continues to shoot him until he goes down to the ground. >> the video we have, you and i talked earlier about after and the dead. we believe this is the father there is a police officer walking up here. and this is the father. we believe he is going to the body. that's what is blurred. >> okay, that's his uncle that is walking up. yes. >> explain to us what happened. >> okay. whenever his uncle walked up to
him to try to see if that was him, because everybody in the neighborhood was trying to tell him that his nephew was shot, he tried to walk up and see if that was him. and the officers immediately run to him and tell him to get back behind the tape. >> and that's what we're looking at right now. so they were trying to go to the body. the family members were being blocked. >> yes. >> piaget, did you get a better -- did -- were you able to see better what happened, the confrontation in the car and the shooting? >> well, when i first looked out of my window, it was because tiffany was calling me to come down. you know, we were on our way to work. so i have my video isn't from that time. but i actually saw with my own eyes the confrontation at the window. it just looked like it was a tussle, a struggle going on. i couldn't really tell from my angle. but then i saw the police just get out and chase him down the street and shoot him down. >> and piaget, when you say you
saw this out the window, when you say you saw a tussle at the window, do you mean michael brown was outside of the police car and the policeman was inside the police car and they were arm wrestling through the window? >> yes, ma'am. like i michael brown -- michael was outside of the police car, and the police was inside. and it just seemed like he was trying to -- it was some kind of michael trying to get away really quickly and the police wouldn't let him. so that's when i heard the shots fired. >> did you ever see a moment where michael was in the police car? >> no, ma'am. >> because that's what police say in the car there was a tussle inside the police car. and at no time, i know you weren't there from the very beginning, piaget or tiffany, but at no time did you see michael brown in the car? >> no. >> not at all. >> at all. >> in your estimation he was trying to get away? >> don, one other important thing that perhaps these young ladies aren't saying is if you look at the video, there was a good deal of distance between where the officer fired at
michael brown and, you know, where he was hit and where the officer was. he was i think well away from the officer is my understanding from looking at the video and talking to. >> he was far away from the vehicle whenever the fatal shot was fired. >> piaget, did you ever see a moment when it looked as if michael brown was reaching for the officer's gun. >>? >> no, i couldn't see that closely from my balcony. i could see the opposite side of the car where he was outside the car. and it just looked like a struggle was going on. and the police actually shot kind of carelessly. they shot my neighbor's building, that was on the opposite side of the police car. and they later came and removed that bullet. so anybody could have been standing right this. >> did you -- how do you guys feel about the response from the police department? this is your area, your town, st. louis, ferguson. i think piaget, you live in north county where is where
ferguson is. and you live in st. louis county, correct, tiffany? >> i live in st. louis city. i feel like it's very unfair. he was trying to get away from him. why did he continue to shoot at him? >> exactly. >> i still don't get that part at all. why was he killed trying to get away from the officer. >> and even when he turned around and put his arms in the air, he was killed, shot multiple times. >> how far away did he get from the police car? >> oh, he ran a good 20 feet down the street. >> yeah. it was a ways. if you can look at the vehicle, i'm sorry, if you can look at the photo, he was way behind the vehicle whenever he was fatally shot. he was facing the officer with his hands up whenever he went down. >> piaget, that first shot that you heard, did that come from the police car? >> yes, ma'am. >> and could you tell who fired that first shot? >> well, when i looked out the
window, i saw the original tussle going on. i quickly turned around, grabbed my purse, tried to go, ran to the other window. and at that time it was over with. i heard the shots fired, and i saw the hole with the building in it and michael was running down the street at that time. >> all right, guys. we really appreciate you coming on cnn. tiffany, piaget, and also peter. boy, you guys are really composed kwhacompose ed considering what you witnessed. i hope there is peace and there is calm in your town. and if you guys want to come back and talk to us, we'll have you any time. thank you very much. >> thank you so much for sharing your story. >> thank you, guys. >> we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> it's that moment that is the missing portion of this. what happened in the police car. >> what was that tussle about. >> yes. >> and who had the gun. >> who had the gun. when we come right back, we're going have more breaking news. >> yeah, tear gas fired at protesters in ferguson, missouri. another night of unrest after
