tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 31, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
dramatic testimony today in the trial of ex-police officer derek chauvin, who is charged with murder for kneeling on the minutes and 29 seconds.r 9 one eyewitness testifying he was so disturbed by what he saw that he called the police on the police because he believed he witnessed a murder. and an off-duty firefighter who is a trained emt testifying that police prevented her from from giving medical aid to george floyd. also tonight there's a developing story that florida gop congressman matt gaetz denying that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and claiming that he is the victim of an extortion attempt. more on that. but i want to start with this dramatic testimony today in the trial of derek chauvin. cnn's sara sidner reports now from minneapolis.
>> reporter: eyewitness donald williams took the stand with a remarkable revelation, telling the jury what he did after witnessing george floyd's body slump as then-officer derek chauvin continued pressing his knee down on floyd's neck. >> i did call the police on the police. >> all right. and why did you do that? >> because i believe i witnessed a murder. >> reporter: williams could not hold back tears as his 911 dispatch audio played in court. 911, what's the address the emergency? >> an officer is killing a citizen in front of a chicago store. he pretty much killed this guy that wasn't resisting arrest. he had his knee on the dude's neck the whole time. officer 987. >> whose badge, what officer were you referring to? >> the officer sitting over there. >> reporter: late last year, the world saw williams on the scene when police body camera video was released. the injujury has yet to see thi
video. in cross-examination, chauvin's attorney focused some attention on the harsh words williams used against the officers. >> you called him a tough guy. >> i did. >> those terms grew more and more angry. would you agree with that? >> they grew more and more pleading for life. >> all right. after you called him a bum 13 times, you called him a [ bleep ] bum. >> that's what you heard. >> did you say that? >> is that what you heard? >> i'm asking you, sir. >> you heard that. i'm pretty sure you did. >> reporter: williams tried to counter the angry black man stereotype, instead explaining he was trying to save a life. but chauvin's attorney was painting a picture of a scene that created fear in the officers, mentioning one officer pushing williams back. >> do you recall saying, i dare you to touch me like that. i swear i'll slap the [ bleep ] out of both of you? >> yeah, i did. i meant to. >> reporter: the next witness
dissolved into tears for the fear and trauma she continues to experience. >> it's the nights. i stayed up apologizing and -- and apologizing to george floyd for not doing more. >> reporter: that is the voice of the teenage bystander who took the video the world saw. she was a minor at the time of the incident. a picture of her and her cousin was shown on the scene, but the court-ordered cameras could not show them testifying and only use their audio. >> what was it about the scene that caused you to come back? >> it wasn't right. he was -- he was suffering. he was in pain. >> reporter: the jury then heard from the youngest eyewitness, who was 9 years old. she needed her memory jogged as to what chauvin looked like. >> okay. how about him? >> yes. >> reporter: but she did remember what upset her that day. >> i saw that officer put a knee
on the neck on george floyd. i was sad and kind of mad. >> reporter: the jury also heard from an off-duty firefighter emt who happened to be on a walk. this is genevieve hansen's 911 call on may 25th. >> i literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man, and i am a first responder myself. and i literally have it on video camera. >> reporter: hansen was moved to tears. >> there is 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. >> i want to bring it now sara sidner who has been covering this story from the very beginning now, all ten months of it. sara, good evening to you.
listen, very compelling testimony today. you cannot deny that. what kind of an impact did today's witnesses and the evidence seem to have on the jury? >> reporter: a great one, don, and i think it had an impact on anyone who was listening to witness after witness, each one exceedingly emotional over time, each one being very, very detailed, 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 mma fighter, who donald williams talked about, you know, the choke holds as well and talked about what those were. and he was very technical. he 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 who
is used to being in situations where someone's having a medical emergency, i.e., the firefighter and emt, who just happened to be walking by and saw this scene. to hear from her, to hear her e moat the way she did because she felt, as did everyone who was standing there watching this, she felt helpless. >> helpless. >> reporter: even though she was trained to help. those things definitely stuck in the minds of anyone who was watching. and of course the defense is going to continue their cross-examinations trying to pick apart some of what people are saying, including trying to pick apart what the emt was saying, questioning her training, which she pushed back on, but also saying, look, you said this to the police, you said this in court, trying to impeach her on the stand, doing his job in that respect. but on the overarching look at what these witnesses said today, it was powerful, and it was emotional. >> it certainly was.
