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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 30, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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dramatic testimony in trial of ex-police officer derek chauvin, charged with murder for kneeling on the neck of george floyd for 9:29 minutes.
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one eyewitness testing he called the police on the police because he believed he witnessed a murder. off-duty firefighter, trained emt testifying that police prevented her from giving medical aid to george floyd. also a developing story that florida gop congressman matt gaetz denying he had relationship with 17-year-old girl and claiming he's the victim of extortion attempt. but want to start with the testimony. sara sidner from minneapolis. >> reporter: eyewitness donald williams took the stand with remarkable revelation, telling the jury what he did after witnessing george floyd's body slump as then officer chauvin continued pressing his knee down. >> i did call the police on the police. >> why did you do that? >> because i believe i witnessed a murder. >> reporter: williams could not hold back tears as his 911
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dispatch audio played in court. >> what's the address? >> officers on 87 killing a citizen in front of a chicago store. this guy not resisting arrest, had knee on his neck whole time. >> who were you referring to? >> officer over there. >> reporter: world saw williams on the scene when footage was released. jury yet to see this video. in cross examination, chauvin's attorney focused attention on the harsh words used against the officer. >> you called him a tough guy and those terms grew and more angry, would you agree? >> more and more pleading for life. >> after you called him a bum 13
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times, you called him a [ bleep ] one. >> is that what you heard? >> did you say that? i'm asking you. >> you heard that, pretty sure you did. >> reporter: williams tried to counter angry black man stereotype, explaining he was trying to save a life. but chauvin's lawyer painting a scene that put fear to the officers. >> do you recall saying i dare you to touch me like that, i swear i'll slap the [ bleep ] out of both of you? >> i did, i meant it. >> reporter: next witness dissolved into tears for fear and trauma she continues to experience. >> it's been nights s, i stayedp apologizing and -- and apologizing to george floyd for not doing more. >> reporter: that's the voice of a teenage bystander who took the video the world saw. she was minor at the time of the incident. picture of her and her cousin
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was shown on the scene but court cameras could not show them testifying. >> what caused you to come back? >> it wasn't right, he was suffering. he was in pain. >> reporter: the jury heard from the youngest eyewitness, nine years old, needed memory jogged as to what chauvin looked like. >> how about him? >> yes. >> reporter: but did remember what upset her that day. >> i saw the officer put a knee on george floyd, i was sad and kind of mad. >> reporter: jury also heard from off-duty firefighter/emt who was on a walk. hanson's 911 call. >> i literally watched police officers not take a pulse, not do anything to save a man, i'm a first responder myself and i have it on video.
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>> reporter: moved to tears. >> there's a man being killed, and i would have -- had i had access to a call similar to that, i would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities, and this human was denied that right. >> bring in sara sidner who has been covering this for ten months. good evening, compelling testimony, can't deny that. what impact did the witnesses and evidence seem to have on the jury? >> reporter: a great one, don. and i think it had impact on anyone listening to witness after witness. each one exceedingly emotional over time, each one being very, very detailed.
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each one having some very powerful statements such as i called the police on the police because i thought they were murdering someone. you heard from someone who is in mma, a professional fighter, who donald williams talked about, the choke holds as well. and talked about what those were, and he was very technical. knew his stuff, and that came across. even when he was bantering back and forth with the defense, it was very clear that this had jarred people, even someone used to being in situations where someone is having medical emergency, firefighter and emt who just happened to be walking by and saw this scene. to hear from her, her emote the way she did because she felt as did everyone standing there watching this, she felt helpless, even though she was trained to help.
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those things definitely stuck in the minds of anyone who was watching. and of course, the defense is going to continue their cross examination, trying to pick apart what people are saying, including what the emt was saying, questioning her training, which she pushed back on. saying you said this to the police, this in court, prying to impeach her on the stand, doing his job. but overarching look at what witnesses said today, it was powerful and emotional. >> certainly was. sara, thank you very much. former federal prosecutor lara coates, former philadelphia police commissioner charles ramsey. good evening to you both. laura, really powerful testimony, some of the most powerful from witnesses, minors, a nine-year-old girl having to watch this unfold and relive it.