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we're back now with more of our breaking news tonight on cnn. tear gas fired on protesters on another night of unrest after the shooting death of michael brown. he is the unarmed black teen gunned down by a police officer. and in los angeles, let me tell you about another shooting, this one also by a police officer. the exact details have yet to be
released, but we do know the man who lost his life, isel ford, joining me to talk about it analyst and author of "how obama gordon: the year of crisis and challenge." thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure, don. >> what's going on? >> well, you know, we first had new york with eric garner, the chokehold, the infamous chokehold. now we have ferguson with michael brown and also ezell ford in los angeles. even before that, remember marlene pinnick. >> beaten on the highway. >> tensions are high in los angeles after the shooting there of another young black man, again, ezell ford. what happened there and what is your involvement in it? >> what happened is as we can put it together, there is two versions. the official police version says that 24 years old in the
neighborhood, south central l.a., two officers, he was going for a gun. this was a struggle, and then of course the rest is tragic history. the other version that we got today talking to some eyewitnesses said no. at no point was he resisting. he was compliant. he was subdued, and also a young man that had mental challenges. and also many of the officers they say in the neighborhood knew that. they knew his condition and situation. so, don, what we have here is almost he said/she said. we've seen this time and time again. what we did is we challenged, when i say we, my other half as president of the l.a. urban policy round table and some of the other civil rights groups. we challenged the los angeles police department, specifically, lapd officials. let's have a meeting. let's discuss this. and you promise an investigation covering all bases. let's make sure it's on the urgent basis, given what we know is happening around the country. >> can i ask you this? has this -- has this case gotten more attention because of the outrage in the wake of the
shooting of michael brown? and also, i want to know if these things are happening more in your estimation or if we are just more connected now? is something going on here that is -- that needs to be addressed? >> well, you know, obviously, it needs to be addressed. that was the challenge with police officials. we do have a situation. obviously, looking at what happened with michael brown and also potentially what could happen with ezell ford, any time you have this kind of violence, any time you have this kind of publicity, and any time you have these kinds of tensions, you have to get a handle on it. in answer to your question, you know, don, it's trying to put this together. >> it needs to be addressed, but in a collective manner, other than people just reporting on it. doing what you're doing in los angeles. does there need to be some sort of collective thought or collective action from people around the country because of this and besides hash tagging it
and watching it on the news? >> absolutely. as a matter of fact, on that point, we brought together several organizations to have a dialogue with the lapd. and also, to try to get a fair and impartial and just resolution. also my understanding too, some of the black lawyers groups now, they are actually going and trying to coalition in 25 cities to try to bring some closure to the table. discussion of this to the table and some resolution. 10 we see it not just the local issue, but also a national issue, bringing people together. >> okay. thank you so much. we want to spend more time with you, but because of the breaking news, we had to cut ate little short. we appreciate you joining us on cnn. >> my pleasure, don. >> here to weigh in bernard kerik, former new york city politician, former chief deputy marshall and cnn legal analyst. gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. bernie, i want to start with you. did you happen to hear the interview we just had
exclusively with two eyewitnesses to the michael brown shooting? >> i did. >> okay. did you hear them describe that what they witnessed was a tussle of some kind between michael brown outside of the car and a police officer inside the police cruiser. they describe it as something like an arm wrestle. and then michael brown was trying to get away, maybe running away. the police officer got out of the car, followed michael brown in their version of events, and shot him multiple times. what would the circumstances have been in your estimation that would have made a police officer get out of the police cruiser and follow on foot and shoot a suspect of some kind? >> well, i can't say. what would make the officer run after him, to go after him to arrest him, i would assume the shots fired, i can't say. i wasn't there. from all accounts, the suspect or the deceased did not have a weapon.
