AG Holder blasts 'selective release' of Brown case info

Former Yonkers, NY police commissioner on Ferguson police handling of situation


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 19, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Attorney General Holder and his Justice Department making no secret they're angry with the information Ferguson police have chosen to release, like this surveillance video.

Former Police Commissioner of Yonkers, New York, Ed Hartnett, says, with this flood of investigators, there are just too many cooks in the kitchen.

Too many people investigating, too many boots on the ground? Why?

ED HARTNETT, PRESIDENT, BROSNAN RISK CONSULTANTS: It seems so -- I mean, I understand the optics of the A.G. going out there. I mean, I understand the optics and the necessity of agents out there to do the civil rights investigation. But the perception is confusing. Is anybody investigating the actual death of this individual? Are -- are there too many people involved? Is the FBI doing anything to investigate those that are maybe behind the ongoing violence that is occurring every night now in Ferguson?

VARNEY: That's interesting. You want an investigation more into who is violent, who is behind it, as opposed to the death of Michael Brown, because we have had a lot of the people -- I don't know about a lot -- but many of the people arrested in Ferguson have come from out of state.


And I have great respect for the FBI. I had a long-term relationship with the FBI when I was in the NYPD and in Yonkers. And I get that the investigation into the civil rights violation has to take place.

But at the same time, can the FBI assist the investigation into who is responsible every night there's ongoing violence, looting? There are guns in those neighborhood. How are those guns getting there? I think the federal government can assist in that way, as well as with the civil rights investigation.

VARNEY: So, what is the problem here? You got 40 FBI guys flooding the zone, as they say. And you have got three separate, I believe, separate investigations into the confrontation and death of Michael Brown.

What is wrong with this picture? Why is that too many people there? Why are there too many investigations? What is wrong?

HARTNETT: Well, the perception I think to the people on the ground, the cop in the street, is, who is in charge?


HARTNETT: Who is running our city now? And how long will they be here?

The federal government has a -- has a -- has a reputation at times of inserting itself into investigations like this, then installing a monitor on the police, and then seemingly never going home.

VARNEY: OK, now, Mr. -- the attorney general, Holder, he is not happy that the local police released that video of Michael Brown in that convenience store roughing up the smaller clerk there. What say you about that?

HARTNETT: As a former police commissioner, I understand what the A.G. is saying, but at the same time, I think releasing that video was OK.

I think any video of Michael Brown that day can be helpful in an ongoing investigation. If there was a video of Michael Brown assisting someone to cross the street, I would want to see that video. If there's a video of Michael Brown just walking down the street, I would want to see that video.

I think the police probably made a mistake in not releasing the name of the officer sooner.

VARNEY: Well, wait a second. He would not have been safe had they just immediately said it was X-Y-Z officer.

HARTNETT: Exactly. I don't think they should have done it immediately.

But I think once they -- they have to -- their paramount policy there should have been make sure that officer and his family are safe. But after a couple of days, I think it would have been prudent to release that name as long as the officer and his family were safe, and then release that video of Michael Brown in the store.

VARNEY: What's your judgment of the performance of the local police department?

HARTNETT: I think they're overwhelmed.

I think -- I think this is a small city. It's relatively small police deep. You have a lot of people coming from outside Ferguson, from outside the Saint Louis county area, coming in as agitators, maybe as peaceful protesters, maybe a little of both, maybe some anarchists thrown in. So, I think there's a -- it's a department that right now is overwhelmed.

VARNEY: What do you make of a department which is in a heavily black city, town, which is only 5 percent black in its officer corps?

HARTNETT: I think they need to do something to diversify. I don't know what the system is as far as civil service exams. But clearly they need to do some things a little different to diversify that department a little bit more.

VARNEY: What is job one tonight? Get control of the violence?

HARTNETT: Get control of the violence and keep people from getting killed.

VARNEY: Do what you got to do.

HARTNETT: Do what you got to do.

VARNEY: All right, Ed Hartnett, thanks very much for joining us, sir.

Appreciate it.

HARTNETT: Thank you, Stuart.

Content and Programming Copyright 2014 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.