sara sidner, thank you very much, sara. i appreciate that. i want to bring in now former federal prosecutor laura kocoat and charles ramsey. laura, it was really powerful testimony today, some coming from minors, a 9-year-old girl. the teenager who took the video, seeing her family in george floyd. i know this really hit you as a mom. what kind of an impact do you think this is going to have on the case? >> i mean it absolutely did. the idea that you've got children who are watching this, don. the idea that as a mother, you send your child out hoping they're going to bring back snacks as their plan, and instead they bring back the memory of having witnessed a murder in this tortured state. and having this young girl have the wherewithal to, on the one hand, shoo her younger 8-year-old cousin inside and
then having the wherewithal to take that video that eventually went viral and everyone saw. what i thought was so poignant was her statement when she said, i have stayed up nights apologizing to george floyd for not being able to save your life. but it's not what i should have done. it's what he should have done, directing her thoughts to the person who is the defendant, the person who is the police officer. it was very powerful, and you have the corroboration from each different witness, different vantage points, each one looking at a bit of an ink blot test essentially and all seeing the same thing. this is the kind of thing that jurors look for -- corroboration, the idea of having credibility, having witnesses who do not have some vested interest or an angle. what could be more benign and pure than a child watching the murder of someone in front of her own eyes? >> yeah. laura, quickly before i get to chief ramsay, when you heard her say, you know, what i could do,
right? i couldn't do anything. i felt like i should have done more, but he should have done more. as a former federal prosecutor, were you like, whoa, that's heavy? >> oh, that's the headline for me. that's what you use in your closing. each time witnesses say something like this, you're trying to pick certain things to use later on to compile all the things they're going to hear over several weeks because there's going to be a lot of testimony in between. but those moments to really drive home the point whose responsibility it was to save the life, and why didn't he do so? and why did he act defiantly and really deny people being able to render aid? that question is looming over it. it might have to compel him to really take the stand and try to explain his answer. >> to explain himself, yeah. chief ramsay, we know at least three witnesses mentioned calling the police on the police, calling the police on chauvin and his colleagues. the 911 dispatcher, the bystander donald williams, the
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 did you think of that? >> well, i mean there were four people wearing a uniform of a police officer there. i mean i could argue were they really police officers in terms of what they did? that's not consistent with the ethics of being a police officer or anything else. the oath they took, you know, it's a sad situation when you had something where they couldn't even trust the people that were there. they had to call someone else, hoping someone would intervene and take some action because apparently the ones that were there failed to do so. >> yeah. well, you said that whether they were -- i mean but they were the guys with the badge. they were the people with the badges. >> there's no question about it. they're cops. my point is that they just -- 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. >> yeah. thank you, chief. thank you, laura. i appreciate it. laura, i watched you all day. great stuff. i watched you all day, chief ramsey, as well. i've been riveted and your perspective on this have both been fascinating. great coverage. thank you for doing this. i appreciate it. >> thank you, don. you know, it's hard to hear the testimony about the last moments of george floyd's life second by second. and if you're having trouble dealing with it, speak up. ask for help. we've got some resources up on the screen now for you. again, do not -- it's up on the screen right there. take a look at your screen. i'll tweet it out. i'll put it on our social media. don't hesitate to get help, please. we have a developing story to tell you about. congressman matt gaetz denying that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old after "the new york times" reported the doj was
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so congressman matt gaetz denying that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old after "the new york times" reported that according to its sources, the justice department was investigating a possible sexual relationship with the girl and whether he paid for the girl to travel with him. the congressman telling cnn, quote -- and i'm quoting here -- no part of the allegations against me are true, and saying that the claims were being pushed by people who are targets of an ongoing extortion investigation. so i want to discuss now with cnn legal analyst jennifer rodgers, a form assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. jennifer, thank you so much. so help us understand this case. break it down for us. gaetz is being investigated over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, paid for her travel with him. that's according to three people briefed on the matter speaking to "the new york times." now, gaetz says that he is innocent. what are the legal implications