>> so how does it sound to you? those eyewitnesses, what do you make of their story? >> well, you know, i've heard -- that's the third set of witnesses that cnn has interviewed that i've seen. one of the ones yesterday and the same man was interviewed today i heard conflicting statements by that one person. you know, what i hope is that the police department and the justice department is getting ahold of these people, interviewing them, and putting this all together. that's what really counts. the ballistics information, the body, the shots that were fired, one shot or more shots that were fired in the car or at the car, all the ballistics, that kind of information is what is going to count most. and it's going to be up to the police department and the justice department to figure it out. >> joey, what are your thoughts on what you just heard here tonight? >> alisyn, my thoughts are that
everything counts. and that eyewitness statements are very effective in terms of bringing things together. now a few things that are very important, alisyn. the first one being lethal force is very, very strong, and it should be always the last resort, not the first option. and so therefore when you look at the issue of lethal force, was that officer in danger, in eminent fear for his life? was that the issue here? and according to the witnesses, they do not appear to substantiate that. now to bernard kerik's point, there will be muzzle to distance test. what does that mean? it means there will be forensic evidence put there. there will be a forensic person who is able to establish how far way was michael brown from the shooting. the first shot, the second shot and subsequent shots. in addition to, that alisyn, there will be evidence to the car to determine whether michael brown had contact with the car or not. the last point is this. the fact is any threat that is posed, there has to be the use of force proportionate to that
threat. so the threat posed has to be proportionate to the force used. and if it's not, we have to ask ourselves why. but at this point what they'rei. >> we're looking at the video at what is happening in ferguson tonight. are police in control of that town? what is going on there? >> i would say they -- when you say in control, i think they're doing their duty. i mean, the police are on the scene and they're trying to contain the area. but what we have is we're having the same issues again over and over. why are young black men being killed by police when it seems like there is these questionable incidents time after time again. one of the things that i did hear about the ferguson police department is that they have racial issues within the internal mechanism themselves. only three black officers. and once again, when you start talking about the internal mechanisms of whether or not race plays a role in how officers interact with themselves in their own
department, certainly a lot of this translates out to the streets. so the question becomes again, why are we hearing time and time again young black men being shot down by police on the questionable circumstances. i know i worked with you for 32 years, and i did a lot of drug and gun interdiction. and i talk a lot pour law enforcement against prohibition. well look at the racial disparities, and we say, again, when you look at urban area, and i know because i did a lot of my work in urban areas, black life did not have the same meaning as it did when you went into the more affluent areas. i do know that from law enforcement. >> bernie, what do you think about that, that we do understand that the police force there in ferguson is something like 53 white officers, just 3 black officers. do youly the that the racial makeup of the force matters? >> well, the racial makeup of the force should not matter, realistically. the cops should go out and do their job no matter what color they are. >> wait, hold on. the racial makeup of the force should not matter?
you think you're in a town and you're an entirely black town, that all the officers, it's okay for all the officers to be white? and if you're an entirely white town, it's okay -- that doesn't make sense to me. >> what i'm saying is regardless of the color of the people in the town, the officers should go out and do their job. >> that wasn't the question, though. her question does the racial makeup of the police department matter, meaning should the police department reflect the community that they are policing? >> i think it benefits the community if it does. but, you know, there is a hiring practice i'm sure. i don't know anything about ferguson. soy can't say what their hiring practice is. and whether it's civil service, whether it's a chief's test, i don't know anything about it. so i can't say what their hiring practice circumstances don, let me chime in one second here. >> questionly, because we have to go to break. everyone is upset you're cutting everyone off. we had a lot of breaking news, a lot of ferguson tonight. >> when i observe how we handle
the drug war, there are certain areas we knew we couldn't go into as officers period. so, again, what i'm saying is there is a sort of culture in place of when you know it's an urban place, you know that life is devalued, there is things i know i can get away with in those areas that i better not go into certain other areas and do the same type of policing. that's one of the problems i have with it. >> thank you all. i appreciate you joining us. i appreciate the conversation. >> thank you, don, thank you, alisyn. we're watching our breaking news in ferguson, missouri tonight. tear gas has been fired at protesters. this is four days after the death of michael brown, that unarmed black teenager who was shot by a police officer. we'll bring you the latest as it happens. "i'm 16 and just got my first car" feeling. presenting the buypower card from capital one. redeem earnings toward part or even all of a new chevrolet, buick, gmc or cadillac - with no limits. so every time you use it, you're not just shopping for goods. you're shopping for something great.
well, there's really no comparison. why pay more for less? call today for a low price on speeds up to 150mbps. and find out more about our two-year price guarantee. comcast business. built for business. we want to turn now back to robin williams' death because it has put a spotlight on suicide. the cdc reports that is the tenth leading cause of death in the united states, and research shows that as suicides go up after a high profile celebrity kills themselves. so is suicide somehow contagious? joining us to discuss this is
dr. judy ho. she is a clinical and forensic psychologist. dr. charles sophy, and terry williams, a mental health activist and memory of "black pain: it just looks like we're not hurting." so glad to have all of you here for an important issue tonight. dr. sophy, i want to talk to you first. is suicide contagious? >> absolutely there are studies that will support that, that the more glamorous it looks, or the more dramatic it looks, or the more that it looks like a place to find relief from the pain, the higher the rate of copycat suicides or contagiousness. >> and we're going to talk about how we can avoid that. because there are steps that the media can take to make sure that it isn't this kind of contagion. terry, i want to talk about your personal story. you dedicated yourself to detig ma advertising depression, and to being able to talk about suicidal thoughts. what was your reaction when you heard what happened with robin
williams? >> well, unfortunately, i wasn't surprised. i -- as we move through this life, we know that people do wear masks, and we do know that people feel hopeless and despair. i'm not surprised, because i think that people try to look for a way out to have some kind of peace in their lives, you know? and i -- i just think that -- i just wasn't surprised. i'm not really surprised because i know that people -- and especially people who are in entertainment like robin was, you know. you play the clown, always making people laugh. and many times it's the tears that we most experience. >> dr. ho, we want to talk about this issue to increase awareness, but we obviously don't want to talk about it in such a way that it makes it seem to people who are suffering with severe depression that this is an okay outcome.