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teenager who took the video, seeing her family in george floyd. i know this hit you as mom. what impact do you think this will have on the case? >> absolutely did. idea you have children watching this, don, as mother you send your child out hoping they'll bring back snacks and instead bring back memory of having witnessed a murder in this tortured state. having this young girl have the wherewithal to shoo her cousin inside, and then to take that video that everyone saw as you talked about last hour, what could have been had we not seen it. but what was so poignant, her statement, i've stayed up nights apologizing to george floyd for not being able to save your life. but it's not what i should have been done, it's what he should have done, directing thoughts to the police officer, the
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defendant. it was powerful, and had corroboration from each witness, each looking at bit of an ink blot test and all seeing same thing, this is what jurors look for, corroboration, having credibility, having witnesses who do not have vested interest for angle. what could be more benign and pure than a child watching the murder of someone in front of her own eyes? >> laura, before i get to chief ramsey. when you heard her say what i could do, right? i couldn't do anything, felt like i should have done more but he should have done more. as former federal prosecutor you're like, that's heavy. >> that's the headline for me. that's what you use in closing. each time witnesses say things like this you're trying to pick things to use later on, compile all the things you're going to
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hear over several weeks. going to be a lot of testimony in between but drive home the point, whose responsibility it was to save the life. why didn't he do so, why did he act defiantly and deny people offering aid. may have to take the stand to try to explain. >> witnesses called the police on the police. 911 dispatcher, bystander, donald williams, off-duty firefighter/emt, calling the police on the police, you know, the police are right there. that's an incredible red flag that was going on, what was going on. what did you think of that? >> well, i mean there were four people wearing uniform of a police officer there, could argue were they really police officers in terms of what they did? that's to the consistent with
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the ethics of being a police officer or anything else. the oath they took. it's a sad situation, they couldn't even trust the people there, had to call someone else, hoping somebody would intervene and take action. because the ones that were there failed to do so. >> you said that whether they were -- they were the guys in the badge. people with the badges. >> no question about it. they're cops, my point is that they -- they're not a reflection of what the profession is all about. and that's why they're on trial today. and what they did was just simply -- there's no justification for it. any way you look at it. not at all. >> thank you, chief, laura. appreciate it. laura, watched you all day, great stuff. watched you all day chief ramsey as well, prospects have been fascinate s.
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great coverage. thanks for doing this. >> thank you don. it's hard to hear testimony about the last moments of george floyd's life and if you're having trouble dealing with it, ask for help. resources on the screen for you, up there, take a look at your screen. i'll tweet it out for you, put it on social media. don't hesitate to get help. developing story about congressman matt gaetz denying he had sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, after "new york times" reported he did and he paid for her to travel with him. congressman says it's extortion attempt. new details next.
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congress matt gaetz denying a sexual relationship with a
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17-year-old after "new york times" reported that according to sources the justice department was investigating a possible sexual relationship with the girl, whether he paid for her to travel with him. congressman telling cnn no part of the allegations against me are true, claims are being pushed by people targets of ongoing extortion investigation. want to discuss with cnn legal analyst jennifer rogers, former attorney for the district of new york. help us understand this case. gaetz is being investigated whether he had sexual relationship with 17-year-old, paid for to travel with him, according to three people speaking to "new york times." gaetz says he's innocent. what are the implications? what is going on? >> says he didn't do it but also went on tucker carlson and told
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him he had been on a double date with him and this woman. it's unclear what he's going to say if charges are ever filed. there is a real case going to trial against associate of gaetz, sex trafficking case. he was somehow tied up in that, he was told he was subject of the investigation. not that he was in the clear, that's just a witness. subject is evidence could develop that you would be charged. that was started under trump's doj, under bill barr, so gaetz's allegation it's political doesn't seem to hold water. i don't know what to make of the extortion allegation, except to say seems to be separate. whether or not there's extortion going on with someone saying i can help take care of this case
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for money, doesn't mean that case against him if it's brought is illegitimate. >> he's talking about that right now. listen to this. >> on march 16th my father got a text message demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange of making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away. our family was so troubled by that, we went to the local fbi and fbi and department of justice were so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of congress they asked my dad to wear a wire. which he did, with the former department of justice official. tonight i'm demanding that the department of justice and fbi release the audio recordings that were made under their supervision and at their direction, which will prove my innocence and show these allegations aren't true. >> so the thing is, you said
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that -- i think you said could be separate. could both be true? doj inquiry started final months of the trump administration and gaetz said the extortion occurred march 16th, can they both be true? >> of course. but here's the thing that's strange, he and his family tied up in extortion thing he's thinking is important enough to bring to the fbi and wearing a wire, he's breaking that open and talking about it. potentially damaging ongoing investigation which he says he's the victim. i don't know how that makes sense for him to do if he's the victim of this. you're on the nmoney to say coud be investigation into him for sex trafficking and someone could be trying to take advantage of that separately by trying to escxtort him.