here? what's going on, jennifer? >> well, he says that he didn't do it, but then he also went tonight on tucker carlson and told tucker that he had been part of a double date effectively with him and this woman. so, you know, it's unclear what he's going to say ultimately about allegations against him if any charges are ever filed. we know there's a real case. it's going to trial in june against an associate of gaetz's named joel greenberg, a sex trafficking case. so we know that matt gaetz was somehow tied up in that. he was told apparently that he was a subject of that investigation, which means not that you're in the clear. if you're in the clear, you would be told that you are just a witness. a subject means you're not necessarily being targeted, but that evidence could develop that means that you will ultimately be charged. so that investigation was started. it was started on trump's doj under bill barr. so matt gaetz's allegation that it was political in nature doesn't seem to hold water. and i really don't know what to make of the extortion allegation except to say that it seems to
be separate. in other words, whether or not there's some strange extortion going on with someone saying i can help you take care of this case against you for $25 million, that doesn't mean that the case against him, if there ever is one brought, that that case is somehow illegitimate. >> yeah. i want -- he's talking about that right now. here it is. listen to this. >> on march 16th, my father got a text message demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away. our family was so troubled by that, we went to the local fbi, and the fbi and the department of justice were so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of congress that they asked my dad to wear a wire, which he did with the former department of justice official. tonight i am demanding that the department of justice and the fbi release the audio recordings
that were made under their supervision and at their direction, which will prove my innocence and that will show that these allegations aren't true. >> okay. so the thing is you said that -- i think you said that they could be separate. could both be true because the doj inquiry started in the final months of the trump administration, and gaetz says that the extortion attempt occurred on march 16th. could they both be true? >> of course. but here's the thing that's very strange. i mean if he and his family are tied up in some sort of extortion offense that he thought was serious enough to bring to the fbi and someone's wearing a wire, he's now blowing that investigation wide open by talking about it. that wasn't the subject of "the new york times" reporting. so he's the one who's potentially damaging an ongoing investigation in which he says that he's the victim. so i don't know how that makes much sense for him to do if he, in fact, says that he's the victim of this. >> yeah. >> but i think you're right on the money to say that there
could both be an investigation into him for sex trafficking and someone separately could be trying to take advantage of that by extorting him. >> now, the woman that you said he mentioned on tucker carlson, again, this was -- you know, it's all very unclear and even, you know, i think to some degree tucker admitted that it was a strange interview. i'm not sure if the woman that he mentioned having the double date, is that the same woman who is allegedly part of this? >> it's not entirely clear. i thought when i watched it that that was maybe what he was saying, but i honestly don't know. >> okay. but, again, he is saying that he had no part in this, and again he's clearing his name. we'll see. we're going to follow this. jennifer, thank you. i really appreciate you explaining this to us. a georgia state trooper says he feared insurrection like the one on january 6th when arresting that one state representative in georgia. well, does this look the same as
january 6th to you? i'll ask someone who was there next. >> under arrest for what? air wick our essential mist transforms fragrance infused with natural essential oils into a mist. to awaken your home with an experience you can see, smell, and feel. it's air care, redefined. air wick essential mist. connect to nature.
tonight a third federal lawsuit has been filed challenging georgia's new voting law which was signed by republican governor brian kemp last week. the lawsuit filed by civil rights groups claims that the new law restricts the rights of voters, including voters of color and those in religious communities. gop lawmakers claim that the law boosts confidence in georgia's voting procedures. and in a twist that you have to hear to believe, one of the georgia capitol police officers who arrested representative park cannon last week says that he feared another january 6th-style insurrection would develop. seriously? really? okay. so she was taken into custody while knocking on the governor's door as kemp was signing the law in private.