so what is that balance for the media? >> what a great question. and i think obviously there has been a lot of support on social media for these continued conversations, but there has also been backlash about are we actually in some way talk it and bringing so much attention to it making it seem like it's alaskan okay way to solve a problem when you're depressed. and i think the best thing we can do is normalize the experience of depression and try to destigmatize it as much as possible by presenting it as the disorder that it is, which is a brain disorder. this is not something that is a matter of will power. that somebody when they're depressed can just get themselves out of it and will themselves to get up in the morning and get on with their lives. people do need treatment. unfortunately, 80% of people who suffer from depression don't get treatment, but conversely, 70 to 90% of people who go through cognitive behavior therapy or medication treatment do get better from depression. so there is so much hope and a way for us to prevent it to getting to this very, very severe place of suicide. >> that's such a great message.
and i'm so glad that you made that. that message tonight. and i just want to bring up one more thing, terrie, about what the academy of motion pictures tweeted. they got a lot of backlash on social media. and that is "genie, you're free." obviously people have said that's not the right message to send after a high profile suicide. what do you think? >> i think it was in poor taste. i understand that the sentiment was that he had suffered so greatly that he was truly at peace. there was no more suffering. but i did feel that it was in poor taste, you know. >> and dr. -- i'm sorry, go ahead. >> no you go ahead. >> i'm just wondering, because as alisyn so rightly brought up social media and talking about this tweet. at first i said of course, talking about it, it's always better to have more knowledge. but then you think about how fast things get around on social media. and it can really affect people quite a few more people than in the past.
what is a role that social media plays? and is it more detrimental do you think? dr. sophy? >> i think it's very important that the messaging and that tool of messaging is done in a very clear and simple way, because people that are looking for the help that are depressed or feel suicidal do not have the ability to funnel through information in fine numbers. make it simple, make it clear, and make it unmixed because many mixed messages come in it. and it's not a glamorized situation. get the help. simple numbers, reach for help, and have resource. because the follow-up care is really the issue. it's okay, and it's easy oftentimes to get a crisis intervention. but it's that after care where things fall off because of insurance or lack of resources. >> dr. ho, here is something fascinating. when marilyn monroe killed herself, one study that looked at this suggested that suicides across the country went up by 12%. but that did not happen when kurt cobain, the beloved singer
of nirvana when he killed himself. and the reason experts believe is because the seattle authorities and media handled it differently than they did in, say, marilyn monroe or other people's case. and here is the recommendations from the suicide prevention foundation say. number one, here is what the media should do. avoid describing the suicide as some kind of escape from pain. dr. ho, why is that important? >> well, because it's sending this message that somehow this is the way you problem solve your way out of a situation. and in fact there are so many ways to problem solve yourself out of depression. we know these effective methods. they have been used for decades, and we know that they work. unfortunately, that's not the message that gets across when people look at a suicide that has been very, very public. because all they think about is wow, from the outside, this person's life looked great. so if they have nothing to live for, then what do i have to live for. and i think one of the things we really is to caution is to dr.
sophy's point of the importance, the follow-up care. oftentimes the research shows that suicides are actually more likely to happen as the individual is on an upswing from a very severe episode because that's when they start to have the motivation and the will power to actually take the active steps to carry out a suicide. so as morbid as that sounds, that is what the statistics say. and it's actually one of the most dangerous times when somebody doesn't have that adequate follow-up that is continued as they start to get better. >> let me just say a couple more points we should mention, avoid graphic details of the method. that makes sense. include message about prevention and treatment. we're certainly trying to do that, to get the message out there that there are other alternatives. and this is an important one, certainly, terry. the include discussion of the pain that it causes to loved ones. >> well, yes, it does actually really have a profound impact on the loved ones. and i think what is important to keep in mind is that somewhere,
somehow the person who decided to die by suicide is on some levels is really at peace, you know. it's most difficult for those who are left behind. but that's what i thought when i first heard about robin's death. and i just think that we really have soul-searching to do. we have to make sure that people do not feel as if the loved ones do not feel that in any way it was their fault. >> yes. >> and i think we need to share with young people whenever there is a very visible suicide in the way that robin was is that he did the best that he could. he did the very, very best that he could and is to be loved and cherished still. >> that's an excellent message. dr. ho, dr. sophy, terrie williams, i want to say one more time what the suicide prevention hot shrine.