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>> woman he mentioned on tucker carlson and to some degree tucker admitted it was strange interview. the woman he mentioned as double date, is that the same woman that's part of this? >> it's not clear, i thought that's maybe what he was saying but i honestly don't know. >> he's saying he had no part in it, and he's saying he wants to clear his name. jennifer, thank you, i appreciate you explaining this to us. georgia state trooper says he feared insurrection like the one on january 6th when arresting that one state representative in georgia. does this look the same as january 6th to you? i'll ask someone who was there, next.
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tonight a third federal lawsuit has been filed challenging georgia's new voting law which was signed by republican governor brian kemp last week. filed by civil rights groups claims that new law restricts rights of voters, including of color and in religious communities. lawmakers claim that law boosts confidence in georgia voting procedures. in a twist you have to hear to believe, one of the georgia capitol police officers who arrested the representative said he feared another january 6th insurrection would develop.
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seriously? really? taken into custody knocking on the governor's door as kemp was signing the law in private. thousands of rioters stormed the capitol, not the same. bring in journalist who reported this. i remember you now i see you from the video, i think you were holding a sign, am i correct? >> that's right. >> thanks for joining us, you took the video of representative's arrest. let's take a look. >> one more time, you're going to do something. are you serious? >> no, you are not -- >> she's not under arrest. >> for what? under arrest for what? >> why is she under arrest. >> for trying to see something our governor is doing? our governor -- >> talk to me what was going through your mind while this was
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happening. >> we were really surprised by it, you can tell by our reaction. because representative was not being threatening in any way, and posture of the state trooper prior to him jumping up and arresting her showed that. he was leaning against a wall, legs crossed, wasn't attempting to block the door in in way, wasn't another trooper standing next to him preventing representative from accessing the door. it was shocking, we were surprised at the overreaction. >> what were you doing at the state house that day? >> we'd been protesting for nearly a month now, a group of organizations gotten together and protesting since they started introducing voter suppression bills, several have gone through the georgia legislature, had been at capitol earlier in the day and had protest schedules at hartsfield
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against delta to apply pressure to delta. governor knew we were doing this, scheduled and permitted at 5:30. 5:45 we received notice via tweet that the governor had scheduled a press conference and was signing the bill at 6:30. now there were several dozen of us at hartsfield protesting but didn't want to bring a big crowd to the capitol, only half a dozen decided to head back, with the intention of doing a silent protest. we had the small signs they allow us to bring into the capitol, and mine said shame on the georgia gop. that was our intent, let them know that they didn't get away with it behind closed doors. that we saw them, we were paying attention and are going to hold them accountable. >> the arresting officer in 13-page incident report stated if i did not take action the
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other protesters would have been emboldened to commit similar acts. events of january 6th, 2021, at u.s. capitol were in the back of my mind. >> representative cannon was knocking on door in place where she worked, kpcompared to janua 6th, rioters stormed the capitol, violently clashed with police officers. what do you say? >> six women, two elected female representatives, holding signs, not yelling or screaming. representative cannon knocked on the door, didn't pound or kick, wasn't diving over state troopers trying to access the room but knocking on the door. for him to have compared that and those actions to january 6th, it's disgusting and
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completely false. >> representative cannon returned to the georgia state house today in a sling with mlk iii and hundreds of supporters by her side. you're one of the cofounders of the no safe seats, organization protesting over the bill, you discussed that. do you think her arrest will breathe new energy in the fight for voting rights? >> absolutely. it's reinvigorated. what we witnessed firsthand was the last gasps of power under that gold dome by white men. there was a black legislator that wanted access to the -- to see the signing of a bill that was going to affect her constituents and georgians across the state and they needed to put that black woman into her place and that's what they attempted to do, and that's what
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we saw live. >> tamara, people ask me why i'm optimistic about where we're going in this country, it's because of people like you. >> thank you. >> there are enough people willing to stand up for what's right, you're one of them. thank you, we appreciate it. >> thank you. if anyone wants to get involved in georgia, states easing coronavirus restrictions but country's top doctors are warning it's still too soon. >> we are lulled into false sense this thing can't get to us, as michigan and other states are showing, it's not true, it's not done yet. every visit, and flexible payment options for every budget. now, during the everyday smiles event new patients get a full exam & set of x-rays with no obligation. no insurance? no worries, it's free.