so let's remember that thousands of rioters stormed the u.s. capitol. not the same. i want to bring in tamara stephens who witnessed and recorded park cannon's arrest. thank you for joining. i remember you now that i see you from the video. i were standing -- i think you were holding a sign. am i correct? >> that's correct. >> thank you for joining us. you took the video of representative park cannon's arrest last thursday. i want to take a look and then we'll talk more about it. here it is. >> -- one more time like you're going to do something. are you serious? >> no, you are not. >> no. she's not under arrest. >> for what? >> under arrest for what? >> why is she under arrest? >> for trying to see something that our governor is doing? >> why is she under arrest? >> our governor is signing a bill -- >> tamara, talk to me about what was going through your mind while this was all happening. >> well, we were really surprised by it, which you could
tell by our reaction because representative cannon was not being threatening in any way. and the posture of the state trooper prior to him jumping up and arresting her showed that. he was leaning against a wall. his legs were crossed. he wasn't attempting to block the door in any way. there wasn't another trooper standing next to him preventing representative park from accessing the door. it was shocking. we were very surprised at the overreaction. >> what were you doing at the statehouse that day? >> we'd been protesting for nearly a month now, a group of organizations have gotten together and we've been protesting ever since they started introducing these voter suppression bills. there have been several of them that have gone through the georgia legislature. we had been at the capitol earlier in the day, and we had a protest scheduled at hart's field against delta to try to
apply some pressure to delta. the governor knew we were doing this. it was scheduled. it was permitted at 5:30. at 5:45 we received notice via tweet that the governor had scheduled a press conference and was going to be signing the bill at 6:30. now, there were several dozen of us at hart's field protesting, but we didn't want to bring a big crowd to the capitol. so there was only about half a dozen that decided to get in our cars and head back to the capitol with the intention of just doing a silent protest. we had the small signs that they allow us to bring into the capitol, and mind said "shame on the georgia gop." and that was basically our intent, to let them know that they didn't get away with it behind closed doors, that we saw them. we were there. we're paying attention and we're going to hold them accountable. >> tamara, the arresting officer in an incident report stated that, if i did not take action, the other protesters would have been emboldened to commit similar acts.
the events of january 6th, 2021, at the u.s. capitol were in the back of my mind. okay. so, representative cannon was knocking on the door in a place where she worked. compare that to january 6th, the insurrectionists who stormed the capitol, violently fought with police officers. what do you say to that? >> it's unbelievable. there were six women, two elected female representatives. we were holding signs. we were not yelling. we were not screaming. representative cannon knocked on the door. she didn't pound. she didn't kick. she wasn't diving over state troopers trying to access the building or trying to access the room. she was knocking on the door. and for him to have compared that and those actions to january 6th, it's disgusting and it's completely -- it's completely false. >> representative cannon
returned to the georgia statehouse today in a sling with mlk iii and hundreds of supporters by her side. you're one of the co-founders of the no safe seats, an organization that has been protesting at the capitol over the bill. you discussed that a moment ago. do you think her arrest is going to breathe new energy into the fight for voting rights? >> absolutely. it's just reinvigorated because 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 see the signing of a bill that was going to affect not only her constituents but georgians all 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 we saw live. >> tamara, people ask me why i'm
optimistic about where we're going in this country, and it's because of people like you. >> thank you. >> because i think there are enough people who are doing the right thing and willing to stand up for what's right and be on the right side of history, and you're one of them. thank you for appearing on the show. >> thank you. if anyone wants to get involve in georgia, protect the vote, ga.org. it will tell you everything we've got planned going forward. >> you be well. thank you again. states easing coronavirus restrictions, but the country's top doctors are warning it's still too soon. >> we are lulled into this false sense that this thing can't get to us. but as michigan is showing and as other states are showing, it's not true, and it's not done yet. s right now here are a couple answers... lysol disinfectant spray and lysol disinfecting wipes together can be used on over 100 surfaces. and kill up to 99.9% of germs. lysol. what it takes to protect.