it's 1-800-275-8255. i will tweet that out. disneyland it is on the screen in case you miss mid reading it. thank you so much for talking about all this with us. >> it's important to talk about it. but to do it in the right way. because i didn't believe that. i thought if you were at that point, then you were going to find a way to do it or you weren't. >> research shows otherwise. >> all right. a sad anniversary for an american held captive by al qaeda. we're going to speak to his wife and his daughter who received a message today from the terrorist group. feel that in your muscles? yeah... i do... try a new way to bank, where no branches equals great rates. we're trying our best annto be role models.rmodels. we don't jump at the sound of the opening bell, because we're trying to make the school bell. corner booth beats corner office any day. we make the most out of our time... and our money.
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three years ago today, an american named warren weinstein was kidnapped in pakistan by al qaeda. in a few moments, we're going to speak to his wife and daughters. but first jean casarez on what happened to weinstein. >> i'm addressing this video to president obama. and so i again appeal to you to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release. >> reporter: this is the last time anyone has heard from private contractor warren weinstein, now 73 years old,
held captive by al qaeda for three years. >> now when i need my government, it seems that i have been totally abandoned. >> reporter: it was august 13th, 2011. gunmen abducted weinstein from his home in lahore, pakistan, where he was working with the u.s. consulting firm, helping to develop local industry. married now for 46 years, the father of two grown daughters was kidnapped just four days before his scheduled return home to the u.s. >> i would like them to know that i love them very much. >> reporter: this grandfather of two with a heart condition and asthma became property of one of the most notorious terror groups in the world. >> i have been suffering deep anxiety every part of every day. >> warren weinstein is going through hell. these sorts of situations are an extended mental torture of mine.
>> reporter: christopher voss is the former lead international hostage negotiator for the fbi. >> the fact that his captors have released a couple of videos unprompted is an indicator that they want to negotiate. >> good morning. >> reporter: but the obama administration has previously told al qaeda it will not negotiate with them for weinstein. how does it impact warren weinstein that bowe bergdahl was released along with five prisoners at guantanamo, an obvious negotiation, and weinstein still sits at the hands of al qaeda? >> it hurts mr. weinstein tremendously. primarily because it is confusing to his captors. they don't understand the subtle nuances and the subtle explanations that the white house is giving for the legitimacy of the bergdahl negotiation. >> reporter: al qaeda wants the most prominent terror group has now taken a back seat to isis. voss says this could be a factor
in weinstein's case. >> there is an opportunity there for them to possibly publicly make some sort of example of warren weinstein, because the pr value would be good for them. >> reporter: and although weinstein has not been heard from in eight months, there is still hope. >> my guess is they kept him alive to this point, and there is some potential pr value in showing his demise if they choose to go that route. and to me that indicates that he is probably still alive. >> reporter: hope is all this family can hold on to. jean casarez, cnn, new york. >> warren weinstein's family has not seen him in three years. but today they received a message about him from al qaeda. warren weinstein's family will join us in moments. on allowed me to start investing for my retirement. transamerica made it easy. [ female announcer ] everyone has a moment when tomorrow becomes real. transamerica. transform tomorrow.
thee years ago tonight, warren weinstein, a 70-year-old economic development specialist was kidnapped by al qaeda operatives in pakistan. warren's wife and daughters have heard nothing about hiss status since december. joining us now are his wife elaine weinstein and daughters alisa and jennifer. ladies, we're happy to have you here with us tonight. >> thank you for having us.
>> elaine, let me start with you. al qaeda issued a message to you and your family today. let me read it. here is what they say. your continued silence on the inaction of your government will only lead to your prisoner dying a lonely death in prison after this deliberate and prolonged neglect on the part of your government. therefore if you want warren weinstein to be released, do whatever you can to pressure your government. elaine, what was your reaction when you read this? >> al qaeda has to realize that we are doing everything we can, but we are just normal american citizens. we don't have any special ins with our government. my husband is a development worker. he has no pull with anybody. we have no pull with anybody. >> what do you feel the u.s. government has done for you?