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with cases climbing, president biden's top coronavirus advisers continuing to drive home the importance of mask wearing and social distancing. senior covid adviser slavet and dr. rochelle walensky sounding the alarm. >> i think the governors know better, they're not helping the cause. may think it's popular to do, i don't think it's the case, i think people want to be told the
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truth. to me a mask feels like a very small price to pay to protect people's lives. >> we know it's preventable, we have the science, we know what we need to do to stop the surge and would ask everybody to go ahead and do that. >> discuss more now, cnn medical analyst dr. jonathan reiner is here, we love having him here, thanks for joining. averaging more than 60,000 new cases a day past days and arkansas is lifting its mask mandate. are we giving up the covid battlefield we won by loosening the restrictions and seeing the case counts go up? >> absolutely, don. several years ago when my wife was running her first marathon, she slowed to a walk with the finish line in sight and her good friend running with her yelled at her, you have not come this far to walk across the finish line, and i've been thinking about that a lot
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recently. i think in some parts of this country, we are going to walk across the finish line and that's going to cost lives. no, we should be keeping our guard up until we have herd immunity in this country. which means keeping mask mandates in place, which means restricting indoor capacity in places where still the community spread is high. and you know, this is not the time to slow down, this is not a country that walks across the finish line. so i completely agree with andy slavit and dr. walensky. we need to push on, get this done. >> 23 states seeing increase in covid cases, up 10% or more. in michigan increase over 50%. what is going on there? what should they do to get back under control there? >> a lot of spread in young people there. so in michigan over the last
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couple of weeks there's been a 600% increase in cases in people between 30 to 39, and 800% increase between 40 and 49. in contrast, people over the age of 80, most of whom are vaccinated, only a 30% increase. so we need to get strike teams into places like michigan, mobile strike teams armed with j&j single dose vaccines and get to the high risk spreading communities, young people. can't wait for them to come to us, get on portals to make reservations, we need to get into the community, no reservations required, and start vaccinating people like crazy, like forest firefighters do when they put out hot spots, need to actively go and put out hot spots, not just by masking and
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closing down but vaccinating like crazy. >> you're right, i walked by this outdoor beer garden this weekend, and all the young people out there, had social distancing inside but standing in line on top of each other and everybody's mask is like this, all like that, with no -- on their chin. what are you doing? should the establishment be responsible for -- but they're on a public street, seemed to have no regard for mask wearing or social distancing and i'm sure it's happening many many many places around the country. doctor, thank you, appreciate your time. >> my pleasure don. >> police caught on camera taunting, berating and threatening a five-year-old boy. stay with us. ♪let's make lots of money♪ ♪you've got the brawn♪ ♪i've got the brains♪
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locate him 0.2 miles away. >> how old are you? >> five. >> you feel like you can make your own decisions? huh? you feel like you can do what you want? >> reporter: mother filed a lawsuit against the officers accusing them of assault and intentionally infliction of emotional distress. this video just released by the police department. also named montgomery county, accused of violating the boy's rights and accused of negligence. walked off the premises when he was not properly supervised. school employees called police to help find him. video shows officer putting young boy in the squad car to drive him back to school. >> let me go. >> i don't care. >> reporter: states it was frighte
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frightening to him. thought he was taken to jail. >> turns into such an abrasive, offensive encounter, as if they're treated him like he committed armed robbery. counted 19 times one or both officers talk about beating him, that he needs to be beaten. >> reporter: officers arrive at school with the student moments later, loudly taunting child. >> how do you learn that behavior at five? >> this is why people need to beat their kids. >> sit down! >> shut that noise up now! i'm telling you, hope your mama will let me beat you. >> reporter: this remark led boy to believe she was about to cause him physical harm. screaming at boy, inches from his face. school employees discussed the child's behavior with the officers as they wait for his mother to arrive.
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officer holliday suggesting how she would discipline the child. >> a crate, cradle. act like a little beast? >> reporter: according to the union, both officers were subjected to corrective action, the police department refused to say whether they had been disciplined. both remain on the force. union's vice president telling cnn it was a school matter, not a police matter. should have never been called to that. neither officer responded to requests for comment. superintendent said our hearts ache for student, there noz excuse for adults to speak to or treat a child this way. discussion when grant arrives, talks about struggles to discipline her son. >> i can't discipline him, the government won't allow you.
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>> yes you can. >> i can't beat him, will go to prison. >> you can't go to prison for beating your child. >> denies there's been abuse in the household. moved the discussion to at one point the officer puts handcuffs on his arm seemingly to make a point. and minutes later, these parting words to the boy. >> meeting adjourned. enjoy yourself today. >> the recording ends with a thank you and an apology. >> thank you. >> yes, ma'am. >> sorry. >> but this was before grant learned how the officers and school officials had treated her son before she arrived at the school. >> certainly she would not have been in the same demean were the police at the end and the school officials if she had known all the things that had transpired before. >> reporter: athena jones, cnn, new york. >> listen to me. how old are you? >> he is 5 years old. what are y'all doing?