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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. white house senior covid adviser andy slavitt and cdc director rochelle walensky sounding the alarm. >> i think the governors know better. i think the governors know that they're not helping the cause, that they're actually weighting down the cause and that they may think it's a popular thing to do. i don't think that's the case. i think people want to be told what the truth of the matter is. to me, a mask feels like a very small price to pay to protect people's lives. >> we know that it's preventable. we have the science to prevent. we know what we need to do to stop the -- to stop the surge, and we would ask everybody to go ahead and do that. >> let's discuss more now. cnn medical analyst dr. jonathan
reiner is here. thanks for joining. we're averaging more than 60,000 new cases a day for the past five days, and whaen while arkansas is lifting its mask mandate. are we giving up some of the covid battlefield that we won by loosening these restrictions and seeing these case counts go up? >> yeah, 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 who was 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 recently because 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 slavitt and dr. walensky. you know, we need to push on and get this done. >> 23 states now seeing an increase in covid cases of 10% or more. but in michigan they're seeing an increase of over 50%. what's going on there? what should they do to get back under control there? >> there's a lot of spread in young people there. so in michigan over the last couple weeks, there's been a 600% increase in cases in people between 30 to 39, an 800% increase in people between 40 and 49. in contrast, in people over the age of 80, most of whom are vaccinated, there's only been 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 those high-risk spreading communities now, which are young people. we can't wait for them to come to us. we can't wait for them to get onto the portals and make their reservations. we need to get out into the community. no reservations required and start vaccinating people like crazy. you know, like forest firefighters do when they go and put out these hot spots. we need to actively go and put out these hot spots, not just by masking, not just by closing down, but by vaccinating like crazy. >> you're right. i walked by this outdoor beer garden this weekend and all the young people out there. they had social distancing but everybody standing in line was right on top of each other and everybody's mask was like this. they're all like that, on their
chin. it's like what are you doing? i'm wondering should the establishment be responsible for -- i don't know. they're on a public street waiting to get in, but they seem to have no regard for mask wearing or social distancing, and i'm sure that's happening in many, many, many places around the country. doctor, thank you. i appreciate your time. we'll see you tomorrow. >> my pleasure, don. thank you. police caught on camera taunting, berating, grabbing, and threatening a boy, a boy who is only 5 years old. stay with us. ahoyy! (excited squeal, giggling/panting) gotcha! nooooo... noooooo... nooooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and each sheet is 2x more absorbent, so you can use less. ahoy! (laughing) bounty, the quicker picker upper.