>> the u.s. government says that they are doing whatever they can, looking at every possible way of getting my husband back. but we don't really know what that means, because we're not privileged to that information. we just have to believe what they tell us. >> of course. alisa, let's start at the beginning. what was your dad doing in pakistan? >> my dad was working on projects with local industries in pakistan, helping them to improve, to produce more, and to -- that their goods would have more value in the global economy. so he was working with people on the ground. he would be at those projects, traveling all over the country to those projects all the time. he was just zooming back and forth. all the people that worked with him remarked on what incredible
energy he had and how he just worked all day and late into the night. he was so passionate and devoted to his work. he cared so much about helping these industries to improve and to creating more opportunities for everyday people in pakistan. >> jennifer, we were just looking at some pictures of your dad holding a baby. and there is a beautiful little baby on his shoulders. i can only imagine what it's like for him to be missing out on all of these family milestones. >> it's been really difficult for us and as a family and for my kids. to try to explain to them why he is missing all of these things and for us to have to try to remember everything to tell him when he comes home. you know, we're trying to document things, and explain to the kids that as soon as he can, he will come home. you know, at this point, they'll be able to share things with him. but until then, it's just really hard for everybody. >> elaine, how long was your
husband in pakistan? and what do you know about the circumstances surrounding his capture? >> he was this for seven years. and the only thing i know about the circumstances is what i read in the paper. that a group of men came over to the compound and said they were bringing food for the guards in order to break -- there was going to be this start of the fast. so you have food before the start of the fast. and either the guards let them in. i'm not even sure. either the guards let them in to take the food, or they climbed over the fence, which was very high actually. and they got the guards. they grabbed my husband's driver, and made him take them upstairs. where he asked my husband to open the door. and that would have been the
only person he would open the door to, because they had an arrangement. if my husband had a problem, he would call his driver, and his driver would come up and help him, since he was alone in the apartment. so if the driver came up, the driver must have had something to do with him. >> alisa, why do you think your dad was targeted? >> that's a question we ask ourselves all the time. we don't know the answer. my father was so well liked in pakistan. he had so many friends there. he had become such a part of life, of the everyday life there of the society. so it's very hard for us to understand who would have targeted him, why someone would want to do this. because he was someone who was advocating for pakistan. whenever he came home to visit us, he would try and convince friends of ours to come visit him, and tell people what a wonderful place it was, how warm
the people were, how many things there were to see and visit. and so he was a huge advocate for the country. i'm not really sure why somebody would target him. >> jennifer, the state department today released this statement. let me read it to you. it says we remain concerned for the safety and well-being of mr. weinstein, and we continue to monitor the situation closely, as well as to work actively with pakistani authorities to try to secure his release. the united states strongly condemns kidnaps of any kind, and we call for the immediate release of the victim and the prosecution of those responsible. jennifer, what are your thoughts whether or not that goes far enough from the state department? >> we can only hope as a family that they are doing everything they can. but once again, we're really not privileged to what they are doing or what the possibilities are. we just really hope as a family that they're speaking to everything they need to speak to, and that the governments are working together, and they're working very hard to bring him
home. >> and i can say as far as are they doing enough, he is not home. so as a family, we always hoped that they would do more, they would do everything they can do until that day that he finally comes home to us. >> yes, of course. well, we wish you the best of luck. please keep us posted on any developments that you hear from him. we would love to stay in touch with you. alisa, jennifer, elaine, best of luck. >> thank you. >> and we'll be right back. "i'm 16 and just got my first car" feeling. presenting the buypower card from capital one. redeem earnings toward part or even all of a new chevrolet, buick, gmc or cadillac - with no limits. so every time you use it, you're not just shopping for goods. you're shopping for something great. learn more at buypowercard.com
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weinst robin williams' tragic death is putting a spotlight on suicide and what we can all do to prevent this. >> if you need help or know someone that does, pick up the phone and call the national suicide prevention lifeline. it's at this number on your screen. we want to make sure that we and you have it right. it's 1-800-273-8255. they will help you. >> that's it for us tonight. see you back here don't night. >> rosemary church and errol barnett are live right now. >> thanks, don and alison. hello and thanks for joining us. the cnn special coverage. i'm rosemary church. >> and aim errol barnett. we're your team here at cnn for the next four hours. a big welcome to our viewers in the u.s. and around the world. coming up, u.s. military advisers arrive on iraq's mt. sinjar and decide a massive rescue operation may no longer be needed.