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let's discuss now. montgomery city council member here. will, oh, my gosh, this is horrifying. an officer screaming repeatedly at a 5-year-old boy, calling him a violent little beast. what? why do these officers still have jobs? and why are they all, all of them treating this little kid like that? he needs a hug more than anything? >> yeah. it's -- it's hard to watch. i had to catch my breath a little bit. i have not been able to since this came out a few days ago watch it continuously. it's 51 minutes of what i describe, i think anyone would describe as a nightmare. every adult in this situation failed this child. the systems that were set up to support him, school systems, supposed to be a place of learning, of support, of love, of care, those administrators failed. police are supposed to protect
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and serve. they failed him. and in a big way. and you see this yelling in his face, calling him a beast. it's abhorrent. then you have a law that shields the public and councilmembers. i don't know what discipline was dolled out. i know they still work on the force. i've called for them to be fired. i've called for a full investigation, and we're going to get to the bottom of it. but this is just -- it's a horrific, horrific event. it underscores why police are the wrong tool in schools, and to be called to schools. it's why we have disproportionality in arrests. half the children arrested in montgomery county are black students, even though they represent about 20% of the population. this was uncalled for. whether you're 5 or 50, no one should be talked to like that. but this was a little boy. it's horrible. >> why are they all -- look, the handcuff thing, why are they all talking about beating a
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5-year-old? i don't -- >> you know, you know, i've thought about that. one of the things that comes up that i think about, don, is there was -- i think about tamir rice who was shot, 12 years old in a park as the officer pulled up, he had a toy gun. he said i have an 18-year-old with a gun. the american psychological association has studied this and shown that black boys in particular are seen to be 5 to 7 years older and more of a threat than they are. we are robbed of our childhood in so many ways and criminalized. that's what this school to prison pipeline is about. and you can't look at this video. everyone denied the innocence. he didn't even understand the words that were being said. he is 5 years old developmentally. i have four children under 10. as you know, it just somehow that just escaped these officers and everyone else there. and so all i can say is that it just shows that there is deep seated issues in our criminal justice system. the work that we've been doing
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to reimagine public safety and to remove police from schools and to support students with social, emotional, mental health, psychologists, crisis counselors, that's what is needed. and that didn't happen here. >> and also, the evolution over the years about spanking and how to discipline kids. when i was in school, i went to catholic school, and they spanked us. now studies have shown, and people have evolved on that whole idea of spanking and beating kids. it's not necessarily productive. let me talk to you about this lawsuit. it was filed by the child's family. bury as we saw in athena's story there, his mother says the threat of going to jail is what stops her from beating him. this is really concerning. is this family getting the help and the support that it needs? >> well, we've reached out. the lawyer, obviously, it's a little tenuous right now because
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there is an active lawsuit. that has been one of my primary concerns as well. we had covid so the schools were out of session and the student wasn't in school physically, but to make sure they had been checked on and that this boy -- this happened over a year ago. that was one of the problems too. the only reason i found out was because that there was a lawsuit filed a year later. yes. so we're looking into that. i have an autistic daughter. one of the things that a lot of people have commented on social media is this video, this video has made it around the world is there are a lot of symptoms that may suggest this child needs to be assessed for some sort of being on the spectrum. i don't know about that. >> you don't know that. >> we absolutely don't. but what the people should have asked. >> right. >> hey, are you okay? what's going on with you? and no one asked that in this situation. so we are asking that now. >> a 5-year-old wanders away from campus, and no one knows where he is.
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needs a hug and reassurance, in my book rather than -- >> absolutely. >> than people berating him. that's how i feel about it. okay, thank you. i've got go. i appreciate it. keep us updated. we'll see you soon. thank you. good to see you. thanks for watching. everyone. our coverage continues.
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wanna help kids get their homework done? well, an internet connection's a good start. but kids also need computers. and sometimes the hardest thing about homework is finding a place to do it. so why not hook community centers up with wifi? for kids like us, and all the amazing things we're gonna learn. over the next 10 years, comcast is committing $1 billion to reach 50 million low-income americans with the tools and resources they need to be ready for anything. i hope you're ready. 'cause we are.
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"believe i witnessed a murder." jim sciutto sitting in for anderson tonight. those are the words of donald williams who testified in day two of derek chauvin's murder trial. others today on the stand talked about what they saw and what is still difficult for just anyone to see. officer chauvin's knee and body


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