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newly released body camera footage shows maryland police berating and threatening a 5-year-old boy after he wandered away from school. athena jones has this incredibly disturbing story. >> get in the car. >> we going to have problems. don't worry about it. don't worry about it. i don't want to hear it! >> reporter: the video is disturbing and difficult to watch. two montgomery county, maryland, police officers screaming at and threatening a 5-year-old boy after he walked out of his elementary school. they locate him two-tenths of a mile away. >> how old are you? >> 5. >> 5? you feel like you can make your own decisions, huh? you feel like you can do what you want? >> reporter: the boy's mother, shawn tee grant, filed a lawsuit in january against the officers, dion holiday and kevin crist
man, accusing them of assault and ingsle ininfliction of emotional distress. also named the suit, montgomery county, accused of violating the boy's rights under state law. and the montgomery county board of education accused of negligence. back in january 2020, the suit alleges the kindergartner walked off the east silver spring elementary school premises when he was not being properly supervised. school employees called police to help find him. the video shows officer cristman putting the young boy into the squad car to drive him back to school. >> i don't want to go. >> i don't care! >> reporter: the suit states this was extremely frightening to him because he thought he was going to be taken to jail. >> the encounter between the police and this little 5-year-old turns into such an abrasive, offensive encounter, it's as if they are treating him like he just committed an armed robbery. we counted 19 times when one or both officers talked about beating him, that he needs to be
beaten. >> reporter: the officers arrive at the school with the student moments later, loudly taunting the child as they enter. >> how do you learn that type of behavior at 5? >> this is why people need to beat their kids. >> sit down! sit down! >> shut that noise up now! >> reporter: according to the complaint, this remark led the boy to believe that holiday was about to cause him physical harm. video shows holiday screaming at the boy inches from his face. >> school employees discussed the child's behavior with the officers as they wait for his mother to arrive. officer holliday suggesting how she would discipline the child. >> a crate. crate him. going to 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. the union's vice president telling cnn, in that case it was a school matter, not a police matter. we should have never been called to that. neither officer responded to our request for comment. the montgomery county school board president and superintendent said in a statement, our hearts ache for this student. there is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way. we have asked mcps leadership to ensure that the school system's procedures and expectations are clear to all staff. a discussion ensues when grant arrives, during which she talks about her struggles to discipline her son. >> i can't discipline him because the government won't allow you. >> yes, you can. >> i can't beat him. >> why? >> because i'm not going to prison. >> you don't go to prison for beating your child. >> reporter: grant's lawyers deny there has been abuse or problems at the family's household. grant, the officers, and a school employee soon move their discussion to a conference room, where at one point officer cristman puts handcuffs on the
boy's arm. >> these are for people who don't want to listen and don't know how to act. >> and these parting words to the boy. >> enjoy yourself today when you get that whoopin'. >> reporter: the recording ends with a thank-you and an apology. but this is before grant learns 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 demeanor with 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. >> he's 5 years old. what are y'all doing? let's discuss now. montgomery city council member will juwando. this is horrifying. an officer extreming repeatedly at a 5-year-old boy, calling him violent little beast. 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, you know, 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 and serve. they failed him and in a big way. you see this yelling in his face, calling him a beast. it's just -- it's abhorrent. then you have a law that shields the public and council members. i don't know what discipline was doled 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 is a little boy. it's -- >> why are they all -- look, the handcuff thing. why are they all talking about beating a 5-year-old? like i -- i don't -- >> you know, i've thought about that. you know, 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 five to seven 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 that video, and everyone denied the innocence. he didn't even understand the words that were being said. he's 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. so all i can say is that it just shows that there's deep seated issues in our criminal justice system. the work that we've been doing to re-imagine public safety and to remove police from schools and to support students with social, emotional, mental health, psychologists, crisis counselors, that's what is needs
and that didn't happen here. >> 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 idea of spanking and beating kids. it's not necessarily productive. let me talk to but this lawsuit. it was filed by the child's family. but as we saw in athena's story there, his mother says that the threat of going to jail is what stops her from beating him. this is really concerning. i mean is this family getting the help and the support that it needs? >> well, we've reached out. the lawyers -- you know, obviously it's a little tenuous right now because there's an active lawsuit. but that has been one of my primary concerns as well, to make sure that the school system -- you know, we had covid, so the schools were out of session, and the student wasn't in school physically, but to make sure that 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 there was a lawsuit filed a year later. so we're looking into that. you know, i have an autistic daughter. one of the things that a lot of people have commented on social media is that there's a lot of symptoms that may suggest that this child needs to be assessed for some sort of being on the spectrum. but i don't know any of that to be true. >> you don't know that, right? >> we absolutely don't. but what the people should have asked -- >> right. >> hey, are you okay? what's going on with you? no one asked that in this situation. so we're asking that now. >> a 5-year-old wanders away from campus, and no one knows where he is, needs a hug and reassurance in my book rather than people berating him. that's how i feel about it. okay. thank you. i've got to go. i appreciate it. keep us updated. thank you. good to see you. >> sounds good. >> thanks for watching, everyone. our coverage continues.
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